Monday, May 31, 2010

Too much rain ...

This was the view from the front porch of our house at about 3:00 this afternoon. We had several storms come through our area throughout the day, dumping 5.75" of rain in Comstock Park, Belmont, and Rockford ... that's us!
I think lots of our newly planted seedlings (like grandpa's beans and beets, as well as my wildflowers) from last week might possibly have sadly drowned in the deluge!
Our mailbox looks like it is in the middle of a pond! I was out running errands when this last storm passed through, so Grandpa Jones took these pictures. By the time I arrived home ...
the drain at the end of our driveway had done it's job and most of this high water was gone. Except ... our basement was very wet! And then we lost power for almost two hours. So we were down there by flashlight trying to mop up the ... mess! About 18,000 in W. Michigan are still without power ~ Nana and Roy lost theirs at 7:00 this morning when the first of the storms arrived. Well ... it definitely could be worse ... at least we're not cleaning up crude oil ...

I have been watching the news coverage of Memorial Day a little bit on the television. Lots of really good stories on the war today and the folk who serve our country as well as those they have left behind. Makes having too much rain really seem quite insignificant ...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Anna's wedding!

The real reason Grandpa Jones and I were in Chicago this weekend? We were invited to attend my cousin's daughter's wedding. Anna and Scott were engaged last summer ... Scott wrote his proposal to Anna in the Lake Michigan sand ... do you remember me telling you about it? Well I was there the very morning of the proposal! I didn't take any pictures of the wedding ceremony itself ... or for that matter, the wedding party ~ it was a huge group. Besides, they had a very nice photographer and I did not want to be obnoxious. My cousin, Beth, is married to a minister (Michael) and he married Anna and Scott. He gave probably the nicest wedding homily I have ever heard in my life. I wish I had a tape of it to play back once each month! It was such a good reminder of the gift of LOVE God has given us, and how much our marriages can reflect His grace and mercy.
I snapped this quick picture in the reception line. I loved Anna's dress! There is a dramatic story that goes along with it though. Can you believe that three days prior to the wedding, Anna and her mom went to the bridal shop to pick up her beautiful dress only to find out that the shop had inadvertently steamed the fabric right off the front layers of the dress?! Yikes. So this was an alternate dress that thankfully Anna liked even more than the first one she had picked out.
I have 18 cousins, most of whom I never see ... because they live far away. This is Sarah and her son, William. Sarah is the youngest of the grandchildren and I hardly know her. She looks so much like her mom (my aunt Mary Lou) who passed away a few years ago from ALS. Hopefully, she and all of her beautiful children are coming to the reunion in Detroit this summer.
This is my cousin, Andrea (Annie) and her husband, Michael ... truly two of the nicest people you could ever possibly meet. They are father and mother of the bride!
This is me standing next to my dearest of dear cousins, Suzie ... we were getting our bubbles ready to blow as Scott and Anna left the church ... not a good picture of either of us, but it's all I have!
And these two adorable boys (above) belong to my cousin, Mary (below). They were in the wedding, along with many of their other cousins, and they did such a nice job. And Nathan Paul played a classical number on the guitar at the reception ... very impressive!
This is me telling my cousin, Mary, how beautiful I think she is!
The gorgeous wedding cake ... these flowers match the ones in all of the bouquets ...
The reception was held at a golf/country club. The room was just beautiful. I was able to wander around and take all kinds of pictures of the place before everyone arrived. And I enjoy these kinds of pictures so much more than taking pictures of ... people!These are the cute flip-flops Anna wore at the reception in place of her high heeled wedding shoes ...
Mr. Jones and I sat at a table with my cousins, Lois and Julia, and their husbands. I haven't seen my cousin Julia in at least 10 years and I enjoyed visiting with her and her family so much. My aunt Jean (the beautiful woman standing in the picture) is grandmother to the bride. She was married to my favorite uncle (Paul), but he has been in heaven with the Lord now for close to 10 years (I think). And I always love to see Joel and Lois and their 8 incredible children. They live right here in town with us and we do not see them often enough!
I learned that Scott and Anna have known each other ... practically all of their lives! They were neighbors, attended the same grade school, and began dating their sophomore year of high school. Anna was a cheerleader and Scott a football player at the same high school. They showed cool pictures of all their proms and vacations that their families took together. Scott and Anna both just graduated from college about two weeks ago.
Well ... since you really do not know any of these folk ... enough pictures, right? I just wanted to share the highlights of our weekend. I will cherish memories of this sweet wedding, the great fun we all had at the reception, and look forward to many more family occasions to come!

The other side of the lake ...

We've just returned home from our weekend in Chicago. I have SO many pictures to look through and edit. Our main purpose for traveling to Chicago was to attend a family wedding ... but I'll have to tell you about that later. We drove to Chicago Friday morning and decided to take the Metra train downtown from Wheaton Station. It's about a 40 minute train ride, very smooth and enjoyable, avoiding all of the hassle of downtown traffic and where-do-we-park problems. We rode the train into the city as far as it would take us, and then we bought a city map and did some serious walking! I got it into my head that I wanted to go to Navy Pier ... a mere 12+ city blocks ~ but it was a perfectly beautiful afternoon and we really had nothing else in mind to do!
This is my first view of the Chicago Harbor Light. It sits on the end of a breakwater that has NO public access!
Navy Pier is a great place to walk, passing the Chicago Marina, all the while with Lake Michigan in plain beautiful sight! See the Ferris wheel? I intended to ride it. I really LOVE Ferris wheels. Mr. Jones was disinclined to join me and I was busy taking pictures (100's of them) ... so this is a picture of the Ferris wheel we did NOT ride!
See the gorgeous tall ship out in the harbor? She is named "Windy" and some day I am going to come back and sail on her!

This is "Windy" docked at Navy Pier. It is a charter sailboat that sails out in the harbor and AROUND the Chicago Light about once every hour or so ...

There is nothing quite as pretty as a lighthouse and sailboat together, is there? (I'm afraid Mr. Jones would differ ... perhaps train tracks and signals?!!)

We walked on the pier for quite awhile. We checked out some eateries down there, but they were pretty pricey and hadn't received very good reviews on the internet ~ I researched it out before we left Grand Rapids! So as we headed back to the Metra station, we walked past lots of places to eat and decided on this cute Irish (yes, Kelly!) pub where I enjoyed wonderful fish and chips and Mr. Jones had their famous Irish Lamb Stew.
I love a big city, don't you? This is the Chicago River. At a few different places along the river, there are high-rise car garages with boat slips to park huge luxury yachts underneath ...
By the time we walked the 12 blocks to the pier and then all the way back to the train station, with a few detours along the way, I really regretted having worn flip-flops instead of a decent walking shoe! Ouch! My feet were killing me! Grandpa Jones and I both looked every single bit our age as we limped onto the train and rode it back to Wheaton ... ah, but walking downtown Chicago and seeing the lighthouse and "Windy" was certainly worth the pain!

Friday, May 28, 2010

We celebrate Dylan's birthday ...

I just got home from a pizza dinner/birthday celebration for Dylan over at Shane's apartment. It's the evening before his birthday, but that's the only day we could all get together ... so we did! Besides, the 27th was his actual due date ... he just showed up four hours and 52 minutes late (26 years ago!).
Kelly is now a regular part of our get-togethers. There is, afterall, only 65 days until their wedding. I love Kelly. She is so easy to be with. She told me the other day that she wakes up happy every day with the knowledge that she is going to marry Dylan. Well, you can imagine how happy that makes a mother's heart, can't you?
I sure enjoyed being with Dylan and Kelly and with Shane tonight. We talked about good books we've read, discussed future plans, shared our love of the Lord, and Kelly even sang us a little song she has written while Dylan accompanied her on the ukulele!
Kelly has a contagious kind of JOY that just spills out of her. I'm so glad she and Dylan are getting married. As you go through this coming year, Dylan, I will continue to pray "that you will live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God ..." (Colossians 1:10,11). Thanks for all the joy you have brought to my life ... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The morning light ...

I've never been to Grand Haven in the early morning ~ probably because I've never spent the night there! But I've always wanted to see what it looks like in the morning light, so I set my alarm for 5:00 this morning ... and when it rang, I JUMPED out of bed, cleaned up a bit, ate a quick breakfast, and drove out of our driveway at 5:45 ... except it was already kind of light outside at our house! I got to Grand Haven at 6:30, and it was such a pretty sight ~ even though I probably should have been there an hour earlier if I really wanted to catch the sun coming up. Don't worry, I KNOW the sun does not rise over Lake Michigan ... but it can still make the skies very pretty colors and the shadows are so enchanting first thing in the morning, aren't they?

"Satisfy us in the morning with your
unfailing LOVE
so that we may sing for JOY
to the end of our days!"
PSALM 90.14
Perhaps if I had gotten here earlier, it would have been too dark for me to get any decent pictures. I took about 240 photographs this morning. I'm very happy with about two dozen of them!
Some day, I'm going to spend the night here. I don't mean on the pier! I mean at a Bed & Breakfast ... some quaint little place ... perhaps I can convince Mr. Jones to do this on one of our anniversaries ~ and then we can stay up late and watch the sunset ~ and get up way before the sun does and walk this beautiful beach. It really is a little bit of a paradise here.
I wasn't the only person here this morning. There were joggers and people riding bikes, and quite a few fishermen and fisherwomen! I walked to the end of the south pier, and then I drove over to the north shore and walked that pier to the very end as well!
I love the north shore. Except it really is NOT a public beach. There are all kinds of cottages and homes lining the north shore, but significantly far enough from the lake shore to allow me to walk the edge without feeling terribly conspicuous. If I lived here, I wouldn't get a single thing accomplished in my life!

"Blessed are those who have learned
to acclaim You,
who walk in the LIGHT of Your presence,
PSALM 89.15

I left the beach at 10:00 to return to Grand Rapids. I had a bunch of errands to run, but was home by noon. What a refreshing start to a beautiful day!

Monday, May 24, 2010

One in spirit and purpose ...

Today marks the seventh wedding anniversary for Andrew and Sabrina. Seven years! Grandpa Jones and I want to wish them an extremely happy celebration of this great event. When they were choosing a passage of Scripture that would be for their wedding, this is the one they chose. I think it is one of the very best they could ever have picked out.

" ... make my joy complete
by being like-minded,
having the same love,
being one in spirit and purpose.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,
but in humility consider others better than yourselves."

Thinking of both of you today ... with LOVE!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Planting ...

"O God, you take care of the earth
and water it,
making it rich and fertile ...
You soften the earth with showers
and bless its abundant crops."
PSALM 65:9a & 10b
Yesterday Grandpa Jones and I drove out to Allendale in the pouring rain to Countryside Greenhouse to purchase flowers and plants. I've heard about this greenhouse for years and years, both from folk I used to work with over at RVO, as well as Roy. Roy's son, David, drives all the way from Chicago each spring just so he can purchase his annuals over at Countryside. I guess I wasn't listening very well when people told me about this place, because I was totally unprepared for what it was ... the hugest greenhouse I have ever been to! Full to the brim of the most beautiful flowers and plants EVER. And good deals on them too! It was fun to do all of our shopping inside the greenhouse, listening to the rain pounding on the roof above. It continued to rain all morning and into the afternoon.
I was looking to buy two hanging baskets ... but smaller baskets this year so that they wouldn't stress the metal hanger I purchased years ago. If the baskets are too heavy, it makes the hanger lean weird and look like it's going to snap in two any minute! Since I decided to plant the beautiful hibiscus plant out in front in the smaller flower bed on the north side of our house, I wanted the hanging baskets to kind of match its beautiful apricot color ... or at least NOT clash with it. I picked out two baskets of mini-petunias ~ one of this pretty pink, and the other is kind of a golden peachy color. I like them very much.
And look at these Begonia! I have never ever seen them in peach before ... don't they look almost yummy enough to eat?! I planted three nice-sized ones surrounding the hibiscus. And I also put in some dainty white alyssum, coleus, and inpatiens. I'll try to get a better picture when I have everything planted.
I ended up buying four flats of flowers (they were on sale for $5.99 each) ... that's 144 individual plants ... as well as quite a few pots of spreading petunia. But I also picked up a couple of perennials, and I am so excited about them. I've been trying to read up on perennials and purchase a few each year with the goal of having mostly a perennial garden in the future, with only a few annuals scattered here and there for nice color. The perennials I bought were: one Forever and Ever Hydrangea (that's what it said on the tag!), one Asiatic Lily (in a gorgeous pink), one Dappled Willow, and then my very very favorite ~ a White Hardy Rhododendron ~ the blossoms are so amazing ... they remind me of a bridal gown all in chiffon. It's taken me two afternoons already and I'm still not finished planting all of this good stuff.

Grandpa Jones bought practical plants like green bean seeds, beet seeds, onion bulbs, tomato plants ~ and he kind of turned his nose down on my frivolous purchases ... but that's okay ... he's growing more and more tolerant of my excesses all the time! I did buy three zucchini plants, though, and I'm very enthusiastic about them! I'm also trying to grow some sunflowers from seed. They are in little pots on the back deck. I'm hoping they will sprout!

All this planting reminds me of a passage of Scripture that I have always loved from Isaiah 61:2-3: "He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD's favor has come ... to all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the LORD has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory." Or as the NIV translates verse three: "They will be oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his glory."

I would like my life to be "a planting of the LORD for the display of his glory" ... wouldn't you?