Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rejoicing and Weeping

     Romans 12:15: "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep."

I have a day of rejoicing ahead of me!  I will be with a friend who recently faced a life-threatening situation but is improving daily now.  We will be going to several appointments where I know I will hear doctors and therapists tell her she is a miracle in that her improvement so far is exceeding expectations.  We will smile.  We will probably have a few laughs.  We know this story could have ended very badly but we won't be focusing on the "what if's" as we will be rejoicing!  This is a good day!

Even as we rejoice, though, I will be thinking of some other friends today, friends who are grieving.  Today they endure the funeral of a family member.  They are saying good-bye to someone they love, someone young, someone who's death was unexpected.  They have suffered multiple losses and difficulties, one after another.  They are sad.  They are tired.  They are grieving.

Years ago, shortly after I'd suffered a miscarriage, a dear friend sent me a card he'd made himself.  On the front was a big, tough hand-drawn Frankenstein guy.  On his cheek were tears.  Inside the card referred to Romans 12:15's words regarding weeping with those who weep.  I was weeping and he was letting me know that he was weeping as well.  Obviously he'd never had a miscarriage.  He'd never known what it was like to have your body work against your desire to protect the life within you.  Nevertheless, he was feeling my pain.  That card meant so much to me.  It comforted me just to know that my friend shared my sadness.

I think Romans 12:15 is the ultimate verse about empathy, about how we are to share this human existence.  We are not islands.  We truly are commanded to be there for each other, through the wonderful as well as the horrible.  God knew that we could find strength in each other.  He knew that we needed friends.  He knew we were not meant to feel alone in our happiness or in our pain. 

So today I rejoice
and today I weep.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Breath of God

Breathe on Me, Breath of God

Breathe on me, breath of God;
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love all that you love
And do what you would do.

text: Edwin Hatch, 1835-1889                                            tune:  Aaron Williams, 1731-1776

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A New Favorite

Have any of you found that as you age, your tastes change?  Is it really due to loss of taste buds?

For years I thought brussel sprouts were horrid.  I kept trying them because they looked like cute little cabbages and I enjoyed cabbage.  Each time, though, I couldn't get them out of my mouth fast enough!  Yuck!

Then, one night Mike and I were invited to dinner at the home of an elderly English gentleman.  I was a vegetarian at the time but usually had plenty to eat anyway when someone had us over.  As it turned out that night, though, my choices were pretty slim.  He served several things but most with an element of meat mixed in.  Looking at the table as he placed the food down, I figured I'd eat bread and LOTS of vegetables.  As it turned out when he brought the vegetable dish, you guessed it, he brought brussel sprouts. 

Well, I did not want to hurt his feelings so I forced a bite into my mouth.  I was planning on cutting up those on my plate, spreading the bits around, eating as few bites as possible.  I was all set for my over active gag reflex to kick in.  Instead, I found I was enjoying the taste in my  mouth!  What a shock!  I ended up confiding in him that I thought I didn't like brussel sprouts but that I loved his.  I really did!  I ate many of them!  He told me that the trick was to cut a cross pattern on the bottom of them and to only cook them for a few minutes.  He claimed that over cooking them caused that bitter taste.  I don't know but I've cooked them quite a bit myself, following his advice, and I still love them.  Who knew?

I also used to detest cooked carrots.  For years I avoided them as best I could.  When I was dating Mike, though, his Mom served cooked carrots frequently.  I first ate them in an attempt to be polite and I admit I did not enjoy it.  Eventually I did not hate them and then, somewhere along the way, they become something I enjoyed.  Go figure!

I have decided that I LOVE peanut butter.  I've never hated peanut butter but it was not high on my list of favorite treats.  Things change.  Today I purchased  a bag of Peanut Butter Snickers and couldn't hardly stop eating them.  I suppose I'd better not buy a bag of those again.

My really yummy new favorite thing, though, is peanut butter and strawberry whole wheat toast.  Have you tried that?!

It's simple, nutritious and very easy.  It is so yummy, though, that I feel kind of guilty eating it.  I especially like it for breakfast but it does make me feel like I'm being naughty, like I am eating dessert for breakfast.  Oh well, I can live with the guilt.

Anyone else notice these kind of changes?

On another subject...

For all who are wondering, Bode is doing much better.  He managed to sleep until 5:30 a.m. - Yay!  He's suddenly quite WILD!  The movie, Marley, has been crossing my mind more and more as Bode tries to eat the couch, newspaper, my feet, the end table, you get the picture!  Luckily,  he still has only baby teeth and he doesn't get much traction with them.  It is nice to see him bounding around, all legs, exploring his new world.  He even got courageous enough to do the stairs.  OK, he only got the courage when I drug him down, but he'll do it on his own now.

And as long as I am wrapping up loose ends, remember the guessing game picture?

Anyway, I realized that I hadn't announced the answer.  The picture was baby porcupines.  Everyone first guessed baby hedgehogs, which seemed reasonable. 

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Puppy Diarrhea

It is 1:30 am and I am up, as I was last night at this time.

Bode is sick.
Last night we thought it was just because he'd gotten into Bumblebee's food when playing at her house.  Now, I think he is just sick.  Luckily, he has his first appointment with the veterinarian tomorrow.

I've just scrubbed out his little den (kennel) where he sleeps,
cleaned a little puddle of diarrhea off the carpet,
hosed diarrhea off the deck,
walked Bode around and around in the yard,
threw out the new dog bed purchased this week as I don't think I can ever get the smell of puppy diarrhea off of it,
and bathed Bode.

Then, I gave Bode some Imodium,
moved his newly scrubbed den to the livingroom,
put Bode back to bed in his clean den,
scrubbed my hands and arms,
changed my jammies,
and made a bed for myself on the couch
near his kennel.

Wish us luck.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Weather Channel Addiction

My husband asked me today if I had a Weather Channel addiction?  I do.  Does anyone else have this problem?  With all the recent bad storms, I find myself glued to the Weather Channel, as if my knowing or not knowing what's going on elsewhere makes any difference. 

I check our weather only occasionally as we don't often have really scary weather.  We have plenty of cold and wind, annoying weather but not usually frightening.  However, I know and love people in other parts of the country.

Of course I have to check on weather in North Carolina as one of my "chicks" lives there now.  If I hear of bad weather there I try to make sure Ben and Sara are aware of it.  I'm pretty sure Sara keeps up with weather warnings, and I am grateful for that, but I doubt that Ben does, certainly not with the level of obsession that I manage on their behalf!

We've got friends and relatives in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.  They seem like pretty innocent states but they are quite capable of nasty weather!  We experienced plenty of that ourselves when we lived in Minnesota, even saw a tornado or two.  So, I continue to monitor the Weather Channel on their behalf.

Montana isn't so tornado prone but lately they've had a lot of flooding.  The Weather Channel hasn't been making much note of that but I thank Facebook friends for making sure I have access to the data necessary to feed my worries.

We have friends in Missouri.  They've been affected by tornadoes in the past so I monitor the news, hoping not to hear the name of their town.  So far this year I have not.

And now, I have someone that I care about in Oklahoma City.  Emily, who just spent this last week-end here with Maria and Eric, almost immediately felt like family.  I should have considered her location of origin before I got to know her!  She left here and went directly into the danger zone and I expanded my worry duties.  It is exhausting.  I really need to save my affections for people who live in states that are boring by Weather Channel standards.  Too late in this case. 

I admit that part of the problem is that weather is just so interesting to me!  Oh boy, now I really AM sounding old.  It's true, though.  I've watched the clip over and over of an entire power pole floating through the air, rising up and over the storm chaser who provided the film.   That is scary and I wonder about the sanity of the storm chaser, but it is also fascinating.  There is such power there! 

But then, when I see news of the aftermath, the lives disrupted, the property damaged, and it is too much... too much pain, too much horror, too much sadness.  I have a pretty good imagination but I don't think I can adequately imagine what it would be like to have my home destroyed and then have to pick through the rubble for missing family members.  What it must be like to look around my town and find 75% of it destroyed.  It's too much!

So, I admit to my miserable fascination with storms.  I can't hardly tear myself away from the television when things fire up.  I follow all that with feeling shame for my fascination with these storms, disappointed in myself when I worry, wondering if that is just a sign of weak faith. 

Is anyone else dealing with these kinds of obsessions and worries?  It's not just me, is it?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Household Help

I'd read that Vizslas were smart.

See, he's already helping with the dishes.

It Was Only a Matter of Time

"It's only a matter of time."  That's what my friend, Kerry, recently had to say about us getting a dog again.  We really do enjoy dogs, but after Grady died last summer, Mike and I  decided maybe we shouldn't get another dog.  We wanted to be relieved of the worry, be able to travel more easily, blah, blah, blah.  We didn't even make it a year. 

Meet our new family member...

He is a Hungarian Vizsla (pronounced Veeshla) and I think his name is going to be Bode (pronounced Bodie).  His name is not engraved in anything yet but that is what we've been calling him today.

Here are some pictures from Bode's first day with us...

Bode looking over his new yard.

Bode loving up on Cordelia.

Sam, just waking (he had attended an all-night chaperoned graduation party), finds there is another red-head at our house.  Bode snuggled right up with Sam and fell asleep.

Bode exploring the yard with Bumblebee, who was visiting.  Bumblebee was quite gracious but we gave her lots of love to be sure she knew she was still the princess.

So far what I know about Bode is that he is very sweet, he LOVES Bumblebee, He thinks applying a leash to his collar means he should dig in his heels and try his best to stay planted, he likes to chew, he sits on command, he is 17 weeks old, he likes to snuggle, his eyes and nose are the same copper color as his fur, he is afraid of stairs, he has amazingly silky soft fur, and he seems to be bonding with us just fine. 

I expect there will be days when we wonder what possessed us, but today I feel pretty content.  He's added a happy bouncy feeling to our household already.

Welcome, sweet pup!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Live Simply

When we moved to Minnesota for Mike to attend seminary, one of the first things I had to do was look for a job.  So, as Mike and I walked around exploring the campus, I was also looking for a place to work.  At that time I wasn't yet a nurse and typing was my most marketable skill.  I inquired at several offices on campus and then before we headed back to our apartment, we stopped in to the explore the bookstore.  We had our 4 yr old daughter and our newborn son with us at the time.

The campus bookstore was in the basement of a wonderful old building.  Although the building was really pretty, the basement was not.  It was crowded and seemed a bit like a dungeon full of books.  The shelves were close together because this store had a LOT of books.  Besides providing books directly to students, the seminary bookstore had a large mail order business.  The workers, typing orders and wrapping packages, were crowded into a messy space that to me seemed even more dismal.

I spoke with the manager of the bookstore and indeed, they were looking for someone who could type.  If I remember correctly, he pretty much offered me a job on the spot.  I said I would think about it and get back to him.  His name was Jennings and I am ashamed to say that I did not immediately see his charm.  He spoke in sort of an abrupt manner with kind of a gravely voice and I felt a little afraid of him.  As we climbed the stairs out of the basement I remember exactly what I said to Mike, "Please don't make me work there."  (For the record, that was just a way of expressing my opinion at the time.  Mike has never forced me into labor.)

What I don't remember is what happened after that but I did indeed end up working there.  My first day on the job was actually an evening.  I started about the time the rest of the workers were leaving.  I was shown a typewriter on a desk with stacks of books packed all around a little u-shaped area.  Jennings, who was handicapped, sat at his desk which was kind of situated right by that little u-shaped area.  As all the other employees started leaving, I felt a little uncomfortable sitting and typing quite so close to Jennings.  Remember, we are in a kind of scary basement and I didn't yet know this man.  Also, Jennings ate garlic everyday.

My panic level rose when, once it was just the two of us there, Jennings started to take off his shirt.  My thoughts were something like this, "I bet he's not even really handicapped!"  "I'm trapped!"  "Help!"  I was really terrified!  Thankfully, before I screamed and made a fool of myself, Jennings reached into a bag or a drawer or something and pulled out another shirt.  After he put that on he gathered his things and left.  It turns out, Jennings often put on a fresh shirt before heading home to his wife. 

Well, I ended up working in that bookstore the whole time Mike was in seminary, and I cried when I had to leave.  Obviously I am not too skilled at judging first impressions because I came to love Jennings and learned a lot of interesting things from him.  One lesson that really stuck with me was to waste nothing.

Previously, I'd been an executive secretary in a pretty building with pretty desks and pretty stationery and windows that looked out onto a pretty view.  At the bookstore, we saved junk mail and envelopes.  When we wrote to a customer, we blacked out the pre-printed addresses on the envelopes and wrote the new address to the side.  We took junk mail letters, crossed out the pre-printed words and wrote our letters on the back.  We weren't looking to impress anyone, we were just getting our message sent without wasting resources.

I came to learn that the bookstore staff was kind of like a family.  Besides Jennings, I got to know Terry, the assistant manager.  He has become one of my best lifelong friends.  The other employees were mostly all students or their spouses.  Jennings and Terry managed the most difficult of schedules to accomodate everyone's classes.  That is, in fact, how I started working there during the evenings.  They were trying to help so that I'd work when Mike could be home with our kids.  During my years there I came to realize they bent over backwards for their employees.  These were truly good people.

Jennings was quite a character and one of the most interesting people I've ever known.  I came to see Jennings as a man of God, a family man, a businessman, and a good friend.  I witnessed the grace with which he handled devastating experiences.  I also was the recipient of his kindness when our family went through some trials. 

When I was at his home once, I saw a poster that has stuck with me now for over 20 years.  It was...

I don't remember the style of the poster, or even the picture, but the words come back to me frequently.  Sometimes at inconvenient times, like when I want to buy things for myself that I don't really need.

Jennings really lived those words.

After we left Minnesota, Jennings continued to keep in touch, sending gifts to our children and letters to me, until his death.  He actually had atrocious handwriting but I learned to read it quite well.  I believed this helped me later in life to read doctors' notes. 

When I heard of Jennings death I knew the world had lost one of the great ones.

Like I said, that poster is something I think about quite a bit, actually.  Yes, it is catchy, but it can take on new meanings, depending on what situation you are facing.  Those words seem somewhat incongruent in this world where we are encouraged to look out for ourselves and to build careers and reach the top.

Do those words catch your attention at all?  Please tell me how you interpret them and how they might impact your choices.  I'm not always good at making choices to "live simply" but I like the sound of it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Graduation Message to Sam


Our baby, Sam, is graduating high school today! 

I'm a little bit stunned, actually.  We have had a child in the public school system for the last 25 years!  This is going to feel kind of strange.

It was not so long ago that I walked 5 yr old Sam to school for the first time.  He didn't cry, but I did.  I think  it was a scary day for him, but he handled it like a man.  He was such a cute little guy!

He's grown up now... WAY up!  He's somewhere around 6'3" now!

Sam's entering that phase of life when he will have to make a lot of decisions.  Paths are chosen that will likely affect the rest of his life.  There are many unknowns.  That might be a bit terrifying but also very exciting.

I read this prayer in a church bulletin sometime in the past.  It has given me strength when I faced new challenges, and  I want to give it to Sam now, in the hope that it will do the same for him.

O God,
you have called your servants
to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown. 
Give us faith to go out with good courage,
not knowing where we go, 
but only that your hand is leading us
 and your love supporting us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Congratulations, Sammer!  I love you and I am proud of you!  I can't wait to see the paths you choose and the adventures you have along the way.

And as always, Remember WHO's you are!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hall Golf

Cordelia came to visit us last night, along with her "big sister", Bumblebee.  We played with toys, watched Wonder Pets, ate crackers (or more accurately, fed crackers to Bumblebee), and snuggled.  At some point along the way, Grandpa Mike and Cordelia started up an exciting game of Hall Golf.

"What is Hall Golf?", you ask.  Well, I'm not sure of the rules, exactly, but I took some pictures as they played.

First, you've got to have a golf ball.  We're not talking about a plastic doesn't-hurt-when-your-grandaughter-bops-you-in-the-head golf ball.  We're talking about a REAL golf ball!

Then, of course, you have to use golf clubs.  Thankfully, Grandpa opted for the plastic kind in this case. 

Grandpa showed Cordelia how to carry her own clubs.  She wasn't sure that was such a good idea...

Since by this time Bumblebee decided to join the game, she was drafted to be the caddie.  I don't think Bum thought that was a good idea either, but it pleased Cordelia.

It's ok because Cordy gave Bum 
 hugs to show her appreciation.

After that I had a little trouble figuring out how this game was played but it seemed to involve running...

...and tickling....

...and walking on all fours.

Then came the phase of the game where I guess you had to pound on doors and walls with the ball and/or the clubs.  I didn't quite get the purpose of that but it was obviously very important to get the full fun experience of Hall Golf.

Sometimes you are supposed to just toss the ball....look-out Grandma Sue!

Afterward, you have to let your caddie rest.

While the golfers discuss what a great game they had.

Hall Golf... Do you think it will become an Olympic Sport?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Forest Bakery

Remember when I won the contest to name a new scent for Yellow Rose Gifts, Co.?  Well, my prize candle has arrived and I LOVE it!  I have met many yummy smelling candles in my life and this one can hold its own to any other.  I really enjoy the scent!

I was delighted with the picture Melanie chose for the label!  I'm not much of a photographer but I think you can at least tell that it is a pretty little cottage in a forest.  It's perfect for the scent name, Forest Bakery.  I'm still kind of proud of the name; can you tell?

I am remembering to burn it to the edges, as per the instructions on their website.  One thing I learned was that this keeps the candle from forming that "canyon" down the center that doesn't allow the outer edges to melt.  I expect this will make my candle last longer.

Yellow Rose Gifts, Co. is a home-based business.  I like that, don't you?  Melanie is the business owner and she also has a blog.  That's how I found her.  You might want to check it out as she has other contests as well.  You  might also get to name a fragrance!  http://yellowrosegiftscompanyblog.blogspot.com/

So, if you are in need of candles, sachets, or any of the many other products Melanie carries, check it out... 

And Melanie, thanks again for the candle!  It made my day!

(Sorry if this sounds like an ad.  I was not asked to give this plug for Yellow Rose Gifts, Co. and I was not paid to say these things.  I just really like the smell of this candle.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

SNOW?! Really?

Maria and I and Cordy went shopping yesterday for plants.  It's Spring!  It's time to dig in the ground! 

Well, here are some of the plants I purchased this week.

Do you notice that they are still on my kitchen table?

I think these pictures, taken just moment ago, will demonstrate why I decided today was not going to be a good day to plant my flowers outside.

Yes, it just started to snow...

I was going to whine but then I realized it could be a tornado or a flood.  I'll be ok with this late Spring snow I guess.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

He Gave Me the World!

Do any of you subscribe to Godvine?  It's kind of a fun little thing to check on now and then.  This morning I was sent this link http://www.godvine.com/One-of-the-Most-Creative-Marriage-Proposals-Ever-435.html and so I clicked and took a look.  Go ahead, watch this unique proposal yourself. 

We've all seen these kinds of proposals, like the plane flying overhead with the Marry Me? banner trailing behind.  Or what about the ones that show up on the screen at a baseball game?  These are all pretty cool but it sure puts a lot of pressure on a guy to come up with something unique and BIG, doesn't it?

As I watched it I started thinking about Mike's proposal, more than 33 years ago.  It wasn't a surprise, but it was well planned and beautiful.  I'd like to tell you about a couple of aspects of his proposal that were particularly unique and special.

First, Mike said that he wanted to give me the world.  Isn't that sweet?  He followed up with that by actually giving me a globe!  It was both tender and funny, a great combination!  We had that globe in our home for many years but it was broken one day.  It turns out that kids shouldn't use globes as step-ladders.  That was kind of sad but not to worry!  On our 25th anniversary Mike gave me this...

Mike made the official proposal and gave me the engagement ring, which we'd actually chosen together a few months prior.  Although it, too, has been broken once or twice, I didn't lose the diamond and it was repaired "good as new".  I still enjoy looking at my rings and I've made it clear to Mike that I don't want him to give me an upgrade.  I want this set for life, just as I want him for life!

Probably the most unique part of that evening was when he prepared the toast.  I don't really remember the words of the toast, but I remember our glasses.  I think that Mike poured himself a glass of wine but I don't really like to drink alcohol.  I would have done so on that occasion but Mike had a better plan.  Into my wine glass he'd poured my favorite drink for me.... buttermilk! 

He'd been paying attention to what I liked and he'd uniquely woven that into our special evening.  Now that's romantic!

We called our families and told them the news.  When I went back to the dorm that night I was surprised at myself because I didn't want to tell anyone.  I'd envisioned squealing out the news but when it came right down to it, I didn't.  I'm not sure why, but it felt so delicious to keep this wonderful secret tucked in my heart for awhile.  I was wearing the ring but tried not to flash it.  I think it was a couple of days before my friend, Laura, spotted it on my finger.  She was and still is a precious friend to me and I was glad it was her that discovered my secret.

The engagement is just a small part of the life we've built together.  On that night we had no idea of what was ahead for us.  We thought we did but life has taken so many unexpected turns since then.  The important thing is that we've taken those turns together.  I'm really glad that I said, "Yes" that night!

Do any of you have engagement stories you'd like to tell?  Leave a comment, I don't care how long it is.  It's fun to hear the stories of the beginnings of a life together, a life shared. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Shielded with Favor

Mike and I are reading a Psalm a Day right now.  One of the things I love about the Psalms is that no matter what your emotion, you will likely find it expressed there.  It can really be a helpful guide for praying when you just can't find the words.

I am praying for some friends who are facing very serious health challenges.  It is such a helpless feeling to see someone you care about hurting.  I literally woke up one day praying, but my words seemed too pitiful to appropriately cover the situation.  I know that God's work is not dependent on my words, but still, I searched to express my thoughts.  Today I went back to Psalm 5:11-12.

"But let all who take refuge in you
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
so that those who love your
name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous,
O Lord;
you cover them with favor as
with a shield." NRSV

I am sure there have been times I've read over those verses and just thought they sounded nice.  Today, they really speak to me.  I love picturing God spreading protection over my friends, shielding them with his favor. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dorothea and John Denver

Last week Mike and I were in Colorado Springs.  As I mentioned earlier, he was attending a church conference and I was pretty much just coming along for the ride.  I wasn't a part of the meetings so I spent some time waiting around in the lobby.  I realize some may think that was miserable for me but those would be people who don't know two things about me... 1) I love to people-watch.  2) I love to crochet and I can do that just about anywhere. So, watching people AND crocheting at the same time makes for a lovely event as far as I am concerned.  A hotel lobby isn't quite as good as an airport, but it is pretty close to being as much fun for me.

It was our last evening there, and I was again in the lobby crocheting, when I met a lady named Dorothea.  She was a bit older than me and was not with the church group.  She came out of the hotel bar with her wine and sat near me.  We started visiting and I learned some things about her.  She was on some sort of wildlife board and they would be meeting at the hotel the next day.  She'd driven down from the mountains early and was just spending the evening relaxing.  I liked her right away.

Dorothea mentioned a display she'd seen, associated with our conference, that said something about feeding the children.  She made a comment, "It's like John Denver used to say, it's not that there isn't enough food but it isn't distributed fairly."  Well, that caught my attention.  You see, I am, by association, a John Denver fan.

Before I even dated Mike I knew he loved John Denver music. 

The guys in our class in high school teased him about it as many of them were more fond of the rock bands of the 70's.  Mike, however, is very musical himself and John Denver had been a big inspiration to him as a teen.  I think Mike can sing and play any John Denver song, and he does it quite well. 

Mike writes songs himself, a lot of songs, and some are kind of in the same category of style I guess.  Actually, Mike's appeal to me even more, but it is possible that I may be prejudiced.  Even so, I think most people would agree they are very, very good.

Do you remember Annie's Song?  Isn't it one of the most beautiful love songs of all time?  Well, my middle name is Ann and on our second date Mike played a diddly he'd thrown together called, Sue Annie's Song.  Neither of us really remember that song now but I do remember the idea of it and it was sweetly silly.  I was charmed!  That was the first of many songs Mike wrote for me.  I will tell you more about Mike's music another day.

Mike and I were able to attend 4 different John Denver Concert's over the years.  It was a lot of fun and he really was a great entertainer.  By the 4th one I kind of hoped he'd notice us and invite us into his hotel or bus or whatever to visit with us.  It is my belief that John needed some help with his theology and I think Mike could've helped him a bit.  After that, they could've got out their guitars and sung together.  Now THAT would've been a great blog!

One Christmas I was pretty proud of myself when I found an autographed John Denver photo on E-Bay.  Of course, I couldn't tell you if that was actually his autograph, but Mike accepted the gift graciously.

Anyway, back to Dorothea...  She wasn't just quoting John Denver from some PBS talk, she'd known him personally as she'd lived in Aspen for 25 years.  She spoke of what a great human he was.  She was on the school board and sometimes he'd come to speak to the kids, elementary as well as high school, about world hunger.  She told me he made her promise to keep a scheduled talk a secret.  He just wanted to speak with the children without parents (and publicity) showing up.  She really thought  a lot of him.  It was nice to hear that side of his story. 

I was so happy when Mike came out into the lobby so he could also meet Dorothea.  I didn't want to make too big of a deal about it because I didn't want her to think we were weirdos, even though maybe we are.  I even dreamed once that I invited John Denver and Annie over for supper, so I guess that officially qualifies me as a weirdo.  We are aware John Denver had some things in his past we didn't really want to know, but for that night, we only got to hear good things about him.  It was lovely.  I am glad to have met Dorothea.

Are there celebrities, dead or alive, that you wish you could meet?  What would you want to talk about?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Water...such a gift from God!

Water.... we all need it! 

Have you ever been really, really thirsty?  You know, like having to avoid water for awhile before surgery or on a hike that went longer than you thought and you didn't bring water?  When you are really thirsty, water becomes something you can't stop thinking about!

And what's more beautiful than water?  It is photogenic, whether it be one drop or an ocean!

I took this picture at the resort this past week.  It is just a little manmade waterfall, silly really, but isn't it pretty?  I sat and watched it long enough that I then started wondering if anyone around thought I was a little weird.

I love water.

And when you need cleaned, you need water more than soap.  Just a simple shower can wash away sweat, bacteria and lots of other stuff I don't want to think about because this is supposed to be a "pretty" post.

We are being warned that the river near our house is going to be dangerously high soon.  There are many parts of our country that have seen devastating flooding this year.  Water can also be very, very powerful!

All this and more helps me understand why God chose water as the earthly element for baptism.  It represents cleansing, power, and is essential for life.  I thank God for water!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Procrastination Pays... Sometimes.

This past week I tagged along to Colorado Springs with Mike.  He had a conference to attend and my work right now is portable, so I went along.  Here are some pictures from our ride down there...

I couldn't believe we were in snow in May, well, yes I can, but that didn't mean I thought it was right.  Luckily, after that first day, it was beautiful!

We took too long even deciding if we were going to attend and by the time the decision was made, all rooms at the conference hotel were taken.  So, I went on Priceline and tried to see where we could stay.  I'm not going to tell you how much time I spent on that project because you'd find out I have some kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder when it comes to finding hotel rooms.  I'm CRAZY but I enjoy it so who cares?

Anyway, I love staying in hotels, but I usually expect too much for what I want to pay.  This time, however, my expectations were not only exceeded but surpassed!  I decided to do the "Name Your Own Price" thing and hit the jackpot!  For $62 per night we got to stay at Cheyenne Mountain Resort.  It was only 6 minutes from the conference hotel, but so spectacular!  The first day I just sat out on an upper deck, looking out over a pool, golf course, little lake, and best of all, Cheyenne Mountain, all while crocheting my little heart away.  It was so peaceful and calm!

Our room was also quite lovely.  I was  impressed most with the personal reading lights built in to the headboards.  It doesn't take much to please me I suppose.  Really, though, that's pretty cool, don't you think?

And this is our own little deck where I ate my lunch....

And random photos from around the resort...

Even as I luxuriated, though, I thought of friends who are suffering.  It is such a strange thing, to feel so much happiness and distress at the same time.  I am acutely aware that all that is beautiful in my life can disappear in a blink.  I am trying to learn to live in a way that I will notice the good and the beautiful more, even when I am not staying at a posh resort.  I am so grateful for all that has been given to me.

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