Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Lauren!

Today is our granddaughter Lauren's 13th birthday. Now she's officially a teen!

Lauren is in 7th grade at Oaks Christian Middle School in Westlake Village, CA. It's a BIG change for her because she's been home schooled since first grade, but she likes it a lot. She LOVES all her teachers. History and English are the two classes she enjoys most.

Recently her entire 7th grade class spent a week at Hume Lake Christian Camp, nestled in the California Sequoias. Hume is such a special place! Our family has lots of wonderful memories of many trips there. For Lauren it was especially fun because it gave her the opportunity to bond with and continue to make new friends. A couple of the things she especially had a blast doing were canoeing and the ropes course. Her cabin was at the top of a hill, exactly 183 steps from the bottom to the top! She became intimately acquainted with each one of them, up and down, every day. Well, it was one way to stay in shape for her school swim team and AYSO soccer team! She scored the first goal of the year for soccer. This is one athletic young lady!

Lauren likes to cook and makes a very yummy mac 'n cheese - one of Grandma's favorites!

I love to talk with Lauren on the phone. She's always very chatty and has lots to say!

Happy birthday, Sweetie! Papa and I love you!

"Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."
Psalm 86:11

Lauren, this Bible verse is one of my favorites - given to you in LOVE!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Jeremy!

Today is Jeremy's 40th birthday. Oh wowsie, dowsie, now we have two sons age 40+!

Jeremy is Renee's "other half"! They are anxiously awaiting the birth of their first baby - a little girl. In just a few weeks he'll be called "DADDY"!

Jeremy works for Bank of America - as a manager on the bank-owned properties side of the business. He and Renee ride to work together - on their long commute of six miles. That's an almost unheard of commute in So. California.

He loves to golf when he gets the chance, and is a wonderful cook. He and Renee have been busy cooking meals to put in their freezer to have when the baby comes and they'll be too tired to cook! Gotta love that planning ahead! One of the things he makes that I especially love is salmon grilled on a cedar plank. Yum! Oh my, talk about his bruschetta! The family can't pass it up!

Some of his characteristics I especially love are: he is very fair-minded and thoughtful, caring, puts others first, and has a fun sense of humor - and is a lot like his Dad. His smile will warm your heart!

Jeremy is one of the precious blessings God has bestowed upon us in the form of our sons and their wives and their children.  Amen and Amen!

"Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man."
Proverbs 3:3-4

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Caroline!

Happy birthday to our dear daughter-in-love! It's an amazing thought - Caroline has been in our family for half her life! Awesome!

This wife of one, mother of five, is one busy lady! She now has just two homeschoolers, which must make an incredible difference in her day! She has been part of a tutor team for an autistic boy for close to 10 years. She's up early in the morning to get in her exercise, participates in Bible studies, a book club, maintains the VERY F.U.L.L. family calendar, and coaches track in the spring. Loving and giving to others, she's always willing to prepare a meal for someone in need. She is so loving towards Rich and me - has been since the beginning. We are blessed!

In her "down time", she loves to read - voraciously - and has passed that on to her children.

She is the perfect wife for Jeff and we are proud to call her "daughter".

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking...It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13:4-8a

We love you Dear! Happy birthday!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Wonderful Book

I learned about this book from a couple of moms at church. I began reading it during my devotion time this summer and continue to read it when I need a "focus". It contains wonderful chapters on various topics; praying for your child's faith, character, safety, relationships, future. The author writes stories from her personal experience, or that of her friends, and then writes prayers to pray for your children on that topic, taking the words directly from the Bible. I think it's a precious book not only for parents but also for grandparents. It would make a lovely baby shower gift.

It has a companion book on praying the scripture for your teen agers. I've given these to our children. So it's safe to say our grandchildren are pretty much wrapped up in a shield of prayer.

"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him." 2 Samuel 22:31

Monday, October 11, 2010


October has just begun and I feel like I need to come up for air already! These are some of the things that took place last week!


Our first meeting was Tuesday evening with over 40 moms and then we repeated it Wednesday morning with over 50 moms PLUS almost 50 children in the nursery from infants to kindergarten!

In the kitchen with Mary Ellen, Caryn, and Jen.

Some of our morning moms.

We made lavendar sachets and also had a table with bottles of marvelous scents that we could spray on our bookmark ribbons. Our topic was how to create the best aroma in our home - not just with "smelly" things, but how our lives are to be a sweet aroma to God.

Taste of Newton

Thursday was "Taste of Newton." Downtown Main Street was closed for several blocks and food vendors of every type for service clubs and churches were lined up down the middle of the street. It's very festive with entertainment at various intersections.

This year I entered the local newspaper's recipe contest with a recipe I received from my dear sister-in-law, Nancy. It's called Sweet Potatoes Rumba. I was one of eight finalists! Winners to be announced in October 14 newspaper. I won't be in town, so perhaps some of my local readers can keep their eyes open for the news! Win or lose - it was very fun!

Here's the recipe, if you would like to try it! I'm a sweet potato lover!

Sweet Potatoes Rumba
4 cups cooked, hot, lightly mashed sweet potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup half and half (I usually use less than 1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (can use nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coconut rum

1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
Chopped pecans to cover

Combine first seven ingredients. Use just enough cream to make light and fluffy. Turn into buttered (or sprayed) 1-quart casserole dish. Brush top with melted butter. And orange zest. Add pecans to cover top. Bake at 375-400 degrees oven, 30-40 minutes or until top is golden brown.

What could be more fun than bumping into grandchildren with bags and mouths full of cotton candy?!?!?

Moira is in the Newton Community Children's Chorus and they sang several numbers. It was her first choir performance and she loved it. Then on Saturday they also sang at Bethel College's Fall Fest.

Mo is on front row, just right of the director's shoulder.

Birthday Celebration!
We celebrated Isabel's 6th birthday on Sunday.

Fall Flourish!

We have absolutely loved the fall weather! Reminds us so much of California! The garden has put out a flourish of color.

Rich took these photos last evening. The sky was so dark in the east, but the trees were catching brilliant rays of the sun. Gorgeous!

To everything there is a season.....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Isabel!

Today is Isabel's sixth birthday!

This bright-eyed, very fun little girl is in kindergarten.  For the first six weeks of school she went half-days but now she is in all-day school. The school bus dropped her off at our front door and we've had a lot of fun playing games with her, going to Taco Bell, baking, you name it. Her favorite game is Crazy Eights. In a recent "marathon" with Papa they tied at 5 games each. She's learning the strategy of holding on to the Crazy 8 until needed!

I love to watch her play computer games on the pbskids and webkinz web sites. Her eye-hand coordination and perception skills are quite sharp! She is SOOO ready for all-day school!

She has been called Izzy since she was a baby, but a few months ago she decided that was a "baby name", so she wants to be called Isabel. The only one who can really get away with calling her Izzy is her little sister, Maeve. Isabel is a very sweet, lovable little girl and we really enjoyed the last six weeks of having her with us every afternoon, Tuesday-Friday.

Happy birthday, Isabel. Papa and I love you!

Monday, October 4, 2010

25 Years of Growing in Hope

This past weekend was the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Hope Mennonite Church in Wichita. The church has been planning for this day for a year and plans were in full swing when Brett became their pastor in March. The last few months, especially, have been full of meetings and planning and it all paid off. Saturday was marked by community service events in Newton and Wichita and Sunday was a day of celebration on a gorgeous Fall Sunday!

Hope has a rich history of purposeful ritual and tradition and Sunday was the day to remember their beginning and the road they have travelled to this point. Former pastors returned as well as congregants who had moved away.

One of the church's traditions is to create a banner for each year. It marks significants events in the life of the church as well as members; births, deaths, anniversaries, graduations, etc. Certain banners hang in the sanctuary on a regular basis and for this event banners from every year were displayed in the building. As the service began there was a procession of banners from 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and this year's-2010. They were carried by individuals or families for whom that year was significant. The banners carry the theme "Sharing our Hope", except for this year, "Growing in Hope".

Also part of the service was the dedication of the sanctuary mural, painted by three wonderfully talented women from the church. The mural depicts the life of Christ and seasons of the Christian calendar in a beautiful design and array of color. I was MOST impressed when Brett told us that these women painted from a 25' tall scaffolding!  It is a goregous view that anyone leading worship gets to see.

We are always so blessed by the music, whether it be by the choir, acapella congregation singing or the "Hopeful Blues". This group can make great music!

At the conclusion of the service we all moved outside for the tree planting. This is another tradition marking significant events in the life of the church. A lovely blue spruce was in place and the children were allowed to put in the first shovels of dirt, followed by adults.

They ended the day with a catered banquet and lots of remembering. Perfect finish for a perfect celebration!

Praise be to God - the Giver of our hope!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Making Memories!

Yesterday was the last day of half-day kindergarten for Isabel. She's come home to our house every Tuesday-Friday for the last six weeks. Monday she will go full day. We've had lots of fun with her. She and Papa have gone to Taco Bell for lunch on several Wednesdays when I'm at Bible study.

We've played lots of games. One game she and I like is the Memory Game. She's amazing. As Brett said, her brain isn't as cluttered as mine, so she can remember more!

Friday was an early-release day for Moira and Audrey and so they arrived home about 1:45. I wanted to do something fun with the three of them that didn't cost money. Rich suggested a hike on the Sand Creek Trail, near Bethel College, here in North Newton. They were excited. Audrey suggested they write down the things they saw. Great idea! So I put water and necessary stuff in my backback and we drove to the trail.

It's a lovely trail, easy walking, covered in wood chips so it's not dusty. It's very wooded with many different species native to Kansas.

They ventured off to explore but came to a cliff so returned to the trail.

Moira and Audrey loved running ahead, but that freaked out Isabel. She was so afraid we would lose them. The trail goes in a giant loop around much of the Sand Creek and we went about half way around before turning back.

When we returned to town the girls were surprised to see how the creek widened and became much deeper. Great observation!

We came across this little memorial to someone's beloved dachshund. Moira read the writing and all went. "Ohhhhh".

 This post marked a high water mark during heavy rain this past June 13.  I'm such a poor judge of distance but it was a long way. The next photo the creek is in lower portion, between the two forked branches, and water went all the way up the bank and over the trail. Quite a distance!

On the way back, Mo wanted to run ahead so the rest of us walked, taking a little break whenever we came to a bench. I was trudging ahead, watching the path carefully (so I wouldn't trip/fall and re-injure my ankle) and just focussing on catching up with Mo. When I heard a giggle, I turned around and there were Isabel and Audrey sitting on a bench up the bank when I went hiking right by them. They were very proud of themselves that they had fooled me and thought it was quite hilarious!

So how do you end a very fun afternoon, why with a trip to Sonic, of course. Mo asked if they could order ANYTHING. Sure. Pure pleasure - all the way around.