Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Many Faces of Me

Bet you're wondering what the world is going on here...

What are these weird faces....

What do they mean?

Let's play a little game~I'll give you some clues...
The top photo is my Pilgrimage profile-YO!What do you guess I needed a paper plate face for-YO?! Some strange, cult Presbyterian thing-YO?! If you really wanna know-YO! To the next Pilgrimage you must go-YO!

The other two are pictures of my final project for art therapy class last weekend. The front view is the face I show the world. The back side is the real me...the inside me that the world does not see. Unless I choose to share with someone. Allow them a glimpse.
Can you guess all the symbols on my mask? What do you see outside? Inside?
If you can guess, I'll either be your best friend OR I'll marry you!
Not really~or maybe...

It's so interesting...we all wear masks of different types, for different occasions, around certain people, in certain places, at various ages and places in our lives. Just goes to show you that there's always more to everyone than meets the eye! It would be very enlightening to know how people really see us versus the way we see ourselves. Wonder what we could learn from that? What if we drop the mask? Would that set us free or cause pain?
Masks~not just for Halloween or the theater stage.
What kind of mask do you wear?
Any thoughts?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another day @ FMG

Here's the latest addition to our FMG collection. We have basically the same pictures, every season of the year, for the past three years! Today was about as perfect a day as can be had in Michigan on November 1st. Jayden and I are making or 7th our 8th trip of the year to Frederick Meijer Gardens. We're getting the most out of our membership! Funny how certain little things become so important. Jayden now insists on eating lunch at the cafe. He always wants to take the tram ride around the park. We have to stop at the sandpit no matter what. Even when the butterflies are no longer present, we have to go to the "butterfly place" aka the conservatory.We were outside nearly all day.It felt good. Jayden and I both got our arobics in running up and down the stairs in the ampitheater. I swear that was an hour of our day! Not to mention, Jayden has quite the pumpkin obsession and this time of year there are many to be found on the grounds here.He always wants to get his picture made with each pumpkin he encounters! He also loves to come around Halloween because of the spooky decorations they put up in the garden. Now the Great Lakes model is all sealed up and the fountains are turned off. By a stroke of good fortune, there were still some toys, trucks and shovels to use at the sandpit and dishes for the tea table in "the jungle". Jayden got to see the fish he loves so much in the pond near the entry and the ducks in the lower pond. The water was still turned on in the "circle thing" so that provided at least one opportunity to get wet! At the end of the day, there's one more stop at the cafe to get an ice cream treat. A quick look in the gift shop. Off we go towards home, just before 5pm closing time. Home to eat dinner and play games, watch a movie, before bathtime, prayers, and naps.So many traditions!I know those are the things children remember most from childhood.Tomorrow morning will come early~6 am~and we will be off for another tradition...breakfast at the Windmill before heading to school.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Howdy, Pilgrim

No, not trying to imitate John Wayne~just showing a couple photos from work today. I decided to be a Pilgrim this year, inspired by my Pilgrimage last weekend...cleaver, huh?? Now I'm all set for Thanksgiving, too. Next year I can change it up a little and be a nun. Anybody know a handsome priest? Anyway, we had fun today and I'm sure you can view all the giddy-ups from Body Perfections on our facebook website. We had an angel/devil(Lisa), two cowgirls (Lindsey and Brooke), two faeries (Rae and Miranda)and a bathrobe beauty with curlers in her hair(Kari). Just thought I'd share... you're never too old to dress up for Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Getting there is half the fun??? By the time I left for my Pilgrimage, I felt like I had run a marathon!! Nothing went right~especially Mapquest~SHOCKER!!I was late for the rendezvous. The force was definitely not with me!I had a flashlight that didn't work, couldn't find the rain poncho, bedding was still damp because Tyler forgot to put it in the drier...I could go on and on! Whenever we make big commitments in our lives,it seems that big obstacles pop up to test our resolve! Such was the case with me and Pilgrimage.Still, I had the sense of being called and I knew deep down that it was meant to be for me to experience this thing called Pilgrimage. But what the world is Pilgrimage anyway??? Nobody was telling...Some sort of spiritual journey I was sure. But what were they going to do there? Especially without cellphones, laptops, and FACEBOOK!!! I wondered if it was an Amway ploy? A secret society like The Skulls? Worse yet..some kind of cult. Hmmmm. Hey, wait a minute, Kathy Bruins invited me. I'm sure she's not into anything weird.She looks innocent enough. Anyway, the Presbyterian church has some affiliation with this. When was the last time you ever heard of a bunch of Presbyterians running amuck, losing control, and going wild?? NEVER! Yeah, I'm sure it's probably ok. What's the worst thing that can happen? Go ahead, live dangerously, take a risk, right? So, I went.
You know me, I'm the one with the "I'm blogging this" T-shirt. It was my intention to write a tell-all, complete with pictures, describing in extensive detail everything I did and experienced on my Pilgrimage. In retrospect, I have decided not to do that. Why? Because Pilgrimage was a very unique, life-altering, God-finding, soul-searching event and, looking back, I understand why my friend did not want to tell me about Pilgrimage. She wanted me to have my own experience, uninfluenced by the input of others.There are people in my life that I hope will make this journey themselves and I do not wish to diminish the experiences of any future Pilgrims in any way. In fact, I believe that Pilgrimage should be on everyone's Bucket List~a once-in-a-lifetime must!
So, I apologize to those I promised to enlighten upon my return...
There are a few things I can say about Pilgrimage, however:

*Presbyterians are a lot more fun than I had ever imagined!
*The dining experience was very colorful, shall we say...roosters were crowing, hens clucking, chicks peeping!
*The first night I thought I had morphed into a nun.
*The second day I was channeling Picasso, Rembrandt,Leonardo Da Vinci, or maybe someone more on the order of Andy Warhol :)
*The third day I could have been mistaken for a cast member from Saturday Night Live!
*The fourth day everyone turned into a ROCK star!
*For some reason, the number 22 keeps popping into my head (inside joke!)

Lana Mae Baker gives Pilgrimage a 5-star rating and 2 thumbs waaaay UP!!

THE LORD IS MY ROCK! Psalms 18:2

Sunday, October 18, 2009


This slideshow is basackwards because I couldn't figure how to re-order the pictures in the web album after it was uploaded.A Benjamin Button kinda concept! Please keep in mind that this pond is not finished...and probably will not be until the good weather comes again in Spring/Summer of 2010. Just consider this a work-in-process:

Granny's Groovewalk

Jayden and I have our own version of the Groovewalk and here it is:

After a frustrating attempt to attend the Kids Hope Prayer Walk...which turned out not to be a walk, which I was counting on to work the wiggles out of my little wiggle bug...Jayden isn't big on a lot of talking and no activity. So, Barb graciously excused us from the rest of the meeting and we spent a surprisingly entertaining afternoon walking downtown in Holland. Not very busy downtown this crisp Fall Sunday afternoon. Only a select few have acquired this taste...But we had fun noticing all the pumpkins downtown and drooling over the candy at the Peanut Store and Kilwins. We scoped out all the toys at the Sandcastle. We even peeked in the window at the Windmill where we will have breakfast in the morning before school. Most of the businesses were closed but we enjoyed the water fountains and all the sculptures that Jayden likes to pose with. We encountered a mix of Fall and harvest themed decorations and Halloween ones. We saw the occaisional dog out walking his owner. We shuffled our feet through several big piles of leaves. Stopped for a drink out of the drinking fountain at City Flats Hotel. Then made our way back to the water fountain where we parked our car. A quick trip to McDonald's for some Chicken Nuggets. Then home to check out the inside of the barn -just to make sure nothing has changed since last week! Jay taks a little sit on top of the hay bales in the pasture. We let Gunther and Patches run, before settling back inside for our usual viewing of Cars before bath and prayers and naps. We like our version of the Groovewalk just fine :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Honey Crisp Express

Yet another trip to Crane's...Somehow this never gets old! We had a wonderful lunch at the Pie Pantry and then out into the orchard to pick our favorite apples...Honey Crisps, of course! So sweet and delish~Bombdiggity!

We picked up some apple cider doughnuts to go, along with an apple pie that was still warm from the oven and some apple butter and raspberry jam, along with a gallon of their apple cider. That should hold us for awhile...but not too long~it will soon be Halloween time and time to go through the Haunted Corn Maze! What would we do around here without Crane's?? It just would not be the same!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day 2009: All Play and No Work!

After extensive physical training, exhaustion, and near-fainting, I am proud to say that I made it ALL the way-all .19K- of the 11th Annual Blue Star Bridge Walk between Douglas and Saugatuck! Took all of about 5 minutes! The event began with the town crier announcing the bridge walk officially open. He was followed by a cadre that included the mayors of both Saugatuck and Douglas, two bagpipers, and congressman Pete Hoekstra. I would say there were at least 500 of us walking, double that if you count all the dogs! I had my reversible sign: Saugatuck or bust/Douglas or bust...there was one guy on a pogo stick...and then an entire line of people with toilet plungers(???).It was quite an experience! Of course, Kim and I just had to get the official T-shirts. We stopped at the doughnut and ice cream breakfast in the park afterwards as well. Next stop was Crane's Orchard. This marks the first weekend of apple picking. Since we were meeting Rachel and Carol for lunch at the Pie Pantry, then off to Detroit to the IKEA, we didn't want to pick a lot of apples~just enough to snack on during the trip. So, Gala's, Golden Supremes, and MacIntoshes were the ones ready now and we picked a few of each. We had lunch with Carol and Rachel Nykerk at noon and it was yummy as usual.Great conversation and wonderful to catch up again with both those gals~don't think I've seen Rach and Carol since our trip to Oregon in May/June. Our delicious lunch gave us the sustenance we needed for our roadtrip to Detroit Rock City IKEA. Kim had never been to an IKEA and I have only gone several times...with men..who have no patience for shopping, I might add! Never have I gone and been able to look at my leisure. So, we both shopped until our heart's content. We looked at EVERYTHING! There's enough stuff there to just make your head swim!We got a lot of great ideas and bought a few small kitchen gadgets and closet organizing supplies. Tired but happy, we stopped at Chili's for a very nice dinner and then home in the rainstorm. Our Labor Day was all play and no work~as it should be!Tomorrow is back to reality but, on the bright side,a short work week.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Granny has been working waaaay too much lately! So, last weekend I promised Jayden that I'd take him wherever he wanted to go...I am always amazed at the number of times he asks to go to Frederik Meijer Gardens! This is why, after our first year going to the butterflies, we just went ahead and got a membership. I'll bet we've been there an average of 8 times a year for the past three years! Jayden adores this place and I have developed such a fondness for it, too. I know we have taken many photos here. Many of them similar except for the fact that Jayden continues to change and grow up. This day, we went walking in a part of the garden that we've never gone to before. While on our walkabout, we ran into some aquaintances from Holland who were attending the wedding of a former neighbor. It was an Indian wedding and the traditional saris the women were wearing were just breathtaking! Jayden hit all his favorite spots...the fountains, the Great Lakes (complete with boats) and the sandpit where he is obsessed with the trucks and digging holes! We ate lunch in the cafe there and then did something at FMG that we have never done before-we took the tram all the way through the garden and viewed all the sculptures. It was really worth doing. I had no idea there were so many...and so much more room left for future expansion. The guide gave us all the names of the various works of art and told us who the artists were and a bit of background information about each artist and each piece of sculpture. It was really neat~and I learned something, too. Always a bonus!The farm hosted tastings for heirloom tomatoes today and there was also a rose show. It is my intention to get more involved with the exhibits and classes offered here in the future. For now, we'll be back later in the Fall for the pumpkin art and the Halloween decorations, then, of course the Christmas trees...and the cycle will begin anew with the return of the butterflies in the spring. We will be there!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What the cluck?!

The Whitecaps took a shalacking by the Fort Wayne Tincaps! The Whitecaps started out like champs~Gustavo Nunez doubled, then made it to third on a grounder and ran it home on a pitch that went astray. This in the first inning. After that, no Whitecap made it past first base! The Tincaps scored a run in the 5th, three more in the 6th, and buried us under 3 more runs in the 7th to strike the final blow. Whitecaps lost 7-1. The worst game I've seen this season at 5/3RD Ballpark.

The redemption of this night came by way of the famous San Diego Chicken who I hear is possibly slated for retirement this year. This guy, Ted Giannoulas, has been "doing the chicken" since he was in college at San Diego State in 1974! A rock station in San Diego hired him for $2/ hr. to pass out candy at Easter time at the San Diego Zoo. He was such a big hit, the station kept him on to do other promotions. The chicken started showing up at the Padres games and that was the beginning...since then, this famous foul has appeared not only in sports events, but has been part of the concerts of such artists as Paul McCartney, J.Geils Band, Sammy Hagar, and even Elvis! He has entertained presidents. He even had a cameo in the cult classic movie, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.During all these many years, Ted Giannoulas has never refused an autograph request or denied a photo with a fan of any age, no matter how long after an event he has to stay to accomplish this.

I have seen the San Diego Chicken probably 6 times~it never gets old! This guy is always coming up with new material. Tonight was no exception. He pulled out the eye exam chart for the ref, he did multiple dance moves, ate and pooped out a ball(Jayden is still talking about the chicken going potty outside!), he kicked the ref in the rear, he made a mess sweeping the field when the groundskeepers were trying to do their work, he got the bases stuck to his feet and ran off with them, got into a water balloon fight, got his clothes ripped off(or is that feathers plucked?)and too many things to mention! ALL adorable and Jayden really loved it!! The chicken definitely saved the day seeing as the game itself was a total loss!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The game that never happened on the weekend that wasn't...

I'm having another one of those weekends...the kind where all I do is work :( So, the highlight of the weekend was supposed to be the Whitecaps game on Saturday night BUT the rain just did not let up and it was finally cancelled without the Whitecaps even taking the field!) I've been there before when the game has started and then got delayed by rain or cancelled by rain after at least some play but this time, Oh, no, not even one pitch, not one high fly to center, grounder to third, foul ball, no stolen bases~nada, nyet, zero, zilch! Still, it was an interesting scene in some ways...we got there early and so we were able to have a little table under the eves. We got beer, hot dogs, hamburgs, peanuts. We stood around and visited and people watched. Pretty soon, everyone was scrunched up under the eves. I bet the vendors made a killing. Nothing to do but eat, drink ,and be as merry as possible. The kids had all gotten these funny little super hero capes as a promotional gift. Personally, I wanted one but you had to be 14 or under to get one and I guess I just wasn't convincing enough. Some of the adults were making skirts out of their kids' capes and dancing around. It was an interesting sight. The thing that finally caught and held our attention for a good portion of the evening was the people who were attempting to eat a Fifth Third Burger. As I understand it, the Fifth Third Burger is five 1/3 pound beef patties(to make it 5/3rds of a pound~get it??~because 5/3rd is the name of the ballpark...built by 5/3rd bank.Cleaver, huh? Then, in addition to the meat there's nacho cheese, chili, salsa, crushed tortilla chips, tomato and lettuce, served on an 8" sesame seed bun. This gigantic gut bomb has 5,000 calories, 300 grams of fat, and bunches of carbs! The other name for it is "heart attack on a bun".I have not verified the following information but someone told me the Fifth Third Burger costs $20. There's some sort of time limit, but if you eat one in one sitting, you get a free one or a Tshirt or something like that. There were two teenage boys making the attempt as well as one guy, we're guessing, about 40ish, who was attempting to eat two of them! Although he was an attractive fellow, the fact that he could eat that much of anything in one sitting made us girls a little nervous...hmmm.Anyway, I guess he was successful at doing that in May and decided to try it again. By the time the game was cancelled, at least one of the teenagers had made it. The older guy had finished one but was still working on the other. I'll get more of the complete low-down on the Fifth Third Burger next time~besides all this entertainment~we get to come back to another game for free because of the rain. So, either during playoffs or next May for sure, we get to do this all again! See, there is a silver-lining! Here's a few photos of our rain-drenched outing:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Grand Lady Riverboat Cruise

There's a bit of a nautical theme to my posts lately...last weekend canoeing and this weekend I joined the SBD gang for a very pleasant afternoon picnic cruise down the Grand River. We saw many families of turtles along the way perched on branches in the river, lots of beatiful woods and colorful vegetation, along with an assortment of birds. Very picturesque. We discovered an extensive bike path that stretched thoughout the wooded area. A plan for a bike adventure in the near future is taking shape! Meanwhile, here are a few photos of our time aboard The Grand Lady:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Adventures in Canoeing

Lana, Jayne, and the SBD bunch hit the Pere Marquette today. We had a canoe convoy that took us 15-20 miles downriver...some of us got off at the 15 mile landing but a number of the teams went the entire 20 mile length. The weather was perfect. The river was busy. We stopped for a nice lunch on the bank at noon. Shortly thereafter, Jayne and Lana ran amuck, tipped over, got stuck, got unstuck, ran amuck, rinse and repeat!Then Lana went solo with her unflattering disembarkment move out of the canoe~very comical:)))Unfortunately, during these times, we were otherwise occupied and sorry, no photos!Just glad we had the camera safely in a ziplock bag, securely in the mesh bag, which was tied to the handhold of the canoe or we wouldn't even have the pix we did get. You'll have to use your imagination...Very fun. Jayne and I are still speaking after all of this and, as a matter of fact, plan to go again next year as a team. This is true friendship if you can canoe together, tip it twice, and still consider the relationship solvent. Well, we were up the river without a paddle and lived to tell~next adventure, please!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Whitecaps Fun

The Victory Point bunch took in the Whitecaps game today at 5/3rd Ballpark in Grand Rapids. My pictures didn't turn out too great this time so I'm afraid this adorable photo of me and my "date" Kim DeGlopper is the only one I find suitable to post. The Whitecaps basically annihilated the Cedar Rapids Kernels~they were pretty corny! The Caps won 10-4. Adam Wilk played his first game in the Midwest League giving up only 2hits, shutout for 6 innings, and managed to get 7 strikeouts. Not bad! It was a great night at bat for the Caps. Ben Guez had 5 hits, and out of the nine starters, eight of them had hits as well. The game unravelled a bit in the ninth inning when the Kernels came alive to get 4 runs in before being put to bed once and for all by the Whitecaps. Love that Dizzy Bat Race, the Cow Tipping, and the Eyeball Race! Great atmosphere~perfect weather~lots of fun!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ribfest ala Dan

Dan Wedge opened his home once again for what has become an annual event, the ribfest. The Life Connections group from CWC and misc. friends, family, and neighbors came to enjoy Dan's famous ribs, conversation, yard games and a campfire. Wish I could have stayed longer but it was a delightful evening anyway. Thanks so much Dan for being such a gracious host! Already planning on next year...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jay Date: Day at the museum

Those few of you who are faithful blog followers will see, once again, the cycle that repeats itself...this is year two...or is it three? Well, we've had at least a couple sets of pictures of Jayden at the Children's Museum downtown in Grand Rapids. Each time he's a little bigger. Each time, his interests have changed or the way that he plays in certain areas is more sophisticated. He is now able to conceptualize how to set up the ball maze or how to put the train tracks together. When we first started coming to the museum, Jayden simply ran from one spot to the next with hardly a pause. I see so much progress in his attention span and thought processes. Makes Granny proud...and I said that to Jay several times today. At one point he stopped what he was doing and asked me, "Gramma are you proud of me?" So, I guess he even understands the value of having someone be proud of your accomplishments. We enjoyed the day together, just Jay and I. Later, we stopped at home to pick up Ty for a run to the grocery store and to shop for new tennis shoes. This is at least the third pair of Spiderman tennis shoes he's had. Bonus, they had some Spiderman flip-flops too on closeout for $4 so who could pass that up? It amazes me, but Jayden never gets tired of Elmo's Potty Time so, of course, we had to watch it. Jay loves to feed the cats and dogs and help Gran water the flowers. Good times!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pig Roast

Here's a little ditty about Chuck and Diane~had a pig roast at their house and it was grand!

This annual pig roast and lawn party was once again a resounding success~our very own Bob DeVries DJ'd the event and specializes in oldies and classic rock(you can connect with Bob to DJ and/or his band, FULL COUNT at and there was plenty of intense fellowship...including the "f" thing that rhymes with skirt...A good time had by all.Our group has some pretty good dancers...I wonder if we'll see some of them on Dancing with the Stars?? You just never know. Thanks again to Chuck and Diane for their warmth, generosity, and wonderful hospitality! Next year, Bob, Molly Hatchett, OK?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Welcome Home, Derek!

A picture is worth a thousand words...Lets just say, parties at Derek's are legendary and this one was no exception! A good time was had by all~many thanks to Pam, Tom, and everyone who helped make this a fun evening. Great to see everybody!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

At the Zoo

Our annual trek to John Ball Zoo happened today. We are used to a much larger zoo when we go to zoo Oregon. But our little one in GR has it's own funky hometown charm. New on the agenda, we stopped and got Jayden an airbrushed tat. He chose the snake himself. Then we also petted the sting rays this year. Jayden did the passport activites along the nature trail, too. Missing from our adventure this time was the camel ride. Nobody quite felt like it by the time we got there. He did the petting zoo. We saw all the exhibits. Jayden didn't make it to the swan boats again this year...maybe next year.Again this year, the two semi-finalists for the stinkiest animals were the Flamingos and the Bears. Last year I would have called it a tie but this year I would say the Bears won, hands down, for the most unGodly, foul stench! They need to change their diet! We got really close up to the Mountain Lions. Such beautiful animals. We saw the lions and tigers, too. The African exhibit has come a long way since they put it in-really grown up and filled in as far as the vegetation goes. Jayden was a funny little guy this year though...he kept saying such hilarious stuff.. Like answering "absolutely!" and "whatever" to almost everything! Another thing he kept doing is telling Tyler "that's a bad word" or "don't say that word" even when it wasn't a bad word~drove Tyler nuts and it was really funny after awhile. Then Jayden decided it would be cool to call his dad by his first name. That really didn't go over well with Tyler! When we were leaving the zoo, Jayden was looking at the bronze statue of John Ball and he asked, "What happened to him?" And Tyler told him, "They dipped him in Bronze!" We all got a good laugh out of that one :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Night at Sapphire Lake

The SBD folks gathered at the home of our very own Johhny B. for a potluck and campfire on Sapphire Lake. Perfect weather, gorgeous setting, great company, wonderful eats, a few adult beverages, and a rip-roaring fire after the sun set. At some point we got John to give us the tour. His house is so cozy~classy but comfortable. Very nice. So, after that, at some point during the course of the evening, and after spending some time with Leinenkugel, we hatched out a plot to secure our place in this lovely residence so we never have to leave...It went something like this...We decided to become Mormons. That way, John could marry all of us and we could be sisterwives just like on the HBO show Big Love. Diane, in true form, and the leader that she is,decided our work assignments: I'm in charge of all the sex and bedroom activities (why would she pick me???), Diane's gonna clean the place and Deb's in charge of the kitchen. Well, we tried to sell the idea to John but he said the prospect of having the three of us around was just too overwhelming. So, we had to concede defeat for the moment. But we asked him to just continue to consider the offer. Meantime, we had an incredible night by the lake. That is, until the mosquitoes got the better of us. Even if John doesn't accept our offer, we do genuinely thank him for his gracious hospitality at this most lovely of settings and hope that he will consider having us all back again next summer~I will bring my fishing pole and swim suit next time!

Dueling Pianos

Gotta love those Friday night concerts in Kollen's Park!We had such a beautiful night and the music was awesome. All standards that we knew, loved, and could sing along with. These two guys are great! They are available for parties and special events:

As usual, Boatwerks afterwards...the band there was great, too, but nothing compared with the wonderful companionship of friends :)))

Monday, July 6, 2009

Take me out to the ballgame

Here's another family tradition that I am now enjoying with Jayden the way I did with my two boys~going to the ballpark, complete with all the sights, sounds and smells of a real, live game~nothing quite like it!Another tradition, we went to AJ's before and after the game to do gokarts, kiddiekarts, the bumper boats and some of the arcade games.Jayden got to do his first "driving" in the kiddiekarts and then Granny and Jayden faced-off with Dad, Tyler, on the bumper boats. We ran into the waterfall just for fun and got soaking wet! Stopped at the Main Street Pub on the way home for dinner on the patio. Then watched a little Elmo's Potty Time, Jayden had a nice bath,on with the Thomas the Tank Engine PJ's, and a long nap with Gran...Gunther, Patches, and assorted cats who rotate guard duty throughout the night. These are the good old days. How wonderful to get another chance to relive these special times over again with a whole new generation and to see these "old experiences" through new eyes.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Kollen's Park 4th of July Fireworks

Second year in a row (so now it's a tradition)I went to the firework display at Kollen's Park accompanied by the usual suspects, as you can see! I met up with Mandy in the Morning JQ99 DJ and personal friend from church. Ran into the rowdy singles bunch from CWC ;) Hung out with Carrie and Jamie, Bonnie and Annie~no pictures of them cuz they arrived after dark...The music was good with various groups entertaining until the 10:20 start time of the fireworks.Then the B-BOP (Big Band of Praise)took the stage and we did a group version of God Bless America and The Star Spangled Banner before the show began. We had live music and songs all the way through the fireworks and it was an especially spectacular display this year. Sooo...since they decided to have the firworks on the 3rd instead of the 4th, I guess it'll be some other activity tomorrow. Wait and see. I think it's a toss up between Whitecaps baseball and going to see The Proposal.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another perfect Jay Day

As most of you know, Meijer Gardens is a favorite place for us. The Children's Garden is a place Jayden can spend the entire day and never get bored. We are members so we go very often. It never fails to bring us happiness. Since the gardens close at 5pm, still plenty of daylight, we went to Huizenga Park to visit the ducks and geese and to play at Timber Town~another favorite! Dinner at Logan's...gotta love those peanuts :) Home for playdoh, Elmo's Dinosaur video, bath and bed. Another perfect day spent with Jayden.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

South Haven Reflections 2009

Hard to believe the speed at which one week can pass! Here are some images of our trip this year to South Haven. I can close my eyes and see the water, the sand, the pier, North and South beaches, the cottages and the gardens in the VanStreen compound. I can hear the birds. I can hear the waves. I see all the lovely homes and cottages that line North Shore Drive. And oh those sunsets! These are the images that sustain me through our bitter, long Michigan winters...if I can make it to June and South Haven, then all will be well :)

Friday, June 26, 2009


True, I have not graduated yet...May 15, 2010 is the day, to be exact. Still, June 25th had cause for celebration~in spite of the passing of two megastars: Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Life is weird like that. A mixed bag to be sure. The occasion we were commemorating on this night was the completion of our core classes! Yes, we do have our clinical work yet to do. Practicum begins in early July and Internship begins the last of August. Some of us are doing the extra 12 credits to be eligible for an out of state license. So, it's not like we aren't going to have any studying ahead...not to mention the National Counseling Exam-YIKES! But we are done with all of our core classes and that represents the culmination of two solid years worth of hard work, blood, sweat, tears and a whole lotta moolah!$ So, hats off to us, MAC GR 06(aka Zach's Harem)! Good work! Well Done! Kudos to our cohort all around...Would you trust these people to do your psychotherapy? If so, we'll be available soon for consultations. However, probably not at Bar Louie!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Celebration of Friendship

Going to South Haven has always been special. I loved the early years when my family (former spouse and kids) would go to South Haven for the Harbor Fest during Father's Day weekend. We'd stay at the Old Harbor Inn and cook out, go to the festival, listen to the music, see the crafts, spend time on the beach, go through the quaint little shops in town, take in a movie at the cheap little theater, have bonfires, eat at Clementines, have ice cream at Sherman's and walk the town all the way to the pier and back. I would always steal away somewhere by myself to watch the water, pray and meditate. It was sort of like a spiritual retreat. I have always felt this way here. It's similar to how I feel when I'm in Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast. These places just connect with me.The past 4 0r 5 years I've shared the treehouse with Sandy to one degree or another. This is the first year I have been able to stay all week and not have to go to work~although, school has been relentless! We usually invite friends to come down and share the experience. This year I invited my Lifegroup from VPM.

Sort of a bittersweet internship, which starts in July, will prevent me from attending my Monday night group. I've been a part of this group for maybe 4 or 5 years. I think I started when Trev was a Junior or Senior in High School and he is now 21. So, needless to say, these ladies have walked with me through thick and thin and I with them . We have prayed for each other, remembered each other's birthdays, done various service projects, read I don't know how many books together in our group, just been there for one another. I realize that nothing stays the same forever and that this next year will be for me all about taking the crucial next steps to finishing my Master's degree, deciding where I want to live, embarking on a new career path...lots of new and lots of change. I am planning on joining with the Central Wesleyan LifeConnections Sunday school as a replacement for the Lifegroup I'm leaving. But I realize that, no matter what, these ladies cannot be replaced in my life! They occupy a very special spot and always will. And, I will still see them at church. There's email. And facebook. Of course, Compass Pointe. But it won't be the same as being there week to week and I WILL MISS THEM! So, it was especially meaningful to have them over for dinner on Monday night to the Treehouse in South Haven.My South Haven buds, Sandy and Debbie joined us as well.

I fixed yummy fruit and tropical drinks, had chips and salsa for appetizer while we relaxed and talked in the yard. Misty and Sandy ran the grill. We had marinated chicken and pork tenderloin. We marinated and grilled green beans, zucchini and crookneck squash, mushrooms, onions, peppers, carrots and new potatoes. We had salad. And topped it all off with brownies and cheesecake. We talked and laughed and went into the yard with bubble wands and played like little kids. Then we walked down to the beach near sunset and just sat and admired the view. Before we knew it, it was time to say goodnight. Time goes by so fast when you are surrounded by great friends! This is the magic of South Haven~

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dad's Day Done Different

Several weeks ago, I was out having coffee with a friend. We went to the counter to pay for our drinks and I saw a big display of Father's Day cards. I had a little momentary meltdown right there in the coffee shop. It came from out of the blue, triggered, no doubt by the cards, and the knowledge that I would not be needing to buy one this year because I no longer had a Dad to give one to. Not here on this earth anyway. I knew this Father's Day was going to be a tough one. The death of my dad on March 24th is just too new. I have not yet adjusted to him being gone. My dad has been such a significant person in my life that I can honestly say that I am not sure I will ever completely "get over it". I went to church and we had communion this Sunday. I am always touched by this sacrament but this time it was especially meaningful to me. That helped me feel closer to my Dad~a man of faith who shared this sacrament himself many times throughout his life. I packed and left for South Haven almost immediately after church. This is my traditional week to be there. Harbor Fest. Father's Day. Sharing time with Sandy and Debbie in the "tree house" at Mrs. VanStreen's. The air, the water, the beach, the trees, the birds~all so healing to me. This year especially so. Sandy lost her father about 3 years ago so we decided to celebrate and commemorate the lives of our fathers by having a little memorial service on the beach. We took sticks and wrote messages to our Dads in the sand. Hearts. Crosses. Phrases like: God Bless you in Heaven, Dad~I miss you Dad~Love you always.Sandy and I called these our Father's Day cards.

We both felt like our Dads were right there enjoying the sight of them. Then we sat and talked about our Dads on the beach. We told funny stories about our Dads. For instance, my Dad always called Father's Day, Farter's Day! We cried about some of the sad or personal memories, like the last time we talked to our Dads and some of the especially kind things they had done for us. We talked about the contributions these men made to our lives and how they shaped the women we have become. I will always be thankful for the great foundation in the Word that I got from sitting under my father's ministry and the Christian Heritage I got from both of my parents. Those deep roots of faith have carried me through many of life's most trying experiences, has made me the person that I am, and has given me great cause to celebrate the many aspects of my life in which I am truly blessed. Again, we felt that our Dads had heard every word and that they were enjoying this conversation between their daughters. I also thought of my Heavenly Father who is with me always. I am very well taken care of in the Father department! Honored to have two wonderful, loving Dads! This was a tough day, yes, but one that ended with joyful reflection, gratitude, love, humor, calm and peace. Happy Father's Day, Daddy! Love, your baby girl~

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Youngest Eagle Leaves The Nest

Trev and I met for lunch today at Crazy Horse. Nothing unusual there. I do a lot of things with my sons and grandson. Except... it will be our last outing together for awhile. Bittersweet.Trev is on a plane this afternoon to go live with his dad a short period of time and then into the Navy. We have a nice lunch. We talk. We laugh and cry. Emotions are running high. We have never been away from each other more than a few weeks at a time. We will miss each other. We run to the library and quickly print off his eticket. I walk him to the car. One last tearful hug in the parking lot. I hand him the card I wrote earlier in the morning~and cried the entire time I was writing it. All my love documented in a Hallmark card. I ask if I can pray with him and we do~both crying now. "God be with us both while we are absent one from another...AMEN!" We get in our cars and blow each other a kiss. He is going home to get his bag and have Courtney drive him to the airport. I have to get back to work. While all us moms know this day will come sooner or later...AND it is our job to raise independent children who go off into the world to lead independent lives... but somehow, when the moment comes, it's a shock on the system! All those memories flash through your head: the day they were born, their school days, the story books, the playdoh, fishing poles, roller skates and bikes, the million gazillion soccer and football games, learning to drive, the first dates, the proms, high school graduation. Where did it all go? So fast! And yet, while a bit sad and reminiscent, I would not have it any other way. It is time. Every man needs a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue~at least that's what John Eldridge says...and I believe it's true. So, my Trevee is off on his quest and mom is proud and a little sad. I just got the phone call that he has made it to L.A. safe and sound. This is the start of a new life for him and I hope it's a great one!

OK~I know I'm being melodramatic but this is my baby! I realize it's not like I won't ever see him again. We will call, and text, and email, and, of course, Facebook! There will be visits home. More holidays and celebrations. Our family will be complete and together again I am sure. I sheepishly remember those fleeting moments when, out of frustration, I felt like selling him to the zoo for 5 cents...another mom thing...and all the times I wanted to kick him to the curb for being lazy and not helping around the house. Today, Trev ran for the curb on his own. Now, I just remember what a privilege it has been to be his mom and to watch him grow from a boy to a man. What a wonderful experience in my life. And...there's more to come! It will just be different. Grown-up stuff now. Well, on a lighter note, it wasn't two hours after Trev left that I got a call from Tyler wondering if I wanted to sell Trev's bedroom furniture! I just had to chuckle :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Full Monty was full of fun!

A little band of us Ya-Ya's took a road trip to Kalamazoo on Sunday to kill two birds with one stone:1.) We went to see The Full Monty at the Kalamazoo Civic Theater for a few laughs and some girlfriend time.2.) The other reason for the trip was to see my friend Flo Musser's daughter, Amy, who was working as a stage manager intern there since January.
The play was possibly one of funniest things I've ever seen in my life! The laughs were practically non-stop and at one point, I had tears in my eyes!The singing and dancing were first rate. A lot of profanity and adult humor in the songs which didn't bother me but I can see why not too many people from Holland wanted to go-lol! I loved the cast! It was a great mix~each person had their own charm. The guys were absolutely fantastic. I give them a lot of credit for being willing to grin and bare it ;))) The finale was indeed GRAND~really cute and very unique!I was worried that I might be disappointed because I loved the movie so much but I was pleasantly surprised. Let's say it certainly kept one's interest!I have never been to this theater before.It is beautiful, old and quaint.This theater is located downtown in the artsy area of KZoo. So much character. They had a fantastic live band also which we do not have the luxury of in Holland at our Civic Theater. The coffee served at intermission came in little china cups. It was an elegant touch and the lounge areas are of the classic ilk as well. It reminded me of past glory days of theater. A nice trip back in time to a place where elegance and the arts were held in higher esteem. It had an old-timey, more genteel feeling to it that I really loved.

Seeing Amy again was wonderful, too! She has grown up to be a beautiful, energetic, articulate young woman. I love her outgoing personality, intelligence and adventurous spirit. Flo home-schooled both Amy and her brother Andy and both of them have excelled in their areas of interest. Flo, you did a great job raising your kids! They are both amazing :) I wish that we had gotten to spend more time with Amy but she had to work after the performance tearing down the sets and getting ready to move to Ohio the next morning for another theater job over the Summer. Best of luck Amy~I know you'll be a great success no matter where you go! Don't be surprised in the Ya-Ya's turn up in Ohio sometime this Summer!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Stylings of David Dziuban

David Dziuban, aka Doobie, played at Butch's Dry Dock last night. A little history, Doobie has been coming over to our house for a number of years, with his guitar, singing with Trev and their whole group of friends, in my basement. I can't even tell you how many times I've been asleep upstairs only to waken to the sound of old Beattles tunes wafting up through the air vent in my room. PS~I wasn't always thrilled about this!! :))) BUT I do have to say that Doobs kept playing, kept practicing, kept getting out there...And now he's playing at the classiest place in town! He has a CD coming out! I remember when he was playing at Farmer's Market for coins thrown into a guitar case and during the Art in the Park series downtown when Holland has street performers one night every week.From humble beginnings such as this! I am so proud of him for pressing forward with his dreams. Over the years, his music has just gotten better and better. Still a young man, I have every confidence that he will continue to grow and improve as a musician and who knows where that could lead...And I can say I knew him when...It was such a fun night listening to Doobie, hanging out with T, and reconnecting with so many of the HC crowd that I've grown so fond of over the years :)Catch David Dziuban's CD release event on June 20@Butch's Dry Dock~it will be legendary...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The day I turned 50 :)

I started the celebration of my 20th anniversary of my 30th birthday at Body Perfections with a day of pampering~this has become somewhat of a tradition~one that I intend to continue!I went with Court to a nearby park for a few photos in the wild. Then I went to class. I know, what a nerdy thing to do on your 50th birthday. Hey, learning is important!Since it was a school night, I took cake to share with my classmates and after class we met at Bar Louie for a consolation toddy to mourn the passing of my youth. The following night I had a celebratory dinner at Via Maria with my fam and took in the new Terminator Salvation movie which we gave 4 thumbs up!We hit the town in Holland after the movie~which proved to be this ol' girls downfall...didn't feel so great the next day at Bonnie's garage sale :( But by 7pm I was rearing to go again and this time it was with some of my Ya-Ya's for dinner at City Vu followed by another flick~Night at the Museum 2. Awesome! Church on Sunday of course and afterwards it was all about the Detroit Redwings kicking some major Blackhawk booty for a 6 to 1 victory. Ah, yes, one step closer to the Stanley Cup! The rematch with the Penguins will be remarkable! Lots of animosity left over from last year I'm sure. The fights will be legendary! So Monday we focused on the Memorial Day parades and services in our area, had a cookout, and I did one of my interaction sessions in the evening for school. All in all, a fun and productive weekend.This was the "kickoff" of my year long celebration of year 50. Sure to culminate in May 2010 with my graduation combo belated 50th BD Blowout~aka The Mother of All Parties...stay tuned, conserve your strength, and save the date! Thanks much to everyone who called, emailed, sent flowers, sent a card, took me out, gave gifts, celebrated with food and drink and photo and movies, facebooked me, and otherwise sent well-wishes and love my way. I was really feelin' it;))) 50 is fab so far!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Elvis high-fived me, Photos Not Available

No matter how hard I try, I always either forget to pack something I need for my vacation OR I come home and realize that I left something I need behind...This time it was the latter. Which is a shame because it was my camera battery charger that I forgot at my brother's house and my digital camera has no juice the blog will be rather bland until I get another one(which will happen before my birthday on Thursday, guaranteed!).
The hell of it is that I had a really fantastic weekend and no way to immortalize it here. I actually had down time on Friday night and stayed home and watched the Farrah Fawcett documentary on Dateline~who is ever gonna believe that without a picture??? I was very moved by Farrah's story and I felt it was extremely brave of her to share her experience battling cancer with all of us. I admire that she is not afraid to share her humanity, thoughts, fears and is willing to use her very personal struggle with cancer to inspire others to live life full-out and also to raise awareness about the need for more research and progressive treatments available in the United States as they are in many foreign countries.
Saturday I worked. No Kodak moment there. I came home and watched my filly, Rachel Alexandra, win the Preakness, before heading off to the campfire at Jack Kuiper's house. It felt like November~so cold!The night was funX10! I loved the setting. The fire pit was located inside a maze-type topiary hedge so it felt very secluded even though it was right in town and right in Jack's backyard. Reminded me of The Shining or Chronicles of Narnia. In a nice way, of course. The food and company was exceptional. I would have loved to have gotten a picture of that hedge though. I hope Jack invites us back...
Sunday is church~goes without saying, I guess. Wonderful as usual. All about choosing friends wisely. Just affirmed to me how blessed I am in life. I have a ton of the absolute best friends! They are the salt of the earth for sure! Pastor Steve had 3 main points about friends: A friend is there when you need them(Prov.17:17, Job 6:14, and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). A friend says what needs to be said(Prov. 27:6, Prov. 27:9). A friend brings out the best in you(Prov. 22:24-25, I Cor. 15:33, Prov.27:17).Well, I guess I don't normally take pictures at church anyway. Usually it's a picture of a path of some sort. Which I don't have this week either.
The most sad and pitiful thing about this no photo business is that Sunday, after church, my friend Patricia took me to the Grand Rapids Symphony for an early birthday celebration.The theme was Viva Las Vegas and it was just the most amazing thing ever! The symphony had Vegas Showgirls, a Liberace impersonator that was unbelievable!The symphony, along with some great vocal performers, reprised many of the Vegas greats such as Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton,Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., many of the Broadway-style shows, cabaret songs, and too much to even name. While we were there Elvis high-fived me while singing Viva Las Vegas during the encore. Then he left the building. I have absolutely no shred of photographic proof. Just Patricia's eyewitness testimony. It was impressive alright. Too bad, no photo. You'll just have to take my word for it and use your imaginations.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Thinking about Mom~

People always say that if you want to know what a woman will look like when she's old, look at her mom. I feel very encouraged by that thought! At age 91, my mom is still a very attractive(young-looking for her age) lady~she coordinates her outfits and takes care of herself, still keeps her hair stylish and cute, and maintains a healthy amount of pride in her appearance. More importantly, my mom, Lillian Margaret Baker, whose initials I share, is a beautiful person inside. That's where it really counts anyway! I am now, and have always been, inspired by her faith and passion for God. She has not lost the fire! Mom has always been a devoted wife. Having met my dad at age 5, married him at age 20, and lived with and lovingly cared for him for over 70 years, she took her vows "til death do us part" and "in sickness and in health" very seriously, indeed! Mom remained at his side until the last breath was drawn.Mom is also a fierce lioness and prayer warrior when it comes to the church that she and my dad pastored so many years. She is protective and loyal. She is like that with her family, too. Don't mess with the Bakers! I am so blessed in my life knowing that every day my mother prays for me and for all of her family members. That is such a powerful contribution she makes.I can always feel her prayers. Recently, Mom accompanied me and my boys and grandson to the beach for four days. She was a trooper and participated in almost everything we did. She kept up with us very well for a lady 91 years of age. She was no party pooper! I love my mom's sense of humor~she laughs much and often. She is so great about seeing the humor in life. Mom has always set a good example for "doing the right thing". We pick on her for being Canadian and also for coming from West Linn :) She takes it with humor and good grace. My mom instilled honesty, integrity, and a servant's heart in all her children. I just wanted to share my thoughts about my mom. I love her so much and am so full of gratitude for the example she set for me. She has helped me to become a better person and a better woman. Love you, Mom! Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Last Day Photos

Here are some images from the final hurrah in Oregon. It was an eventful day...catching up with family and friends. Breaking up is hard to do! I always have a tough time leaving. I love the photos where Trevor is wearing my dad's suit jacket and cap. He looked so adorable with Mo-Mo. I also loved seeing all the white and pink dogwoods that were in full bloom around Oregon. The dogwoods are just about my favorite flower of all time~weird, huh? But I just love them! Trevor took Jayden golfing~Jayden threw a golf club in the pond while Unka wasn't looking...oooops!! Poor Trevor had to pay $25for recovery of the golf club from the pond~service charge :)Trevor has the patience of Job and also has informed me that he will not be having any children soon-lol! This is the same little angel who got his head stuck in a chair at Chang's a few days earlier. Boys will be boys, I say...Well, we are back home in our lives again. Hit the ground running! I was back at work on Thursday am bright and early, then school, then a 10-hour day today which was fully booked and tomorrow I go to Lansing for a Sexual Abuse Recovery class for one of my degree electives. Never bored! I miss my Oregon friends and family but also happy to see all of those who share my life here in Michigan. We got to meet the lead singer of Pop Evil at the Curragh~who would have thought a local band would get to be such a big deal, but they are!Lots of good stuff both places. I'm a lucky girl!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Oregon Vaca 2009

At this point, with only 24 hours left to spend in Oregon, I always have the same sense of disbelief that my time here is gone...each year it seems to get harder to leave my family. This year I'm sure it's because of recently losing my dad. I hate especially to leave mom. In spite of the rain, which is so typical here, it has been a good trip~for the most part(except for some of the more labor-intense aspects and a cold sore the size of Kansas!). The first day we had a surprise birthday party for Tyler, who turned 24 the day we arrived. Great turnout and so fun to see everyone. The generosity was overwhelming. Tebos is always a good choice: ) Then off to Lincoln City with Mo-Mo for four days. We enjoyed the beach and the pool, shopping at the outlet mall, eating at Mo's, and crabbing at Taft in the little harbor there. Thanks to Carol for setting us up in her nice, roomy condo with the fabulous view. We stayed at the Baker Barn again this year~thanks, Andy and Evelyn for all your hospitality. They always roll out the red carpet! We spent the week visiting with family and friends. That is always the main purpose of our visit anyway! We enjoyed a stormy visit to Saturday Market~but many plans were washed away by the rain! Didn't do as good of a job this year in the photo department. Really missed Courtney not being with us~but she did a great job taking care of the pets for us and watching the house, getting the mail, etc. Thanks, Court! Didn't see much of Rach and Carol. Guess I'll see ya' back in Michigan, Rach! Until next year, friends and family in Oregon~I will miss you-think of you all the time-can't wait to return...HUGS!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Irregularity Explained

Don't call Jamie Lee Curtis-Activia will not help! Don't bother going to Walgreens for an EPT. It's not that kind of irregularity I am referring to! I have had so many people this past week ask me why I haven't been writing the "regular" features on my, I thought I'd explain to you why I'm irregular : ) First, the reason most personal bloggers don't do regular, recurring posts is because it's nearly impossible to do so unless you have no discernable life at all. Eventually, you just can't keep is unpredictable to say the least and some days and weeks are so hectic that it's a challenge to even collect a coherent thought much less write it down! Here's the status of my "regular" features:

The Path I Walk: This one is alive and well, however, I'm much more motivated to write it when I can actually go outside and take pictures of paths. That's my deal. I love getting out and walking, running or biking in nature. When I can't do that I get bummed. So, when I get bummed, no column. I always write about my spiritual journey and reflections in this regular feature. I always have material for that. A seeker is who I am and that's what I'm about-it's what I dig and what makes me tick. Sometimes it's what's going on in Life Group, sometimes what's going on at VPM, and sometimes just my own personal devotions or a combination of any or all of the above. But it really is contingent on my getting outside to go hiking. That's what lights my fire. So, you can look for this feature to occur more often as I am able to be outside.
A Pound of Cure: I am still working on my weight and doing Weight Watchers BUT I have been stuck at about 30 pounds for the past 6 or so weeks. Not very exciting to report. Family Fitness closed on March 31st and I haven't rejoined another gym. That has taken the momentum out of my exercising. I will be walking, running, swimming and biking this summer so I will probably be able to get off the plateau sometime after I return from vacation. I know better than to think I'm going to lose weight while I'm hanging out with the fam in Oregon! When I have more exciting news, trust me, I'll post it!
Running Toward 50: Plantar fascitis definitely has had me sidelined on my running goals over the winter but I have not given up entirely! I still have a marathon as a goal. It's just not going to happen by my birthday. The boys and I are training for a 5K on or close to my 50th birthday and the plan is to keep increasing mileage from there on...You will see this feature again. Probably photos from the 5K in May. Watch for it.
Now you know. And I am hoping to once again be regular in the very near future!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Most Amazing Person: Joan Anderson!

It was a gift being able to spend an hour with Joan Anderson on Wednesday~the coolest lady ever! Absolutely one of the biggest thrills and highlights of my almost-50 years on this planet! Joan Anderson has written five best-selling books: A Walk on the Beach, An Unfinished Marriage, The Second Journey, A Weekend to Change Your Life, and A Year By The Sea. Joan has made many media appearances, including Oprah-TWICE! I can hardly believe that I met someone who knows Oprah! She was in town for several speaking and teaching events including a fundraiser for Center for Women in Transition. When you first meet Joan, you are immediately touched by her warmth and powerful yet down-to-earth presence. We talked like old friends. Kindred spirits. Joan is open and deeply interested in the lives of others. She is a mentor, an intuitive, and a cheerleader for other women in their quests for self-realization and empowerment. She is very generous in sharing from her personal experience and heart. Joan's story and the insights she has gained are very impactful and moving. I felt lifted up and enriched by sharing time and space with her. Joan is making a huge difference in the world by her participation and contribution. You owe it to yourself to learn more about this phenomenal woman:
Joan also does seminars, workshops, retreats, classes, speaking engagements, and other events~which I intend to take in at the first possible opportunity!
I am also making it my goal to read her books while I'm on vacation the next two weeks in Oregon!
Thanks Joan, for coming to our area, and for lending your support to the Center for Women in Transition~We appreciate you so much!

Doggie Lookalike?

They say people pick dogs that look like themselves. What do you think?

I've also heard it said that after awhile together, dogs and their owners begin to look alike...

My dog, Gunther, has his own dog! Do you think his dog, Patches looks like him?

I think this is all just bullshit~but I do sure love my dogs no matter who or what they look like!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

CAPTURED! Sanchez~fugitive from justice!

There's one in every crowd. In this case, out of 7 cats and 2 dogs, Sanchez is the smartest and most devious of all the pets. If you go downstairs and even rearrange the cat carriers, he hides! He knows that this activity is the forerunner of a trip that he does not enjoy. Last year when it was everyone's time to go for shots and checkup at The Ark Animal Hospital and Cat Clinic, Sanchez was on the last installment of pets to be seen. It's like a military maneuver. Everything is timed down to the minute. I take the two dogs in, then return to the house for four cats, drop off the four cats, take the two dogs back to the house, get the the other three cats, take them in, take the previous four back to the house. On the final run, I return for the remaining three cats. The Doctor sees other pets while I'm running the taxi service so I have to stay on schedule. So, on the last run, Sanchez was supposed to go...but we couldn't find him. We had to disassemble two couches to find him. By then, we were irretrievably off schedule and the whole works was fouled up! This year he wised up even more. He found a new hiding spot~apparently better than the couches! He was MIA. So, we left the cat carriers out for a few days so Sanny would be used to seeing them out and not suspect anything(can you believe we're even having this conversation about a cat?) Anyway, we had to ambush him first thing this AM to get him in for his checkup and shots. He was plenty displeased by the turn of events, too. It was actually a near miss as it was. Trev left a window open downstairs and a number of cats were missing and when I caught up with Sanchito he had wet fur~busted~he had been outside! So, finally, we get the little rebel taken care of! Notice how wonderful Dr. Wilson's office is. He and his staff go out of their way to cater to their furry little clients, no matter how uncooperative!
Now the whole crowd is set for another year, barring any unforseen events. Next year, Sanchez will be the first cat to go! We've learned our lesson. Stay one step ahead! Hopefully, we can be smarter than the cat!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Feet for Traveling Shoes

Believe it or not, this is a strategic planning meeting : ) Actually, I gave Rach a gift certificate for her 50th birthday in March (at her surprise party ,which was a blast!) for a pedicure, knowing full well that we'd be doing this together before leaving for Oregon~we planned our trip while soaking and downing a couple glasses of White Zin (helps us think!). Now our feet are saying, "Ahhhh" and they look fantastic, too! We opted for wild colors to reflect our personalities-hehe!
I went for the orange poppy color to match my Aura-lol!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Some days are diamonds~

I was "on" this Sunday, meaning, I was teamleader for the First Impressions Team this morning at church. I've had to do a lot of trading around lately because of my erratic schedule, upcoming vacation(s), and impending internship : ) The up side of that is the opportunity to experience working with all of the other teams that I normally don't get time with. I've been on this team since 2001 or 2002. The hospitality aspect is one of my spiritual gifts and so this area of the ministry at VPM has been a very good fit for me personally. I am always struck by the opportunity we are given to have a part, however small, in the bigger picture. No matter if you are greeting at the door, working at the information desk, handing out programs, ushering, or running the kitchen, this is a ministry and I have been challenged to do the best possible job. We are in service to others but we are working for God and His Kingdom. After 7 or so years, it is easy to get complacent, careless, and stuck in a rut.Take things for granted. Forget the importance. These past few months I have been trying to reframe these tasks in light of our mission at VPM to love God and love people and to make more and become better followers of Christ. I was very blessed today in working with my team and seeing all of my VPM family.
After church I met my dear friend, Michelle, for lunch at TGIF Rivertown. We don't see each other nearly often enough. When we do, we pick right back up where we left off. It's always a fun and meaningful time. We laugh, we cry, we analyze everything, we talk in circles until we arrive back at square one, we listen deeply to one another, we vow to do a better job of getting together more often...yeah, right! We are planning to go to the same nursing home someday so we really get time to visit! It's always so great to be with friends like that who remind you of who you really are~and they love you anyway! We are both making good progress in our lives and both of us chalk that up to our walk with God. I can't believe it, but we talked for 3 1/2 hours! And got in a little exercise walking the mall!
Then, when I got home from visiting Michelle, Tyler told me that all the girls at his work were wanting to see Jayden and that it was very quiet there tonight so we should go to Brann's together for dinner. And that's what we did:

We had to watch Elmo's Dinosaurs DVD before bed and pop popcorn to eat in Granny's bed...Jayden is the only one who can get away with this!He makes a terrible mess and I find popcorn in the sheets for days! He gets "Gunfer" and Patches up on the bed to share our popcorn and we eat popcorn, talk, and cuddle until he falls asleep. In the morning Tyler and I take him to school. Life is good. Days like this I realize how truly blessed I am.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

So it begins...

First ride of the season is in the books. I started at Helder Park, made one loop around, then down Quincy to 96th, across to Zeeland West and made a loop around the entire campus plus through the tunnel and all around the practice fields and wetland area, back across to Zeeland East and made a loop, back onto 96th to Roosevelt and all the way past Creekside to the street the football stadium is on. From there I turned right onto Riley (and I still say I'd rather go skydiving than cross Riley on my bike!), back to 96th, then Quincy back to Helder Park where I did another loop all the way around the baseball and soccer fields. Not sure how far that was. I was out on the bike about 45 minutes. I am always appalled at my own fitness level the first ride out. I know that by the time I have to put the bike away again, this same ride will seem so easy. For now, I am breathing hard and sweating under my helmet! Gotta start somewhere, right?!

Love, Sex, and the IRS@Holland Civic Theater

Returned home in time to catch Charles Barclay giving us political advice on Jay Leno~I don't think so! Does he think we're all turrible knuckleheads or what? Well, anyway , had a very fun Friday night out with the gang from Singles by Design. First, we went to see the Holland Civic Theater production of Love, Sex, and The IRS. Very funny show! The cast did a superb job. My personal favorite was Eric Hatch who played the cross-dressing Leslie Arthur. He made a very sexy girl. I especially liked the hairy midriff scene, hmmm. I don't think I've seen a play there since the year Marcee came to visit for Tulip Time and we went there to see Nunsense. That was maybe 1992 or 1993...I had forgotten how tiny that little theater is. And once everyone gets in there, breathing in and out, it is hotter than bloody Hell! Not the best environment for the perimenopausal types. But the quaint little place has a lot of history-49 seasons worth-that's as old as me, currently, until May, that is...and they do a nice job of making a social event out of it. Lots of volunteers help out and add the personal touch. They serve refreshments to the patrons at intermission. Small town stuff that makes it very homey and unique. It's obvious that Holland is a very supportive city when it comes to the arts. I think we have access to so much good stuff here. Art, music, theater, family events, food, and outdoor activities. It's a great place to live. Afterwards, most of the group opted for martinis and appetizers at 84 East. But us mavericks opted for the New Holland Brewery. Had to have my Mad Hatter! It's nice to see so many places open downtown on the weekends and busy...Lot's of people out. Seriously, it has been a LONG winter and I think everyone is just thrilled to be able to get out without mucklucks and snowpants! Thanks Diane for getting things together, as always! Thanks Jayne for being my chauffer! Deb and Carol~enjoyed the witty, lively conversation. The "man stories" were very entertaining! Fun ones, you are! We'll have to do this...or something like it...or something completely different (hehe!) very soon! Til next time :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Prophetable Experience

On Monday, Tyler, Trevor and I had a unique experience. We visited a man named Ed Lixey, who has a spiritual gift is in the area of discernment and words of wisdom. The last time I experienced this sort of ministry, I was still living in Oregon, preparing to move to Kentucky, and a prophet came to the Newberg Foursquare Church where I was attending. This man had no idea who I was, had never met me, had never spoken with me before, and people were allowed to just randomly approach him during the service for a word-meaning, he had no way of knowing who might come forward. He gave me two scriptures that God had laid upon his heart for me that confirmed that the move was part of God's plan for my life and then proceeded to tell me about things I would encounter on my journey. Everything that he had told me did unfold the very way that this man had shared it. That was 20-some years ago. A lot of things have transpired in my life since then. In times of great change and transitions I think we do often look for a significant message from God to help us navigate the unfamiliar territory. All three of us have been feeling this lately. So, when our friends, the Collars, let us know this man was available for appointments at their clinic this week, we jumped at the chance to hear what God would have to say to us~individually and as a family. I am giving you the Reader's Digest version that I transcribed off the tapes made for us by Ed Lixey.
Prophetic word for Lana as spoken by Ed Lixey on April 13, 2009:
"What I hear the Lord saying for you is 'well done' because you have had your ups and downs and a lot of disappointments but you kept pressing toward the mark of the high calling Of Christ. You have that drive in you to see excellence in your kids. You are in that season where God is going to bless you. You can have some of the things that you have been believing for. You have been standing and believing. Your faith is way out there like Peter when he walked out of the boat. He had to stand on the water by faith. Peter made a mistake by taking his eyes off Jesus but you still have your eyes on Jesus.You have not been moved. You have stood firm. I have heard the Lord say, 'Now it's time' . I hear the Lord saying from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, there's a healing going on. Everything is being put in its proper order. I also heard the Lord say that there is a lot of teacher in you and you will be a teacher to the next generation. I also heard the Lord say that there is much provision coming for you. You have planted a lot of seeds. Now God says, 'Be expecting a large return'. Where you've been having faith in the area of jobs, expect not just to get by, but to prosper. Believe for better jobs. I heard God say that revival is coming to your family. One that is close to you that you want to see a touch from God will be touched. God says watch what I do. Move out of the way and let Me do it. My glory and my power is going to touch, deliver, and set this one free."
What really floored me about this was that this is not the way I see myself at all! I view myself as a very imperfect person who screws up a lot!Basically a decent person, a person who means well, but a person with a long way to go... I found it truly remarkable that God sees me so differently. I got a little taste of this last year when I read the Ragamuffin Gospel and then yesterday when I finished Captivating. God is crazy about all of us just how we are. He has a special place in his heart for us women-yay! I was so encouraged to know, that in spite of all the things I feel I get wrong, that God could still say "Well done" to me. Especially about my kids. Sometimes we, as moms, feel like we've failed our kids. We take their struggles so personally. I can't tell you how encouraged I felt after I received this word! At least in God's opinion, which is the only one that really counts, I have done some stuff right! Good things are ahead!
I will only share a few things from Tyler and Trevor's word. I don't want to invade their privacy too much because some of the things that were revealed were more personal. The Lord specified that Trevor and Tyler both have a lot of business on them. They both have callings on their lives to do much for the Kingdom of Heaven. Trevor will be getting an opportunity to do a lot of traveling in the next few years and Tyler will be coming into some property. God specifically spoke to Trevor about the fact that he has not allowed himself to be bitter about events of his past and God is going to lift him up and restore some things to his life that he did without and/or had taken away from him. God is working out things in both Tyler and Trev's lives in the area of bondages being broken and wounds of the past being healed.
We were all very humbled, touched and encouraged by having these words spoken over us. I know a lot of people wonder about things such as this, but the Bible does speak about those who have these various gifts. I felt privileged to have this opportunity to experience this spiritual gifting for myself and to share that with my sons. It had a profound effect on all three of us. Not something we will forget any time soon!

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