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!

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