Sunday, May 29, 2011

A local memorial ...

I have driven past this Memorial Park on the corner of Jupiter and Post for years without stopping to check it out. So on the way home from church this morning, I decided to get a closer look ...
I was thinking that since Jesse lived just a mile or so from this spot for quite a few years (before he was married), this memorial is partly for him and for his family far away in El Paso. I'm glad it's so close by and I'm thankful I got a chance to spend some time there today, remembering the huge cost of FREEDOM and the lives of those who protect our nation. Thank you to all of you.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Birthday happiness for Dylan ...

Dylan is 27 today. The year he was born May 28 fell smack dab on a Monday, which also happened to be Memorial Day. He has always had a quiet spirit. And he was the easiest baby ever ~ not the fussy sort at all ~ contentment has always been a personality trait of his. Gentleness too. He has a gentle sort of kindness that is wonderful to be around.

Dylan is also a man of deep personal faith. He has just finished up his first of two years at Calvin Seminary. If I'm not mistaken, he has furthered his studies there in Greek, took a class or two in Hebrew, as well as beginning to learn Latin. That's a lot of ancient languages! I like to listen to him talk about what he has been learning because he is passionate about it. So what is he going to do with his education? He's not 100% sure, but since he is strong in relating and communicating to many different kinds of people, he is talking about hospital chaplaincy for awhile at least. But that's another year from now and there are other directions he can take with his studies as well.

We're sending Dylan birthday greetings today, and hoping that this next year, whatever it brings, will be an amazingly HAPPY one!
These pictures of Dylan were taken at he and Kelly's wedding rehearsal dinner/picnic over at Ada Park (July 2010).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

We have birds!

I've been trying for a few days to get some pictures of the birds at our feeder, but they haven't wanted to cooperate with me one single bit! Today, it has been raining most of the day ~ one of those kind of steady sprinkles ~ I love a day like this. So I quietly stepped out into the wetness this afternoon and tried to hide myself behind one of our bushes and catch those rascal birds that have made themselves so at home at our feeder.

At any one time, we will have a dozen of them flying back and forth between the large spruce tree across the street and over to our yard. I've seen cardinals, sparrows, VERY annoying black birds, blue birds, a few mourning doves who feed off the spillway on the ground, and lots of these little "house finches." I did see a pretty yellow finch this morning as well, but she flew away as soon as she saw my camera!
These are not the best photos ... but they are better than nothing. I have been so delighted this week watching all of the activity in our front yard. I just love it that these beautiful birds come over to my house to eat! And they sing the loveliest songs! Thank you, Lord, for making these sweet little creatures.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eight years together ...

I can't remember if we met Andrew before or AFTER the two of them jumped ... yes! ... out of a perfectly good airplane at over 10,000 feet. This was completely beyond EXTREME adventure in my book! Completely CRAZY. This picture (above) is actually Sabrina and Andrew flying through the air, above the ground and clouds, plunging to the earth in total ecstacy! I think, but I'm not sure, that this was the Autumn (or Fall!) before they got married. And I also cannot remember if Sabrina let us in on this little escapade until AFTER it was over (not the wedding, but the jump).

But one thing I do know for certain is that Sabrina and Andrew have been married now for EIGHT years. This is such a great picture of them, isn't it? I loved their wedding. It was at such a great location (at a mansion overlooking Lake Travis), Sabrina looked absolutely lovely in her gown, Andrew was so kind and easy to be with, and we had so much fun that day. I like looking back on it and remembering the happiness.

We love you both, Andrew and Sabrina, and wish you the happiest of years to come!

This is the beautiful passage of Scripture Andrew and Sabrina chose for their wedding:

PHILIPPIANS 2:1-2: "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose."

P.S. It seems I have made a BIG error in this posting ... this is NOT Andrew jumping with Sabrina ... it is Sabrina's jump instructor! Andrew did jump at a different occasion, but did not have enough experience to tandem jump with anyone. So this is NOT Andrew. Sorry, you guys. (4:00 p.m., 5/24/11)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Christ is always true to his word ...

Jesus said: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." Mark 13.31.
After listening to all of the chatter last week about the supposed "end of the world" coming at 6:00 p.m. on May 21, I found myself feeling rather sober about it all. I've never liked it when people take sacred things and make jokes out of them. It leaves me feeling sad all over. And even though the majority of folk didn't take Mr. Harold Camping's false prediction seriously, it FELT like people were kind of laughing at ... all things having to do with the end times and with Jesus' promise to return.

I've been reading and re-reading Matthew 23-25, as well as other gospel accounts where Jesus talks about his "second" coming. And I've been relieved to know that what Jesus says is always true! Never mind Mr. Harold Camping and all of the others in prior generations and times who have ignored what Scripture clearly teaches about making such claims of knowledge about the exact time! Jesus tells us to "keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." Matthew 24.42.
As I walked around my beautiful neighborhood the other night, I had to ask myself if I was WATCHING ... was I READY for Christ to come? "So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Matthew 24.44)
I want to take God's Word seriously. It isn't some cheap novel or made-up fairy-tale. I hope Mr. Camping hasn't given people a false notion that his mistaken words are equal to God's and consequently, can't be trusted. Because I know that one day ... maybe even two seconds from now (!) ... Jesus Christ is coming again. My Beautiful Savior, the Creator of the ends of the earth, is always TRUE to His word!

"Therefore KEEP WATCH because you do not know ... whether it will be in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'" (Mark 13.35-37)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Today is Jesse's birthday!

JESSE (Hebrew). I’ve always loved the name. It literally means, “God exists.” The meaning is important to me because … believing in God is one of the most fundamental and important things a person can do on this earth! In the Bible, “Jesse” was the grandson of Boaz, the son of Obed, the father of King David. I love to read about that time period of biblical history!

My firstborn son. You weren’t supposed to make your appearance until May 25! Born eight days early (quite possibly the only time you were EVER early prior to signing up with the Army) you arrived on a Saturday morning, at 8:17 a.m. Many mornings, for some reason, I glance at a clock around the house and it is exactly 8:17 a.m. When that happens, I always say a quiet prayer for you, Jesse. Eight pounds and 20 inches at birth, your delivery was totally natural – no epidurals or medication – a quick and almost painless delivery!

You are thirty-one today and live a world away. Why does EVERYONE move to Texas?! But no matter where you live, you are always close to my heart. Sending you loving birthday greetings , Jesse!

“I ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your life, and I ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better.” (Colossians 1:9-10)(These pictures of Jesse were taken in December 2010 in El Paso, the afternoon we spent together enjoying the Franklin Mountains.)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Around the yard ...

We've had a couple of nice warm spring days this week. I've been digging around out in the yard trying to weed out the flower beds and clean things up a bit. It's wonderful to finally see some color ...

This rogue tulip (below) sprouted in the middle of our small "woods" between our property and our neighbor's ... I LOVE the color red, don't you?
We've had quite a few little birds visit our bird houses. They are very fun to watch, but they fly right away if I get too close ... I haven't been able to get any pictures of them yet.
I think this is a robin egg. I found buried under some weeds beneath the beautiful tree in our front yard. I hope the baby robin hatched okay and is flying around somewhere. How is spring going at YOUR house?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thank you to the Rauch grand-kiddos!

For Christmas, I received these three beautiful bird houses ~ hand painted by Olivia, Jackson and Karis. Aren't they darling? I haven't hung them until now because two of them didn't have a mechanism for that purpose, and I wasn't sure how I was going to get the correct hardware, etc.
So I decided to visit an actual hardware store! Remember when they used to be EVERYWHERE? That is, until places like Wal-Mart and Meijer came about ... but you just can't get decent service at those huge places!

I carried all three bird houses in to Plainfield Lumber and Hardware today and approached the front desk. I told the woman that my grandchildren had made these bird houses for me and I really wanted to get them hanging outside ... feeding and housing birds! She pointed me to the back counter where the nicest young kid drilled holes and strung rope and tied knots until ... voila'! They even sold birdseed there, so I was all set! So let's hear it for the old-fashioned hardware store!

I'm so excited for the birds to come! Thanks Olivia, Jackson and Karis!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Finally ... Spring!

I took a quick walk in the woods today ... just to see if perhaps ... Spring was actually here! Were we FINALLY safe from ... snow? subzero temperatures? browns, grays and dirty whites?

We'll probably still have some "frosty" mornings ... so I'm not planting ANY flowers whatsoever until Memorial weekend ... but isn't this little blossom SO lovely?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Light Cards

I make cards. I also take pictures. Notice ... I did not say I am a photographer, because I am not. I have long had a love-affair with lighthouses. I have now taken pictures of over 20 different lighthouses, mostly in Michigan, but as far away as Hawaii! I love combining Scripture with the beauty God has made. There is so much in the Bible that talks about LIGHT versus DARKNESS ... it seems almost endless sometimes! I am 100% happy when I work on a card design. So I thought today that I'd just share a few of the cards I've been working on over the last little while.
Grand Haven South Pier Lights, May 2010.
Big Point Sable Light, Ludington, Michigan, August 2009.
Taken from the end of the south pier, Grand Haven, Michigan, Summer 2008.
"Big Red", the Holland Harbor Light, Fall 2008.
Mission Point Light, Summer 2007.
Little Point Sable Lighthouse on the shores of Lake Michigan, near Silver Lake, July 2010.
A stormy October 2010 afternoon at Grand Haven, Michigan.
The north pier lights at St. Joseph, Michigan. Fall 2007.
Marblehead Light, at the mouth of Sandusky Bay, Ohio. Summer 2009.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Shuttle mission scrubbed ...

On December 1, 2010, I posted exciting news about Diana's biology team experiment being chosen to go up on the last mission flight of Endeavour. I was so excited for Diana and her team! I know they have been anticipating this trip to the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral for such a long time!
Everything was in place for the launch Friday. Diana and her team arrived late Thursday with plans for a great time in Florida, watching the launch up close and personal. They would be sharing this event with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords ... not that they would meet her personally, but her husband, Mark Kelly, was commanding the shuttle on this mission! Even the President and the first family were there to see the launch! The countdown was all in place. I had the NASA channel on so that I could see the shuttle and the platform ... and await the moment it would lift off.
But then ... the mission was scrubbed. There was a possibility the Endeavour would launch Monday, and we were holding out hopes that it would because Diana and her group were going to be allowed to extend their time in Florida and still see it. But we found out today that the problem cannot be solved quickly with the "load control assembly" and so the launch has been postponed now until possibly May 9. Diana will come home, as scheduled, tonight. If I feel this disappointed, I'm thinking Diana and her group are much more ...
This is Diana (left), then the two students on her team, and on the right is their instructor.
I still say ... CONGRATULATIONS to everyone involved who worked hard on this project. It has been fun to follow your excitement and achievement. I'm sad you didn't get to see an actual launch, but I truly hope you had a great time at Cape Canaveral anyway!