Wednesday, April 30, 2008


pear tree

I was so excited to see these tiny blossoms on the new tiny tree that John just planted in our backyard late last fall. They thought I was overreacting, but do you remember how harsh the winter was people? God is good all the time!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Netherlands Nuesday 26

ralph & tina
Tina & Ralph, September 2007

We had a good visit with cousins Ralph & Tina in Groningen this past September. Tina was always a very lively, fun person to be around with her heavy Dutch Brogue and this time was no different. Sadly, Mom told me that Tina died last month of some lung complications. I'm thankful we were able to see her this last time.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Davids

With 2 teenage girls here in our house, the evening revolves around American Idol 2 or 3 nights a week. If they can't be home, it must be recorded! Bridget is an actual American Idol Encyclopedia. Her favorites are the Davids.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Excitement Overload


This weekend was so outstanding that as I write this on Sunday evening, I'm filled with a little sadness that it's over - until I remember the words of Dr. Seuss and Edward's cross country coach - Don't cry because it's over, be glad that it happened. Maybe Friday night is catching up with me - I only got about 3 hours of sleep at the church women's retreat after a busy day of working, going to lunch with John, getting "lost" in Holland, talking and more talking. Many of these conversations still linger in my mind and I think of what a gift it is to be part of this church.

Saturday, I returned in time to celebrate Bridget's birthday by going to the wedding of an old friend and twin sister of my college roommate Linda - what a joyous occassion! It makes me laugh when I think back to how we screamed when we saw each other, my college roommate and I, because it doesn't happen nearly enough as she lives in New York. John, the girls & I had an awesome birthday supper at Olga's and came home for cake and presents. I then made 48 cupcakes for church right up until I crashed at about 10pm.

Sunday morning, my friend Cathy Withasee, of little red haired girl on the bus memory, gave me a package of little wax bottles with juice inside, Gracie gave me a handwritten note which is a wonderful gift the e-mail/cell phone days we live in and Pastor Henry talked about living in harmony.

My friends Linda and Joe came in the afternoon before heading back East so we could catch up - it had been a couple of years since we saw them and it was priceless to see them again. When they left, I stood in the driveway and waved until they were out of sight. Then Edward proceeded to beat me in 3 games of ping pong which is actually another exciting thing - I might feel bad if he couldn't beat his 45 year old mother...

joe linda sam

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bridget is 13 Today!

Bridget's 3rd Birthday with her new Bitty Baby, 1998

Today, we celebrate the birth of our dear Bridget. She's 13 making her an official teenager. As you can see above, she loves birthday - her own and anyone's really. I'll never forget how she had birthday parties for her Bitty Baby every day when she was 3.

May you always know how much you are treasured, Bridgie!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Flash Back Friday 67

ed grad2
Edward, 1996, Practicing for kindergarten graduation with my Calvin College"hat"

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My "Favorite" Brother-In-Law

This is what Dave says he is - that's ok since he was the Best Man at our wedding. . .

Such excitement! We got to see Dave last weekend when he came up north to speak at the University of Chicago. We talked to his daughters via the internet and webcams - something he does every night as his wife and girls are in Venezuela while he is working at the University of Georgia. Good thing we live in the 21st Century. The girls played music on their cuatro and sang. So awesome!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Last Track Season

Hi all! The runner is back on the blog. Yesterday was a perfect day for photography at one of the best looking tracks in the area. This one is my favorite:

That's Edward in the yellow shoes in front...

He came up to John & I in the stands to check his time. He ran a 5:08 in the mile, followed by a PR of 11:24 in the 2 mile so he was pretty happy about that.
ed-track close up

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Very Awesome Chili Cook-off

Yesterday, we had a modified version of a church potluck in the form of a chili cook-off. I was very excited to have a good reason to make my all-American chili with a half a bottle of Merlot. Bridget & I had our friends Cathy and Emily over the day before for a pre-chili cook-off.

Cathy cut up her peppers and onions to such perfection and we stood back to admire the beauty!

onions peppers

When we were done making our chili, we let our daughters make their own by combining whatever they wanted and using leftovers and things they could find in the kitchen. They added 1/2 lb. of ground beef, green and yellow peppers, onions, beef broth, cayenne pepper sauce, almond-chocolate candy kisses, diced tomatoes and white cannelini beans. When it needed more liquid, they decided to add the Dr. Pepper I was drinking. When it came time to name the chili, instead of the obvious 4 pepper chili, they chose to name it "Wouldn't You Like to be a Pepper Too?"

dr p chili

Morning came and the next day. After our morning worship, the excitement continued as the crock pots brimming with chili were brought out to the table.

chlli cookoff

The judges were given samples of each chili and very seriously gathered with milk around candlelight.

chili 040

The winner of the Family Friendly category of chili?

chili 043
Emily & Bridget's "Wouldn't You Like to Be a Pepper Too?" Chili!

It was all gone!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What is the Mission of Submission?

The following is what I wrote for our church's blog today. Tomorrow, I will tell you the best chili cook-off story ever!

Today we read 1 Peter 2:13-3:7 and talked about submission. Pastor Amy encouraged us to think about how we define submission since the term sometimes carries negative baggage or connotations with it. Amy reminded us that submission does not necessarily mean that we are forced, threatened, or bullied into compliance.

We are given the example of Jesus as the best example of submission. His faith was not in those who judged Him unjustly but in God, and therefore He submitted to God's will by being obedient. As much as submission is an action it is also an attitude. Jesus was also humble, patient, gentle, loving and compassionate.

Our understanding of submission can be expanded to include the reason why we should be submissive. We should be submissive and live as Christ lived to be a witness to the world. As Amy said, "Christians are to live such holy lives that nothing can be lodged against the Gospel because of their example."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hello Precious Friends


Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the music of laughter break through your soul.

As the wind wants to make everything dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the freedom of the monastery bell,
May clarity of mind make your eyes smile.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May a sense of irony give you perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May fear or worry never put you in chains.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the distance the laughter of God.

- John O'Donahue

Friday, April 18, 2008

Flash Back Friday 66

ed-4 mos
Edward, 4 months old, April, 1990

This cute little baby is graduating from high school in a month!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Off to the Races

When 7th grade girls participate in Pinewood Derby races, it is a bonding experience.

april 003

Bridget and John put together a pinewood derby car and raced last night at the annual Gems & Cadets race. Bridget's friends cheered her car on as it kept winning in the races.

Such drama!


Bridget won a 3rd place trophy out of 45 cars.

But the best part was when she came home and had her picture taken with Edward and his 3rd place trophy & car from 1999.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Painting Pal

In the past, when embarking on various painting projects, both at home and at a friend's house, I have found it to be a fun project to do together. So when I heard my friend Cathy wanted to paint, I was totally game.

The amazing and fun Cathy Flinstone with her art deco vacuum cleaner

Many years ago, when I went to kindergarten, I had to ride the big yellow bus to the "big" public school. I will never forget a red-haired girl on the bus named Cathy who gave me one of those little wax bottles filled with juice. It was the most amazing thing in my little naive world from probably my first ever friend. I thought of that little juice bottle for many, many years and the little red haired girl named Cathy, who I lost track of the next year when I went to a different school. Last week while painting, I thought for awhile I had finally found her until I realized she was from Chicago. Oh well, I can still pretend.

Bridget just came home from school and announced that the nurse inside of her pulled off another "A" on a human body science quiz. High 5!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Netherlands Nuesday 24

Our first night in the Netherlands, we were so excited to get to the hotel that we decided to pose in various groupings of people on the non-descript bridge.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Taxes and Other Such Fun


I thought it was so cute yesterday when John was helping Edward do his taxes - it was something new to photograph. He gets a $70 refund. Woohoo!


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Living Stones

See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. I Peter 2:6-7

This morning, we talked about how Jesus is the living stone or foundation and as we come to Him, we are built as living stones into a spiritual house.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spring's Bright Things


Flowers "won"

These yellow flowers and all that went along with them were a good antidote this past March to that time of year in the midwest that gets very wet and gray. They came out of one of those guessing games at the table at the Fernando Ortega benefit dinner where the winner gets to take the centerpiece home. I really tried to give it back, but then when they insisted, I thought how I could take a photo and share it with the world on the intertube...

I have spent the past couple of days listening to Fernando Ortega and painting in clean and bright colors with my friend Cathy who we saw Fernando with. She is such a kindred spirit! Fernando, painting, hanging out with friends - 3 of my favorite things for sure!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Flash Back Friday 65

bridesmaids polaroid
June 11, 1988
I was telling a friend of mine that our bridesmaids wore white and she wanted to see it. So this is today's flashback - almost 20 years ago!

Thursday, April 10, 2008



This afternoon, I thought it would be good for the girls to go on my walk with me, so we walked to a place for root beer floats. We had a good time.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Take This Test

A friend of mine at work gave me this test and I had to go home afterwards:

There is a mute who wants to buy a toothbrush.

By imitating the action of brushing one's teeth, he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and the purchase is done.

Now, if there is a blind man who wishes to buy a pair of sunglasses,
how should he express himself?

I'll put the anwer in the first comment!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Netherlands Nuesday 23

hotel de ziende
Mom & Paula doing the Hot Babe Pose in front of Hotel DeZiende (they look glad to be leaving ;))

Happy Birthday to Sister Paula today!!! Woohoo, you get your picture in the blog.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

True Things

morning 010

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
-Stuart Townend

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Guest Blogger Day: Bridget

I'm helping out my mom today!!! She said i could clean the bathrooms or do her i chose the blog. Duh. She picked out a couple of pictures of me and my friend Jessica. ( not very good ones though)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Like a Rolling Stone


Bridget dressed in an old Rolling Stones shirt of John's for decade day at school yesterday, and Maria did a nice 80's hairdo on her. Her excitement that morning was just so hard to capture in one picture, hence the 2x2 mosaic.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What is Truth?

I actually remembered when I woke up yesterday that it was April Fool's Day so I was on guard and it was working out good for me. John told Bridget she could go back to bed because school was cancelled and I quick blurted "April Fool's" because I don't like to see people be disappointed.

Bridget came home from school at 3:35pm and excitedly told me about all the jokes that were made in school that day in the name of April 1. I was amused. The truth is, on this day, watch out or you'll be fooled.

Oh, remember that picture of me eating a donut that was in the Brian Diemer 5K brochure? Today a friend wrote to tell me it is on their website this year. I thought this was pretty cool so I sent the link to John. He called me later in the afternoon to tell me he also saw the picture on a billboard on 68th street on the way to work. I was so excited at the thought of a bigger than life picture of me out there - I don't know why, I just thought it would be funny. He told me it was that billboard by the railroad tracks and I couldn't picture it, so he said it was that one that says April Billboards at the bottom, so I said what side of the road is it on, and he said you see it when you're driving TO school. I was all, why do they like that picture so much??? I still couldn't picture where the billboard was, so he told me it's the one that says I finally got it.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Netherlands Nuesday 22

train station
Groningen Train Station, September 2007

I could say this was taken during the war, but I'm really bad at April Fool's day jokes.