Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Daddy O

Not to be confused with Jackie O. However, they both had their own unique styles~certainly one of a kind! My dad, Oliver Baker, went home to be with the Lord on March 24th. He moved into a mansion(and won't have to worry about forclosure!) and lives on streets of gold~not bad in the midst of a recession! It makes me smile to think of all those he has now been reunited with, including my sister Myrna Lee.I was very blessed to have had my dad so long.I thank God for this. He was 91 when he passed on. I had a good relationship with my dad and many fond memories. Daddy O had a passion for life and a wicked sense of humor that I like to think rubbed off on me.He was passionate about food...another thing we had in common. When he retired from the ministry, my dad left his library and his sermon notes to me. I cherish those things and I also feel priviledged to have had such a strong Christian heritage. I'm going to miss him like crazy! In many ways, though, he will always be with me. Never forgotten. Several memories stand out really strong from the last few days. One of these is the way that my sister Marcee kept me in the loop with what was going on. She was very dedicated to my dad, took very gentle care of both my mom and dad, and was the lifeline to the rest of us-especially me living so far away. I am so grateful to Marcee for this. She shared with me how a person from Hospice came in and played the harp for my dad in the last hours of his life and how soothing and comforting that was. A little traveling music for my dad to make his way into the next life. So sweet. Then, the day after my dad left, one of my clients had me tell her funny stories about my dad for the whole hour of her massage. We had so many good laughs over the antics of both my dad and all of us kids growing up and growing up PK to boot! That really cheered me up! Thanks, Marcia.I enjoyed reliving those moments. Then, last, but far from least, I have been deeply touched by the outpouring of love, prayers, and support by all my friends, family, coworkers, SAU classmates, Victory Point church family, facebook friends. The list goes on. Everyone has been so present to me and my family. I could really feel all those prayers. And I'm sure that's why my dad was able to pass so quietly and in peace. I am filled with gratitude. I will be traveling to Oregon on Friday. The visitation will be from 12-5 on Saturday at Hillside Chapel. The funeral will be Sunday at 10:30 at Christ Church.The burial will be Monday and is a private,family only affair. Please continue to pray for the Baker clan during the next few days. I am sure we will have our moments when some prayer support will be needed.
Feel free to view my dad's online obituary and write some thing in the guestbook if you'd like. Again, thanks for being there!

Oliver Baker's online Obituary and Guestbook:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Scrapbooking & Symphony II

The Spring Crop at Holiday Inn, Spring Lake, was this weekend.Fun and stimulating as usual~what was unusual was the band we danced to on Saturday night. They did so much great classic rock. These are the songs we all know the words to...amazing!
Check them out: website is
You can also find them on MySpace:
OR...facebook fan page by searching Soul'd Out.
I will be going to another of their gigs soon! The CM ladies danced the night away, enjoyed a few toddies, and had a fun party after the party...Hard to get up and get going the next morning but we did it!
Early in the afternoon, Patricia and I packed up our stuff and headed into GR for the symphony featuring guest artist Natalie MacMaster. Natalie is as big as a New York minute but she packs a punch! She's a Celtic fiddler and dances like someone from Riverdance! And the girl is not only beautiful and talented but quite the cute comedian, speaking very warmly and endearingly to the audience. She just had her 3rd child about 6 weeks ago and was visiting in Grand Rapids with all three of her kids, taking in the GR Children's Museum and the Lollipop concert on Saturday. Natalie is married to Celtic fiddler Donnell Leahy and the two of them will be performing together in Muskegon at the Irish Music Festival in September.
By the way, if you are a scrapbooker, a local group of us will be getting together in May in Holland. Email me or connect on Facebook to get the details. The last picture was of Jayden this morning at the Windmill Restaurant downtown before he went to school. He stayed overnight last night which means I'm really tired today! I couldn't resist. He looked so dumb cute in that hat! Well, here's hoping it's a good week for us all! Back to work and hitting the books!Hopefully some fun along the way, too! Hey, the weather is getting better...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Putting on a happy face!

Tonight our life group got new faces for Spring! Nicole Meengs, who goes to VPM with us, and happens to be a very good friend, volunteered to come and give us all a fresh look for the nicer weather that is soon to be upon us...and to discuss the concept of inner beauty and how that relates to our realizing our worth before God. Man looks on the outer appearance but God looks at the heart. We are all beautiful to Him.However, we all agreed that when you feel that you look your best it does make the inner beauty radiate outward. To that end, we all took part in a Mary Kay skin care facial and did some basic color with foundations, blush, mascara, and lip gloss. I do think we look ravishing in our "after" photos! I ordered some stuff that Nicole assures me will give me soft, kissable lips! Men, brace yourselves!

Weekend Montage

I had weekend college Friday night and all day Saturday so my weekend time was very diminshed BUT...that didn't stop me from obeying the One FUN Rule! Saturday afternoon the weather was so glorious that Tyler and I took Jayden for a walk on the Winstrom Preserve. There were still little patches of snow and ice along some of the paths but winter is definately losing it's grip! The views were lovely. Then we hit Goog's for dinner topped off by the famous White House cake-tasty!Sunday, Trevor accompanied Jayden and I to the public museum in Grand Rapids to see the dinosaurs FINALLY! It was busy but nothing like the time we tried to go before! So fun and such a variety of activities to do for kids. Very interactive and hands-on. Jayden was on overload from all the things to see at the museum. The most impressive to him were the dinosaurs and the "bugs" in the natural habitat displays. It was so beautiful out downtown that we walked the bridge. Then, later in the afternoon, Jayden went home and Trevor and I hit the golf course at Phesant Run. While my golfing skills are FAR from was a lot of fun!Gorgeous to just get outside and be active again after such a long seige of hibernation weather!Spring is busting out all over!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Path I Walk: Guy Talk

Today we wrapped up the series at VPM, Different by Design. It was Pastor Steve's turn to talk about what guys need to know about the women in their lives. Last week, recall, we found out how important unconditional respect is in the relationships we have with the guys. We women need to feel loved above all else. Steve made the point that for women, this demonstration of love is never a "done deal", even after marriage. In fact, that is when it is most important for women to receive regular reassurance that we are loved by our men. This is especially true during times of conflict. Whatever is important to the woman should be important to the man. It is also crucial that guys listen to us. In particular, when we want to discuss the relationship. If it's valuable enough for us to bring it up, guys, you need to listen and to not be defensive. This is our way of telling you how much your relationship means to us. Ditto if we feel it is important to go to counseling. Steve encouraged the men to jump on the bandwagon and go. The next point, after regular reassurance, was persistent pursuit. That is the other ingredient that makes us feel loved, desired, cherished, and valued. We like to be chased~even after you think you've got us! The deal is never closed for us. These were all great points and I think that both of these messages have value in helping people relate better to their significant others. I'm so glad that I'm in a church that puts practical, real-life messages out there for us! The two books that these sermons were based on were written by a husband and wife team, Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn and are titled: For Men Only and For Women Only. They are both available at all the usual book sources but for sure at the Christian bookstores, they are fairly short books, and each costs approx. $15.00. Pastor Steve recommended that if you are married, read both books and read them together so you can have good conversations together about the content.Sounded like good advice to me!Let's face it, we could all stand to do better and be more successful in our relationships. Thanks, Steve!

Butterflies are forever...

Not really. I think that was the title of an old Goldie Hawn movie or something...Well, we went to our fav haunt, the Fredrick Meijer Gardens, to see the butterflies today after church. Not much was happening but Jayden loved it anyway. He was bummed that it rained so much we couldn't go outside in the gardens. That's what he really loves! He's in a kick of saying everything happened yesterday. So, when we got there he was all excited looking out the windows into the garden, "We were here yesterday!" he announced to everyone! Then he proceeded to tell them about the pumpkins that were there at Halloween time and the Christmas trees and all about the "sandpile" and the treehouse and that his Granny (points to me)likes to roll down the big hill by the big horse! That's a real sight to see, let me tell you! But he had a very appreciative audience. When you're that cute, it isn't hard getting people to listen to you!The spring flowers were an absolutely gorgeous sight to my eyes. A welcome reminder that winter is in its last throes.We did get in on a little lightening and thunder while we were there. Of course, sporadic torrential downpours also occurred while we were inside the conservatory. Jayden fell into the cactus garden, which horrified us, but, amazingly, was not any worse for the experience.Jay and I got our pictures made in the butterfly photo cutout thingy. We stopped at all the tables and benches and fountains.Jayden assured us that the water wasn't "ukkky" and he put his hand into it! We saw the butterfly place three times and we went through the sculpture exhibit, which, in my opinion, looked like something a fourth grader could have come up with. Jayden had to be stopped a couple times because he thought the "peoples" that made up the plastic sculpture configurations were like legos and could be snapped apart and put together differently. We made a hasty departure! But not until we had a drink at the cafe and bought glow in the dark bug and butterfly t-shirts. We will be coming back on a sunnier day to see the butterflies again. That's the benefit of membership. Before long, we'll be back out there playing in the Children's Garden and rolling down the big hill for everyone's entertainment. Can't wait!Meanwhile, back at the Baker ranch, we are once again experiencing the duck lake effect. The spring rains make me nervous because of the flooding possibility. We say a prayer and hope for the best!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Patricia's Birthday Bash

Not all of the Ya-Yas were present tonight. I would call this the core group. It is Patricia's special day and we chose to dine at City Vu atop the City Flats Hotel in downtown Holland. A great choice! The view was nice, in spite of the rain, and everything in this restaurant is unique from the eating utensils, dishes, light fixtures, artwork, cork flooring, green building materials and water and energy-efficient appliances. The decore is ultra modern and sophistocated. We all had excellent drinks, appetizers, and entrees.Patricia had salmon, Bonnie and Jamie went for the flatbreads which are the signature item at City Vu, and I had the Shepherd's Pie. We all shared a heavenly piece of carrot cake which is one of their famous desserts.Yummy! I highly recommend it!

The meal and conversation was excellent. Then Patricia and I went to see, "He's just not that into you" with Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johannson, among others. It was a really good movie. Funny but with the proverbial grain of truth.It really is true that anyone can say anything at anytime BUT actions DO speak louder than words~with the opposite sex(and everyone else!)it's the behavior trail that tells the real story! Sometimes sad but true...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, PATRICIA! You are a wonderful person, a great friend, and a lady with many talents and abilities. I hope you celebrate many more of these annual occaisions!Thanks for letting us all be a part of it!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy 50th, Rach!

I took this picture of my gal pal, Rachel Nykerk, on Wednesday, which was her actual birthday. She came into Body Perfections for a massage as part of her birthday celebration, which included lunch out prior to, and she was taking her neighbor's kids to Red Robin that night to help her friend out~typical Rach! Jim had taken her out for BD dinner the night before at Alpen Rose. The gift I gave her was a Willow Tree Friendship Angel. Tonight was the actual Birthday party. A surprise party, of course. What fun! It was actually a often does that really happen? Rach was going to stop over at a friend's house before her soccer practice tonight to "celebrate the birthdays of a couple friends from church, and since it's your birthday, too, Rach, why not stop in..." Brilliant! So...Rach wasn't suspicious when she saw all the cars, etc. But the look on her face when she saw all her girlfriends gathered was priceless! We had all written our Rachel memories on index cards which she read before opening the gifts and some of them were so funny! The food was fab. The company was amazing. Rachel has such great family and friends but she is also a great person to her family and friends. Rach is one of those people who always goes out of her way to be there for others, does acts of kindness, is thoughtful, loyal, accepting, forgiving, easygoing, athletic and fun! My life has definitely been enriched by having her in it! Our boys played football together and we've been friends ever was a win/win situation! HAPPY 50TH, RACH, YOU'RE THE BEST!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Path I Walk: March on...

It is March and I am marching on...the thaw is coming. The cycle of life goes like this: birth, life, death, decay, new life. Spring can't be far away, can it? New life is busting out all over. My post a couple weeks ago, Ahhh, Spring was somewhat premature...but I'm sure we are over the hump, don't you think?
Looks can be deceiving~it looked like a beautiful, sunny Spring day but once you got out there, the frigid cold cut like a knife. It was 6 degrees this morning when I drove through town. With the wind chill, the temps were in the negative. Later in the day, I decided that I just couldn't do the gym today. I had to get out. I had to get air. Real air. Even if it was cold. I bundled up, put on my snow boots, my scarf, my gloves, and my wool hat with the flaps that looks like a serious arctic trekker's hat~ and still, within minutes of starting to walk, my legs not covered by my jacket, felt numb. I pressed on. The scenery was compelling. I often feel the closest to God when I am outside and in the middle of nature. I sometimes go to the beach or the Pine Creek Trail, sometimes Degraaf Nature Center. I love being out. There are always a select few other worshippers present.The die hards. Those of us who cannot stay away no matter the weather! Today I saw a few people out with their dogs. Most of the others stayed in their warm cars just worshipping from afar. I noticed several bird watchers in the upper lots holding binoculars, looking for Eagles I suspect. I know that Spring IS coming. One of my clients encouraged me by sharing the fact that her daffodils had begun to sprout. That's a sure sign. I know that Gunther has begun shedding his winter coat which has made me the proud owner of a mohair carpet no matter how many times in a day that I vaccuume!My spritual muse this week has been two-fold. The sermon at VPM was about marriage relationships specifically and men and women interacting in general.At first glance, when I first walked in, I thought, Oh, brother, you coulda skipped this one!I was surprised to find that some of the things Pastor Steve shared about men was very thought provoking. For instance, he shared that 75% of men surveyed said that given the choice of being alone and unloved vs being disrespected and made to feel inadequate, they would rather be alone and unloved. One of the most important things to men is to have the respect and appreciation of the women in their lives. They want to be understood and supported by their women. They want us to be their biggest fans and to catch them doing something right. They want for us to see the good. To respect their judgment. To respect their abilities. To be respectful in our communication. Although, it is too late for this information to benefit my marriage, I do still have men in my life. Lots of them. I have my dad, my brother, nephews, sons, grandson, and guy friends. Even though I feel that I was wronged more in my marriage than what wrongs I inflicted, this message still made me flinch. There were times that I could have done a better job in this area. I regret this. Thankfully, that's not the end. I do have the opportunity to be more understanding and supportive of the men in my life currently and I intend, with God's help, to do just that. The other muse is Max Lucado's 3:16. We talked tonight in Life Group about the fact that God is in the midst of every detail of life-no matter how small-and that we need to commit to trusting him in every situation. As backup for that, we went through all the scriptures that point to the reality of God, especially as it relates to His creation of all things: Ps. 19:1, Psalm 74:16, Psalm 90:2, Psalm 97:6,Isaiah 46:9, John 5:26, Acts 17:25, James 1:13. There are no accidents!Trust God for everything in your life-no matter how big-no matter how small. Oh, yeah, Spring officially arrives March 20th. Not so far!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Crazy Bounce is CAH-RAY-ZEE!!

Today was supposed to be filled with dinosaurs but when we arrived at the Grand Rapids Museum this afternoon, there were so many people waiting to get in that it would have taken almost an hour to just pay our admission fee. So, we opted for Crazy Bounce in Holland instead. There was plenty of action to be had there~a 3-hour marathon of one obstacle course after another, one slide after another. Jayden held up pretty well but Granny's tail was draggin'! I was surprised at the number of adults that were playing on the inflatables along with the kids. I want to say that I was, by far, the oldest one...wonder what I'll feel like tomorrow?!

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