Thursday, June 28, 2007

Our Fourth Annual Sister's Retreat

I have been looking forward to this weekend
for months!
This is my sister, Ruthanne!
I know we don't LOOK like sisters
but if you hung around with us for a little while
you would KNOW we are!

We had scheduled our weekend vacation
months ago and didn't realize
that my brother David and his wife Carol
were coming to town from Florida the very same weekend!

It had been a really LONG time since I had seen my baby brother,
so I just invited everyone to our house
for dinner Sunday after church ...

This is my brother, David!
I love to listen to him talk ...

And this is my beautiful sister-in-law, Carol!
(I stopped being Carol Holtzhouse in 1975
and she became Carol Holtzhouse in 1979!)

She is just as nice as she looks!

David and Carol arrived in Grand Rapids
Saturday night and stayed with Nana & Roy.
We all enjoyed some chicken enchiladas for lunch ...
We had our pictures taken outside -- it was
too hot inside the house ...
My brother is an excellent musician and pianist.
Nana wanted Roy to hear David play the piano --
so we talked him into playing a few songs for us.
Our piano is terribly out of tune and
David said it had been a long time since he had played
so he didn't really want to do this ...
but he sat down and even took requests!
We were amazed at his memory
and complete recall of tunes he played long ago ...
his fingers are programmed!
David still plays beautifully, and we were blessed to hear him.
Ruthanne and I pronounced him "the talented one
of the family" and enjoyed listening ...

"My sister taught me everything I needed to know,
and she was only in the sixth grade."
Linda Sullivan

After good fellowship with everyone,
it was time for Ruthanne and I to get on the road ...

So we loaded up the jeep
and headed north to MANISTEE!
We made good travel time and soon
checked into the MICROTEL
and were ready to see the sights ...
The beach at Manistee, and in the distance
I absolutely LOVE lighthouses, and I was on a mission!
This was a sight for sore eyes!
What a view! What amazing beauty!

"Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth!
Sing about the glory due his name!
Tell the world how glorious he is.
Say to God, 'How awesome are your deeds!'"
PSALM 66:1-3
This is the south pier light

We enjoyed a good walk on the beach
and on the south pier ... and then we were hungry!

This is one of the many bridges crossing the Manistee River
The Tuscan Grille
We ate dinner at the Tuscan Grille
It had very nice atmosphere and good food
Ruthanne had barbeque chicken pizza
and I had a perch sandwich w/fries -- YUM!
I really wanted to get some good pictures
of the sunset and the lighthouse ...
I think I need a telephoto lens ...

It was a completely calm and quiet evening ...
Ruthanne, relaxing and taking pictures ...

"A sister shares childhood memories
and grown-up dreams." Unknown

Monday morning we woke up and went shopping
in beautiful downtown MANISTEE.
We looked around downtown for a few hours,
and then it was time for lunch!
Where should we eat?
We decided to drive north about 10 miles
to the before-unheard-of-town by the name of
We had seen in a brochure a place called
the Portage Point Inn that boasted a restaurant
overlooking Portage Lake -- perfect!
It took a little while for us to FIND
Portage Point Inn -- you know --
a few wrong turns --
but on the way, we saw a BEAUTIFUL DOE
standing by the side of the road!
We arrived at the Inn only to be told
they "did not serve lunch" --
they suggested we try few places back in town ...
we turned the jeep around (a few times)
and headed back to the thriving, teaming town of ONEKAMA!
We found a GEM of a place!
The Glenwood Inn

This was a wonderful little place!
With a view of Portage Lake!Ruthanne and I decided to eat outside on the
screened-in deck
Portage Lake
(which dumps into Lake Michigan)
"Sisters are different flowers from the same garden."
We had a beautiful and delicious Mediterranean chicken salad
with a very unusual cherry mustard vinaigrette dressing -- MMM!
Then we headed back to MANISTEE
for an afternoon at the beach!
This beach stretches for what seems like miles!
Most of it is the softest sand!
As we walked south, the shoreline became rocky ...

We also ran across some dunes
that reminded me so much of
QUMRAN! I think I could actually fool someone into believing
that this picture was taken in Israel!
THIS is Qumran!
But back to our walk on the beach ...
I could have stayed right here for hours,
days, weeks -- and never tired of it ...
We spent the afternoon on the beach and then
went back to
The Glenwood Inn for dinner!From the outside, The Glenwood Inn
just looks like an older home ...
We ordered the deep fried perch dinner
and enjoyed every delicious bite!
The service was excellent, the atmosphere serene,
the view so wonderful --
"You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,
O God our Savior.
You are the hope of everyone on earth,
even those who sail on distant seas ..."
PSALM 65:5

We returned to the lighthouse
to watch another sunset.
This time, we walked on the north pier
and took our pictures from there.
at the mouth of the Manistee River
The lighthouse was built in the early 1870's
but was destroyed by fire only a year later.
It was rebuilt in 1873.
However, it was completely built again in 1927.
This structure is 39' and is a white, cylindrical cast iron tower
with an elevated steel catwalk
We set up our chairs
and settled down to wait for the sun to go down.
"You can kid the world, but not your sister."
Charlotte Gray
I was waiting for the "perfect" shot
I think I need a telephoto lens ... (!!!)
Well -- not PERFECT -- but pretty nice!
"You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves
and silenced the shouting of the nations.
Those who live at the ends of the earth
stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets,
you inspire shouts of joy."
PSALM 65:7-8
Tuesday morning we checked out of our motel
and decided to travel to Ludington ...
I have lived 36 years in W. Michigan
and have never been there!
There is a lighthouse in Ludington -- Let's go!
The beach at Ludington with the lighthouse
way far away on the horizon ...
I really DO need a better lens!
I think perhaps a different camera!
It was really HOT Tuesday morning
HOT and breezy and HUMID!
A combination that guaranteed
a very bad hair day ...
what does hair matter when there is
beauty to behold? Right? :) North Pierhead Light

A light was first lit on the south side
of this harbor in 1871, but in 1924
this 3-story structure was built
It is a 57' pyramid-shaped tower
made of steel and reinforced concrete
It marks the entrance to
Pere Marquette Harbor
We walked around Ludington and did some shopping
I found quite a few little trinkets for
my beach room, but not the area rug I was looking for ...
We decided to eat a late lunch, and
since neither of us had ever been to
(and there is ANOTHER LIGHTHOUSE there!)
we decided to go there and find a place to eat ...
this was a good idea, or so we thought.
However, we had picked up a brochure
on the area and noted there was a place called
Lakeside Inn --
we wondered if it could possibly be a place
as nice as the Glenwood Inn had been --
so we set off to find it!
NOW --
you have to understand something about my sister and I --
we are directionally challenged
(this is a very polite way of saying that the two of
us TOGETHER could not find our way out of a paper bag!)
We were on a mission, however --
to find the Lakeside Inn!
The brochure said it was right smack dab on White Lake,
and had a full menu PLUS nightly specials . . .
It's a good thing we agreed to have a late lunch
because by the time we found
Lakeside Inn and discovered
"they do not serve lunch"
and then chased all over the woods
trying to find any little dive that would feed us --
it was LATE! :)
But we finally found the Dockside Grill!
This little place was in our brochure too,
but the really helpful folk at Lakeside Inn
didn't bother to tell us it was just around the corner from them!
So we drove around and around and around ...
we were pretty hungry by the time we found it! We ate outside with a lovely view of
White Lake --
afterwards, we went in search of the
nearby lighthouse!
White River Light Station/Museum
Built: 1875
Decommissioned: 1941
Inside the lighthouse/museum
Artifacts from long-ago ships ...
The spiral staircase that takes you to the
very top of the tower ...
View from the light tower
A channel was cut linking White Lake
with Lake Michigan in 1870
The lighthouse was built in 1875
out of Michigan limestone and brick ...

Our retreat was quickly coming to an end now.
We decided to finish off a perfectly wonderful time together
with some ICE CREAM at a place called
PEKADILL'S ... but first we had to find it!

Driving around Whitehall looking for this
particular ice cream parlor was a trial.
Everyone we asked, gave us a different location --
or gave us wrong directions to get there!
Wrong information coupled with our already
faulty sense of direction was a bit frustrating!
But finally we arrived!
The ice cream was a perfect ending
to a perfect three days!
We drove back to Grand Rapids a little bit
tired from our travels, but
so refreshed, so enriched from God's creation,
so blessed by each others' company . . .

"A sister is one who reaches for your hand,
and touches your heart."
Ruthanne has been all of this -- and more -- to me!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Love is . . .

Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
Love does not demand its own way.
Love is not irritable,
and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.
It is never glad about injustice
but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up,
never loses faith,
is always hopeful,
and endures through every circumstance.
Love will last forever . . .
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Me and Mr. Jones.
Married ten years. Love always wins.

P.S. I didn't arrive home from vacation with my sister until the night of our anniversary. Mr. Jones had been razzing me for weeks about "leaving him" on our 10th anniversary . . . but when I got home I found Mr. Jones had MADE ME AN ANNIVERSARY CARD! How sweet was that? On it was a picture of me and my sister loading up her jeep, leaving him all alone on our anniversary -- he prounced that "he still loved me" even though I had made plans that excluded him ... (in truth, Mr. Jones never remembers our anniversary without a lot of prodding and reminders from me -- so I figured he would hardly notice that I had made these "exclusive" plans). We did go out to celebrate our anniversary Wednesday evening and dined at the Red Lobster (my favorite seafood place) and had a real nice time together. Ten years is quite an accomplishment in a blended family such as ours ... only by the grace of God ... !

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Week in Review

It's been a rather quiet and uneventful week here at the Jones Family Junction. Nothing much interesting to post about, but I wanted to share our week with you anyway. I like this way of keeping in touch with everyone without having to write a whole bunch of letters or e-mails.

Worship at church was wonderful Sunday. Pastor Jim is starting a series on LIFE IN CHRIST from Paul's letter to the Colossians. Since it was Father's Day, the message was on God as Father from Colossians 1:1-23. God has qualified us to have an inheritance through Jesus. How did God do this? He RESCUED us from the power of darkness (v. 13) -- He set us free from sin! He REDEEMED us by purchasing us (v. 14). We learned that the term redeemed is a financial term, one used for the purchase of a slave. Christ rescued us by purchasing us, adopting us! And He RECONCILED us (v. 22) -- and reconcile has to do with relationship. He "joined us back together" -- He "bridged the gap" between God and man to an established relationship. SO God rescued us by buying us into a relationship with Him, all through Jesus! And then Pastor talked about God as a Father and compared that to human fathers. He said to be an earthly father, you must be a rescuer, a redeemer, and a reconciler with your children, your wife, your family. Service ended with The Lord's Prayer and it was beautiful. You can hear the sermon on-line if you want to.

I had a typical week at work, except we all received sad news there on Monday. A co-worker, Dr. Eastman's medical assistant (who I call "Mr. Craig" or "Sir Craig") learned that he is pretty seriously ill. (You met him years ago, Sabrina, and called him "Dr. Freeman") It's a long story, but suffice it to say that he went to the O.R. Monday morning hoping to have his stomach removed (cancer), but when they opened him up, they found the cancer was not just localized there; so they closed him up again. He has a very bleak prognosis. I think everyone at work was just overwhelmed with sadness for Craig and his family. I was reminded how we all have an appointment with death, an appointment to meet God. It is set and has been set since before the world was made -- "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." (Psalm 139:16) And another Scripture says: "It has been appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment." And since we do not know when that appointment is, it's pretty important to walk with the Lord in faith and obedience all the days of our lives. Please pray for Craig and his family.

I've been looking forward all this week to the weekend. My brother David and his wife, Carol, are driving up from Florida to meet Roy. I haven't seen my brother David in at least two years. He is my "baby brother" and I love him dearly. My sister, Ruthanne, is arriving tomorrow (Sunday) and everyone is meeting here at the homestead to have lunch (chicken enchiladas). We will visit for awhile, and then Ruthanne and I head up north for our fourth annual sisters' retreat -- just Ruthanne and I. We are staying in Manistee, but are going to explore around Ludington and then a little north of Manistee as well. There are two lighthouses in Ludington and one in Manistee. I really love lighthouses. So Ruthanne and I will walk the beaches, take pictures, shop, eat, and just enjoy each other until we come back to Grand Rapids Tuesday night -- which by the way is Mr. Jones and I 10th anniversary! I planned this weekend getaway with my sister and was completely oblivious to the date. Mr. Jones has had a good time razzing me about this for quite awhile. :(

No children played with these toys all week
I think our little animal magnets are lonely!
I KNOW our train table is!
Thomas, Percy, Donald and Molly have been sitting
in the yard all week, very quiet . . .
wishing Emma, Chris, Matthew, Jackson, Karis or Nathan
would come to play!
(Olivia plays too, but mostly just to entertain the little kids)

I've enjoyed reading everyone's blog this week -- kittens, fish, dogs, owies, baseball games, trains, grandchildren. Thanks for faithfully writing. Boppa says I am addicted to this blogging thing. Perhaps he is right! I fully accept his diagnosis . . . but I think it is because I love my family and this keeps me connected to all of you. I love the pictures you post and the stories you write. So until next time -- "I'm busy loving you" (as Rachel would say!)