Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snowy Fun!!

We had a beautiful snowfall Thursday night-Friday. Lots of the powdery white stuff, probably 6-8 inches in some places. So Saturday morning what do you do but play in the snow!

Rich was pulling out of the driveway when he called me to say "Grab the camera, the girls are out playing and look really cute!" So I put on my warm play clothes and we had such fun.

Three against one - Moira, Audrey, Isabel - all lined up to attack Grandma!

Audrey - licking the snow. It was so soft! Too soft to go sledding down "Dewey Hill", the little knoll between our houses, but we had a blast tromping around, throwing snow balls and simply laughing a lot!

A stationary Grandma makes a REALLY good target!

Isabel climbing what they called "the Rocky Mountains!". Actually it was the PILE of snow that a neighbor plowed off our driveway at 9 pm on Friday night - all a very big surprise. He said he was just "out playing"!

Maeve raking the snow. She had such fun and loved it all.

Our greatest fun was what the girls called "avalanche". I decided to shovel off the snow on our deck because it was drifted up a foot or so next to the house. The girls stood under the deck and as I'd push the snow off the sides, they'd run into it - without their hats. Their heads were covered in snow. No tears, lots of laughing, and a clean deck! We all agreed that it was a blast!

It's supposed to be in the 40s this week, so it will melt soon, but what a great way to spend time on a Saturday morning!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's Official!

This afternoon Brett received the call from the search committee of Hope Mennonite Church in Wichita to say that they have voted to call him as their Pastor! It was an overwhelming vote of support, which we see as further confirmation of God's hand on Brett and Esther as they are called to this ministry.

This is a process that has been ongoing for several months. Last weekend was the candidate weekend, which was very full and intense. Brett met with every committee and group in the church. There were three dinners for him, Esther and the girls to attend, a meet and greet for the church to meet them, he preached on Sunday and was part of a Q&A for the entire congregation. It was a full weekend, to say the very least, but provided many great opportunities for them and the congregation to meet each other. They felt very welcomed and loved and are very excited for this next chapter in their lives.

Brett will begin March 1 and his installation service will be March 7. What a day that will be!

We are thrilled for them! Congratulations, kiddos!!

To our praying friends, please join us in prayer for Brett & Esther as they begin this ministry and the days, weeks, years that follow. May Christ be glorified in all they do!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The End of Christmas 2009

I'm including the following photo, just so you can be certain that Rich and I don't take ourselves TOO seriously. You see, we joined Jeff & Caroline and family on Christmas morning to watch them open gifts, have their usual Christmas traditions and simply enjoy our time together. Jeff INSISTED that we wear these Santa hats. He took photos of each of the kids with us (I bet we'll see those on the 2011 family calendar pages!) and then Cole took this photo of Jeff and Caroline with us. Well, here they are smooching it up while we sit, smiling, rather "DORKEDILY". OK, that gave you a good laugh, I hope!

Later in the morning, Jeremy & Renee and Brett & Esther and family joined us for a yummy breakfast of baked French toast and the Dewey family traditional fruit salad (oranges, grapefruit and bananas - all fresh cut and sectioned the day before (except the bananas). You know the saying, "the family that eats together, stays together"? We're proving that correct! Lots of food, laughter, and enjoying being together!

Renee crocheted matching scarves for all the girls, from Grandma to Maeve. They are so soft and pretty, lovely shades of blue, beige and brown with a great turquoise "feathery" yarn trim. I've worn mine and love it!

The night after Christmas while the girls slumbered partied at Jeff & Caroline's, the adults and Cole met at Jeremy & Renee's for a great meal and lots of laughter. They grilled salmon on a cedar plank, had filet crostinis with horseradish, and tri-tip skewers. We ate like we hadn't eaten in days, devoring every bite. Then the chocolates that Esther's sister, Antoinette, brought from Switzerland appeared. Oh my! Dark chocolate and little wine, and I don't even like dark chocolate and am not much of a wine drinker, but it was fabulous! YUM! We had to pull ourselves away at midnight!

The Dewey Men. Cole is very proud to be the tallest!

The Dewey Women. I have the priviledge of loving these three amazing women!

This Christmas was probably one of the best yet, and yet it was such a difficult time for Brett & Esther as they sorrowed over the loss of her father. I can't begin to tell you what a joy it was to watch J&R and J&C and kids dig to the depths to love and care for B&E and family. Jeff and Jordyn traveled with us to the funeral. J&R provided quiet places to sleep, a vehicle, and hung Christmas stockings which were filled in the Calderon-Dewey family tradition of oranges and trail mix. J&C provided their van, more Christmas stockings for the girls filled with cute "do-dads". Jeremy went "suit-shopping" with Brett. Caroline provided to/from airport transportation, leaving Moorpark at 3:45 AM to take them to leave LAX. That's EARRRRLLLLY! B&E returned back to Newton exhausted but well-loved. It all did these Mom and Dad hearts proud!

From CA we went to Oregon to visit our dear friend, Larry. Rich actually left on Dec 30, accompanied by Cole who helped him drive. Cole flew home and then I flew up to Medford on January 4 with Elaine, who had been in Southern CA visiting her mom. My extra days in CA were spent at soccer tournaments, and also with my mom and siblings and we had a really special time together.

We spent a couple of days together with Larry and Elaine and then headed for home, taking the back roads of Oregon (highway 140, I think) to Winnemuca, NV where we picked up I-80. Talk about barren, remote, territory!! We went through Salt Lake City to Cheyenne, and dropped down to visit our friends, Carey and Nancy in Ft. Collins. Carey was away on business but we spent a great two days eating, having tea and sharing life with Nancy. We saw the movie, "The Young Victoria". Loved it! We still reminisce about our time together in England.

Roads were clear and open although it was bitterly cold everywhere.

Colorado and Utah - actually on the way to CA - beautiful - blue sky - gorgeous works of God's creation!

It was a wonderful trip with lots of memories that we harbor in our hearts!

Now it's back to "routine", although I'm still STRUGGLING to get caught up. Must clean house one of these days!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Botox and Piano

Botox and Piano. What in the world do those two words have in common?? One word. Rich!

Yesterday (Wednesday) we made a one-day trip to Kansas City, up and back, nearly six hours of driving for what turned out to be a less than a fifteen minute procedure for Rich. After consulting with a voice specialist at KU Medical Center in early December, he has begun Botox treatments for his voice.

In the early 90s, Rich underwent several of these treatments for his vocal condition, spasmodic dysphonia, all with mixed results. The last treatment caused him to be voiceless for six months so since he was in a speaking profession he discontinued them. Time has produced new treatment and techniques and this new doctor felt he could help him so the process has restarted. Rich will go back in six weeks for vocal testing and evaluation. This is not a cure-all, merely treatments that will be administered every three months. He has a voice today, so that is a good sign. It may take several days/weeks before there's any noticeable improvement.

The original treatments consisted of inserting a tube/scope up his nose and down his throat so that the muscles for the vocal cords could be located. Then a single shot was given. This new doctor's technique is to place two electrodes on the side of his neck which indicate when the needle is in the right place. He received two shots in his neck/throat, so that was sore. All very interesting. Pray for good results!

Today was his usual Thursday to play the piano at Mid-Town Towers, an apartment building here in town for mostly elderly seniors. Each Thursday they have chapel with local pastors rotating and giving a short devotion and Rich plays the piano for their hymn sing. It's very sweet and the little ladies especially love him! :)

Then immediately after that we went to Presbyterian Manor, another of the several assisted living/retirement homes in town, where he was asked to give a 20 minute piano concert and share his testimony. At Presby he played "Pennies from Heaven", "I Love You Truly", some short classical preludes and sonatinas, and "Great is Thy Faithfullness". So I joined him for both and again, everyone present loved the piano.

Tonight he is rehearsing with the local male vocal group, Hearts 4 Him. The've asked him to accompany them at a local gig the end of March.

His fingers aren't as nimble as they once were and all this playing makes his arthritic hands ache, but he does enjoy it and it's a great way to give to others. Plus I love hearing him rehearse, although I must say that I'm glad he's done with "Pennies from Heaven". It went round 'n round in my head! HA!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Christmas Highlights - 1

Christmas seems so long ago and yet our memories are so fresh. Several have asked about our trip so without clubbing you over the head with all the details, I'll share a bit of our Christmas Eve, which was spent at Jeff and Caroline's. After attending Christmas Eve services, we met there for dinner. It was an eclectic menu of family favorites. J&C set up their kitchen and dining room tables end-to-end so everyone could sit together. It was too good to be true!

Our grandchildren. We're still in the stage where there is someone crying in the photo. Poor little Maeve!

Two of our traditions have been to read "The Diary" and for the kids to get Christmas pj's. Jeff was certain the the reading of "The Diary" would take place this year when he pulled out his copy. (Several years ago, I made copies of the journal and related photos and bound it as Christmas gifts for our sons. Now they have their own copy!) You see, "The Diary" is Rich's DAILY journal of our sabbatical trip taken in 1975-76. Every Christmas Eve we would read segments from it and remember that time together. Usually Rich is the reader, with me throwing in my usual comments about dates and places but this year several took turns reading. Also, for the first time, we read about what we did on the dates of Caroline, Esther, and Renee's birthdays.

Cole models his cozy pj's!

The girls received various mix and match patterns. All very cute!

Caroline has been the initiator of this tradition and this year Jeff surprised her with her own! Oh how she enjoys Coca Cola!

Jeff & Caroline.

Jeremy & Renee.

Brett & Esther.

Papa and Cole.

Grandma and the Girls.

We are blessed - and happy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


We returned home Saturday from our unplanned three week trip to California, Oregon, and Colorado. It was 80 - that's 8-0 - degrees when I left California on January 4. This is what it's like in Newton today! A winter wonderland? BRRRR!

We had not planned to be in California for Christmas (I was hoping for it to happen next year!) but when Esther's father's health rapidly deteriorated, Brett and Esther decided to spend Christmas with family in CA. Actually they left KS on a Thursday and her Father passed away the next evening. It was a blessing that their family was able to be with their beloved Father and Tata for his last hours.

Rich and I looked at each other and said we didn't want to be here alone, so off we drove. We left Dec. 20 and arrived on Dec. 22, the day before Charles's funeral. We were glad we could be there to support the Calderon family. The service honored Charles and God.

The rest of our time was spent totally with our kids and my mom and siblings. It was probably one of the best trips we've had there. Perhaps that's how unplanned things go. We didn't get to contact any of our CA friends, hopefully that will happen next time, as our focus was completely on our family.

We came home via Oregon and Colorado. More on all of this later.

It's good to be home and not living out of a suitcase! We are returning to "normal" - whatever that is.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

In 2010 may we ALL take more TIME to love more, care more and pray more!

We are ever mindful - and grateful - for the great love, care, and prayer that has lifted and sustained us this year. We thank God for each of you!

God's blessings be yours for a healthy and happy New Year!