Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Better Country

Note: A very good friend of mine is an editor for Discovery House Publishers, and I have agreed to promote this book on my blog with the following:

Dan Schaeffer, author of A Better Country: Preparing for Heaven, will be visiting my blog on August 7, 2008. Please help me out by posting any questions or comments you may have on heaven. Let’s have an interesting blogosphere conversation—ask the questions about heaven that you’ve always wanted to ask! I have two free copies of this new release from Discovery House Publishers to give to 2 readers. Leave a comment or question and I'll draw 2 names.

What picture comes to mind when you think about heaven? Most of us have heard that heaven is a wonderful place and everyone wants to go there, but we don’t know much else about it. Maybe you’ve decided, like author Dan Schaeffer once did, that there is little that can be known about heaven in this life, so there really isn’t much point speculating. He observes:

“I think if the truth were known, many Christians are at best ambivalent, or at worst afraid, of heaven—or at least of the vision they have in their minds . . . We’re far more attached to earth than we think. This may partly explain why it can be so hard to get Christians to think beyond this earthly life to greater spiritual realities.”

And yet, Schaeffer reminds us, there is a restless yearning in our hearts that moments of pleasure cannot long quench and sorrow only intensifies. And that desire has been planted by God Himself—a universal “longing for a better country—a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16).

In these pages you will discover the thing you’ve always wanted; the world you’ve longed for; the life you were meant to live; the goal you were meant to pursue—in a word, heaven. Based on biblical evidence, Schaeffer’s insights about our heavenly desire, the heavenly location, the heavenly life, and heavenly preparation, show us that God wants that “better country” to be the passion and purpose of our present life. As we understand what heaven will truly be like, our priorities will shift and we will no longer live for this life alone.

THE AUTHOR Dan Schaeffer pastors Shoreline Community Church in Santa Barbara, California. He is an award-winning writer whose articles have appeared in Reader's Digest and A 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul. His books include In Search of the Real Spirit of Christmas, When Faith and Decisions Collide, and Defining Moments.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Scenes from Cinderella: Oh, the Drama!

Bridget played the roles of both good and evil in the Cinderella play. Her first role was as an evil, conniving Chinese stepsister...

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After a non-speaking role as a Russian horseman, she stepped in as Broken Wing, the Native American Cinderella...
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Good triumphs over evil and we went home very happy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

One Happy, Sad, Excited Broken Wing

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Bridget & John after the performance

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The cast & crew of Cinderella

Last evening, we went to see Bridget in the final on stage performance of Cinderella at the Master Arts Theatre. She was sad when it was over, but still happy and excited. She does get to perform one more time at the zoo on Friday.

When she came home after the cast went out to Steak & Shake, she proclaimed, "This is the best thing I ever did in the summer..." Tomorrow, I'll post more photos - I got some very dramatic ones!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Starting Line

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Byron Bank 5K, 2008

This morning, John & I went to watch Edward run in the Byron Bank 5K. The photos I took came out blurry, probably because he was running by in a blur. Duh. I did get this still life at the starting line. He finished in 18:25 on this muggy morning (24th of about 900.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Get Your Game On

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Edward gets a hit, 2008

Edward has been playing softball this summer for our church team and we've been able to watch him a few times and cheer him on with the wave and stuff. Our fave cheer is
Hey Eddie, It's your birthday, get your game on, hey Eddie...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Netherlands Nuesday 36

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At the bottom of last week's stairs in Amsterdam, Marianna, Paula & I gathered around the mirror in the tiny bathroom for a photo, 2007.

Monday, July 21, 2008

More Scenes from Cinderella

I took some photos without a flash at Bridget's Cinderella performance. Since I was so worried about her hearing the shutter go off, I only took about 10-15.

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Bridget is the Chinese Stepsister in green.

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The stepsisters do look rather mean. I was surprised at how Bridget stayed in character.

Bridget is the Grey Horseman dressed in black.

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Broken Wing's father tells her to be more careful around the fire so she doesn't burn herself.

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Morning Star makes Broken Wing beautiful by taking down her hair before dressing her in wedding garments.

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Bridget, I mean Broken Wing, marries the Invisible Hunter.

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The final curtain call.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bridget Sails with Broken Wing

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Bridget holding hands with the Invisible Hunter

Yesterday, we went to Bridget's first performance in the Master Arts Theater production of Cinderella. In the version they performed, there were 3 different cultural interpretations of the Cinderella story - Chinese, Russian, and Native American. Bridget played the Native American Cinderella, Broken Wing. I could be biased, but I thought she was amazing!

She also played the roles of one of the Chinese stepsisters and a Russian Horseman. Tomorrow, I'll post more pictures.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Matching Shirts

Years ago, we went on vacation and I had gotten matching turquoise shirts for the whole family so we could easily identify one another. The family gave me a hard time, but we had many fond memories from that trip.

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Imagine my excitement last Sunday when there we were wearing our matching MCC shirts and there was a photographer there ready to take our photo! It was exciting except for the fact that Maria wasn't with us. We were thinking of her while it was taken though! Hi Maria!

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Photo by K. Reed

Friday, July 18, 2008

Flash Back Friday 78

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Another Maria Flash Back, 7 weeks old, 1992

*Batismal gown created by the Queen Mother

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Art in the Park

At the very same park where the great mother daughter picnic took place, our church sponsored "Art in the Park" last Sunday evening. A friend at church talked me into face painting and I discovered that I had a latent face painting ability. It was exciting. I got a kick out of a girl from Guatemala who very seriously asked me to paint her 2 little strawberries on her cheek and red star with a black dot in it on her forehead. They turned out really good except that the star looked more like a poppy. I didn't do all of these, but here is a sample of our work:

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girls face paint

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Great Mother - Daughter Double Date

All photos today were lovingly captured by Bridget Anne.

Last evening, Bridget & I met our friends Cathy & Emily of Chili Cook-off fame downtown for a picnic on the Grand River. Afterwards, we set off for a walk in the city.

At one point, Cathy presented me with a Key to the City.

The mayor seemed surprised when we gave it back.

We stopped into a clothing boutique and the girls tried on these hats.

Cathy found a vintage 70's outfit that was calling out her name.

After watching the downtown swing dancing, we had to pose by the flowers and do some downtown mountain climbing.

We finished off the night with some pretty intense ice cream... oh, and some night swimming which unfortunately was hard to photograph.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Netherlands Nuesday 35

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Steep, old steps in a restaurant in Amsterdam, 2007

Next week I'll show what we saw at the bottom.

Monday, July 14, 2008

This is so going on the blog...

My mom & dad (the Queen Mother & Prince Consort)

This past weekend, we didn't drive down to Ohio for the Conger family reunion because we've been so busy and all over the place. Mom was kind enough to send me this photo of what we missed!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Word from Spain

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Bridget, Maria & Alejandra last summer

We have called Maria a few times this week and talked to her briefly to know that she is doing well. We received an email from Alejandra's mom with an update and it sounds like all is well. They have been to Simancas, a middle age village near Valladolid where they live and Madrid, have played tennis and gone to a teen disco. This weekend, they are going to the rocky northern coast of Spain and will visit one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world in Leon on their way back. I thought about getting in her suitcase, but Maria said it was full of things she needed. Oh well, I can't wait to see the pictures!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Big Ping Pong

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Bridget with Anthony at Kids Games, 2008

At Kid's Games, we only have one ping pong table for about 7-8 kids, so we had to come up with different ways to play. In the photo above, Bridget is playing "Big Ping Pong" with Anthony who literally used his whole body to hit the ball down the hall. This is why she calls it whack the ball.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Kid's Games

July 2008

I've been taking photos this week at Kid's Games at Coit Arts Academy downtown where our church is helping out. Bridget & I have also been helping out in the Ping Pong track, or as Bridget calls it, "Whack the Ball". It has been great fun.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


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After taking Maria to the airport, John & I headed downtown to spend the evening. We stayed at the Millenium Knickerbocker Hotel which is right off of Michigan Avenue near the John Hancock Building. We had Chicago style pizza at Gino's and went down to see the fireworks from Navy Pier.

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When we were walking around downtown, I must have been in a daze because John squished me in a revolving door. I thought I was a goner, but I later realized the only damage was that the filter on my lens was shattered. See below. John later said that he thought his fully grown wife could figure out how to walk through a revolving door. Har-har. He is so funny.

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