Monday, July 31, 2006
Soon we left for the prayer meeting downtown at our church, but John did not forget to drive by that old, wet t-shirt with the ripped-off sleeves which he had discarded along the road. He found it about 4 miles from our house, lying there in its water-logged state next to a trailer park. Woe be to him who picks that up, I said jokingly as we pulled over to the gas station next door. I was excited when John went over to get his running treasure, but I told him to please not set it on my purse. I forgot to tell him to wring it out before he brought it in the van.
We went to the prayer meeting and prayed for the people who would come to our service tonight and for the band and for the pastors and for the guy who came the first week and sat under the tree and for the weather... Sharon calls these the "dog days" of summer and I love it when she says her little sayings like this because it reminds me of Oma Boyer.
Eventually, the sky could not hold that dreadful humidity in anymore. We welcomed the rain, thunder, and lightning to cool things off for a brief spell. But alas, the day turned hot and humid again because these are, after all, the dog days, and we went down to our church on the Grand River at 6pm. The air was thick and hot and stagnant, and muffled the notes that the musicians had lofted up. Feeling a lot like that sopping wet t-shirt, we sang praises to God, and now I know how much He still treasures us.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Happy Birthday, Dad!
Today is Dad's 67th birthday. Most of my friends have parents in their 70's or 80's or beyond, so this seems young to me. In the picture below, he is the Dutchman to the far right.
Coffee Shop near a dike by the North Sea, The Netherlands, 2003
Today in Celeryville, he said 5 different groups of people sang Happy Birthday to him!!! It was a big event for sure. I remember when he turned 50, all the signs in town said, "50 isn't old if you're a tree." So yes, it's all in how you look at it.
Mom & Dad with Hunter & Sam
Saturday, July 29, 2006
My friend Maeghan is a Christian who lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which is exactly a 12 hour time difference to us in Michigan (EST). It's fun when she writes at the end of the day and I'm just starting the day, or if I write at night, she is already in the next day. The irony of this usually strikes me on Sundays when she has already gone to church and I am still in my PJ's. Kuala Lumpur is the home of the 2nd largest building in the world, shown above. I asked her once if she ever goes there, and sure enough, she does meet with clients there sometimes.
I never realized how advanced Malaysia was as a civilization until I met Meaghan which just illustrates what an ethnocentric American I am. Then I remembered the Petronas Towers and duh, tall towers must have people & businesses in them, otherwise why would they be there? This is yet another case of me being awakened to the size of the world. I was thinking of something like the nearby country of Sumatra where my friend Linda went on a mission trip after the tsunami. The pictures she showed me were of a devastated country, of course.
One of the interesting things I learned about Malaysia is they have these stinky fruits called Durians, pictured below.
photo by Maeghan Ng
These fruits have such an obnoxious odor that they aren't even allowed on airplanes which is why you never see them in the US. I think they look like undersea creatures. Evidentally, they can have kind of a custard-like inside for which you have to acquire a taste. Last week, Maeghan & her family had them for her birthday, and I told her oh, if I was there, I would have made you a cake!
You can wish Maeghan a late happy birthday on her blog, here!
Thursday, July 27, 2006
First off, you go into a big green woods and start looking:
Now if you looked hard enough, you should have seen this, which turns out to be a robin, the Michigan state bird. These can also be seen out in the yard if I look out the window of my house.
Now I will tell you, this woods was rather buggy, and so when a gnat flew in to my eye and got stuck in the fold of my eyelid, I finally started feeling at one with nature.
The nature preserve contains this pond which is covered with moss. I was having urges to go ice skating on it with my gnat, or at least walk out on the green ice with him.
But back to birding, or the reality of it... we saw a duck, skating on the green.
It turns out that John is very good at birding. I always knew he could spot little things flying by and this turns out to be a necessary skill to have when birding. He wrote down at least 15 different species of birds that we saw last night! When we left the nature preserve, we came out to an empty parking lot complete with hundreds of parallel yellow lines, and the transition jolted me back in to reality. At that moment, the song that goes, "We paved paradise and put up a parking lot" kept popping in to my head. I guess I was enjoying the woods.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Today, they are getting a good dose of what they were missing. Edward was explaining to Bridget why the new cell phone number which ends with "8910" is a good number - because it has 3 numbers in a row - 8,9,10 - and when you learn to count that high, you will know... I looked over at them to see how she was taking this rather derogatory comment which I have to admit, struck me as a bit funny. Bridget was just looking at me, beaming, and said, "Eddie and I are having togetherness."
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
I loved the story that Dr. Phil told us in this class:
There were 2 bricklayers working side by side on a project for a new cathedral somewhere in the city. He asked one what he was doing, and he said, "I'm laying brick, what does it look like?" But when he asked the 2nd one what he was doing, he replied, "I'm building a cathedral!"
Monday, July 24, 2006
Our precious band, or I should say my image of our precious band, was down on the river front, playing their beautiful music. Much to my dismay, they had been joined by 3 somewhat plump singers standing at an angle like 3/4 of a gospel quartet, singing, complete with motions. Not my style. I wondered what was going on and all the noise in my head was getting in the way of what I should have been thinking of... But I didn't come to hear "gospel singers"...they're so old...old, young, we're all people, made in His image....but they think they're so cool...these people are praising him, too, in their own way...if anyone walks by, they won't want to stay here...who do they think they are? ...that's what church is all about, different people learning to get along....why are they ruining it? I was trying to talk my illogical head in to thinking right. Maybe it was like those cartoons with the angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. I knew my attitude was wrong, but I couldn't stop. It was relentless, and I was struggling.
Then we sang these words, "I'm coming back to the heart of worship, and it's all about you, it's all about you, Jesus, I'm sorry Lord for the things I've made it, when it's all about you..." It was like His Soft Voice gently reasoned with my illogical head, and the unexpainable peace that passes understanding took over at that moment. And I was glad.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
This weekend, John & I had brunch at a diner downtown. John managed to photograph something like the ambience of the place with his palm pilot as I perused the menu (see above). I had a bagel sandwich with egg, tomato, cheese, bean sprouts and hot sauce for good measure. John had a club.
The girls & I took a long walk today and they talked about how they were missing their relatives in Celeryville. I took their picture.
Bridgie is still happy to see her sister, but we all miss Edward.
We went to a prayer service this morning, and in a short while, we will be headed to our church's outdoor service.
And that's the way it was, Sunday, July 23, 2006.
I think this headache is getting to me.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
I was hoping to have a blue hydrangea, and I read once to do this, you need acidic soil. One way to do this is to put green tea in the soil. I did this last summer, but it must have been too late. You can also add Miracid or Iron Sulfate to the soil. This summer, I didn't know we still had the hydrangea until it started to bloom. That's how oblivious I can be sometimes. Maybe next year...
Here are some other shades of pink at our house:
Bridgie is still happy to see her sister today.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Actually, I took this picture this morning at work where we celebrated Bastille Day. They were having a Poodle-Look-Alike contest but Sharon must have thought it said Chi Hua Hua-Look-Alike! Her dog used to be a terrier before he had a run in with a skunk and got shaved but that's another episode. His name is O'Malley which just goes to show you the truly international character of this dog.
Maria & I tried to bring Leo, but he would not cooperate:
In this picture, he looks like he is being tortured. This was right after we took him out of our van where he was making those "mmmmmwwwrorwwww" sounds that cats make when they don't know what's going on, and you just better be getting me out of here before I turn in to a bad dream and start clawing your eyes out.
Our excitement continued today with the return of Bridget from camp. She had so much fun and has been telling us the longest run-on sentence, which started about an hour ago, and began with, "So, do you want to hear about the big storm?" They were evacuated from their cabin at bedtime and had to go somewhere safe where they sang over 100 songs till after midnight!
Bridgie is happy to see Maria!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ.
Phillippians 1:27a (The Message)
And I also like what Eugene Peterson said about it. He said essentially that more important than the circumstances of this place is the God of this place. So we should focus our energies on how we can live our best in the place we find ourselves since He is right there with us. That's a cool way to put it!
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
So today, we got THE call, the shirt was finally in. And this afternoon, Edward & I embarked with great hope on our final journey to Dorr, I with my camera in hand. (Not that he couldn't go alone, I was just up for the adventure) . Dorr is a small farming community about 12 miles south of us and we take Rte. 131 most of the way. We were told in one of the e-mail messages that this place where you pick up the shirts is at the bottom of the hill, and on one of our earlier visits, we had discerned which of the many slight rolling inclines constituted the "Dorr Hill." He let me take a picture of the Dorr sign for later blogging, but it was covered up by a mailbox.
Can you believe it? He actually turned around and let me take it again but I had to be super quick so no one he knew would see us.
So we picked up the shirt- even though the sign on the door said they were closed, there was someone there. The shirt actually has a picture of a running Door, even though it's spelled "Dorr". And he was glad it was white so I won't ever have to tell him it doesn't match his shorts.
On the way home, we were driving down the highway, and Edward told me a joke about this guy who was driving down a highway and talking on his cell phone to a friend. He told his friend where he was, and his friend said to be careful, they said on the radio there was a maniac driving the wrong way. He said, "One maniac, there are hundreds of them!"
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
René Descartes is sitting in a café. He’s just finished a cup of his favorite Surabaya Johnny Half-Caf Arabica-Cappucino Blend. The waiter asks him if he’d like another.
Descartes says, “I think not.”
And he disappears...
Even though I majored in and loved math in college, I'm so bad at your everyday logic. (John can attest to this, I add feeling to my logic, his is of a pure rational variety). One person made the observation that this joke uses bad logic. "I think therefore I am" is logically equivalent to "I am not therefore I do not think", but does not imply "I do not think, therefore I am not."
Sure enough, look at it carefully - if the statement is true, the contrapositive is true, however the inverse and the converse may not be true.
And that makes perfect sense - if you are laying there in a coma or something and not thinking, that does not mean that you are not. See how much easier it is to understand when you add a little feeling or story to it?
Monday, July 17, 2006
Locally, we have a new trash service which says on the side of the truck, "2 Calvin grads putting their education to waste." One day as I was on my daily walk, the truck was right ahead of me (always a smelly pleasure when a trash truck is right ahead of your walking) and I noticed how a robotic arm was coming out of the side and lifting up each of the trash containers parked out in front of the houses in exactly the same position. I told John later how cool it was because the truck went down the street so fast picking up all the carts. I told him because we use a different service and I thought it might be worth checking in to this one.
So this afternoon, when John & I were having one of our bi- or tri-daily check-in calls while he was at work & I was home, the truck went by. I said, oh there goes that trash truck, blah blah blah, and John said, that's okay, I don't need a play by play, and so I realized, no he is working, he does not need to hear this, so I quickly said good-bye. Edward thought this was pretty funny when I told him dad said he did not need a play by play, and he told me I should have told him I can blog about it and you can read all about it later.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Saturday, July 15, 2006
One really great thing about camp and modern technology is when your kid goes to camp for a week they can put pictures of them on the internet so you can see what he/she is doing. It's fun to look for Bridget's picture everyday. In the above picture, a happy and smiling Bridgie in a dark green shirt is between the camp counselor in navy blue and the girl in orange.
It has been a bit quieter around here without our Bridget. John & Edward ran in the Lakeshore Miracle 10K this morning. It is a race that sounds more like an obstacle course, over and under branches, along a beach, up a 200 foot dune and back down (they felt like they were walking on the moon). It is said that in this race, you take your worst 10K time and add 1o minutes which turned out to be true. Add to this race the heat and high humidity and you have a recipe for self-inflicted torture. Edward finished 38th out of about 160 runners and John was somewhere in the middle.
Tonight, John took us to see the new Pirates of the Carribbean movie - very action packed and full of adventure. John loved the Pirates of the Carribbean ride at Disney Land when he was a kid, so being excited, he started to talk like a pirate when we were waiting in line for tickets. Edward & Maria still went with us though.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Here are the 3 girls posing with Rachel in their cabin:
The theme for this year does not appear to have a name but it is based in Titus 3:3-8
3Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy. We hated others, and they hated us.
4But then God our Savior showed us his kindness and love. 5He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit 6He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. 7He declared us not guilty because of his great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life. 8These things I have told you are all true. I want you to insist on them so that everyone who trusts in God will be careful to do good deeds all the time. These things are good and beneficial for everyone.
Bridget is very excited to be back to nature! Notice the new mattresses this year.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
He sometimes displays a competitive streak:
Kitty stalking his next move against Maria.
He pounces for the victory!
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes."
I love this quote, though it isn't quite true for me seeing as I didn't live in the 15th century as Erasmus did. Here in GR, we have such a great library system. I can search for a book or CD on their huge database on the internet and have it sent from one of the many branch libraries to our local branch. Then, I get an e-mail when it's ready so I can go pick it up.
The other day, I received notice that a book and a CD were ready to be picked up, so off I went to the library. It turned out that I had a bit of a fine to pay and 50 cents rental fee for the CD for a grand total of 95 cents, but I only had 80 cents on me, so that's what I paid. The Librarian loved me! She said we love people like you - the ones that actually pay their fines. Evidentally, they don't get serious about collecting fines until you ring up over $10 worth. I wish I had known this about 10 years ago. John referred to me back then as a Library Fugitive because I stopped going to the library when I had about $7 dollars worth of fines. He finally paid them off for me so I would start going back. I always remember what a friend of mine in an old book club used to say -"I consider library fines to be my donation to the library." I try to keep up with my donations.
Yesterday, as I was leaving the library, I noticed a sign that said "$1 for a bag of books - Stock up on your Summer Reading" This is how they get rid of old books, and I thought, quite snootily I might add, there can't be anything worth reading in those old books. The story doesn't end by me going over and finding a treasure of an old book. No, I got in to the van and just kept thinking and laughing that those old books would probably hold the same value as reading say, a cereal box or a shampoo bottle. (I often find myself amusing). But then, I thought of how each book represents somebody pouring a lot of effort in to it, and so I did get over it.
I still can never get over this feeling though - when you check out your books at the front desk , they are free (unless you have a fine). I always feel likeI should pay. What a great gift that is. I remember seeing the movie Luther, and how glad I was that the Bible is so much more available to us now than it was back in the 15th century.
I love that part in the Gospel of John, at the end, where he is talking about all many other things Jesus did, and if they were all written down, one by one, he could not imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books!
We have had many days of pending rain and today is one of them, so everyone is eagerly awaiting a deluge from the heavens. Yesterday, I was talking to a fruit farmer and empathizing with him about the lack of rain, but he whipped me in to shape when he said that his uncle always said, when God wants the crops, he'll send the rain! So okay, today, I will just find beauty in knowing that God is in control and knows what he is doing.
Edit: When I went to the store this afternoon, it started to rain. I came home to this sweet little thing sitting on my front porch:
Monday, July 10, 2006
I haven't seen a good dog movie since... hmmm, probably Homeward Bound. There's nothing like a good dog movie. "Eight Below" almost rates up there, the scenery is awesome. It is "inspired by a true story", whatever that means. I think it means you have to make up a lot because you never truly know what actually happened to the dogs. I enjoyed it since I probably won't be getting to Antarctica soon. The scene at the end where you are waiting for the dogs to come over the hill is reminiscent of Homeward Bound. It also brings back memories of when our cat Leo disappeared for the weekend. Monday morning, after the kids had gotten on the bus, he came up the small hill in to our cul-de-sac meowing his head off at me. If they would only "get inspired" to make a movie of Leo's great weekend, I would know what happened to him and what he was trying to tell me.
By the way, Mom, my dog sister Beatrix would love this one!
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Maria & I have been busy turning her room in to a tropical paradise over the past few days. We put most of it together today, however, we have a few things we would like to add. It is a work in progress, I said to Maria.
Here are more views:
We are going to keep our eyes open for a tropical plant, more artwork, rugs, and she is going to make some pillows for her bed. This was a special present for her 8th grade graduation. Now she can enjoy an Endless Summer as she heads in to high school!
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Come into the garden... I want my roses to see you!
I was trying to think of something so very wise to go along with this picture of our roses out front, something like you can be sad that roses have thorns or happy that thorns have roses, but it just wasn't flowing out naturally like it really fit in my life story for the day. So anyway, there they are, they can see you now and they are happy. Thanks for coming!
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Don't they look happy celebrating their independence?
We went for our traditional "Sailing Day" today for the 4th of July with John's mom & her husband, Geof. It was a gorgeous, sunny day in the 80's and we enjoyed our annual ritual. John's mom threw me for a loop though when we had hamburgers instead of hot dogs and bratwurst :) We sailed around the large Muskegon Lake for 3 hours because Lake Michigan was too rough today.
When we arrived home, I went for a walk and found a firework on the church property that hadn't been set off. I brought it home and was so excited to set it off. I made everyone go out on the deck and watch it shoot up in the sky, and I remembered how great our freedom is. Thank you to all the soldiers who are risking their lives for this freedom! We went out for ice cream after this and then stopped at the video store. They had a bunch on sale for $3 and we found "Vacation" with the very original Clark Griswold. John does the greatest imitation of him when we're on vacation, and the kids agree so far. I forgot that the language is kind of bad in it though, so I would hesitate to recommend it for kids.
Monday, July 03, 2006
John has Bridget in training to become a distance runner, but he said the way her shoes clop on the pavement, she may as well be wearing frying pans on her feet! He did not realize that Bridget had purchased those very shoes in a clearance area of a store known more for fashion than athletics and more because she loves shoes than loves running.
So after 2 stores and about 7 try-ons, she settled on these. She looked like she was going to bounce through the ceiling like a super ball, and when we got home, she took them for a quick spin around the cul-de-sac. She is looking forward to many days of running ahead.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Saturday, July 01, 2006
I don't think the people in this movie ever say the the English words "Jesus Christ," but rather, they talk about how "Waengongi (Creator God) sent His Son to the earth and He was speared, not spearing back so that those who speared Him might learn to live well." To them, the Bible was called where Waengongi "marked his trail with carvings." This movie showed how the missionaries came in to live among them to show them who Jesus is and to translate that message into things they know.
One part that really stood out to me was when one of the missionaries, Nate Saint was leaving in his yellow airplane, which the native people called the "yellow wood bee", and his young son, Steve, did not want him to go because of the danger involved. He asked his dad if he would shoot the Woudani tribe if they attacked him. He said to Steve, "We can't shoot the Woudani, they aren't ready for heaven, we are."
Steve's father was speared and killed by the missionaries. Later in life, when the Woudani man who killed his father asked Steve he was going to avenge his father's death, he replied, "No one took my father's life, he gave it."
The scenery in this movie was very green and lush which appealed to me in the near draught Michigan climate we have been having. It rained a lot during this movie and the sound of that was wonderful to my parched ears!