Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sunday Morning


Sunday morning we saw this in our neighborhood...



See it? 




I got all excited and Mike was a good sport to follow it a bit so I could get photos.




We both laughed about it as we used to see hot air balloons frequently when we lived in New Mexico. In fact, about once a year we would wake up on a Saturday morning hearing the WHOOSH sound they make as the local balloon festival often blew many over our neighborhood. I capitalized that WHOOSH sound as it can actually be a really loud noise, not a gentle sound at all.



Can you see the flame shooting up inside the balloon?  



That is, of course, how the air gets hot. Otherwise it would be a cool air balloon and it wouldn't rise. Still, who first thought it would be a good idea to shoot a flame up inside a flammable balloon as it held your life in its basket?  

We actually got to ride in a hot air balloon in New Mexico, thanks to our friend, Jim, and our friends, Bob and Marcia. Jim owns a balloon and Bob and Marcia were the chase crew. We got our turn to be a chase crew as well. That was kind of fun and a bit scary.

Did you know a balloon can't really be steered?. The pilot just makes it go up or down until finding a breeze going the way he wants to go. Sometimes there is not a breeze going exactly where planned.  Sometimes the balloon take an unexpected route. That is why a chase crew is called a chase crew. 

Sometimes there isn't much of a breeze at all. Sam and I had our ride together. Although he is 6'4" now, he could barely see over the top of the basket then. I couldn't bring myself to hold him up very far as I had wild worries of dropping him over the edge if we hit a bump.... An air bump.  That wasn't really a worry. Our friend, Jim, kept piloting us higher and higher, trying to find a good breeze. Sam and I went very, very high!  I don't remember how long our ride was, maybe 30-40 minutes. When we landed, we'd only gone about one block.  Nevertheless, it was a wonderful experience. Thank you, Jim! 

The part I did not know was that those graceful balloons do not always land so gracefully. They bounce!. The chase crew has to grab onto the basket and be human anchors. Sometimes the anchors get bounced around a bit as well.  Who knew? 

Anyway, blue skies, no clouds and a hot air balloon made for a lovely drive to church.








Monday, March 30, 2015

Communion Class


Saturday morning I taught a communion class at our church. A few years ago I wrote a little curriculum for this purpose. I wrote it to be done in four different lesions. The first three lessons are to be done at home with parents, and then we all get together for the final class.

In this class we start off learning about the Hebrew People being slaves to the Egyptians. I teach a bit about Moses and the plagues in order to teach what the Jewish Passover Celebration is all about. 

Then, we fast forward to the New Testament and talk about Palm Sunday and Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem. We move on to the Last Supper and talk about how it ties in with the Passover. I love when it seems the kids are catching on. We talk a lot about Jesus taking on our sins, forgiveness, grace...

We talk about baptism being a time when God is initiating our faith and that communion ia a time when our faith is nourished. Both are times when God has used something physical, water and bread and wine, in his plan to draw us to him.

After all that history lesson we talk about the meaning of communing with each other. Living in community is sometimes difficult but they learn we are taught to worship together and to serve Good together. We aren't to be long ranger Christians.

We take time for crafts as well. Each year I try to search for a craft that will leave the students with something to remind them of what they learn. This year I brought clay, that pick like thing that is meant to pick the meat of nuts out of the shell, and some cross do-dads. Take a look at the cool results! 








When I am done, Mike spends some time giving further instruction. He lets them see and taste the elements of communion. He tells them about different ways communion might be served in other churches. He gets right down to the nitty gritty kind of advice that can be so useful. You know, advice like sitting near the back when at a new church, giving you a chance to observe their traditions so you know what to do. It is really kind of a fun class and I always enjoy teaching it.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Little Girls and Easter Dresses


I had a very busy weekend, as usual... In a good way. I took a lot of cell phone photos!  I won't dump them all on you at once but you may want to prep yourself for a week of  photos.

So, let's start with Friday. I often work long hours during the week but am allowed to leave early on Friday if I am caught up. So, I started off by enjoying mall lunch with Mike, Eric, Maria, Cordelia and Elise.  



I don't suppose our funny little mall lunches look like anything special to anyone else, but I think we are making memories for our granddaughters... And ourselves. These little girls probably think all families meet at the mall almost weekly for lunch. Like most traditions maybe, it didn't start out as something we planned to do regularly. In the winter it was a place where we could eat and then let Cordelia run around, before Elise was even born. Somehow along the way, we realized we had ourselves a quirky little family tradition.




It is a weird little tradition, but it is our precious little weird together.

After lunch it was girl time!  It was our afternoon to shop for new Easter Dresses! No I don't think an Easter dress is an essential thing for Easter. I think Easter would come in all its glory no matter what we were to wear. However, our little granddaughters love dresses and I love any excuse to see them twirl and dance around in all their girly cuteness.

In the past, Elise was quick, very quick to choose her dress. She was very decisive and wouldn't be talked out her choice. Well, she now likes to take her time. She and Cordelia both pretty much wanted to see all their choices in most of the stores in the mall. They even enjoy trying them on, something I find a bit annoying for myself. It makes hair so full of static. Elise didn't care.



We shopped until I was about to drop. Admittedly, I do not have very good shopping stamina.



This is not the dress Elise finally chose, but it was my favorite.

I love Cordelia's expression here. This was the dress she chose but it was not available in the proper size.  As you can see, that news did not please her. No one can look as crestfallen as this little girl. Not to worry; she recovered quickly.



No, no spoilers here. Next week I expect to show photos of these sweet girls in their Easter best. You just have to wait! 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring?

It snowed today, but may be 79 degrees this week-end. That has gOt to be confusing to the birds! 



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Vision Beyond Borders - Saturday Volunteers



This picture hangs in the entry of the warehouse and offices at Vision Beyond Borders. I thought you would like it.

As I have told you before, Vision Beyond Border's main mission is to deliver Bibles to places where they are not freely available. Often, this means someone has to put their own safety and freedom at risk in order to do it.

When carrying out their mission they so often became aware of needs of the people they are meeting.  This led to them taking on many challenges as they try to help in other ways. They help with orphanages. They have safe houses and work to rescue women from the sex trade. They deliver clothes, shoes, seeds and more, depending on the needs. 

Saturday morning a group of us from our church gathered at the Vision Beyond Borders Warehouse to work once again on repackaging seeds to donate to people who are deprived of the ability to purchase their own seeds.  We are repackaging them so they take up less room for shipping or delivering via someone's suitcase. It also demonstrates they are not being taken in to sell in stores. The bottom line is, there are thousands and thousands of seed packets. We are stubborn people who want to finish this project we started, even though it turned out to be a much bigger project than we expected.



These are all people with busy lives. These are people who could surely find things they need to do for themselves on their fee Saturday. Yet, they came. Once again, they stayed longer than they meant too as well. 



These people, these friends from church, are the cream of the crop.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Does Dad Know Where We Are?





We seem to be people who acquire quirky dogs.  Maybe all dogs are quirky. Maybe that is the second best thing about a dog. The first, of course, is their extreme loyalty all wrapped up in pure joy.

I have told you a lot about Bode's ability to chew and eat pretty much anything. He started right off by eating our plastic vertical blinds.  That wasn't a good idea. He ended up with a partial bowel obstruction, which leads to all kinds of messy. A month or so after that, he did it all over again. We now have curtains.

Our last dog, Grady, was a wonderful family pet.  He had one giant flaw, though, which caused us a lot of worry. He was a gentle boy with us but he seemed to think all other dogs were a threat to his territory or his people. He was extremely protective. That is a good thing if you have a dangerous invader situation. It is a bad thing if you order a pizza. He also thought most people were a threat, at least at first. He thought WE were scary as well, if we wore hats! 

Anyway, with Bode, we really, really wanted to socialize him and keep him from being aggressive. Well, mission accomplished. Bode loves everyone!  A lot!  Sure, he will act protective with a stranger entering our home, but once he has met someone, they are soon his BFF.

Bode started out loving other dogs as well. He is crazy when our granddogs, Bumblebee and Betty come to visit. Early on, when out walking him, he wanted to greet all dogs and thought they would all be thrilled to play with him. Sadly, they sometimes had a different plan. 

We often encounter loose dogs when out walking, even though we have a leash law.  With our last dog, he would strain on the leash to get a fight started. He was fearless. Bode... Not so much. Bode may be playing it smarter, though. He simply freezes when approached by another dog. He lets them smell what they want. He does not make eye contact.  It usually works out ok for him but it is sad too see him so terrified.

Mike takes Bode for a daily walk. They have a route they enjoy and they know which yards have scary dogs.  Bode enjoy that walk.

Yesterday, I was off work early and we had a lovely day happening. I decided to treat myself and Bode to an afternoon walk. I upset him right away because I started off going the wrong way. He kept trying to explain to me that I was doing it wrong. It reminded me of a story about our daughter, Maria. 

When Maria was 2 years old we moved to the Seattle area for two years while Mike was in college out there. One day, I was driving Maria somewhere and decided to explore just a bit. When she realized we were off the route she knew, she became worried and was questioning my navigational skills. Finally, the loud little two year old voice from the car seat  behind me inquired, "Does Dad know where we are? "

Yesterday, I could tell Bode was wishing Mike was on the other end of the leash so he didn't have to be so worried.

I kept trying to walk with Bode on my left. He kept diving behind me, trying to get on my right. He was so adamant about it, I thought maybe Mike now walked him that way. I gave in to having him on my right and we continued on. He was fine for awhile. 

When we crossed the street and my right side was on the inside of the street, Bode then scrambled to my left side. It kind of felt like he wanted to protect me from the street traffic.

Wrong! 

I started to notice Bode's reaction each time we heard a dog bark. Thankfully most were behind a fence but Bode cringed and pulled away each time. It soon became apparent he wanted to keep me between him and the yards with dogs in them! Whatever, Dude!  


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sleepover Gone Awry

It has been a weird few days in these parts. I went to have a sleepover with Maria and her girls Friday night while their Daddy was out of town.


It was a beautiful evening so I took a few photos. I have been so lax lately, I feared I would be kicked out of the Grandma Club! 








At home Elise added a pretty new rock to the nature table at the end of their hall. I love that idea. They are always on the lookout for pretty things in nature.


I had a snuggly night with the girls. We watched little girl things on Netflix, enjoyed snacks and simply had a lovely time. At bedtime Cordelia wanted to go to sleep quickly so she could get up and enjoy more time together in the morning. Elise was a different story. She held my hand and chatted. And chatted. And chatted, pretty much up to the moment she dozed off. Sweet.

Maria and I enjoyed mother-daughter time the rest of the evening. It was wonderful. We just don't get enough of that anymore.

In the wee hours, though, things went awry. Elise woke up sick. I don't think she or Maria got much sleep.

In the morning Elise rallied a bit and tried to play outside with the glitter chalk but it soon became apparent she was not yet recovered.

We weren't outside long, though. The wind was bad enough we started worrying about tree limbs falling. I had read predictions of up to 60 mph winds, although I don't know if that really happened. It was really windy


I ended up staying another night. Eric want returning until today and Elise was pretty sick so I just stayed. I was glad I did as Elise needed all of her Mommy's attention as well as a little trip to the ER. (She is much better now. Maria may tell you more about that adventure in a day or so at littlethingsarebig.blogspot.com so check it out then. It isn't my story to tell.

Cordelia went to church with me this morning, even sat up front with the Worship Team. She was so sweet and cute and absolutely angelic. By our last song though, she was really scratching her tummy. As soon as we were done I took a peek at her tummy. Hives!

Yep. She was having a reaction to the antibiotic she was on for an ear infection. Good grief! Instead of going to Sunday School, she and I made a hurried trip to Walgreens for Children's Benadryl.  I dreaded telling Maria, with all she'd already dealt with.  Thankfully, Cordelia asked me to let her tell her Mommy about this herself. 

About noon today I left and came home. Their Daddy was on his way and things were looking up. The girls weren't yet well but all was under control. Still, it felt weird to leave. That is one of the crazy things about being a Grandma. I still feel very much like a mother and as a mother, would not leave my children when sick. But these are my grandchildren and they have a mother who is nearly super human in her ability to stay strong for them. It was time for this sleepover too end.

Get well soon, sweet girls.









Sunday, March 08, 2015

Today in Sunday School

Laura and I have been team teaching the High School Sunday School Class for a few years now. I think our original plan was to trade off every other Sunday but we rather enjoy teaching together so we are usually both there. We have such great discussions with the kids. They have a lot of deep thoughts and insights.

Today we were focusing on Philippians 4:6-7: Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses a'll understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.


These two verses are loaded with conversation starters! We talked about the kinds of things they were afraid of as children as well as currently. I will not betray their confidences, but they were very thoughtful with their answers. What would you list as childhood fears?  Adult fears?  

Both Laura and I had to admit we had not quite mastered that part about not worrying. We are trying, though. How about you? 

We discussed how scary things are made less frightening when we have someone with us. We talked about the fact that we really are never alone and can always call on God to envelope us in his love, cry out to Jesus for protection or to help us endure what we must.

And then there is that part about the peace of God. Peace can sometimes seem so elusive, yet we are promised a peace that surpasses our understanding. What do you think that means, exactly?  

I am especially fond of that last part. Our hearts AND our minds will be guarded?... In Christ Jesus?  I don'think I fully understand that concept, yet it makes me feel very loved, protected even.

Do you want to share any thoughts on these verses?

One thing I really enjoyed today was seeing the boys (the girls were all on a trip to Montana) encourage one another to share their fears. It was something to witness. We have had a front row seat to see these guys mature from squirrelly Jr High boys to young men of the church. I find that very encouraging for the future of the church.

Monday, March 02, 2015

I Love/Hate Snow



This is what it looked like at 5:00 pm tonight as I left work. Soon, there were flakes falling that were so big they almost qualified as snowballs. Really! It was a very wet snow and now and then I big cluster of flakes would plop down near me as I cleaned it off my vehicle. 

It was slow going on the way home. I saw people sliding around and as I entered our neighborhood the fire truck was heading out to help someone, probably someone who couldn't stop when they wanted to. I hope everyone is ok. I was glad to know "my people" were all safely tucked in at home.

I hate how ice and snow can make it so difficult (and scary) to travel, but I have to admit, It makes everything look so fresh and pretty. It is a kind of beauty many people in this world will never see. I'm going to focus on the beauty for now, because tomorrow we get to throw winds into the mix!

How is the weather where you are?

Sunday, March 01, 2015

A Word From Pastor Mike

My computer is not healthy and it sometimes takes a lot of patience for me to type out a post on it. Today it is working fine, though, so I want to share an excerpt from Mike's Ash Wednesday Sermon. Lent is a time when we examine ourselves and it serves as a time to remind ourselves that we are sinners. His sermon also reminded us that there is HOPE!


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Lutherans teach that the Word of God is divided into two parts - Law and Gospel.

  •      The Law tells us that we have sinned and our sin means a penalty must be paid. The wages of sin is      death.
  •      The Gospel tells us that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin when we died on the cross. By grace you      have been saved, through faith, and this is not your own doing. It's the gift of God.

Christians live with tension. We are saints - We are sinners. We are capable of the greatest dreams and the worst nightmares. The Christian life is a balancing act. We need both law and gospel to keep us on the tightrope.

The Law has two uses.                                    

  •    To restrain us from wrong doing such as you shall not kill.
  •    The law is a mirror to show us that we have sinned. It also shows our need for a savior.

The Gospel is all about God acting for us. God forgives repentant sinners through Christ's death on the cross. Jesus opens the way to eternal life for all who will believe.

A new word that is being used quite a bit now is compartmentalize. That is, we have different compartments, or rooms of our lives. Some of the rooms in our lives need cleaning. Some of the rooms contain bitterness or gossip. In other rooms of our lives there is unforgiveness or selfishness. In still other rooms there is pride and arrogance. Who's going to clean up that mess? Or, are we just going to shut the door and pretend it isn't there?

Thank goodness we have a good maid. His name is Jesus. he can make the rooms of our lives clean and we can have a fresh start. Daily repentance, daily turning from sin, daily confession are all ways to stay in right relationship with God.

But, then we need to believe the Gospel.

  •    Believe that God forgives your sins for Jesus' sake.
  •    Believe that you are a believer.
  •    Believe that heaven is your home.
  •    Believe that God is not mad at you. Believe that God loves you.
  •    Believe that you are God's good creation.
  •    Believe that you can begin again even though you've sinned today.
  •    Believe that you are not bound by your past, your weaknesses, your failures, your negative thoughts.
  •    Believe that God is working in your life right now. God is making a new creation. God has good     plans for your life. You are forgiven and when your life here is done, you are going to live a new life with God and your loved ones in heaven forever.

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