Saturday, January 31, 2009

Scenes from New Mexico

I've been working on this slide show for our church of our trip to New Mexico and thought I would post what I have going... it's kind of long.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reflecting at Window Rock, Arizona

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John at Window Rock, January 2009

John, who was born in California and traveled many summers out west, felt quite at home on our trip a couple of weeks ago. He is a true road warrior, and drove many graveyard shifts for our group. That John, he's a keeper!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Maria & her BFF's

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Marie, Maria & Abby at the 8th grade Aladdin premiere

Maria & her friends came to see Bridget a few weeks ago in Aladdin, so I took the oppportunity to take their picture together.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Have to Get Out More

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Leo imitates a rock formation from New Mexico so I will take his photo

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009


On our last full day in New Mexico, we went to the Zuni Pueblo. We started by doing the chapel in the Zuni Mission School, helped in the classrooms and prayed with the teachers. Zuni is a very different place: immense poverty and rather untouched by time. We had been told to be sure to pray before we enterred because it is a spiritually dark place, and it was.

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After helping out in the school, the pastor of the church there gave us a tour of the area. We were told that photography was not permitted, but he said it was ok, just not during their ceremonies. Still, I wanted to be respectful which is sometimes hard when your camera is almost as big as your head.

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We looked around in one of the pawn shops for awhile, but John & I didn't stay long. We waited outside and I was resisiting the urge to walk around shooting photos. We must have been approached 8 times by people trying to sell us fetishes, which are little animal carvings that represent the traditional fetishes that each had their own spirit. Finally, I walked next door to sneak this photo of these ovens which are a typical sight.

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On the way out of the pueblo, we saw this magificent mesa which is called Dowa Yollane.

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I don't think I'll ever forget this place and the time we spent there.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Navajo Code Talkers

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The middle school at Rehoboth is named for the Navajo Code Talkers who are heroes to the people there. These Navajos were used by the US Marine Corp in World War II because their language is so difficult to translate. The library of the middle school displayed a history of these Code Talkers.

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Last night, John & I watched "Wind Talkers", a 2002 movie, starring Nicholas Cage, about the role they played in WWII.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Free At Last

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Last week, when we were in New Mexico, Bridget got her braces off. She was thrilled! Then, yesterday, when I brought her to her orthopedic doctor, she found out she can start weaning herself from the back brace she wears for scoliosis. On the way home, she told me this has been a very good week. Braceless again.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


One of the highlights of our trip to New Mexico was a sunrise trip to the cemetery. We walked there on the deep ruts of the frozen red clay through the sage bushes covered with icy frost and I thought to myself, I can't believe I'm doing this. But we went there with a Navaho, who told us all on Resurrection Rock how he came to know Jesus, and it was worth every minute out there in the 16 degree pre-dawn temperature.

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Whenever John & I think about going to a cemetery, we always think back to when our kids were young and we would visit cemeteries out East. We would see one, and the kids would all say, "Cemetery, everybody out" (of the car). If you look closely at the ground in front of us, you can see the small white crosses.

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Finally, the sun did rise...

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... and the walk back revealed a new day.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Adventure With the Setting Sun at Pyramid Rock

You can almost see in New Mexico why the Native Americans there would worship the sun without the Bible to tell them about the God who made it. We heard of one Zuni Indian who almost became a sun priest, which is the highest rank in the tribe, until he heard a voice which told him to worship the One who made the sun. He had remembered this from his childhood at the Zuni Christian Mission School.

The sun is so big and bright in the big blue sky and as it moves through the day, the light changes, painting the deserts and skies so many different colors.

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The highest point in the Red Rock vicinity where we were is Pyramid Rock at 7487 feet high. We had just over an hour to make the 1.5 hour hike by sunset, but we were determined.

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The views on the way up were ever-changing and spectacular. I was pretty focused on my lungs most of the time as the low iron count in my blood was having trouble getting oxygen to them in a timely manner at such high altitude.

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I finally had to relinquish my camera and coat to John who took the photos at the top and on the way down. I almost gave up, but John kept me going.

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I am very very happy to say we made it to the top by sunset!

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Every turn on the way down displayed even more incredible vistas. It's much easier to really see them on the way down except for when the sun goes way down. In the dark, John & I lost the trail once, but we waited for our well-prepared traveling companions who were carrying flashlights, and we all made it down safe and sound.

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Monday, January 19, 2009


Soon, I'll adjust back to the eastern standard time, Latitude: 42° 57', North. Longitude: 85° 39', Monday, January 19, back home, but for now, my thoughts are still on our trip. I did do a few Leo pix already, but that is because we just connect that way and I hadn't really spoken to him yet.

I loved how everyone went with the flow on our trip out to New Mexico. I had my tripod with me and everyone was game to take a shot during sunset when the moon was full on the horizon somewhere in the middle of Kansas. Our group was a rather eclectic bunch, bound mainly by the faith we shared. We ran into a group from Calvin College that was in the southwest for an astronomy interim and they all knew Edward. One of them told me that he loved the fact that we had an inter-generational group, and I felt kind of like a grandma when he said this, well, at least a mom old enough to have a college student.

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The photo above was taken just a few hours before we started losing it in the LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church van. We stopped at Sonic to get supper and someone started talking about the zombies from la grave while doing the motions. Stuff like this gets to me especially after driving through the night and a whole next day and I laugh until tears come rolling down.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Home Again

It took us 29 hours to make it home from Rehoboth, New Mexico and I'm tired, but I wanted to say hello. We had such a great week with our group: John, Eric, Betsy, Jeremiah & Scott. It was a great opportunity to help out in an area very different than our own. We also had a lot of fun together, but it's good to be home!

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Betsy & Eric hamming it up

The sky was so big and blue out there!! I think some of us were mocking our gray Michigan skies a little as we entered the state, but in a way, they are kinda cozy. And we realized we missed the trees here. Nothing like a trip away to make you appreciate your home.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blazing a Trail

I am pre-posting this on Friday to let you know that by now, we should be in Rehoboth, New Mexico on a mission trip with friends from church. We're leaving at midnight on Friday night and driving straight through.
You can follow us here where I hope to post some photos too:

I hope to be back here on about the 19th or when I recover, whatever comes first :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Whole New World

This past Thursday evening, we went to see Bridget in the 8th great production of "Aladdin." What a fun, fun play! Below is the entire cast during the singing of a Whole New World toward the end.

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Though Bridgie was a little disappointed to be cast as one of the harem girls with only a single line, we decided she could make it the most dramatic 15 seconds of the play. After rehearsing with me many, many times when exactly in the play her line would occur, I was able to shoot off several photos of her moment in the spotlight.

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The harem girls did some cool choreography and singing; below are a few shots of them.

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Bridget, far right

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Last Knight

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Last evening, John & I braved the snow cold to go to the first basketball game of the Calvin Knights at their new arena. It was very impressive! We invited a younger couple from our church to come with us and they were remarking how they were 10 years older than some of the students here. So I chimed in that I was old enough to be their parents. Sure enough, we saw Edward sitting across the gym.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I Have to Focus on This

Monday & Tuesday, John, the girls & I were back to our regularly scheduled programming. Edward was enjoying the rest of his break and then all of a sudden, yesterday afternoon, he was ready to go back to Calvin. I said good-bye and he left and it all just seemed so unceremonial. So, I ran out the door in my socks and said, "I have to take your picture."

"I knew you would," he said.

I walked to the other side of Edward packing his Volvo (no, he's not a vampire), looking for the best angle. "Smile," I automatically said.

Edward replied like a very serious college student, "I have to focus on this."

I thought it was so cute. Thankfully, he did take a second to smile at the camera for his mom.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Walking Under the Sun

Yesterday, I saw the sun glistening on the gunmetal grey ice. What? Did I just say, "sun"? Someone said we had only 3% of total possible sun during the month of December.

I also saw some vintage taupe snow piles next to the green grass. What? Green grass? All things are new!

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I was just happy to be walking under the same sun that shines on us all. Walking? I haven't been able to go out walking in about a month because of my bad knee, but now it's finally getting better and I can get out again for long walks which will hopefully serve to get me back into rhythm.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Mamma Mia

I admit it: I love ABBA music. It brings back some actually good memories of high school times and all of their 8-track tapes that I had. Weirdly, I know almost every one of their songs by heart even though I haven't played or even had these tapes for years. So last weekend, John & I finally saw Mamma Mia. John didn't realize he was going to be subjected to 2 hours of ABBA music, but I guess that's what he gets for not paying attention.

So sad that they had to break up...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Greetings from Around the World

Yesterday, in the mail, I received a nice surprise. My first blogger friend, Pearlie from Malaysia, sent me the above Christmas tree card which she drew. When I opened it up, lo and behold, the handwriting could have been that of any old American friend of mine! How fun is that? Her son also contributed to the greeting by drawing the above portraits of John & me. Another example of how we're all alike deep down - it could have been drawn by my kids when they were younger! Thanks Pearlie & Calvin!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

White Elephants to Love

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This morning, I met some friends from church over at Biggby's for coffee, and this month, it was decided that we should do a "white elephant" gift exchange. The most amazing thing happened though - we all got a gift we loved/needed/could use!! Usually, you bring one thing that you've been kicking around only to get another thing to kick around. It was awesome! I got the above tea press which will go nicely with my nightly tea. I brought a candle with ginger bread men in it that the person who opened it said their granchildren would love. Other people brought lotion, bubble bath, and other things, and everyone was thrilled which just goes to show, one person's junk is another person's treasure.

Ok, I really, really need to go clean now, or get in a serious entropy-reduction mode as one blogger-friend calls it! Why, oh why, am I taking pictures of tea pots?