Thursday, May 31, 2007

Start Your Engines

I don't know what possessed us to put wedding clothes on over our work clothes in 90 degree humid weather and ride a teeny 2 wheeler around a course at work - oh yeah, it must have been because of the Littlest 500. Each of 22 teams who participated picked a theme and dressed up to race the other teams on little bikes. We picked the wedding theme since WE ARE THE FAMILY INSTITUTE!

Upper left: Throwing the bouquet (Marlene caught it)

It wasn't hard to believe we didn't win for speed - those little bikes are hard to ride. The IS Geeks won the best costume. We all won $10 gift cards for being out there on bikes though. Yay!
Next year: the Flinstones? Unless you can think of something better...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thank You

The other night, John read this Psalm after supper and we laughed as he coughed and burped and hiccuped through it. I guess he had just had a very satisfying supper. The combination of all of this reminded me of this poem by W.S. Merwin which is included here after the Psalm.

1 Thank you! Everything in me says "Thank you!" Angels listen as I sing my thanks.

2 I kneel in worship facing your holy temple and say it again: "Thank you!" Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness; Most holy is your name, most holy is your Word.

3 The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength.

4 When they hear what you have to say, God, all earth's kings will say "Thank you."

5 They'll sing of what you've done: "How great the glory of God!"

6 And here's why: God, high above, sees far below; no matter the distance, he knows everything about us.

7 When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil. With one hand strike my foes, With your other hand save me.

8 Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal - don't quit on me now.

Psalm 138, The Message

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridge to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you

with all the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

~ W. S. Merwin

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Much to her surprise, Bridget was asked to run the Mile (or 1600M) in the Conference Meet today. She ended up having to borrow these huge shorts from a friend since she didn't have hers at school.


The bright blue shirts in the picture look refreshingly cool, but I will tell you this - it was almost 90 degrees and so muggy you would cut the air if you ran with scissors. Think of August heat and double it. Bridget was in such agony after the race that John offered to get her a Slushy. Then we started to talk about running again in the Fall.

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Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Home Again


Maria returned home today after her trip to the World Finals and VERY reluctlantly posed for me with the pins she had collected. She traded Michigan pins with kids from other lands and in doing so acquired pins from New York, California, North Carolina, Singapore, Poland, Khazakstan, etc. The team that won in her division was from Singapore and she said they were VERY good!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

World Finals


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We drove over to Michigan State University to see Maria's team perform in the World Finals. We all thought it was the best performance of their career, but we were disappointed in the scores. Tonight, we'll find out how they did overall.

11:46pm. John & I are back from the awards ceremony. They finished 9th out of 64 teams in their division. There were over 800 teams in the auditorium - from 12 countries and 31 states and it was a big bowl of people stew there all right.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Catting Around


Leo, the Cat

It isn't such a slow day here. Maria is off to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals, Edward has a McJob interview, and Bridget is running the mile in a track meet in near 90 degrees. I just wanted to do kitty pix anyway.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Substitute Mother?

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Bridget & friends react as I pull out the camera during math class

Yesterday, Bridget's school called in desperate search for a substitute teacher because I used to do it quite often and even though I work now, I'm still down on the list. I told them I could do it if they couldn't find anyone. It turned out that I substituted for Bridget's 6th grade math and history classes. I wondered if she would mind having her mom in middle school.

Bridget told me yesterday not to take my camera in a tone of voice that implied that I should bring my camera. (Mothers understand this tone). So when I pulled it out in the last hour, I think she was kind of excited. I received a bit of feedback from her after school which used the words "best ever" and awesome. So I guess she doesn't need a substitute mother after all!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Unzipped in the Twilight Zone

This morning, I woke up at about 4:30am, but managed to get back to sleep before my usual 6:30am wake-up time. I don't set my alarm, I just wake up from all the commotion going on in the house. So I was enjoying this time of dream-filled sleep, when suddenly, my co-worker Sharon was there in my dream as real as can be zipping up her pants as she was getting ready for work and she said, "Why didn't you tell me I was unzipped?" I immediately woke up and it was 6:37am. Yes, I felt weird about dreaming that, but oh well. Maybe one of the psychologists at work can tell me the meaning of that some day.

Meanwhile, I was glad to be up because I had lunches to make, kids to get off to school, and myself ready for work. When I arrived at work just before 8am, I said to Sharon, "You woke me up this morning. Thanks." She was of course puzzled, so I explained my dream about the unzipped pants and how I immediately woke up. She had this look of instant recognition and said that at that time, she was actually looking at herself in the mirror and noticing she was unzipped. I retold this story at least twice during the day and each time, she piped in, "I swear it's true."

What a weird thing to have ESP about.

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Sharon with her Taco Bell dog last summer

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bleeding Hearts

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Compassion doesn't originate in our bleeding hearts or moral sweat, but in God's mercy. Romans 9:16 The Message

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Russian Orthodoxy in GR, or Mother-Daughter Bonding

Maria, as a freshman at South Christian, is taking Church History this semester, and one of their assignments is to visit a different church and write a report about it. Some of her friends were going to a Baptist church nearby, but we decided to go to St. John Chrysostom Russian Orthodox Church downtown. John dropped us off at the small white church in the middle of a downtown neighborhood this morning with nothing but a cell phone and a dollar bill in my pocket. The first person we met when we walked in the door was a 1960 graduate of South Christian and she made us feel welcome. She explained some things that were going on like how the priest was speaking in Russian at times because there were some actual Russian people there today.

We read a bit about the Orthodox Church last night, and this article proved to be very helpful - it was true! People kiss the icons! You stand almost the whole time! The priest chants and the choir sings in a capella harmony nearly the whole time also which was actually quite soothing. The priest and the deacons come in and out and in and out of the 3 doors in the front following the same liturgy every week. The deacons spread sweet smelling incense around continually by swinging a golden censer at the end of 3 chains in everyone's direction. I noticed a cute little old lady peering out from behind somebody at the new people in the church (us) and I later talked with her and found out she was the oldest and the only original member of the church, and her parents were from Belarus, or "White Russia." When the priest was getting ready to offer the Eucharist to only the Orthodox who have confessed their sins to the priest and have fasted since midnight, he chanted about the fast and said something about Snickers bars! I did ask Maria later to make sure I wasn't hearing things. His "teaching" was about the Council of Nicea - it was the only time he didn't chant. The Orthodox Church believe that it most effectively holds to the traditions and beliefs of the early church.

The service lasted almost 2 hours and afterwards, we were invited to come downstairs for fellowship. Several people told me of how they went to different churches - reformed, charismatic, etc. - and then found their way here. They called it "their journey." There was so much to take in in our visit, but maybe this is more than you ever wanted to know about the Orthodox Church.

Maria and I left the basement fellowship together after our 2-1/2 hour visit and started walking up the street together. Just then, John pulled up in the red van and we got in with the rest of the family, smelling together like sweet incense. The rest of the family said we reeked.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Dear Alma Mater

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Pomp and Circumstance

Today, John, Bridget & I went to the graduation ceremonies of Calvin College downtown at the Van Andel Arena because John's half-sister Heidi was graduating in a class of 900. It was a thrill to witness the ceremony which is just like it was when I graduated. I could sing the whole alma mater by heart after all these years. I wondered why I knew it when John & his sister Susan did not, but I remembered it was because my dad used to sing it when I was younger, and I must have learned it from him. The graduates exited the arena as the band played "For All the Saints" just as in my graduation 22 years ago.

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John with his dad, sister, daughter, & half-sister

John's dad flew in to town from LA for the day for the graduation while other family members are staying longer. Heidi will be starting a great job later this summer for KPMG. Oh, in case you're curious:

Calvin, Calvin, sing we all to thee;
To dear Alma Mater we pledge fidelity.
Forever faithful to maroon and gold.
Thy name and honor we ever shall uphold.

Calvin, Calvin, God has been thy guide;
Dear Alma Mater, thy strength He shall provide.
Be loyal ever to the faith of old.
God's name and honor we ever shall uphold.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Flash Back Friday 19

This Flash Back Friday post is dedicated to my mother who is celebrating her 65th birthday today. The picture was probalby taken while she was still in high school and dating my dad , or shortly thereafter.
bev & paul

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Running versus Going Running

I should have realized there was a difference, but now I have been set straight for good.

Track season is over, and Edward is taking a 2 week break before he can run again. After school yesterday, he stopped home to pick something up and said he was going to play ultimate frisbee with his friends. Oh, I said, you are playing that without running? Can you walk and throw frisbees? He said that he is allowed to run, he just can't "go run." Then like the math professor he is destined to become, he went on to explain that it's like the relationship between a square and a rectangle. All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Oh, I said. So not all running is "going running" then. Yes, he said, we are just not allowed to do constant strenuous physical exercise.

Well, that explains it.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Judy's Grandaughters

OBX, 2005 - Andrea, Me, Paula, Marianna

I don't know who started it, but in our family, indeed even my own children, will say, when I am taking a long time to frame a shot, "OKAY JUDY." This is said in reference to my dear grandmother who used to take pictures of us with such enthusiasm with her little Kodak 110 Instamatic that you just knew how very important you were. I remember hooting over her shots of the sky, the grass, and the carpet. I think John must have started this JUDY thing because my kids never knew her, but if they know this about her, that she liked to take pictures of the people she loved, then that's a good thing.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Steak -n- Strawberry Shortcake

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These 3 very special kids are thrilled to be eating a Mother's Day lunch on the deck with their mom!

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This is a Dutch way to make Strawberry shortcake - with rusk, brown sugar, strawberries and cool whip. The air is hung with a deliberate silence when the kids are eating it. My dutch-ish mother showed me how to make it.

I was given a monopod as a gift which is something cool I have been wishing I had.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

To my dear mother across the miles... thank you for loving God and being a positive, creative force in the world.
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Mom with her 4 daughters. She told Dad she was going to have 4 girls before we were even born, and only she could actually pull this off!

Hope everyone has a good day celebrating mothers and especially God who made them!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Riverbank Running

This day in GR could not have been more beautiful. Cool, sunny days are the best. Our whole family headed downtown at 6:55 am for the Fifth Third Riverbank Run where about 14,000 runners participated in the 30th annual event. It takes almost 10 minutes for the runners just to cross the starting line - it is a fantastic sight! John ran in the 25K and Edward in the 5K. John ran for "Partners Worldwide which is an organization my brother-in-law Paul works with to help build businesses in 3rd world countries. I was their photographer and my main task was to take pictures of all their runners wearing these blue shirts, and also the 2 Kenyan runners who were not wearing the shirts because they were under contract with Nike.
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John is excited about something before the race.

Edward came in 44th place out of about 5000 runners in the 5K! It helps that he is well-conditioned for track season.

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I stood at the finish line waiting for my runners to come in and the couple next to me was talking about someone from Kenya. It was Dr. Primus who is a retired professor from Calvin and his wife. They knew the Kenyans from teaching there for a semester, so they helped me look for them since I had not met them. When I saw Edward headed for the finish line, I said casually, there's my son, he always throws up. Sure enough... :)

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Luke Kibet finishing in 1:21. John finishing at 2:13.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Flash Back Friday 18

arriving NYC a
Oma & Opa coming to the USA, 1952, In front of the Empire State Building

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Things That Make Me Happy

**Bridget's Artwork
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** Monday morning at work, Sharon was was standing right by me when I was logging on to my computer and as I was typing in my password, she stuck her nose right over my fingers to see what it was! This makes me laugh out loud every time I think of it.

**Watching Bridget's softball games and Edward's track meet this week under white puffy clouds.

**Bringing 6 Gerberra daisies home from work after we finished up our resource fair.
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**Taking a quick 1 hour trip to the mall with the girls and finding a dress for Bridget's dress-up dinner at school the day before the dinner. Here she is this morning.
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**Painted chairs

**Edward's new Varsity letter that he just received for Cross Country last fall - for running a 5K in under 18:35! When John asked him after school if he got anything exciting today, he said, No, not really.
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Having time to whip up a latte this morning using my mother's recipe.
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**Comments from my blog readers - even just a hey, I like that, too.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bye Bye, Bea


When Mom & Dad were packing up to go home Monday morning, Beatrix knew it was time to go home and she was excited. She sat in the car like that for about 1/2 hour while they were loading the car. Although she enjoyed eating Leo's food while she was here, she was ready to get back home.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Visit from HRH

I could not help but notice the concurrent visits to GR by my mother, HRH Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and the visit to the USA by Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. Did you see how President Bush said she came to visit the US for the bicentennial in 1776? She was honored at the first white-tie dinner of the Bush White House.

Saturday evening, we had dinner at maybe the closest thing to the White House in GR to celebrate Mother's 65th birthday. We rode the glass elevator to the 27th floor of the Amway Grand Plaza where we dined at Cygnus.

Here we are happy that Mom is finally eligible for Medicare.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Not About Tulips

It appeared as if the reason for last weekend was to see the tulips, but that was only a side benefit of the real reason Mom & Dad came. They came for grandparent's day at Bridget's school, Legacy Christian, and Edward & Maria's orchestra concert.
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Edward & Maria's concert was on Sunday evening. They stopped for a pose before they left:

Their concert included different music, some beautiful. One especially memorable piece included music from the Pirates of the Carribean, and truly, you could feel the Pirate ships coming over the horizon. The cello section started this one out playing alone, and I get a kick out of watching Edward in the front row. I wish I could see Maria better.

I took this picture from the upper section of the auditorium, and I think it looks like an oil painting. I liked it so much that I wanted to see it with a watercolor filter. Here it is:
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