Thursday, June 29, 2006

Beauty and the Beach

Last evening, our family went out to Lake Michigan with this cool nature-loving guy from our church who had little round glasses and looked like he popped off of the page of an Eddie Bauer catalogue. We also met our pastors out there with their family for a small group study on the beach. The theme of the evening was God in Creation.

When we got there at about 7 pm, the Visitor center at the State Park was closed and all around was quiet except for the birds and our voices. We walked down a long path through the woods and then down a dune to Lake Michigan and I was amazed that there were no people on the beach except for our small group. We sat on the beach and looked at several texts in the Bible about how Creation was used or talked about. It was awesome to be able to hold the soft sand and feel the cool wind and warmth of the sun and listen to the waves and sounds of the rustling dune grass and see the startling beauty while we were talking about our Creator. I remember Amy talking about how we can only see about 10% of the colors on the spectrum and what will that be like when we are in heaven and see them all. I was telling them that I think I had a dream once where I saw some of them and my kids reminded me that this actually comes from a Chris Rice song..."deep enough to dream in brilliant colors I have never seen".
As it got later, we became rather chilled sitting there. Our kids were so happy and content as we piled up in the Volvo to drive home. Instead of going to the nearby "Whippy Dip" for ice cream, we stopped at the gas station for Hot Chocolate. John had not had supper, so he got a couple of gas station hot dogs which he gave me a few bites from. They were the best tasting hot dogs I have ever tasted!

For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Point

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Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance,
and there is only the dance.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Different Perspective

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It's good to see your kid's perspective of your vacation sometimes. Maria took this picture of her Uncle Will.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sisters By the Sea

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When we were down in the Outer Banks taking pictures of my three sisters and me, somebody suggested the blog title, "Sisters by the Sea". The power of this two word alliteration actually goes well with the drama of the picture of my two daughters above. It looks like something from a romance novel!

Below is the picture that title was intended to go with - there is no sea, but we are still near it. We had coaching to tell us how to tilt our heads and it was a good time.

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The picture below shows all the sisters with Mom by the Sea:

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And with Dad by the Sea:

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Friday afternoon, I was down on the beach with the girls after the others had left for home, and together we saw the best show of all. There were dozens of dolphins swimming just beyond where the waves were breaking, and suddenly, from under the surface, they started jumping out of the water 2 by 2, their complete gray bodies glistening in the sun like fireworks during the day. Each time, they were greeted with oohs and aahs by the spectators on the beach. And I thought of the Chris Rice song, "Hallelujahs".

A purple sky to close the day
I wade the surf where dolphins play
The taste of salt, the dance of waves
And my soul wells up with hallelujahs

A lightning flash, my pounding heart
A breaching whale, a shooting star
Give testimony that you are
And my soul wells up with hallelujahs

Oh praise Him all His mighty works
There is no language where you can't be heard
Your song goes out to all the Earth
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

O cratered moon and sparrow's wings
O thunder's boom and Saturn's rings
Unveil our Father as you sing
And my soul wells up with hallelujahs

Oh praise Him all His mighty works
There is no language where you can't be heard
Your song goes out to all the Earth
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

The pulse of life within my wrist
A fallen snow, a rising mist
There is no higher praise than this
And my soul wells up
O my soul wells up
Yes my soul wells up with hallelujahs

Oh praise Him all His mighty works
There is no language where you can't be heard
Your song goes out to all the Earth
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

We left the Outer Banks at 6:30 am and arrived home just before midnight, so it was a big day of driving! As we drove in to Michigan, I was thinking of how it feels when you fly in to the USA from foreign soil, and I thought of the clever word play one of my sisters used to describe our Dutch-immigrant Dad's arrival - "The Nether has landed, the Nether has landed", and it always makes me laugh when I think of this. We weren't even at mile marker 1 in Michigan when we were greeted by a 20 foot blow-up Uncle Sam advertising fireworks for sale, and I thought, that's Michigan for you. Hallelujah, we're home.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Ocean Life and Supper

One of the first things we always have to do when we get here is go grocery shopping for the week for all of us in the family. So the four sisters load up in a vehicle and go to the store with a list.
I brought my camera along to this grand event and they were all like what for, so I told them I didn't want to miss any bloggable moments. I really hate it when I'm consciously thinking like this and then they said that I was thinking like a scrapbooker and that's just ugly. Then they were all overacting and it was just not natural. I took pictures anyway.
We planned meals for the week in our heads and on our list, and at the end of the week, we thought we should have a seafood supper for anything our fishermen husbands caught, and if the fish weren't biting we could supplement it with seafood from the store.
Well, John did indeed pull through. He caught a shark on the very first day!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Greetings from the OBX

We arrived to the Outerbanks this afternoon after driving through the night (John did). He's a machine when it comes to driving! We stopped in Washington DC briefly this morning and took pictures by the White House and the Capitol Building. The weather is beautiful here and I'm looking forward to enjoying it this week. I have a hard time posting on Edward's lappy but if I get something exciting to say, I'm sure I'll make it work.

Friday, June 16, 2006


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We are getting ready to leave tonight for a week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina where we will be spending a week at a beach house on the ocean. My mom, dad, sisters, and their families will all be there - 21 total in the house! We always have fun when we do this.
I probably won't be able to post when I'm out there, so I may be taking a break from blogging, too. Pray for a safe week for all! Blessings to you!!

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Mom & Dad with all the grandchildren, last year.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Don't Eat the Donut When a Camera is Near


Last Saturday, we all went to the Brian Diemer Americam 5K Classic. Edward & John ran while we girls watched. It was a beautiful morning and all was well. The race is obviously named after Brian Diemer who is a local Olympic Bronze medalist in the Steeplechase and a very good runner. The tradition of this race is that everyone who beats Brian gets a donut. The thing is, he ran this race in 16 minutes and 54 seconds, and that is hard to beat. The time is adjusted for females, and a good friend of mine, Laura, beat this adjusted time by coming in at 18:32. Laura, of course being a runner, did not want her donut, so she gave it to me, a non-runner. Now the photographer of the event must have thought I looked like A Pretty Good Runner since I had a donut and must therefore have beaten Brian Diemer, and he took this photo for the website. John found this picture on , and really, I only took about one or two bites of the donut. Really. They just happened to take the picture at that exact second.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Team Smith - Uganda


This afternoon, my cousin from southern Ohio came over, and Edward & I helped her set up a blog, Fields of Hope. Martha and her husband, Eric, are going to be leaving in about a week for NW Uganda, to the town of Arua. Eric is going to be a program developer for the CRWRC, so they are in GR for training since the CRWRC headquarters is here. Martha will probably do something in development with agriculture or animals since that is her specialty. Hopefully, they will be able to have internet access at times to keep family & friends posted! Keep them in your prayers as they begin this great work!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Zeroing In

I've always been one of those people who play a song over and over and over again, ad nauseum, when I find one that I like, much to John's dismay. Songs like One More Dollar by Gillian Welch, or In the Palm of Your Hand by Alison Krauss, Untitled Hymn by Chris Rice, Variations on the Kanon by George Winston, Good Riddance by Green Day, Oh Very Young by Cat Stevens, or Sing to Jesus by Fernando Ortega. Almost every CD has a song that I zero in on as The One That I Must Listen To Over & Over.

I am happy to report that I'm not the only one to possess this characteristic that causes our cat to drink water out of the potty (no, I guess I don't really know what makes him do that). Today Bridget & Maria rode their bikes to the store to get the new Taylor Hick's CD which was released this morning. I came home from work at 1 pm to a happy Bridgie who was on her billionth listen of "Do I Make You Proud" and Edward thinking This Can't Be Happening to Me. She is taking after her mother.

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Monday, June 12, 2006


Today for work we had to go to the golf outing which our organization sponsored as a fund-raiser. Sharon & I had to sit at the 15th hole as witnesses to any hole-in-ones that occurred there since anyone who hit one won a year lease on a new car! Evidentally, we had to witness this for insurance purposes. So we sat there talking to golfers who went by and each other for 4 hours and it was really quite lovely listening to the birds in a field of grass with blue sky overhead and pleasant temperatures, etc.
As the morning drew nigh, I said to Sharon, if nobody gets a hole in one, I won't feel like I have been working. But Sharon said that it's all on a continuum, which is to say we were there as part of the bigger picture of everything. What a great job I have!

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Eighteen years ago today, John & I were married in a beautiful wedding in Celeryville. We had a outdoor reception under a big red and white tent and if I had a scanner that worked, I'd show a picture.

Today, at church, we celebrated the Lord's Supper. Last night, our friends had asked us how we do that at our new church and we really didn't know. I wasn't concerned about their method, I just knew they would make it a celebration. The pastor mentioned how they had just stopped at the grocery store to get the bread & grape juice, and I laughed when he said how many times they had to go back home before they came to church because they forgot something, because that sounds just like our family.

For communion, our pastor held the bread and grape juice, and we went up individually to receive it by dipping the bread into the grape juice. I noticed how much it tasted like a grape jelly sandwich when you eat it this way, and it was a comforting thing since I had not had one since I was a kid. On my walk this afternoon, I was thinking about that and I wondered if that was irreverent, but then I thought, well no, this comforting aspect of the Supper reminds me of the great comfort we have in His grace.

After church, I was talking to Jeremiah, the band leader, and it turns out, he and his wife Julie are celebrating their first anniversary today! I was so excited because John & I are celebrating our 18th today. Being the band leader, he marched right up to the mike to lead everyone in a rousing edition of "Happy Anniversary", to the tune of "Happy Birthday". It was so cool because it is just another way to connect. We talked briefly with them about a few memories of our respective weddings.

John and I are going to plant a Peony plant this afternoon in honor of our anniversary since they always bloom during this time of year.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Summer Is Here

This morning, John & Edward ran in a 5K race near our home. It went well for John, and ok for Edward, but he has been on a 2 week hiatus after track season ended.
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Edward (in black) lining up for the Brian Diemer Amerikam 5K Race
Today was Cutlerville Days, I think it is only one day even though they say "Days".
After the race, we watched a parade. My dog sister Beatrix wasn't really into it. Mom & Dad left for home after the parade.

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In the afternoon, I rode around in a golf cart selling water bottles with the new school logo on them. It was fun, but all the sun made me tired. After supper, we took some friends of ours downtown to our church for the CD release party of the band. And after that, we saw the fireworks of Cutlerville Days.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Moving On

Maria graduated last night as a member of the last graduating class of her school. The school is merging with another school under a new name, and so, that is the end of Cutlerville Christian after 113 years.

Maria was recognized as a Salutatorian of the class.

The Principal wished them good times ahead, but also times that were harder so they might draw nearer to God.
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Maria & Marie have been best friends since 1st grade (Marie was the Valedictorian) They are pictured below with their final project which displays what their Christian education means to them (all they have learned revolves around a cross.)
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Maria & I made a Lime Chiffon cake to have when the grandparents came over after graduation.
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She graciously posed with her grandparents.
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And then with her family:

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And so, it was a very good day.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Bright Spots

"God is magificent; He can never be praised enough." Psalm 145:3
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Bridget getting off the bus with her "end of the year stuff"

Today, at work, I had one of those days where I just got lost in an Excel spreadsheet. It's so fun when that happens! Then, I came home to get ready for the Queen Mother's second arrival -haha. Mom & Dad are coming again for Maria's 8th grade graduation tomorrow! Bridget has a half day tomorrow and Maria just has graduation practice and a party. Edward has been looking for a job and he has an interview tomorrow! John got a new plant for the perennial garden - a bleeding heart. It will fit in well here.

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It must be June, the peonies are in bloom - my neighbor sent these flowers over just in time for graduation :)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Invention Convention

In this last week of school, Bridget's class is still busy at work. They had to think up an invention and make a model of it. Her invention was a pair of gloves that you could warm up by putting them in the microwave. Too bad there aren't any microwaves out on the sledding hill! She took a pair of mittens and put a baggy of rice in them.

Then she had to name it. She was thinking of something like Toasty Mitts, but she wasn't sold on it. She would not go for my suggestion of "Balmy Palms"! I can't believe it. Finally, she decided to name her invention "Finger Furnace". Ninety-five percent of an invention is the name, that's what I always say. At least it is for the kind you make in fifth grade!

So today, on 6/06/06, she was showing it in the gym. I stopped by to see her and many people (about 80!) indicated on her sign-up sheet that they would indeed purchase this invention!

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Live to Tell

Yesterday, in our church, Andrew Ryskamp from the CRWRC (Christian Reformed World Relief Committee) spoke. It was so awesome to hear what they are doing!! He asked a pastor in Uganda what kept him going and his reply was, Psalm 118:17, "I will not die but live to tell what the Lord has done." We sang an African song with bongo drums after that to really get us in the spirit!

I e-mailed my cousin who is going to Uganda and she is coming up to GR next week for training with the CRWRC (Hi Marti!!!). I think I'm going to show her about blogs so she can set one up(since I'm such an expert :) I'm excited to see her & her husband!

I just bought 24 Gerber Daisies for outgoing parents of the PTO and I wish I would have taken their picture - they were so cute!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

HRH The Queen Mother

The Queen Mother has been gracing our humble abode, and since I started I writing this, I realized that if she is the Queen Mother that would make me ... the Queen! She refers to me simply as Princess Julianna, however. She came up from Celeryville in her Klompen carriage.

We did our usual...
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went to the import store where she bought her Leyden cheese and Hagelslaak (I feel like I'm in the National Spelling Bee with that one!) These are Dutch things that they like and can only get here. Then we went shopping and to lunch at Olga's.

In the afternoon, John, Edward, Bridget & I went downtown to the Festival of the Arts and listened to our church's band play:
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They did In Christ Alone, I Want to Thank You and Rain Song and others. I came home and got stuck in the rain with my dog-sister Beatrix. Meanwhile, mom & dad have been at a wedding.
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She is too tired to cooperate with being photographed.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sissy 3

Yes! I saw Sissy, dressed as cute as ever, today again at the grocery store in the produce department. True to my word, I went over and asked her if she was "Sissy" and she replied, "Why, yes!" I told her the story of how I wondered who she was and how I saw her cars, "Sissy 1" and "Sissy 2". She told me she also has a "Sissy 3" which is an old Lincoln Continental. I told her I thought her outfits were so cute and she said she really appreciated me coming up to tell her that! She proceeded to shop around the melons for awhile, and as I was leaving the produce department, I noticed her standing in a group of old people and being introduced to someone else as "Sissy." So now I know it's true. And this is no small town I live in.
Another thing happened tonight that was rather unique...
We went out to eat at Chili's Restaurant(about a mile away) with my mom & dad when they got here. We had the nicest waiter and his name is Gerrit which is quite unusual. After we ate, on our way out to the car, I was talking about how nice our waiter was. Then Mom told me that today, June 2, would have been my grandfather's 100th birthday if he was still alive. His name was... Gerrit!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Maria has been working on a history project on the computer for several hours here, while Edward has been busy studying for finals. Bridget went to Greenfield Village today and rode around in a Model T, and she's still pretty excited. Meanwhile, I have been very focused on preparing for the arrival of the Queen Mother and her Royal Consort (ie. Mom & Dad) because they are coming to GR for a wedding this weekend. In the midst of all this focus going on, Edward got a call for a summer job interview, so with zero hesitation, we whipped in to the car to go get a haircut. It is always good to be able to see the interviewee's eyes during an interview, I always say.
Arg!!!! It's past my bedtime. I was distracted by the National Spelling Bee Finals which John was watching, and it got so exciting! So I better go get back on track...