Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tears for Christmas

One usually thinks about Christmas as being a very happy time - lots of laughter and sharing, filled with joy. And it always is that in our household..but we also have our share of tears on Christmas. None of us will ever forget that Xmas many years ago, when the girls were in middle-school days, when Jo's Christmas present to Carla was a home-made kite--made from newspaper! That brought tears to Carla's eyes, I can assure you! Or the year that Jo could not come to Midland for Christmas day, so she made a videotape of herself interpreting in American Sign Language, the C&W song "That's My Job"...which had all of us in tears, including my Dad and Jerry! This year was no different!
Jo discovered she had an addiction to Dove Peppermint Bark Promises during December and was heartbroken to find that there were no more to be had in San Antonio. But her sister both delighted and surprised her by gifting her with another package she found in Kansas City--life is good!
This was followed by Carla opening her very special gift from Jo & Scott--a year's membership to the nearby Community Center where she can workout and shape up to her heart's content! It was something Carla had talked about for some time, and she was absolutely overwhelmed with their generosity. Moments like these deserve to be memorialized in print to be sure we never forget!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas in Kansas City

We observed the holiday by decorating our coach --we were surely the star of our RV park! Our family Christmas was headquartered at Carla's home in Prairie Village KS. While the rest of you were taking advantage of after-Xmas sales, we were celebrating our Christmas. After observing Xmas eve with our church family at Grace Pres, we headed for KC the next day to prepare for our Xmas. Pat Mundy joined us on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning we were all at KCI to welcome Jo & Scott to Kansas City.
These times are just so special - we spent time at Union Station, where Carla volunteered several hours over the season driving the Children's Train, and we loved watching her in action. We saw movies - "The Fockers", "True Grit", "Winters Bone". In addition to all the good food, we spent some time playing Left-Center-Right, making no one rich in the process!

The gifting, laughing and sharing lasted most of the day on Monday - Carla is showing you one of the bags (I was the recipient of the other) that were made by Jo's precious friend, Vicki, from some of Jerry's old ties--a marvelous way to put old ties to use! Carla was the recipient of the queen-sized bedspread t-shirt quilt...she has been saving t-shirts since she was in high school, from various camps, mission trips, college, and concerts..and they came together in a glorious manner that will be a memory book for her the rest of her life. The memories of our Christmas cannot be captured in pictures or in words, but are etched on our hearts forever--thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift of His Son!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving in Kansas City

Thanksgiving in Kansas City means being a part of the Plaza Lighting ceremony..something we have enjoyed many times over the years. This year was no different. Pat Mundy was with us as we celebrated the holiday at Carla's house. (Pat and I had just spent the previous week in Kansas City living in her trailer parked at the Heartland Presbyterian Center, doing wonderful tourist things - like Christmas shopping at the various malls, seeing the 25th anniversary screen production of "Les Miserables", and visiting the World War I museum, as well as Crown Center). And after that - we celebrated all for which we are thankful with Carla and Jerry. As you can see, this is a "before" picture on Thanksgiving evening:

And here are the after pictures...fireworks don't show up very well in my snapshots, but the lights are spectacular, as always!


Saturday, October 09, 2010

Apple Butter Days

Back in 1975 in Marshall MO, a group of families who spent a lot of time together socially and professionally, and who had children close in age, decided it would be fun to make our own apple butter. Raynors owned the huge copper pot and stirring ladle (now replaced by another one because we wore the first one out!), and the tradition began...each family peeled and prepared their own apples, the men started the fire early in the morning, and we all gathered out at a spot on the Raynor's farm called "Stickery Thicket", where we combined food and snacks, roasted hot dogs over the fire for lunch, and eventually canned up the apple butter. The earliest picture of our family was taken in 1976 (the 1975 photo did not copy well!), the one of the 3 of us was in 2005, and Carla and I were there for the last one. In honor of the last year of this tradition, one of the originators, Gretchen, assembled a wall-hanging from squares created by some of the families who helped get this started. We have so many wonderful memories of these annual gatherings..and eating the apple butter (did you ever put warmed apple butter over vanilla ice cream? It is delicious--and the way we always end up the day, serving up gallons of ice cream and ladeling the bottom of the kettle into the bowls. Try it!) The youngsters who helped us stir and who made the apple cider (and drank it all!) are now the able adults in the crowd, and their children are now playing in the tree house and grinding the apple press...and so life goes on. Maybe, just maybe, one of those in the next generation will pick up the tradition one of these years--but we will no longer be the ones responsible for peeling all those apples, stoking the fire, and preparing all those jars and lids for the canning process! Take it away, kids! And thanks to Richard & Carol for this marvelous memory-maker!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fall Fun


Some Presbytery business for John Calvin Presbytery in s.w. Missouri gave us the opportunity to spend a little time there...and what a grand time we had. Pat joined us at Mike & Phyllis Garretts for a day at Silver Dollar City to usher in the Christmas season. It could not have been a prettier day--not too cold, with spectacular lights, and an unbelievable Christmas tree, whose lights worked in syncopation with music--we loved the day!


We met precious family friends, Wanda and "Dr. Bob" at Beulah's Cafe for breakfast. Beulah's is a one-of-a-kind cafe, and Carla (who is currently unemployed) might have found her next opportunity!
Jerry's opportunity to preach at First & Calvary PC in Springfield brought about a marvelous reunion with folks--some expected and some very unexpected! Our surrogate son, Mike, and his family live in Springfield, so they came to church, giving us an opportunity to meet their international student living with them this year.


Each of the young men pictured with Carla and me were from our church family in Aurora MO when Jerry served there in l968-72. Jay (with Carla) was probably not only in her nursery school class, but also later was in Drury College with her--needless to say, I did not recognize him! Brian (with me) was in high school when we were there, and a vital part of our youth group. Both of their parents were very dear to us during our years in Aurora. There is nothing like the church! The family of God is so important to us, and our paths keep crossing with these incredible young people whom God has placed in our lives--we are so grateful!

And lets not forget the cousins--of course, Jerry has numerous relatives in that area. These 3 pictured with him were kind enough to make a trip to Wichita one week-end this fall so we could have time together, and then we all gathered in Springfield, giving us an opportunity to see some of their children and grandchildren as well - and many of them worshiped with us at First & Calvary. Jerry is pictured with his cousin, Marci, whose birthday we were celebrating that weekend. These are very special cousins, indeed!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Irishfest 2010

We journeyed to Kansas City to attend the Irishfest, held for the last 7-8 years on the Crown Center grounds..and what better thing to find than the green fountains nearby..lots of booths enticing us with Irish products..and bringing back lots of memories for us of our family time in Ireland. Take your choice - fish 'n chips, or maybe bangers & mash, or perhaps brats...we opted for the fish 'n chips and it was delicious! What is more Irish than a gorgeous huge celtic cross - again bringing back lots of memories of our trip to Ireland. Carla, Jerry and I are joined by Pat Mundy (Enid) who is part of our family now. We heard a bagpipe rock'n roll band playing - besides being very loud, Pat's comment was the best - its nice to know a bagpipe can play something besides "amazing grace"! Best of all was the phenomenal fiddler we heard, which - of course - Jerry loved.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Alphabet Soup

Carla tells me that I had a very strange experience while at her house...I had a TGA. Ever heard of that? Its transient global amnesia...and I will just have to take her word for it, because I do not remember a single thing about it (thats why its called amnesia, right? One minute we were picking up piles of weeds in her back yard that we had been pulling, and the next minute i was lying on a bed in the ER of St. Luke's...and in between an hour and a half had gone by. Well, I am not sure I want to believe all the things Carla tells me transpired during that conversation was OK, I dressed myself to go to the hospital, I repeated a lot of things over and over and over, I spoke on the phone to my son-in-law, but now its only her word against mine! Carla took me to exactly the right place - St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, renowned for its work with brain, stroke, and heart situations. I was blessed to have Carla by my side the entire time, day and night, and her friend Lesa keeping us company in the ER. I was blessed by a terrific team of doctors and nurses, who checked on me all the time, day and night. I was blessed to hear from many of you, or you talked to Carla, and your prayers supported me. The alphabet was a very important part of all of this - for I had a TGA (not a TIA, as first suspected); they ran me through every test you can imagine..CT scan, Echocardiogram, MRI, MRI Brain, EKG, ECG, EEG (someday I'll check out what all those mean!) The neurologist told me I had "nice brain waves" and everyone else agreed I was just fine. So they sent me home to resume my life as changes, no meds, and my fervent prayer that it does not ever happen again! I am so grateful to all those caring folks at St. Luke's. Fortunately, I have very little hospital experience, and this was a very good experience.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Kansas City & Marshall MO

Carla and I made a day trip to Marshall MO - we lived there for 13 years, both girls went all through school there and graduated from Marshall High (Carla just returned from her 25th reunion - how could that possibly be?) Some special friends joined us at the country club for lunch and lots of visiting - all of these have very special connections to us and the friendships have been ongoing for many many years. The group included Sally & Scotty Campbell, Virgil & Nancy Rabe, Larry & Anita Wright, and Don & Norma Rutter. Wasn't that fun? The passing years have made the friendships stronger, and the stories seem to get bigger and better with each passing day. Thanks to all of you for all those memories! There is a downside to all those passing years, and one of them is our former home on Brunswick St. in Marshall. This was a house where Jerry hung out often when he was a college student at Missouri Valley College and the house belonged to his buddy's grandparents during college days. We had some of the most fabulous times in that home - we put our heart, soul, sweat and blood into redoing the inside of the house. It was the setting of many many gatherings of these friends, our church family folk, the college youth (called Rap 'n Sing) which met every Sunday evening in our living room, the porch swing on the front porch where we spent every available moment, and on and on the list goes. Well, it is pitiful today...and nearly broke my heart. The walls of that house are filled with lots and lots of love and laughter as well as tears and aches...and its falling apart. But here is the only upside....when we lived here, the lot was pretty barren..and Jerry planted anything he could get his hands on. One of our college students came by one day with a tiny little sapling in a paper was growing up between the cracks in the sidewalk in front of Black Hall (then a men's dorm) and would be pulled out and destroyed, so he thought Jerry might like it. WOW! Or the memories of this tree--Grandma Lucy, a precious dear oldster in our church family, wanted us to have a sycamore tree, so one day it was delivered to us and planted in this spot. Later, when we built the family room on the back of our house and opened up the kitchen, the room size was determined by what would fit without disturbing this tree or its root system! Just look at it now! And then our favorite time at Carla's home - morning coffee (or it could be evening - we don't care when it is!) around her firepit on her back deck. Thank goodness for cooler weather so we can do this now. Its a joy to be this close to Kansas City and the opportunity for more time spent with Carla. In September I join her to host our PEO chapter at her house. Carla is the president of our chapter this year, so thats a special joy for her mama!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A PS to Summer Entertainment

Before we leave, I just need to add I mentioned earlier, the hottest outside event ever was "Beauty & the Beast" at Starlight last Thursday. However, the evening was made perfect by friend Lesa, who brought us all princess items to wear into the theatre so we could be in the theme of the show. Jerry was the best of all...I must say the later earrings he wore set off the tiara better--they were actually bracelets which he looped around his ears. But this was marvelous. Thanks, Lesa.

Summer experiences

This has been a great summer for theatre. When we found we would be coming to Wichita, Carla got us season tickets for the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City. Both Jerry and I have memories of going to productions there many years ago (this is Starlight's 60th anniversary!) We have seen a glorious production of "Beauty and the Beast" (on the hottest evening I can ever remember being at an outdoor event), Mo-town music in "Dreamgirls", Melissa Gilbert herself as Ma in "Little House on the Prairie"...and we look forward to "The Producers" and "Rain" to complete the season. This month Pat, Jerry and I headed for Palo Duro Canyon. This has to be a well-kept secret in this country--its just spectacular..who needs the Grand Canyon? If we thought it was hot in Kansas or Oklahoma, you should have joined us at the bottom of the canyon! When Pat's thermometer hit 128 in the sun, she packed it away--we don't even want to know! The production "Texas" was superb...great enthusiasm, dancing and singing from all those folks in the play...their energy was amazing. The amphitheatre built into the bottom of the canyon with those steep walls is glory in itself--especially when the deer stand at the top and look down on you...and the cowboy on his horse rides to the edge of the canyon wall carrying his flag. It makes you proud to be a Texan even if you are not!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

2010 Bloys Cowboy Camp Meeting

Camp Meeting began in 1890 in Skillman Grove, just outside of Ft. Davis TX. (If you really want to read more about its history, you can google it!) In the beginning it was probably tents and wagons, then cabins, and now we have an RV park across the highway, where we can park our motor home. Our RV spots have full hook-ups, so we are very much at home. If we could not take our RV (as was the case when we were in Sammamish WA), the Presbyterian pastor has use of the Presbyterian Cabin, a little 3 bedroom, 2 bath, cabin centrally located on the grounds. The setting is gorgeous, the altitude is 6400' so the nights are cool, and the sky is radiant. What an opportunity! One of our neighbors in the RV park called for a jam session on the evening before camp meeting opened...lots of good folks brought their lawn chairs to listen to the guitar, keyboard and fiddle make music together, with good singing as well. I sure hope this becomes an annual event, for my fiddler husband thoroughly enjoyed himself! Three meals a day are served by the six cooksheds - there is plenty of good food, I can assure you. This is one of the cooking teams at the Burnett Camp who serve up a great breakfast. The children are just a delight. All ages have their own programs going on during the day in various locations. This youngster was so pleased with his bubbles that I just had to capture him for this blog. The kids love to climb on the boulders that surround the camp, climb the mountain to find the Bat Cave, and the temperature does not seem to bother them at all! Family and friendships form the Bloys Community. For many families, it is always their family reunion and folks come from far away to be present. We met Peter & Diane from WA a few years ago, just as we were preparing to move to WA for an interim. So Bloys has now become our reunion time with them. Ralph, Pat Mundy (Enid OK) and Jerry visit on the porch of the Presbyterian cabin. Ralph & Sally (Midland) have joined us for several years at Bloys. One evening the Greens joined us and we headed for Van Horn TX, halfway between Ft. Davis and El Paso, to meet our El Paso family & friends who met us for dinner at the newly remodeled and opened El Capitan Hotel. What a great occasion. DSC01484 There are 4 denominations among the clergy..preachers are from the Baptist, Disciples of Christ and Methodist churches, while the Presbyterian pastor teaches the Bible Study. This was Jerry's 4th year to have this opportunity, and he opened the Book of Acts for us. Each pastor is invited by his denomination. Only the Baptists have a time limit on it, and their pastor serves for 5 years. That meant that this was Jim Dennison's 5th and last year to be with us, and we shall miss him next year. It was truly a highlight for Jerry to have Marge Carpenter with us for a day. Marge was moderator of our denomination in 1995-96, loves Jesus, and is a powerful advocate for the mission work of the church. Jerry had closed the previous day's Bible Study by starting to tell us of some of the folks who are in his personal Hall of Fame and only mentioned the late Andy Edington and ran out of he was to begin the next day by telling us some others--walked into the Tabernacle that morning and there was Marge, who was the next person Jerry intended to mention. Now is that a God-blessing, or what? This week is so special - there are so many blessings that we see happening all around us every day. The preaching is certainly annointed, and the music is like unto heaven, I am sure. Thanks to all of you who have a part in Bloys for making it possible, and for allowing us to be a part of it. P.S. Here is a video clip taken by a friend at Bloys - perhaps you will enjoy it, and also get a feel for the fabulous inspiring music that was shared during the week. (You may have to cut and paste.)

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