Sunday, September 30, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dear Cordelia,


Dear Cordelia,

You turn three years old today!  How did that happen so quickly?  Yes, those three wonderful years have gone by so fast.

I want you to know how very much I delight in your sweet little personality.  You are interesting, quirky, funny, smart, kind, creative and very sweet.  It seems that every time I see you I notice you are taller and you've learned something new to share.

You think in ways well beyond your years.  Recently you asked, "Am I still young?"  When your Momma assured you that you are still young, you asked, "Why am I still young?'  You are always full of questions.  You love learning and I hope you can keep that love for a lifetime.

This week you asked me, "Grandma, do you like me AND love me?"  Well, sweet baby girl, I most certainly do like you and love you!  I hope you always know that!  Even now, as I write this, I am smiling.  That is because you make me very, very happy!

I know that you won't remember every adventure we share from this time, but I hope you can always remember the feeling of being loved by me.  I will always, always like you AND love you.  I will always, always feel lucky that I got to be your grandma!  I  treasure the relationship we have.

 Happy Birthday Cordy Girl!


This is just one of many photos sent by your Mom when I am at work. 
 Your sweet smile always cheers me!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Riding the Wave With a Smile on My Face


Ha!  Did I catch your attention with that title?  Sorry.  It is totally misleading.  My bad. This post is not about surfing, although it could be.  I do love water, I love big waves and I think surfing looks like a lot of fun!  In the back of my mind I've kind of always wanted to try surfing at least once.  I'm pretty sure I've passed my prime surfing days, though, and I think surfing on our river might be tough.  Let's just discuss another kind of wave.

I'm talking about the hand wave.  You know, a simple gesture of greeting.  Specifically, I am referring to waving at people when you are passing them in your car.  Where Mike and I met, (Turner, Montana) is one of those friendly places of this world where I am certain the wave is still alive and well.  When driving on those country roads that's just what you'd do.  Any car that passed, you'd wave.  It's nice.  It acknowledges the other vehicle has a living, breathing person in it.  In Turner it is likely that you know them but even if you don't, you wave.

We live in a bigger town now.  It is rare to see anyone wave here.  I miss it.

So, I started waving again.  I'm waiting for it to catch on here.  Really, think about it.  If more people waved, don't you suppose there would be a lot less road rage?  It just puts you in a mind frame of courtesy.  It means you realize the other vehicle holds an individual person, someone to be valued.  Sometimes I think that public forms of courtesy, in general, are in danger of becoming a thing of the past.

Up in Turner, we all came to know some people's individual style of wave.  You guys from Turner reading this know that's true!  Does anyone remember Virgil's wave as he drove the school bus?  It was classic.  So far my little attempt to bring the wave here hasn't produced much response.  Maybe it is because I need to develop a fancier wave.  Right now my wave style is kind of boring, straight and to the point.  I think I need to try a Queen-of-England type of wave or perhaps one reminiscent of an excited little kid...fast and furious.  What do you think?

I've seen a few motorists wave at each other.  They always seem to have the same wave style. It involves just one finger.  Weird.  OK... moving on.

Just so you know, I'm not waving at every car on the street.  Some places here in town have a lot of traffic and I don't want to be responsible for a pile-up or anything.  I also do not want to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.  No, but I AM trying to remember to wave when I am on the less traveled streets, places where it is just a one on one passing of my vehicle and another.

The most important part of the wave is knowing that it is difficult to do it without smiling.  That might be the whole key here... the smile. Hmmmmm... perhaps we just need to work on bringing back the public smile and head nod toward strangers.

So, what do you think?  Is it worth the effort or do you think I'm just scaring people?  Are you a waver?  A smiler?   Huh?  My spell-checker tells me that "smiler" isn't even a word.  Sad.  Well, there's our next mission, to make "smiler" a real word.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Learning Something New

This will  not be a long post.  I just got my first smart phone and. I fear. It is smarter. Than me.  I don't know why it is putting weird punctuation in as I type. I am not used to this virtual keyboard.

I don't quite know how to use the camera yet but this photo showed up so I'm going with it.  Truthfully I don't know why it showed up but I appreciate that it did.
I also don't know how I keep changing font sizes.

Isn't this fun?  Do you enjoy learning new technology?  I really rather do.  I promise, though, I will not always blog from my phone.
..oh, hey!  I just learned that my phone is autocorrecting my typing.  That. Is fun!  oops, weird stuff happening again!

OK, I give up..
For now.

Tell me something new you have been learning.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I'm a God Fan!

When I was at Walmart last week, ready to check out, I was perusing the check-out lanes.  Like everyone, I wanted to go through the quickest line.  As I looked around, though, I saw a line that was moving rather slowly.  The checker wasn't smiling and she wasn't moving quickly.  I don't know why but I thought maybe I should take that aisle.  Although I often just bumble along through my days, sometimes I fancy that I'm being directed by God or the Holy Spirit to do something in particular.  I don't really know but this felt like one of those times.  I figured it was my challenge at that moment to maybe try to cheer her up.  I thought maybe she was new or frustrated or both.

Just as I approached for my turn to check out, they had a changing of the guards.  The checker who was my target for cheering was going off and another checker was coming on.  The new checker was smiley and jovial.  Hmmmm... maybe I'd misunderstood my mission of the moment.

As the smiley checker was efficiently scanning my items I noticed she was wearing a really pretty cross necklace, similiar to this one of mine.



  I said, "I like your necklace."  She responded, "Thanks.  Are you a Steelers fan?"  Confused, I responded, "No.  I'm a God fan."  She laughed, realizing her error, just as I noticed she was wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers lanyard with her name tag attached.  She then went on to tell me she was a God fan, loved God so much, didn't know what she'd do without him, etc.

THEN, the smile left her face and she spoke of her son.  He was in some kind of trouble.  He was denying the existence of God, he'd committed a crime, and his future was a mess.  She told me he was being evaluated for mental health issues but then was likely going on to prison.  I did not ask her about his crime but I did ask her his first name.  She told me his name is Nick.  I told her I'd pray for him.  The look of astonishment on her face was amazing.  She thanked me over and over for volunteering to pray for him.  It was such a small thing, my honor, really, but it meant so much to her.

I don't know if that chance encounter between me and the checker was really directed and planned by God or the Holy Spirit.  I maybe just get these high falutin' ideas on my own.  I don't really think so, though.  I left that moment feeling better and I think she did as well.  I think two women, for those few moments, needed to connect.  I needed to feel I was making a difference and she needed to know someone cared about her son.

So, if you are the praying kind, I invite you to pray for her son, Nick, as well.  I don't know his story and can't tell you how to direct your prayers, but I am certain God will know of whom you are speaking.  He's hurting and he needs to feel God's presence in his life.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Celebrating One of God's Surprises

Yesterday at our church we celebrated 3 years in our current building.  A new building for a church is a big thing, no doubt, but we acquired this new and lovely building quite by accident.  Let me tell you about it.

Our congregation was meeting in a much-loved but way-too-small building. Our congregation supported a preschool so our space was shared.  What that meant was that every Sunday the preschool chairs, tables, toys, etc. had to be moved back in our fellowship hall so that grown-up sized tables could be set up.  This switcheroo happened after every meeting, wedding or any gathering. We had 4 small classrooms - not enough. Our junior high class met behind  a divider rolled out to give the feeling of a room just outside the bathroom doors.  It was noisy and keeping the kids' attention was difficult. Other classes had to make do as well.  I remember one creative teacher using a pop-up tent in the entryway for her little preschool class!  Again, noisy and awkward...but creative for sure!

 We were fundraising to add on to the building.  Those in charge were working hard to plan this addition as there were some big challenges.  The main challenge was space.  Our parking lot was already too small and we were rather land-locked with other nearby buildings.  Adding onto our existing building without sacrificing parking was going to be tough.

One day my pastor/husband called me at work to tell me of a very weird occurrence.  The pastor of another congregation of another denomination had asked my husband to come up to meet with him.  Mike had no idea what to expect and not for a second did he guess what was coming.  The other pastor's congregation met in a very large building just a few blocks from our's.  Their property was beautiful!  The problem was, their congregation had suffered a split and was greatly diminished in numbers.  They no longer used their big sanctuary as it was too expensive for them to heat the entire building.  They met in their fellowship hall.  Downstairs they had a wonderful place made especially for Sunday School AND preschool.   The other pastor had an idea... swap buildings.

When my husband called me, I must say, I instantly thought it was a God-thing.  Of course, it couldn't be a straight across swap.  Our congregation would need to take out a loan for the difference.  We'd then face larger heating and cooling bills ourselves.  The property was so over-the-top lovely to us.  Could it be possible?  It would be like someone offering you a mansion to live in.  How could we make it happen?

When this idea came before our congregation, there were differing opinions.  The money concern was of course the biggest obstacle.  Also, there was a lot of sentimental attachment to the old building.  For instance, people had used memorial money, honoring loved ones, toward the stained glass windows.  It hurt them to think of leaving those behind.

The new building was so much bigger than what we actually needed at that time.  Was it reasonable to consider such a big leap of faith?  If we acquired it, would our congregation grow enough to fill it up or would we just rattle around in it?

Well, we took the leap.  About 6 months after that pastor called Mike for the first meeting, we were moving in.  It was a weird move as well.  The two congregations had to move at the same time.  We'd pass each other hauling things out while they were hauling things in.  We helped each other.  The two groups made friends and worked together.  It was a lot of hard work but also kind of fun.  Even now, 3 years later, we still feel "related" to that other congregation.

Yesterday's gathering was fun.  I did not ask permission to show faces so I won't.  Trust me, though, people were smiling.  We'd invited people from the neighborhood as our guests so it was a fun mix of people we knew and some we were just meeting.  After our worship service and Sunday School we enjoyed a lovely picnic.


After all the fun I was wandering around in the building, waiting for Mike.  I took photos of two things that held special significance for that celebration.  The first is this cross.  It used to hang from the ceiling over the alter at our old building.  It was kind of the focal point of our previous worship space.  The other congregation, planning their remodel, did not plan to use it.  When we moved, the cross came with us and now one of the first things seen upon entering our new building.


Another cool thing are these photos.  They hang in our prayer room.  A member of our congregation took these photos of the stained glass windows we had to leave behind.  What a fine idea!


The best part of this whole story is of course, the people.  When the idea was first proposed, there were people who spoke against it.  Their reasons were solid, including worrying about finances.  However, when the congregation voted to go ahead with the plan, those who were once opposed became some of the hardest workers to make it come to fruition.  I thought that was absolutely beautiful to see!

There have been things to work out and issues to resolve.  Our congregation has gone through some trials along the way.  After three years, though, we are still celebrating this cool God thing that happened to us!  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Live in Freedom






“For you have been called to live in freedom,

my brothers and sisters. But don't use your

freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead,

use your freedom to serve one another in

love.”

                                         Galatians 5:13 NLT 




Saturday, September 22, 2012

Trouble With the Curve - Movie Review


Mike and I like to go to the movies but sometimes a lot of time passes before we find a movie that sounds good to us.  Yesterday, when reading the morning paper, Mike mentioned there was finally a movie he wanted to see.  I agreed with his choice so last night we went to see Trouble With the Curve.  I decided it was time for me to give another movie review!  Here goes...

Trouble With the Curve will not change your life.  Trouble With the Curve will not give you many surprises. Trouble With the Curve will not likely give you any great insight into the mysteries of the universe.  Trouble With the Curve, though, may give you a couple hours of easy-going entertainment.

Clint Eastwood plays a crusty, cranky guy that deep down is lovable.  I know... big surprise.  But know this, surprises are not always necessary for movie-going enjoyment.  Sometimes it is pleasant to be able to settle in and relax with the knowledge that all is as it should be.  For this movie the crusty, cranky guy is a baseball scout.  There's quite a bit of baseball thrown (pun intended) into this movie, making it quite easy for the manly men to enjoy the movie.  It may fool them into thinking it is a sports movie, rather than a movie about relationships.  It's not.

Amy Adams plays Clint Eastwood's emotionally messed up daughter.  It turns out that she is quite a baseball lover as well.  She knows as much baseball trivia as my husband, Mike!  There are some issues between father and daughter that will tug at your heartstrings.  Throw Justin Timberlake in to portray the man who can break through the barrier Amy's character has around her heart and you've got the recipe for a dandy good movie!  Yes, I used the word "dandy".   It's my blog and I'll say dandy if I want to.

There you have it.  I've not got any qualifications to review movies... well, none besides the fact that I sometimes go to them and I happen to have a blog.  So, I'm recommending this movie to anyone who has a few hours and wants to feel good afterward.  That alone has value, don't you think?  Go ahead and enjoy yourself.   You deserve a few hours of pleasant entertainment.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Visiting the WYOWOLFPACK...

 I don't really know what I'm doing but I'm trying to share a link to another blog.  The blog, WYOWOLFPACK, is written by my daughter's friend.  Since HER daughter and Cordelia are buddies, I often see little bits of Cordy as she enjoys her friend, Sadie.  Cordy talks about Sadie all the time so it is fun to see them in action.  I'm thinking Cordy's other grandmas may enjoy seeing this as well so here it is!

Winding Down

These last days of Summer are all the sweeter because I know they are almost over.  Our backyard will all too soon be covered in snow.  But for now, I am enjoying the crisp air and soft sun combination while listening to the spray of our sprinklers.














Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our Mouthy Blue Dinner Guest

 For days I've been taking photos like this...


 ...and this.


Once I was near the door when our visitor dropped by.  I even had my camera close.  However, when I reached for my camera I dropped my crochet hook on the floor... my metal crochet hook.  It was noisy.    Needless to say, I missed the moment.


 Day after day I'd take photos of Bode's dog dish.


 I'd wait and wait, listen for my cue, then miss the shot I waited for.


Sometimes I'd almost get it, only to have Bode disrupt the scene.


But last night our little dinner guest squawked overhead for a bit.  I've come to learn that he announces his arrival to the neighborhood.  This time, Bode was sleeping.  I quickly got my camera and then sat as still as I could on a chair in my living room.  I waited and THIS time it paid off!  Can you see our dinner guest in this photo?  Sorry, but I had to zoom in and of course lost a lot of photo quality that way.


He hopped down by the dog dish and looked around a bit.


Then he helped himself to dinner.


He flew off but I heard more squawking and sure enough, he returned for dessert!    


 He took one more piece and was gone for the evening.  I was satisfied.


Who knew that blue jays enjoyed Purina?





Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Trust and Faith

Sometimes you may feel the road ahead is bleak and you can't see where you are going.  Sometimes you just have to keep moving forward and trust that a way will open up for you.












Ok, I realize now you may be worrying about me.  Perhaps you are thinking I just can't see a way out of some emotional canyon or something.  Nope.  I'm fine.  I just had some cool canyon and tunnel photos and wanted an excuse to post them. 

It's true, though.  Most of us do go through times when we just can't see far enough ahead to feel comfortably safe.  That's where faith and trust come in, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bleak Destruction and Magnificent Beauty

I guess I should update you on our local fire.  It is now 100% contained and they are allowing most evacuees back up the mountain.  Unfortunately, 37 residences were destroyed, along with many outbuildings.  All human life was preserved but an unknown number of animals lost their lives as more than 15,000 acres burned.  I have not heard an official announcement but the word around town is that this was arson caused.

We all know that forest fires are scary and dangerous but also that they do some good... eventually.    Fires clear out debris that accumulates on the forest floor.  In time, new and more vibrant growth will erupt.  It will again be lovely.  Unfortunately, that takes a lot of time.

On Saturday Mike & I went to a wedding in Colorado.  Our friends getting married are both youth directors and have spent a lot of time at church camps.  Their wedding was held at one of those camps.  I was looking forward to a beautiful drive!


We drove many miles through the Poudre River Canyon not far from Fort Collins, Colorado.  Earlier this summer that area had also experienced a forest fire.  I remember hearing about it but I had NO IDEA of the level of destruction we were to see.  That fire burned more than 87,000 acres.  Because it is along a river flowing through a canyon, it was sort of a long, skinny fire.  The burn went on for miles and miles and miles.  The river, even now, has black sludge all along its banks.  I read that 259 homes were burned in that fire.

I admit, I did not take all that many photos of the fire area.  I had trouble seeing the beauty of it.


Finally, though, after an hour and a half drive, we got to the church camp.  There, beauty surrounded us!  


Is that not beautiful?  Can you see that little bit of last year's snow still up at the top of the mountain?  Although signs of Fall were everywhere, that day was hot.  The wedding was held at a beautiful outdoor chapel with mountains in the background.  It could not have been more lovely.  

I took this last photo on our way back down the mountain, just before we again approached the big burn area.  The photo doesn't quite give you the take-your-breath-away feeling but you get the idea.  Don't you just love the beauty of the mountains?








Monday, September 17, 2012

Entertaining Angels

New International Version (NIV) Hebrews 13:2
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

I loved the verse from yesterday that spoke of angels watching over our precious ones.  I love this one as well, but it kind of makes me nervous.  I'll tell you why...

I have some gifts in this life, as do we all.  I've long noticed, though, that I don't really have the gift of hospitality.  At least, that's what I thought.  You see, I'm not the one who just loves cooking the big holiday meals.  I'm not good at noticing when someone's glass of lemonade needs refilled.  Actually, I'm not always even hospitable enough to remember to offer then a glass of lemonade in the first place!  I think you get my point.  For some people, entertaining comes easily.  For the rest of us, it isn't our most natural gift.


But, if you also don't feel you have the gift of hospitality, not to worry.  I think we're still ok here.  I don't think this verse is talking about setting a beautiful table or even being a good cook.  I think it is talking about how we treat strangers.

(photo from www.freeimages.co.uk )

First of all, some translations use the word "messengers" instead of "angels".  That is, perhaps we aren't entertaining actual angels but rather someone who turns out to be a messenger of God.  One source I read stated that perhaps the stranger doesn't even know that they are going to end up being a messenger of God.  Hmmmm.... either way, I think the lesson is that we are to be nice.  I think I can do that!  Wait, how nice do I have to be?  Is this going to cost money?

So, who are the strangers?  I guess the lady at the post office could be considered a stranger to me.  The young girl who asks if I need help out with my groceries is a stranger to me.  I suppose it is kind of like the Biblical question, "Who is my neighbor?"  As it turns out, we are supposed to treat everyone with love and respect.  If you want to read another blog on this topic, I suggest you click here.  I don't know the author of the blog but I did like the article he wrote on this verse in particular.

I am not a theologian.  I don't pretend to be certain what this verse means.  I lean more toward believing it is literally speaking of angels, heavenly beings.  I really love the idea of angels walking among us, don't you?  


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Grandma Heaven

New Living Translation
Matthew 18:10



"Beware that you don't look down on any



 of these little ones. For I tell you that in 


heaven their angels are always in the 


presence of my heavenly Father."






Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Girl and Her Trucks

The other night I got out some of the toys Ben and Sam used to play with and offered them to Cordy to play.  Having watched little boys take those trucks and immediately make truck sounds, it was interesting to watch Cordy's way of playing.

Cordelia's trucks talk!  They say things such things as, "Hello.  How are you today?"


Cordelia's truck carried flowers in the truck bed!


I love watching this little girl grow and learn and love and change.  She's delightful!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Elise!


Elise is plumping up and changing daily.  She's becoming more and more interactive!


She's too cute! 


She gets my jokes!


She listens intently. 


She has great hair! 

And she puts up with Grandma Sue taking a LOT of photos!





























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