Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's about 11:30 p.m. and I'm listening to a song by Hillside called "I Will Never Be the Same Again" as I wait for 2009 to become a reality (watching the ball drop isn't something that I normally do to bring in the new year). 2009 will hopefully bring events and people into my life that will change me for the better just like 2008 did. Looking back I think this year went pretty well. I accomplished some educational goals for myself, "grew up" a little bit more (we're always evolving), and learned a bit about how people can love as well as hurt you and how we as Christians should respond. Life for certain of my loved ones got better and no one died this past year like in 2006 when my dad dropped dead before I ever got to say goodbye. Even though I wrote a creative non-fiction piece about it that my writing teacher loved, I may never get over the finality of that, however, I'll try not to limit the Limitless one. I think I've moved beyond caring about things that I have no control over and hopefully can leave those things in God's hands. Probably the best thing that happened this year for me personally was receiving a deep blessing of God's love for me that I hadn't experienced for a number of years. Those of you that understand the depth of group prayer within the evangelical community will understand what I am sharing. If you don't catch my drift listen to the song (you can download it through YouTube). 2009 will be great because He's in it with me.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"You go girl!"

Up until yesterday I was the only college graduate in my family including seven cousins, one sibling and six adult family members. Karen just made it two by graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from U of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. It doesn't mean our family lacks in "smarts" but if you want it, go for it. Her major was Music Therapy which ironically was mine as well even though I changed mine by my sophomore year. Most people don't know what M.T. is and I won't go into what it all involves (check the WWW if interested) except to say that you need the knowledge and ability to play a multiple amount of instruments which is usually required if not encouraged. Needless to say we are very proud of her accomplishment and wish her the best in whatever area of expertise she endeavors.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's a dog's Christmas (I mean life)

We are starting to get excited about Christmas since we are now past Thanksgiving. I'm not much for holidays since the order of my life becomes disrupted and there are SO many dishes to wash but things are settling down, there's snow on the ground, and the Christmas letter has been written and critiqued and is ready to send out. Fortunately we are all employed so there is enough overhead to buy something nice for each of my family members and the midnight mass will be celebrated soon which is one of my favorite services of the year outside of Easter Vigil. Tons of Christmas cheer and candy canes to all!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Camp Lebanon - one of my "favorite things"!

There's no "raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens" but Camp Lebanon is one of my favorite "things". It is located north of St. Cloud and is a year-round Christian camp and retreat center dedicated to providing a 'Meeting Place with God' for children, youth, families and adults. I go to quilt (sometimes). This time I started a quilt using Batik fabric called Log Cabin Windows. The camp averages at least 75 to 100+ women each weekend that come and quilt, cross stitch and scrapbook. I personally go to play cards and sleep on a hard mattress. Makes you appreciate your own bed back at home, otherwise you'd never leave, it's that great. Most of all I enjoy playing Hand and Foot with friends, a card game much like Canasta.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Who ever heard of Dickerson?

If you ever have missed hearing the UWEC - Blugold Marching Band you have missed alot. To answer the question, Randal Dickerson is the director of the one of the most active marching bands in the upper Midwest. They have a unique and highly energetic marching style, their music is not your standard band music but songs arranged by not only Dickerson but band members as well. With a total enrollment of 232 members (when he came in 2000 there were only 60 members in the band) the Blugold Marching Band is America's largest NCAA D3 marching band. Just returning from UWEC to see Karen perform with the band was something worth the 2 hour drive. Playing drums in my college marching band made it even more enjoyable for me personally, even though my experience doesn't even come close to the experience that Karen has had over the last 3 years. Thanks Karen for a great afternoon of a truly remarkable marching band led by a truly gifted director.
This is just the drumline when they performed at the close of the High School Band competitions held at the Metrodome this past October. Karen is 2nd in from the right on cymbals.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Yes, we are "cheeseheads" (at least every autumn)

We went on our annual fall vacation for a week (and no, that's not us). It's amazing to me how something that is the same every year can also be so interesting and entertaining. We always go to SW Wisconsin and drive down the Illinois side and take back roads because that is where the interesting and entertaining part comes in. This picture is of a Amish cart just outside of Cuba City, Wisconsin. Michael said that is a first for that area because the Amish tend to live in groups to support their lifestyle and he never had seen one so far south.

This picture is a Llama that is at a stop we make annually. Lots of animals and a building with all kinds of jams, apples, popcorn, etc.
We also make a point of visiting people as well like the neighbor that lived down the street from Michael's childhood home in Cuba City, a cousin that lives outside of the Quad Cities, a friend who lives in Tomah who has known us since we were single, and always a final stop to celebrate mass with Fr. Ken Fiedler at his parish in Madison and breakfast afterward. We always stay in a hotel in Hillsboro, Wisconsin on the first night and the last. It is a lovely little town with this one hotel, and a bike trail not far from there. The only "downer" is that our cell phones don't work unless you get about 45 minutes away in any direction. It's a real "deadzone" but the scenery is well worth it (you forget what clouds look like when you live in the city). We go home through different little towns one that's set atop some of the most scenic hills of SW Wisc. named Cashton. It's called "the heart of Amish country". Its surrounding townships are home to the largest Amish community in Wisconsin.
This picture is of one of the Amish farms and their harvested hay which is done by hand. Normally a machine does it and it looks like rolls.
We did alot of biking on the trip covering almost 30 miles total. The weather was fairly good except for one day. We had picked a trail that horses and ATV's can also ride on. Even though the rain had stopped, the trail was muddy which was complicated by some friendly ATV's riders that yielded to us but...(we had to powerwash the bikes when we got home). Thankfully we met no horses. My final picture is one of my personal favorites. Michael was in front of me and I can't believe it wasn't completely out of focus as I was riding the bike when I took it. We traveled 3 different bike trails throughout the vacation, and this was one of my favorites for scenery and interest overall. Makes one wonder why people want to live where the seasons don't change. Amazing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Memphis Minus Elvis

This past weekend Northwest Airlines sponsored an overnight trip to the Memphis Zoo.
At first I thought it was a strange idea but after my visit to the Zoo I was extremely impressed and would recommend it to everyone even though we got there after 5:00 p.m. They had live bands, rides, a tram that took you all around the zoo sites, and a wonderful assortment of zoo animals including two pandas from China. All looked very well cared for amidst lovely grounds and walking paths. The architecture of the buildings was wonderful.

One of my favorite places was the building with all the alligators, lizards, and snakes. This picture is 11 year old Lola. She rests on this railing alot and they say it's one of her favorite places. They also let her roam the grounds (with assistance, I'm sure).
All in all we had a great time, stayed overnight at the nearby Holiday Inn and returned home the next day. One of my personal favorite times of the trip was visiting after returning to the hotel with Michael and one of his co-workers even though it was sooooo late. Thanks Jill! It was a personal favorite time. I definitely plan on returning sometime soon.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ann's Place

This past weekend Michael and I went up to a rustic area around Bayfield, Wisconsin to visit a long-time friend at her cabin. We stayed overnight in Hayward and enjoyed sightseeing, etc. and met her up at her cabin on Saturday early afternoon. She invited us up to burn timber that had fallen during a recent storm. Her cabin sits back from Lake Superior shoreline and she owns approximately 2 acres of what normally would be fairly uninhabitable land even though beautiful. The cabin is still in process of being finished with no running water nor heat. she has distant neighbors on either side. We spent the afternoon burning off timber. she took us on a mini-tour of her land and told us that she has seen bears as well as wolves and deer that roam free in the area. We spent the evening playing cards and enjoying conversation over hot beverages. Her two dachshunds, Kurby and Kaylee joined us in front of the fireplace which helped warm the cabin for the night. We had a wonderful time and hope to return again to be a "guest" of natures own. The two pictures (I'm still learning how to place them so bear with me) are of her cabin and Michael hard at work mixing the logs together in the fire.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fun in the Sun

Those of you that know us know that our favorite pastime as a couple is biking. We go almost every weekend, going over a bike map, picking a trail somewhere in the Twin cities area and hit the road. Last weekend we went with another die-hard biking couple and headed to Medicine Lake area via car. From there we covered approximately 13 miles of beautiful lake front homes (I'm sure my doctor lives in one of them) and ended up at French Park. We usually bring snacks to share and rest up abit and head back. We had a great time. Included, as usual, is a picture our friend took of the two of us enjoying the day together. Life's a beach! (actually it's behind us).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Grease is not just a movie title

When I decided to "retire" from cleaning homes, a business I had for approx. 17 years, my father was against it. Being in business for himself was something he always took pride in so hearing that I wanted to go into a job where I got paid less than half what I made cleaning homes he felt was a big mistake, not to mention that I would have to get up every morning and buck the traffic like the rest of the world working for someone else. I explained to him that I was willing to buck the traffic and get paid less for what I had a passion for which was to make a difference in the lives of other people in a more personal way. All the negative reasons for "retiring" were facing me, but I have always had an interest in working in the healthcare industry. so when Daniel came to us after high school and announced he wanted to be an auto mechanic, I was against it. After all we had given him a wonderful education that included 7 years of private schooling which we felt would set him up for true success. We figured he would go into engineering like his dad since math was his best subject. However it was his decision and after 2 years I have decided that maybe he was right. Even though he may never be the book learner I would have liked, he is truly gifted at his mostly hands-on work with cars. He also went out and got hired at the place we have our cars serviced and has learned an enormous amount along with tons of experience working on different makes and models. He comes home greasy, dirty, and tired but he truly is a natural at it. The picture I chose is the day that his older brother David came over to have Daniel help him fix his truck. I am thankful that I have been able to see the fruit of allowing him to seek out his own desires, something that my father was not able to see as he died before I finished school. Congratulations Daniel for knowing what you truly want in life and going for it!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Happy Birthday to you!

Karen turned 25 on the 10th and we celebrated with a small dinner gathering with her brothers. She didn't seem that happy to turn 25. I remember when I turned 13 and realized that I was no longer a "kid" but a teenager. I remember writing about all the things I would no longer be able to do like throw water balloons up in the air while in the backyard in my swimsuit or play games with my friends like "Annie, Annie Over!" or just lay on the grassy lawn and watch the clouds float by. Because I was no longer a "kid" I would have to start wearing nylons and get a job. I cried for most of that day because I thought I was losing my childhood. My mother thought I was crazy. LIttle did I realize that I was gaining other things that you only get because you are no longer a "kid" like a license to drive or a date to the prom, or a job that gives you more satisfaction than flipping burgers all day. Karen on the other hand has already experienced most of that but I will agree with her that it is sometimes difficult to grow older and feel like life is moving too fast, or passing you by, or just hard. Maybe we all need to stop and smell the flowers once in a while or lay on the grass and watch the clouds float by. Happy birthday, Karen and here's to many more birthdays to come.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Getting old isn't for sissies

Well, the final touches are on the move my mother has made since my dad died two years ago. She sold her house in 3 days (yes, I said 3 days) and is now residing in a lovely assisted living facility that is Christian based. She has her own apartment (2 bedroom), cable, new friends and more to do than ever before (movie night is tonight). She also gets rides from the apartment to doctor appts., grocery store and events that she chooses to participate in. She told me that she wasn't going to do any of the activities, just watch her soaps but that idea faded with the news of various card players in the building. All in all it was a very hard move physically for us and emotionally for her, but we all survived and are alive to share in her joy of finding such a lovely place with lots of new friends! I don't really have a recent picture of her (she hates having it taken) so I found one from my oldest son's wedding in June of 2007. It is a favorite of mine. Since Daniel and Karen helped with the move they can share in the spotlight for this blog.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

4th of July, 2008

I took my mom, Daniel, Karen, Jordan and Patrick to look at fireworks. We go to the same site every year (the location is secret since we don't like big crowds). This yearly event tends to be bittersweet because my dad died July 3rd of 2006 and we still went over to view the fireworks because we felt he would have wanted it that way. This year as my mom and I sat in the car watching them out the front window she turned to me and said, "how could we do this the day after he died?" to which I replied "he would have wanted us to." My father lived his whole life in the fast lane. He had many "sayings". One of them was "Live every day like it's Christmas and every night like it's New Years Eve" so I can't imagine not celebrating July 4th in his honor not to mention the fact that he was a World War II veteran. I don't have any pictures of him in my collection so the picture I picked for this blog is of Karen and Daniel roasting marshmallows and eating somores at the picnic table before we headed out to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks. The picnic table they are seated at was a gift from my dad that ended up being a bone of contention between us for many years (long story). He took it back and I ended up bringing it back from his place after he died. It reminds me of how silly my argument was with my dad, how it divided us for a time, and how it has served to bring us back together after his death by seeing how much we as a family enjoy sitting, eating, and visiting around it now. Word to the wise: life is too short; forget about the small stuff.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Friends forever

Two weeks ago Daniel decided to take a road trip, I wasn't too keen on it but he's very good with cars, he wasn't going alone, and the buddy had AAA so any problems would be attended to and getting lost was pretty much the only problem they could encounter. Considering the technology today and the whole "the journey is it's own reward" he talked me out of his taking the Greyhound and him and Brian B. traveled down to Maryland to pick up his other childhood friend, James. Daniel has kept up with James since he moved to Maryland approx. 5 years ago, playing video games online, IMing him and just keeping in touch via the wonders of cell phone usage. James started out as one of my least favorite of Daniel's friends when he hit a golf ball through one of our double-paned, custom made bedroom windows, but he turned out to be a wonderful, mature young man with oodles of manners and a smile to go with it. With our house being home base he spent a week with Daniel and Brian coming and going meeting up with other friends he had made here throughout his growing up years. One of the last nights he spent here I think there were approx 7 guys sitting around trying to figure out what they would do THAT night. It was like a revolving door and the energy level was way beyond me. Even though it was tremendously fun to have all of them around, I had to admit I was missing the enjoyment of putting my nightgown on and roaming through the house as was my custom every evening. When he finally left for the airport for the return trip home, I asked him what he had planned for the rest of the summer and he told me he was going to look for a second job since he had spent his "wad" on this vacation. "Way to go James!" The picture is of Daniel, James, Wally, and Brian.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Amazing Grace ...that saved a wretch like me

Those of you that believe in the goodness of man will love this story. Two weeks ago I left my camera on a bus in Moline, Ill. It all started when Michael and I took a Saturday and flew down in hopes of meeting up with a relative but ended up spending the day at the downtown mall and hanging out. After taking in the sights we tried to catch the bus to take us back to the airport and the driver breezed by us. We ran through the parking lot to catch him. By the time we reached the bus I was fuming. I chewed the driver out by making some reference to some glasses that he probably should have worn and took my seat mumbling something about how glad I was that I didn't live in that crummy town. Anyway, on our way back to the airport via the bus I didn't miss the camera until I went through security. Realizing my situation Michael generously offered to go back to the mall. I thought I had left it outside Younkers Dept. Store when I had sat down waiting for the bus or lost it running after the stupid bus. He never found the camera, missed the bus coming back and had to walk three miles back to the airport in order to make the flight back to the TC. I never thought I would see it again but took a shot in the dark and posted an email to MetroLink in Moline and also the Southgate Mall lost and found in hopes that it would turn up. Last week MetroLink informed me that they had found a camera. Not having any ID in the carry case, I told them that I could identify the camera by ID'ing the pictures. We went back this past Saturday to retrieve the camera. Anyone guess who was driving the bus that took us to the Central Station in downtown Moline to retrieve the camera? You guessed it, the very same guy I had chewed on the week before. When we told him where we needed to go he asked us if we had lost a camera and that he remembered us from the week before. He said one of his customers had found it and turned it in and he had taken it to Central Station.He made no reference to my comments, showed us where to go, and took us right to the door where we got the camera. We then got back on the bus and returned to the airport for the flight back. I learned a valuable lesson in confessing my sins and asking for forgiveness, patience with those around me, the goodness of my fellow man, God's tremendous unending love for me even when I act unchristianlike, and my need to seek a humble and contrite heart. Only then can we see the bigger picture. Btw, the photo I selected for this blog is the one that I identified in order to claim the camera back. It's of Michael standing in front of Whitey's Ice Cream Shop at the Mall in Moline, now one of my favorite cities of all time!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dogs, Dogs, Everywhere!

The other day I decided to put in some flowers since spring has finally sprung. I noticed my next door neighbor, Ellen outside brushing her dog. Her dog named Star is a German Shepherd and is quite a nice dog. Very friendly and gentle. She also is my dog's best friend. My dog named Comet, pictured on the "Easter Musings" blog is a very intelligent (which in a dog isn't always a good thing due to constant power struggles) but gentle English Setter. Star is Comet's best friend. So after seeing Ellen out with her dog I ran in and got Comet. I was able to snap some pics of the two of them. As you can see Comet also loves Ellen. I practically have to pay for the dog kisses I get.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Daughters are Divine

Before I get started I want everyone especially my sons to know that I hold no favoritism toward Karen. In fact your day will come be assured. I was just thinking of her tonight after returning from a visit with her today at UWEC. We went to see her sing in the Symphonic Choir as they were performing Elijah the Oratorio by Mendelssohn. I remember when I gave birth to her I was so elated esp. when the little pink outfits started coming and all I could think of was how fun it was going to be to dress her up and fix her hair and teach her about make-up, etc. That didn't last long since kids grow soooo fast and she has definitely become her own person with her own ideas about life. We worried as her parents because she was so quiet and unassuming as a child and we thought life and all it's horrors would eat her up and spit her out. But she turned out to be a very focused, thoughtful person, up to any task that the world or any of us including her brothers decided to throw at her. When I thought I'd never get pregnant and have kids, God not only handed me David and Daniel but gentle, unassuming, focused, thoughtful Karen! The picture I chose is from her harp jury which is a test on the instrument being taught for that class. Since it was a test I couldn't get any closer for fear of distracting her from playing. She did a great job playing her selections and we had a marvelous time!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gas hogs are beautiful but costly

Michael and I decided to part with my mom's car that she gave us when she turned in her driving privileges which by the way was easier than I thought it would be for her. Getting rid of the Buick
hasn't been as easy. Since my dad died 2 years ago this coming July the impact he had on our lives has turned with the times. Between the gas prices and the housing market we have had to
let go of not only the house but one of the last cars that he bought my mom. It has been her pride and joy especially because he bought it for her. However, with it getting 10 miles to the gallon and the gas prices soaring above $3.45 a gallon the decision was made to part with it. We only hope that the person that buys it wants to soup it up rather than run it into the ground. Sounds silly but even though it's just a hunk of metal it holds many memories which fortunately don't go with the selling price. P.S. Anyone reading this that knows my mom - please don't tell her, she'd think he died again.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Education does pay off!

I just finished up with a very reputable agency and am now on board to move into the healthcare industry as a Certified Medical Assistant. It has taken mountains of hours, studying, and sleepless nights not to mention a 300 pt certification test that I recently passed and I have now reached the start of a new career. In a way it is bitter sweet because some of my cleaning customers will have to be let go as I obtain more hours working in a clinic and I have come to enjoy so many of them through the years. It also marks a milestone in realizing that the cleaning business served it purpose and now doesn't which shows me an upside to the empty nest syndrome which I passed through kicking and screaming and still shed a tear now and then even though Daniel and Karen still reside at home (I hardly see them but their here somewhere :). My dad always wanted me to be in business for myself and couldn't understand my passion to work with people that were sick or hurting in some way as well as working for someone else. I am totally content with that and can hardly wait to give my first immunization (sorry all you who are prone to fainting at the sight of needles). Enough said - I strive ever forward!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Fine Line is a fine line

Michael and I took a gal from his work, Kim, and went to see David's band Between Two Skies at the Fine Line Music Cafe in downtown Minneapolis. I surprised myself in the fact that for the most part I enjoyed the band immensely even though they were a bit loud for me and the lyrics were hard to understand. A lot of talent up on that stage, though. I always enjoy talent esp. when it comes to music.

I have always been kind of proud of the fact that I am a "Baby Boomer"; someone who was around at the "dawning of the age of Aquarius", the live sounds of the Trashmen, and the celebrity of Ed Sullivan and the Beetles. I had to admit for one of the first times it was a little bittersweet seeing a very different sound that I found I had to work at to truly enter into but those around me were thoroughly engaged with it. It was as if life was saying it had moved on. Oh well, I will always wonder if we should have allowed putting the basketball down earlier (inside joke). Such talent!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Road less Traveled

This past Friday and Saturday I spent an overnight at a Franciscan center that "exhibits prayerful solitude and an opportunity for God to heal, nourish and restore God's people to health in body, soul and spirit."

The picture is one of 17 hermitages at Pacem in Terris just outside St. Francis, Minnesota.They are simple, one-room cabins with a bed, rocking chair, and end table. Gas lamps provide lighting as well as water and basins for washing up and a cookstove to make tea or instant coffee.The food is a basket of bread, cheese and fruit. Since it is a silent retreat and a time of reflection and prayer one is asked not to bring cell-phones, walkmans, radios, etc. unless absolutely necessary. It is considered a silent retreat so there is no conversation while on the trails and walking paths.There are 180 acres, most of it woodland with seven acres of tall-grass prairie in the center with trails that meander through the grass and trees to explore and enjoy. They have a main lodge that has bathrooms with showers and a small library. There are offices and a chapel on the main level along with a large living space with fireplace and tables where they provide a Friday evening meal. Conversation is encouraged.
I enjoyed it for the most part except for the very, very cold outhouse seat! It is hard to separate oneself from the outside world and going to bed at 9:00 due to the darkening sky and nothing else to do but read was difficult. Michael stopped in around 8:30 to say goodnight and see how things were going for me as it was my first time.
The next day was much better mostly due to the great weather we had. They have paths everywhere to explore one that leads out to a lake. Even though frozen this time of year, it was enjoyable. I saw and heard wild turkeys, sandhill cranes, and saw numerous beaver dams and many small birds.
The highlight was after dark when I stepped out into a moonless night and saw thousands upon thousands of stars filling the night sky. It reminded me how glorious His creation is and how much He loves us knowing that He created all of this just for us to behold. Wow!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The snow at Lebanon is just as beautiful!!!!!

The snow at Lebanon was so beautiful that I decided to write on it. This pic was not easy to get as I had to stand on a picnic table already covered with snow and ice. I almost broke my neck getting down but some photos are worth the risk. I thought this one was, considering I had other plans for it besides posting it here. Enjoy.

Lebanon here we come....and go

Lebanon was great this year. There was 14 of us all related in some form or another. I decided to scrapbook all the pics of the kids that my in-laws had accumulated over the years. I was surprised to realize that I missed sewing but I managed to find things to do. Took a walk, read some of my Louis Lamore book plus my bible, and did some cross-stitch. The best part other than short-sheeting Darlene's bed was playing "Hand and Foot" with all my friends (it's a card game similar to Canasta).Then March decided to come in like a lion and go out like one. When I woke up at Camp Lebanon on Monday morning the snow was doing it's thing in a major way and my ride back couldn't chance going back to the Twin Cities (I wouldn't have let her anyway). I was pretty frantic and mad at the world for letting it snow (I guess they love Washington people more...inside joke) but I finally asked God for forgiveness for doubting His care of me and realized how beautiful it all was. Lisa worked out a ride for me with a breakfast request in the form of a wonderful woman needing to get back to the TC for an appt. she couldn't miss. God is so gracious to me!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter musings

Easter turned out very well this year in spite of its beginning. Mom wasn't feeling well so she couldn't come, David and Venessa celebrated up north with her family (easier on both of our dogs) and my brother wasn't coming whomever showed up. Oh well. Michael and I threw something together in the form of corn beef, sweet potatoes and cottage cheese. No dessert since I ruined the angel food cake (I'm not a very good cook - in fact I stink at it). Anyway after dinner we asked Daniel and Karen if they wanted to play cards so we played Hearts, drank a beverage of choice and had a marvelous time. The dog "crashed". We plan on making it a regular thing! I'm sure the dog will. All's well that ends well!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

God's Loving "not only" hands but arms!!!!!

Tonight was Easter vigil high mass at church tonight. As I sat up in the choir loft watching the new baptized members of our church receive confirmation God hit me square between the eyes. As they stood up in front of the congregation in front of the altar Fr. Bob goes to each one and as he dips his finger in oil and does the sign of the cross on their foreheads he says their name and says "I confirm you.... then he puts his hand on the side of their shoulder, looks them in the eyes and says, "peace be with you". As I watched this ceremony unfold I experienced a tremendous feeling of comfort passed on to them as if Jesus stepped in, picked them up and held them in his arms in the most gentle, loving, comforting way. The definition of the word "safe" cannot be matched or described any other way. It was almost breathtaking for me. It reminded me of when I was new in the Lord and I would watch people as they returned from receiving the body and blood of Christ. I use to feel guilty as if I should close my eyes and pray instead but what I experienced was so overwhelming that I couldn't help myself as if Jesus wanted to bless me in that way. I could almost see and feel the great presence of His love for them - sins and all. They would shine with His love for them and yet be so individual in every way as they came back to their seats with all their fears, happiness, insecurities, beliefs, lifestyles, where they lived, how they dressed, what they did for a living and yet His love for them was the same for each. You could almost see how He accepted them dirty or clean, happy or sad, joyfilled or angry. His love shown through to each of them. Maybe that is what heaven is about to a small degree. We are limited here on earth and the full extent of His great and powerful Love is revealed after we die and go to heaven. I hope so. The small amount of His glory that I get to see is "so little compared to the glory that is yet to be revealed" (paraphrase), Romans 8:18

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Life Without Varicose Veins

Life is pretty good these days. I'm past the surgery for my varicose veins - not bad at all. I had 2 days off my feet at home with pain meds and then uphill from there. Dr. Mendelhoff was great. As he left he said, "Good job". Actually I thought he did all the work but in the medical field it is a team effort; patient, dr, nurses, medical secretaries that type up all the at-home papers and appointments, anesthesiologists, etc., etc., The weather is turning upward - 40 today and spring is on the way. Karen and I went to run some errands and plan on taking a trip to the DMV tomorrow so she can reapply for her permit. She really wants to drive mainly because she is tired of asking for rides. Even though it's going to cost her money, I can see her point. It is fun to spend time with her being my only girl. She has so many interests with her schooling, friends, trips to Europe with the band (I don't think she has come down off of that cloud yet), and her wonderful, gifted piano playing. I'm soooo jealous. :) We stopped at the library and she is playing all the tunes from the music books she got there. David and Venessa won't be here for Easter which is a bummer but I predicted this would happen eventually with them being married now. They have to choose which side of the family they are going to spend time with and I know it's easier with the Sophie the dog up north. Hopefully we can connect this summer for some fishing and down time with them and the Millers.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

He who sings, prays twice!

I was at choir tonight. Even though I have always enjoyed singing, sometimes I feel like I'm not really a part of the group. I have thought about suggesting a party or get together of some sort but I always chicken out. I don't understand how someone can be a part of something without really being a part of something. We all sing together Sunday after Sunday but we really don't know each other. I always have felt that it would be a much better world if we all knew just a little more about each other. Our joys, our pains, our gifts, our life experiences, even some of our secret desires for ourselves or how we feel about Jesus. But no one wants to "go there". Last week I had asked one of the choir members if she could call the choir director for me (I didn't know the email address) to let her know that I would miss the next practice and Sunday service due to surgery for varicose veins no one said one word to me at practice tonight and it made me feel bad. I blamed myself because I really didn't tell anyone out side of the director who for reasons unknown to me doesn't seem to want to know me at all even though she converses within the group to individuals when we talk together inbetween song practices. Then I started feeling guilty because I hadn't had a prayer time this day but knew that God would understand and forgive me. Then I realized that I was getting ministered to by the music I was singing in preparation for Easter. Singing those words and taking them in with their meaning made all the diference. It was like I was praying the songs as well as singing them and God was loving me right where I was at that moment in time through all the "dirt" I was carrying through the day and the self-pity I was feeling within the practice time. Surrounded by all those people that were mere acquantinces who didn't want to know anything about me, God who knew me before I was born surrounded me with His love and peace and security and I went home feeling okay.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Time Marches On

I just got off the Wood Funeral Home website to view pictures and condolences from my Uncle Bud's obituary. He died in February of this year (2008). The pictures are of a generation that I never met. He had 3 kids - Judy and Joy (twins) and Gary. Gary and I were the same age. They have all grown up and had kids and their kids have had kids. Wonderful thing, however, it is sad to see that time has marched on and the only person I know in the pictures of all those people is my uncle's. Yeah, I recognize his kids' pics but time and distance has done a real job on breaking down the definition of family and I feel kind of bad that distance and "life" keeps me out of the picture as they stand around him with all their smiling faces and they don't even know who I am or ever will for that matter. And yet I love him as much as they do even though I know him from a different perspective or generation. The definition of "family" has a new definition. We are all related in some way and my memories of him will be entirely different from theirs. It bothers me that the distance of our understanding of another family member will never even come close to being similar and that's being generous. Somehow it feels like such a loss for me but I find comfort in the fact that they too love him and he loved and enjoyed his time on earth with them.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

And away we go

When I was a kid I use to love to look at clouds and see if I could see anything up there other than clouds like birds, UFO's, and planes. As I grew older I still enjoyed watching the 747's rise into the sky and disappear as they flew through the clouds and out of sight. Many times I would be at work or somewhere where I didn't want to be and I would wonder about where they were going and who they were. I would think "wouldn't it be fun to be flying high into the sky going somewhere that was wonderful and different and somewhere that would only take an hour or so on a plane as opposed to 5 or 6 hours by car. Those people are so lucky they can get away from the hum-drum of life and fly away to some other less stressful place". Lots of times i would wish I was them with all their money and time away from work to just "go". I share this because I just got back from 3 airplane rides in one day. I started in Greenville, Miss. at 5:30 a.m. Caught a plane to Memphis, Tenn. at 7:30 a.m. then an hour later on to Milwaukee, Wisc. at 12:30 p.m. and then hopped a plane to Minneapolis, MN. to finally arrive at 1:00 p.m. Needless to say I am ready to stay on the ground for awhile. It is interesting when something is at your disposal how easy one can no longer see it as something that you long for or think "how great that would be". It seems that the unattainable things in life are the things we crave. Possibly because we have never experienced them. Sometimes I long for that unattainable desire to be there. It tasted better than the one I have right now after spending most of my day on an airplane. Possibly because I can't imagine or dream about them as I see and hear them rising in the sky. I now know where they are going, what it's like to rise in the sky, and what it's all like.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

memphis again!!!!!

blogging from the Garden Hilton in Memphis (actually its in Mississippi). Best hotel I've ever stayed at. Very quiet, lovely pool, and wonderful room. Smells like lavender. staying until Friday then going to Greenville, Mississippi to see Aunt Lindy. Miss Daniel already. Hope he is doing okay. Sometimes I don't think he tells he how he feels about these trips away from him because he calls alot but that's okay. I wouldn't have it any other way. I love to check in too.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Heading for Detroit

Leaving for Detroit tomorrow for an overnight. Michael has work there and so I'm tagging along. He works evenings so it's just me and the remote or the laptop which I probably will pursue. Daniel asked me today if I enjoy going on these trips and I told him I do even though I get the feeling that he doesn't like me to be too far away. We are close and he likes us to be near just in case he needs something like advice or a ride somewhere which he doesn't need either of. We had such a good talk this afternoon about someone he ran into at Cariboo Coffee today. He asked me if I believe in signs from God?. We talked about some things I knew about him when he was a kid. He said he didn't remember alot of that. I told him some coping mechanisms he used when he was frustrated as a little guy and what helped him work through "stuff". Sometimes even at 20 years of age we don't really know ourselves and then our mom comes along and tells us about how we looked at life as a child and how that can carry over into adulthood whether good or bad. Learning more about ourselves from others sometimes helps us to understand why we do the things we do and how we react to other people in our lives. The coping mechanisms we used as a child can also carry us through into adulthood even though they usually become more sophisticated. I am so blessed to have a son that values and seeks out my advice on things. I wish he had that kind of a relationship with his dad being a guy. Alot of his questions are relationship based and Michael being a guy I think would help by sharing his own experience of having girl-friends and girl friends. Right now he feels more comfortable seeking my advice as a woman and a mom. Oh well, I'll keep praying for a closer walk/talk with his dad as well and enjoying the time I have with Daniel talking over a cup of coffee. Couldn't think of better company considering Michael isn't a coffee drinker. Btw, I said yes, I did.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The test from hell

Yes, I have alot of education under my belt but never have I ever taken a test so hard as the certification test for medical assisting. It was like a hard question on that stupid gameshow "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" I could narrow down every question to 2 options but couldn't decide what the best answer was. Too many subjective questions. Took me 3 hours to take it and I don't find out if I passed it for 3 months. What's with that? All this technology and they can't get my score to me any sooner than that?! Glad it's over though. The only great part was seeing some of my old classmates from the early days of sharpened pencils, boring teachers, and the VFW after school

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday nights

Well, I just watched the Packers get beat in overtime by the NY Giants. Even though they won the toss, Favre threw a "hail Mary pass" and it was intercepted by NY who brought it down to complete a fieldgoal for the win which puts the "Pack" out of Superball Sunday in Feb.. Sick. I wish I wasn't so competitive. I enjoy watching professional football, esp. when it is a good team but they really blew it tonight. Oh well, all's right with the world, at least my world. Read Philemon yesterday and wished as I read it how nice it would be to have a devoted friend like Paul; such an advocate to his fellow Christian believers!