Monday, June 30, 2008

A New Goal

Well, I wasn't looking for this on a Monday morning, but Carlos has a challenge that is timely for me (overweight and underfit and not happy with either of those two things.) My goal is get under the 200 pound mark by Christmas 2008, which should be doable with portion control and exercise (read DISCIPLINE!!!)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Choked up

Well, that was a surprise for a Friday. A friend's blog had this linked story. I knew previously that this church's mission trip to Mexico was derailed due to violence in the area - and then was re-railed (is that a word?) to help aid Katrina victims.

Over two years later, the pain, trial and struggle continues for those victims. I especially was touched by this part of Ted's story:
"My big “God Moment” came when I was walking out of the back room and walked through the living room where Mrs. Palermo was talking to a friend on her cordless phone. Loud and unashamed she said, “Here he is! That man from Washington who brought kids from Washington State and Oregon. He’s the man who told me that God wanted him to come here to help us.”

Isn't that great??
And, here is the second part that touched me...
>"I’ve come to understand that at least one of the reasons we are here is hope and to let people here who are struggling to recover from a massive disaster that they are not forgotten, by us, by God.

As we considered what it meant not to be Mexico, we began to ask the question:
Is it harder to have nothing and get something great
to have had everything, lose it and try to recover it

It is good that we are here."

May the Lord continue his blessings on this mission and the people.

Heart & Sole Run 2008

June 14th marked my first ever attendance at our local Heart and Sole Run. My friend, Nanc and I chose the 2 mile walk option; other friends Keri and Carol opted for the 5 mile walk.

Following the exercise portion, we chose to brunch in Nanc's beautiful back yard.

This hosta is the beautiful result of our spring rains.

...and this shows some alternate color to the neighbor hosta

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

This is one of my favorite pictures of my mom - she is seated on the left with her cousin, Gloria. This is also the only picture I have of my great grandmother, Elizabeth Karls Lutgen (second from the left in the back row.) The picture was taken in Laurel, Montana -- probably in the mid to late 1940s.

Mom is an amazing lady - and we have plans tonight for a celebration dinner with most of our family. UPDATE: 16 of us enjoyed a great dinner at the Montana Rib and Chop House that Thursday evening. Here is Mom enjoying her birthday dessert (ice cream was all she had room for, after their homestyle, chicken fried steak dinner)

My nephew and his girlfriend were able to join us for the celebration.

This was also our Father's Day celebration. Here is dad, my brother, and sweet niece.

...and, finally, my nephew and his brother in law deciding their dinner choices.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What the weather looks like here

I took these pictures earlier this week from my Explorer -- strange, you may think. Not so if you have been living in drought stricken Montana for the past 7-10 years. We have had an unheard of 2-3 week spell of daily rain.

This June morning I awoke to temperatures in the 30s...if you look to the southwest, the mountain range has huge amounts of snow- a few years ago during mid-to-end of June, there was no snow to be seen on the same mountain range. And western areas of Montana had snow just yesterday (near Glacier Park.)

Except for a few disgruntled early tourists, hikers, campers,fishermen, or anyone trying to plan an outdoor event or game, we are very grateful for the Lord opening His hand to allow the showers to fall on us. We have a very short amount of time for a green spring before the heat and the brown reappear, so cut us some slack as we enjoy all that green.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Staff Retreat 2008

Last month's annual staff retreat held a new experience. Our staff divided into six teams, and each team was given a book of directions to accomplish our Peacemaker Amazing Race (think scavenger hunt type activities.) Kudos to Molly and our other directors for planning this fun.

Here is a link to the ministry blog, and Molly's pictures of one of our activities. I was on Ken's team (his text is the last one,) and I recall that the texting was done in the vehicle on the way to one of our stops.

One of those stops was Chuck E Cheese, where we each played the mole game, taking a picture of our score (alas, mine was not the highest...) An offsite coworker in our International Division commented that he couldn't remember the last time he had played the mole game.

Another stop was for each team to have our picture taken on someone's couch...we chose the home of a co-worker, that was on the way to another stop...

UPDATE: Here is the staff photo that was taken after the Peacemaking Race at our annual retreat - note the different team colors: Olive team completed the race in the least amount of time...and the orange team completed it in the most time. My "periwinkel" team was third (or fourth), as I recall.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Saturday with Trask

My Saturday "painting day" got derailed when I was needed to do my grandma thing. I was glad that I got two rooms cleaned well enough to allow me time to play with Trask, and also allow him some space inside to toddle around -- he is on the go a lot these days. What these pictures don't show is the tumble he took when he stood up on the chair, leaning on one chair arm a bit too much :)

When the sun peeked through the clouds for a short time, and the weather warmed around midday, we headed outside -- first for a few photos, then Trask's usual race to the corner of our block (a busy street that I am already training him to be cautious about...)

...and then back inside for some refreshment and time for me to rest.

People Magazine article

For those of my younger audience, here is a short history of People Magazine from Wikipedia -
People was co-founded by Dick Durrell[4] as a spin-off from the "People" page in Time magazine. Its first managing editor, Richard Stolley, characterized the magazine as "getting back to the people who are causing the news and who are caught up in it, or deserve to be in it. Our focus is on people, not issues."[5]
It debuted in 1974, with a March 4 issue featuring actress Mia Farrow, then starring in the movie The Great Gatsby, on the cover. That issue also featured stories on Gloria Vanderbilt, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and the wives of U.S. Vietnam veterans who are Missing In Action.[1] The magazine was, apart from its cover, printed in black-and-white

While living in Missoula in early 1974, I would eagerly drive to a local bookstore, for the weekly People Magazine (you could not yet get it at the supermarket check- out aisle.) While I was interested in the celebrity factor at that time, I am a biography junkie, and People's features on the famous, like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (famous, but not glam or star persona) and "ordinary" people (like the military wives mentioned above,) were what drew me back week after week for a number of years.

As the magazine became the celebrity mag it is today, I stopped purchasing it -- finding it both a waste of my time and money.

Well, yesterday I bought my first People Magazine in years. The reason was that the magazine featured a local family (one I personally know,) in an article in the June 16th magazine. I know the family involved said "no" to the opportunity when they were first contacted by the People reporter, but later agreed to the story -- and the reporter did a good job, with only a few errors. I encourage you to read the article online or pick up that week's copy.

The young lady in the People story is featured in my earlier blog post about this year's graduates. It has been over a year since we enjoyed a day of piano playing, baking, and fellowship with another young lady. Here is a picture from that day.

As I flipped through the rest of the magazine, I was amazed at a recurring theme --- pregnancy!!! I'm so thankful so many women are choosing life again, and showing motherhood in a positive way (instead of an inconvenience) for our culture. This was not the norm for the last 20 years, or so - what a refreshing and hopeful change.

UPDATE: Here is a link to a blog post on the People article by Fred, including a picture :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Love's Abiding Joy

Okay, so I love a collection of books or movies that follow the same characters. This collection features two of my favorite themes - the Christian family life and homesteading.

Years ago, I remember my niece reading the novels of Janette Oke. So, when this movie series, based on her books came out, beginning with Love Comes Softly, it appealed to me. If I am honest, one of the appeals was the actress, Katherine Heigl, in the role of Marty. In fact, throughout the series of movies, I have recognized many well known actors and actresses in various roles. The series is directed by Michael Landon, Jr., and if you were a fan of his father's acting and directing career, you may see a similarity in their styles.

So, with the aid of my friend Netflix, last evening I enjoyed the fourth movie in the series, and was not disappointed. Since homesteading is the theme, you know that hardship and tragedy are going to be a part of that life. However, this movie deals honestly with the grief of an unexpected death, and what that unique struggle looks like in the Christian family portrayed. I don't want to give too much detail away here, but do want to encourage this for a video night. Of course, the story in this movie will be more complete if you have watched the previous three:

Love Comes Softly,
Love's Enduring Promise
Love's Long Journey

What movies can you commend for my Netlix queue?

DDay Observance

Thank you to Melodee for the reminder of today's importance in history. If you look around on her blog, you will find the recurrent theme of stories and pictures about this time and place. Her writing and passion for this era and people is evident, and far surpasses any meager attempt on my part.

I found this picture (which comes from the Coast Guard/National Archive collection. It shows men praying aboard a vessel bound for Normandy on June 6th. I'm thankful for their opportunity to pray before this huge event in their lives, and would like to believe that, whether these men were survivors or among the lost, they may have had that opportunity for salvation, that our Lord brings.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

What I have been doing - Part 2

I promised color in a previous post.....and here it is! What a difference! The pictures actually show a lighter, almost yellow color, rather than the actual "Vintage Gold."

Tonight, I hope to get the piano moved toward the "almost done" east wall, so that I can add primer and paint to the final walls. Hopefully, by next week, my living room will be once again "livable." More pictures will be coming when other accents and decorations are added - it really is a small space :)

So, what spring project have you taken on lately?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Graduation Tradition

We have a spring tradition in the church I have attended for the past 24 years. The tradition began around the time my children graduated about 10 years ago, and begins on a Saturday morning in May, with a graduation breakfast.

Each graduate invites family, friends and church members who have been important in their lives - especially in their spiritual growth. In most cases, they can find many within the groups mentioned. There usually is a slide show photo presentation, with music, of a progression of different ages for each graduate. Great breakfast food prepared and served by people from the church comes next.

What follows is my favorite part of the celebration. Each graduate's father or parent comes forward and talks about their son or daughter, including stories and different people's impact on their child's life. No two introductions are the same - just as each graduate or parent is not alike; but certain patterns begin to appear - church life and activities; education; and personal experiences (more than one parent mentioned that their child was a "surprise".) There are many tears and trembling voices as they talk about their children. The parents are allowed, I think, an extreme gift - to be allowed to pause and reflect on the gift their children have been in their lives.

After each parent introduces their son or daughter, the graduate then talks also about the people and events that have impacted their life, which may be different from the parent's perspective; they talk about their future plans, and ask for prayer for both physical and spiritual areas for their future.

I have been blessed to know one of the young men in this picture since his birth - in fact he shares a birthday with my daughter.

I was blessed to first get to know one of the young ladies when I served at a youth winter retreat near Bozeman. I was a driver for several girls that year, and we shared the fun of singing and listening to a variety of music on our trip.

I have worked for the past two years with another young lady in this picture, and shared an interest in piano, food, and fellowship with her

I have enjoyed the creative and avant garde nature of another young man.
We had the same piano teacher for a few years.

I worked in the church nursery several times with another of the young ladies. I've watched her grow into an intelligent and thoughtful person, who, I believe, is going to storm the world.

I have watched the director of our youth, also in the picture, since he was a local high school student himself; through his military schooling, marriage, fatherhood, and several relocations - most recently back here in Montana to serve in our local church.

What an amazing work of the Lord is the local church -- and what an amazing blessing to serve and be a part of the local body.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What I Have Been Doing - Part 1

Prepping - definition: scraping, sanding, cleaning, more scraping, more sanding, more cleaning. I have found little patience or perseverance in this home improvement area. It's too bad that my 1947 home is the poster home for prepping, just suck it up and get on with it.

These are my before pictures. I've lived here for 4+ years with WHITE WALLS (they were actually great for the first years I lived here; so light and bright compared to my 3+ years with wood panelling at my previous home.

Two very important aids in prepping - a wonderful brother who has the skill and time to mud and tape cracks; the second, a wonderful friend who lends their electric sander (the O-N-L-Y way to go) Primer was added to some of the walls before these pictures were taken. I especially like the "distressed" look on the window, don't you?

The first color has been added - WOO HOO!!!! I needed to complete one wall in order to move the piano to its new permanent position. Pictures with color soon to follow.
I went shopping for window treatments when I picked up the paint last evening; then went running from the store AGH!!!!!! Maybe I'll opt for new outlet and light switch coverings first; yeah, start slow and no one will get hurt.