Friday, December 31, 2010

Look Out Peru....The Moms Have Landed!

Just heard from Mom and Georgia.
They have arrived safely in their 
mission field for the next three weeks.

They have been awake for nearly 24 hours
at this point....

One of Mom's co-workers who is also 
the leader of this mission is a native of Peru.
The team is staying at her parents home for 
the first night or two.  Mom said that they 
are being well cared for.  

At some point they will head up into the mountains
in a trip that will take eight hours on the way up.
What is a bit unnerving is that this same trip will
only take five hours on the way down.  
Hmmmm.....they probably shouldn't think about
this too much.

Conditions will be very, very difficult.
This trip will be the biggest challenge either of 
our Moms have ever faced physically 
but God is with them.

I was watching a few videos of the people
in the mountain villages where they will serve.
Oh, I can see why once you have been there 
your heart is forever touched for the people.

Such beautiful children and such severe conditions.

The team is carrying in as many winter clothes as they
were allowed to pack to give to the pastors in the
different areas.  As I understand it each team member took two 50 pound
suitcases with clothing and other items for the people
and a carry on of personal items that could weigh no more than
23 pounds for their three week stay.
I found out through this process how 
lightweight sleeping bags can be these days.
But, it is a good thing because they each needed one
and still had all of the other things to pack.
The pastors will then pass the clothing
along to the neediest in their village.  In recent winters 
children have frozen to death from the extreme cold.

So sad....
Hard to imagine.

Well, I hope Peru is up to our Moms.
They are a lot to handle.
Two bundles of energy and good intentions.

I will try to post pictures and links to 
their Facebook site when there is something
current on it.

My Dear Blog Friends!!

We are happy to see you.....

Thursday, December 30, 2010


It is day number two in bed.  
Definitely the Flu!

Warren and Mikey are home from work
and will be staying put.

The Moms are going to drive themselves to the 
airport and leave their vehicle there.
We felt that it would just put them in too much
danger of catching this for us to take them.

I keep hearing the words of the 23rd Psalm
in my head...."Yea though I go through the valley 
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."
You may laugh...but that is how bad this stuff

No mystery menu dinner for us tomorrow evening.
I don't know if the rest of the church will go ahead with
it, or not.  But....we are definitely out.

Thank you for your prayers...
keep them coming!
I surely do appreciate you!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Prayers Please

We are very sick!

Warren came home from work early yesterday
with a fever and horrific cough.  Now, this cough has
been around for a while but it is beyond bad, right now.

I heated some water and poured it into a 
small amount of eucalyptus oil for
Warren to breathe.  
In about twenty minutes he was able to 
get some sleep.
He has used it all day to keep his
sinuses or bronchial tube from 

Mikey came home from work early today and went
straight to bed.  Chelsea has been in bed since this morning
sometime. Sadly for our anorexic girl she cannot eat a thing.
Finally she is able to drink some water.
She has a doctor's appointment tomorrow evening
which will be interesting...
just keep reading.

I just returned from the doctor where they 
have decided to test us for Whooping Cough.
Frankly, I don't think that is the issue but they have 
to be sure.  Since we are such a mess.

This afternoon four out of five of us are down for the count
and the fifth sounds like he should be.  Too stubborn I guess, 
or on a different track with this.

Now, it gets more interesting.
The man that was supposed to take the 
mission team to the airport tomorrow is sick.
Some variation of US will be driving them there 
in the evening or late night hours.
It is about a 2 and a half hour way.

Monday, as you know, Mikey is supposed 
to begin his Program at Longwood.  He NEEDS
to be well.  Frankly, I guess we are asking for a 
miracle.  That God would allow us to get back 
on our feet quickly and that we would give HIM
the glory for it.

Kidnapped... And I need your Advice....

Last evening I had a very fun time with some
of my favorite girls.....

Miss Chelsea, Miss Emma and Miss Lindsay.
It was even more fun for me because
Emma and Lindsay didn't know I was coming for them.

I gathered them all up when they were done at their
jobs and off we went to The Cracker Barrel!

Then a bit of time at WalMart because we needed
a couple of things....
You know
sheets and a comforter for the 
one who is 
MOVING OUT on Monday.
Not that I am stressing
or anything like

And...then we came home.

It was so much fun.

Great girls!

Now, since I have no pictures of 
last evening how about this?
We got Chelsea a desk for her room.
(Yes, that was "dutchy")
This is what was in her room....
I want it in the living room as a desk/storage
unit.  Warren is not convinced that it 
fits in the living room.
What do you think?

It wouldn't have to stay where it is....
But, do you like the piece?
Is it just too "Bedroom-ish" to 
be in the living room?

We need your help 
on this one.
I don't want to go to the trouble 
of totally rearranging everything 
if it is not a good idea.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sparky Asks....

Are you ready for 2011????

Mom's cat, Sparky, was in the middle of our 
Christmas celebration.
He is a very social cat.
Handsome too.

We will kick off the New Year at church
with a Mystery Menu Dinner.
This year's dinner is Garden Themed.
I'll leave it to your imagination as to why 
I chose that theme.

I made up the menu today and am getting
very excited about it.

Fun stuff!!!!

Between working on that,
taking down our fire hazard of a tree,
rearranging the living room... and more
I feel like it is time to head to bed.
Yes, it is early and no, I won't go just yet...
but I am definitely ready.
At least I got supper done early
and all that is left to do is 
put a few things away.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Wonderful Christmas

God with Us!

What a wonderful thing to know 
and ponder...
Imagine Mary.
We are told that she took in a whole
bunch of information and then pondered
it in her heart.
I wonder if it was kind of a wonderful knowledge?
Perhaps she was afraid?
I know that she was obedient
and that is the most important thing.

 I am so very thankful that we have
reason to celebrate.
It is also becoming clear to me that 
it is a privilege to be able to celebrate
together so publicly.
With all of the attempts to wipe the name of 
Jesus out of our vocabulary... in the name of 
keeping peace and being tolerant... I wonder
how much longer will we be able to walk into 
a store and hear his name played over the 
speakers in a Christmas Carol?
Will we be able to continue calling it 

I embrace the freedoms that we 
have now.
I pray that they continue!

From the tradition of the Magi
who came to visit 
a young Jesus
we give gifts to each other.

I received a laptop.
All of the adults in our family 
went together to purchase a refurbished
Dell for Moi!
It is great.
Warren had it all loaded and ready to go.
No waiting on anything.
Thanks guys!
My old one was beyond bad.
It kept losing the date and then wouldn't
let me leave comments or go anywhere on the 
web.....I am so thankful for this generous gift!

The biggest surprise of the day 
was our gift of a hot air balloon ride 
to Georgia.
She did not see that one coming!

We enjoyed a wonderful day with Mom,
Georgia and my brother, Allan, and my sister-in-law, Bev.
Pastor Mike came for part of the day as well.
We then saw him later when we practiced music
for church today.
Yes, when Christmas happens on a Saturday there
are still things to be done.

This morning we will have a Christmas Breakfast 
at church...this will be during our normal Sunday School time.
Should be good.
I am taking my waffle maker, an egg casserole and ham balls.
Others are bringing eggs, fruit and breads.

Some pictures of the Christmas decor at my Mom's
house....I love how she decorates!

One of my Dad's Poems.  He wrote quite a few.

 I look forward to seeing your Christmas photos.
Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas From Our Crazy Family

Mikey is Papa Elf!
 When my Mom goes to Branson
interesting gifts come home!
Our resident "Character"
LOVES his new hat!

 He can even take his snacks along!

Normal people just don't have as much fun
as we do when it comes to stockings...

That is their problem.

Merry Christmas!
Enjoy your Birthday Celebration 
for Jesus!

Friday, December 24, 2010

It is Christmas Eve!

What a much anticipated day each year!

Our church has a Christmas Eve Service
and then it is home to open the contents of 
the stockings where there is never a shortage
of laughter.

Most of the time the gag gifts and pranks are
provided by my sweet, innocent Mom!
She needs extra prayer right now as she
has finally caught the virus that has been
plaguing the rest of us for so long.
She really needs to be well before she leaves 
for Peru in just a week.

Traditionally we have had this stocking party
at my Mom's house.  But this year we are going
to do it here.  So, Chelsea and I are planning to 
whip up some fun snacks for the occasion.

Today we will make:

Broccoli Cheese Dip with Cubed Bread for Dipping
Ham Balls
Cheese and Bologna Platter
A Veggie Tray

This nourishment will come in handy as supper is likely
to be a bit sparse with the preparations for the service.
I'll need to get there early to decorate, print the bulletins
and run through music with those who are nervous.

I wonder....
What are your Christmas Eve plans or traditions?
Do you have time to share?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Facts about Christmas Caroling....

1.  It brings out the "inner diva" in some....
2..  All retirement communities are not created equal.
3.  The people within the building walls are created equal.
4.  God loves them, each and every one.
5.  It is much fun when one brings his homemade accordian.
6.  O Holy Night is very hard to sing.
7.  It is easy to forget which songs you have already sung on any given stop.
8.  Retirement communities are HOT!  Dress for Summer.
9.  A personal smile and a handshake mean so much!
10.  It is very hard to do when one is losing their voice for a second time!!!

I am very thankful for the opportunity
we had to visit with the residents at two of our local retirement communities.
It was such a blessing to see our
dear friend and associate pastor, Jack,
with his wife, Anne, who is now in skilled care and cannot come to church.
   He is so tender with her and so much in love.
They are both nearly 90.

It was a great evening finished
off with a strawberry shortcake sundae
at Friendly's.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reality of letting go...

We had our children when we were very young.
It seemed like such a great idea.
So fun.
To have our own little baby to dress,
play with and care for.
We were so unaware of the bonds that 
would be made and the overwhelming love
that would take over our hearts.

The intensity of it must be experienced 
to be understood.

Now, please understand that I would not
change a thing
I love my kiddos to pieces.

That is precisely the dilemma.

Children are a bit like kittens.
They grow up.
They begin to stretch and yearn for
Your mind tells you that this is a very 
good thing...
it is natural and healthy.
But your heart says....hey!  Wait!
I am not quite ready for you to be 
thinking on your own.
Wasn't it just yesterday 
that you were completely 
dependent on me for life?

The past couple of years around here
have been so interesting.
Watching these one time babies
becoming young adults.
Letting go a bit here and there
to allow them to make decisions.
Usually good....
sometimes not the ones we would 
make given our years of experience.
But how else will they learn?
Really learn.

I remember these years as I grew
into an adult.  I think my parents did 
it well.  I remember thinking how much 
they trusted me and I always tried to do 
the things that would make them proud.
The thought of hurting them kept me from
a world of trouble.

Our precious daughter is doing
well in her place of employment.
She loves her co-workers and 
when her shift is completed
she returns to us...
happy and content.
It is a very good thing for her.
However, it is another place of 
letting go for me.
When she has an issue at work
I have stayed out of it...
although that doesn't mean I haven't 
offered....and given tons of advice!
(You know me!) 
What Mom doesn't want to come and 
make it all right when there is some sort 
of learning experience that hurts.
But the maturity shows when she says
she can work it out.
And she does.
So soon we will do what parents 
do all over the world...
say "see you later" to one as he begins the 
next stage of his life.
To say I am proud of who Michael has
become would be a huge understatement.
He is kind, caring, 
a show-off...but we forgive him for that....
He is a young man with a goal
and a dream.
Isn't that what we all want for 
our children?

Our eldest still waits to find his niche.
But when he does he will be 
He will be dedicated and loyal.
That is our Jonathan.
Until then he is the ever faithful 
dog walker for his Grandma and 
occasional writer.
He is currently waiting for me to catch 
up to him in the editing of his book.
I've been just a tad busy lately.
He's noticed.
God has amazing plans for Jonathan.
This, I know for sure!

Michael is on his way.
To a new adventure.
This year amongst the "toys" he will 
receive things like 
his own box of
Q-tips and other necessities.
I mean when you are moving
out you need 
the little things that you take for 
granted at home.
No, he is not getting that much
longed for motorcycle.
We can't afford it...
and even more importantly we 
don't believe it is the best choice for 
him right now. 
We are still his parents, after all.

And isn't that the crazy thing about 
them growing up?
When the boys come to me to ask 
if they can watch a certain movie
part of me wants to tell them that they 
are legally adults and can make up their 
own minds and the other part smiles
and reads reviews with them...
still guiding and helping them along the way.
Hey!  If they are asking and still living in our home....

But, I know that soon enough they will all 
be out there making their own choices...
on everything.

This Momma hopes that the foundations
are strong enough
to allow them to stand on their own.
They will make mistakes.
We all do.
But, the hope remains that it will
always come back to 
faith that is their own....
not values borrowed
from us.
I think back to those days when they
were in diapers.
Those days I thought would never end.
Babies crying as they teethed.
A husband who was able to leave 
each day to this place he called "work"...
I "knew" better.  
He was gaining his freedom for 
hours each day as I worked 
in the trenches of trying to keep 
the kids alive and happy.
After all they were into everything and 
kept me so busy.

Older moms told me that these were
the easy years....
I didn't believe them.
They were right on so many fronts....
but it was not for the reasons I thought.
It was because the caring and love gets 
stronger.  The concerns become bigger.
Again, I say, I wouldn't change it.
I love being a Mom.
I love it so much!!

It is just such a dichotomy of feelings sometimes.
Many of you have been at this point 
and beyond.
Some of you have yet to experience this.
But, you most likely will.
And when you do ....
remember that this is what 
you were
called to.
If you are a parent it is about
the raising and the letting go.
The nurturing and the guiding.

What a rewarding,
challenging and very 
special experience.

It is good.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An Excellent Helpful Hint!

I doubt you'll need this info today...
but then I didn't know that I would either.

Did you know that to take "tape sticky"
off hard surfaces you can mix up a paste 
of baking soda and water?  Rubbing this 
onto the sticky residue will gently scour it
off without a big mess!


Another discovery today....
This was on the kitchen counter.

It has been in process for a while...
baked and partially put together but
time and space has not allowed Chelsea
to get back and finish it.

Last night she and Jonathan stayed up 
with every intention of watching the lunar 
eclipse and worked on this together.

I don't know if they watched the eclipse, 
or not, as they are still sleeping.
But, I do know that they made this 
very cute gingerbread house
which looks even better in person.

Gotta run!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Transformation Has Begun!

I am cleaning up the kitchen!

No more candle making until Christmas is 
unless I want to, that is...
Just this morning as I was processing leftover
wax into tea lights and other random candle
forms Chelsea asked for a layered orange
and cream candle to
go with her upcoming new room design.

Well, it just so happened that I had a 
generous amount of french vanilla 

So...I as write the first layer of her candle is 
setting up so that I can add to it.
Something tells me that I am not completely
done with these kinds of projects yet... can see the countertop!
That is so exciting!!

Today's goals include setting up two 
Nativity sets and taking down the 
temporary table that has been in our 
kitchen all Fall.
A gift from my brother many years ago.

I love makeovers of all kinds 
and so this week's changes around here
are like the ultimate 
self created makeover.

It has been such a wonderful candle season!
Tonight I will deliver the final batch of fundraiser orders
for 2010!

Thanks for bearing with me as I have 
whined, complained, rejoiced and
even begged.

Hope your Christmas week is a very happy one!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Molasses Crinkles and My Advice

Obviously I don't know it all.

I thought that Chelsea was putting too many 
large balls of dough too close together 
on the baking sheet
and would have a mess....

Not so much!

Awesome cookies.
They go very well with
a cup of Orange Tea.
This, I know.

Next time I'll keep my mouth shut!
Well.... I'll try to anyway.

Edited to add a link to the recipe at

Thanks for asking Tracy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not Your Typical Grandmas

Seems as if I have used this title for my Mom
and Warren's Mom before.  These two don't 
let any grass grow under their feet!

On a trip out west a couple of years ago.
A trail ride...Mom was glad for lessons on horseback before she left.

A little over four years ago when Mom got her
dog, Bear, she was concerned that this would 
limit her ability to go on mission trips.  We assured
her that we would gladly take care of Bear so she
could still travel.  She has taken us up on this and 
we are glad of that.

On a medical mission trip to El Salvador.

In Israel....
On a camel!

 I can only imagine what our Dads must
think if they can see this from Heaven.

Not positive but this was probably Masada.
However, even I was surprised to receive a call last 
Friday telling me that Mom was leaving before the 
New Year to go to Peru!  For three weeks!

Not just to the cities of Peru but up in the Andes 
mountains where they will drive as far as they can
and hike the rest of the way in to the villages.

Villages where there is just one water source
and one spigot.  Villages where your toilet is
a hole in the ground.  Where children die from 
hypothermia every year and life is 
unbelievably tough.  

This is where my Mom is headed.
To work with children.
Precious children who need to hear
about the love of Jesus.
With their poor survival rate one could
probably assume that some they meet on
this trip will not make it through the next winter.
They need to know the good news!
That they have a Savior.
One who died for their sins.
Mom is anxious to share this important
message with them.

Not just my Mom.
She is taking Warren's Mom too.
The organizer of the trip is so
thrilled to have a nurse joining 
them.....Georgia will work with 
the people to share basic hygiene.
She will show them how to brush their
teeth, keep their hands clean and other 
basic health skills.
Imagine if you lived with one source
of water for your neighborhood.
How often would you go and wash 
your hands?
But it is still important if they are to 
live healthy lives.

You can pray for Mom and Georgia 
as they go....
both ladies have some health issues 
that are of concern.
Going to that elevation is very hard on
even the young....
and these ladies are no spring chickens!
(Ha!  I had to write that...they read here.)

We will do our part here by taking care of 
their houses and pets.  Jonathan will get to 
see what it is like to live somewhere else for
three weeks as he house sits for them.

While they are gone
Mikey will move out.
He will begin his Professional Gardener's 
     Program at Longwood Gardens.
The weeks coming up are going to be 
intense....I am holding on!
He wouldn't mind your prayers either.
The challenges ahead are very real.
I think he will do just fine but it will
be a very interesting time of adjustment.

But back to our Moms, I am, oh, so proud of them
for following the calling in their lives.
They are ever ready to serve and share
their love of Christ!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just Eggs, Flour and Sugar????

I think not!

This is love.

This is Grandma and Granddaughter working together.

This is beautiful...tasty too!

Every December since Warren and I have been 
a pair I have seen this tin and others 
just as beautiful at his parent's house.

Now, that we live next door we are 
blessed to get to borrow it while we
consume the delectable contents.

No worries, Georgia, your 
tin will be back soon
to be refilled next year.

You just can't get enough of 
this kind of love...
and tradition!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


My poor, poor camera.

It is just sitting all by itself.

So lonely these days.

We have been ever so busy making,
packing and sending candles here, there
and everywhere....

In the past few days shipments have left
for Michigan, Kansas, Illinois New York and Connecticut.
We are talking very large boxes in some cases.
Warren set up an account with a major shipper
and those big guys went out the door with him.
Love it!

Last evening I spent an hour distributing candles
from my car to students who had sold.
Several people commented that had we been in a
different setting, rather than the authorized church parking
lot, there may have been questions asked!

It was brutally cold so in between student or 
parent arrivals I would turn the heat up full 
blast and try to soothe the frozen fingers!
My life is just one crazy adventure after another.
Apparently I like it that way 
because I do nothing
to change it.  
So don't even think about
feeling sorry for me. 
I'm not.

I did think I was losing my mind, however, 
when I realized that I had forgotten two 
French Vanilla candles for the second time
last night.  I was driving up the highway when 
it hit me.  And I knew that if this lady came she 
would be driving a distance.  The dilemma was 
that I was too far out to go back for them and 
to arrive on time but I could not, just could not,
picture myself not having them there for her.

Warren was off to his company Christmas party
where I was to join him later.  So....while delivering
an order to one of the student's homes...she lived 
on the way...I used her phone and called my kids.
The boys grudgingly drove them the 40 minutes to the 
church for me.  Arriving just as the woman walked 
over to me.  I explained my mistake to her and she 
was very kind.  She was happy that I had asked 
the kids to bring 12oz candles 
instead of the 8oz candles
she had ordered.  

It goes without saying that sometimes I just cannot 
be perfect.  But to forget those particular candles
twice????  Must be something about those vanilla
candles!  I am just so thankful that it all worked out!

I had to laugh at how word travels.
One family from a different fundraiser needed 
their order earlier than their scheduled delivery
date and so it was very convenient for everyone
for me to make and deliver them with the order
last evening.  What amused me was that not fifteen
minutes after discussing it with the first Mom,
a Dad from another family wanted his too.
He mentioned that he had just talked to the 
other mom.  
Cracked me up!
Not a problem, really....but I did have to make
a bunch of his candles yesterday and it definitely 
threw a curve into things.

I am also working on our Christmas Eve
program for church.
Many from the congregation will be
participating as usual and I like 
to tie it all together somehow.
I have written parts for two people
and am waiting patiently for those
two people to agree to do it.

Maybe today!

It is going to be so cute...
One of the families in our church
recently had a new baby girl.
They are going to dress as Mary 
and Joseph and will gather the 
children around them to read the 
Christmas story.
The children wanted to sing for 
the program ....
they chose Jesus Loves Me.
Now, understand that the children's
ages run from two to eight.
So this was a song that all of them knew.
But it will fit perfectly just before the
reading of the Christmas Story.

Oh, I must get going.
Sorry to meander on but 
much has been going on here and 
I have not had time to share.

I miss reading many of your 
blogs and hope to have time
for that once again very soon.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Chelsea, Chloe and Gingerbread Men to the Rescue

I went to bed early the other evening.
This is such a rare occurrence. 
I am very rarely caught by surprise by 
things here at home because I am one of the 
first to wake up and the last to bed most nights.

However this evening was the exception.
The exhaustion had caught up with me and 
I was out by 9:30pm.

When I awoke the next morning I was so pleased
to find these happy little gingerbread men on
the Christmas tree.  I think they are the saving grace
for our disaster of a tree.

I think this one was playing peek-a-boo!

The tree is actually being held upright by a cinderblock
on the tree stand.  This being necessary because 
of Mikey's solution to its volume. 
You may remember that
he chopped the back of the tree off.
It was logical
at the time but I don't think that there was a lot
of forethought given to balance and weight issues.
Oh well, Warren has lots of practice at getting 
the rest of us out of our self induced dilemmas.
He is the BEST!

The tree is finally dressed with white lights, 
blue and white ornaments and ribbon.
 Aren't these little guys just the cutest??
She has named each and every one.

I confess that Chelsea and I ate "Jonathan".
His head broke so what were we to do??

I just thought these two were way too 
cute together the other morning.
I made them pose...

Merry YOU!