Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Just Had to Smile

This morning was a bitterly cold morning. When I headed to work at 7:15 it was below zero. I had only gone about two miles when while crossing a bridge the tire seemed to make a little more noise than usual. It wasn't long and I could feel that something was wrong with the tire. I pulled onto the shoulder to find.... you guessed it - a flat tire. I hurried back into the warm car to look for my AAA card, but couldn't find it. So I called Dale to get the number from him. He said that he would call them for me. He then let me know that someone would be there within 45 minutes.

On my blog entry from just a few days ago I mentioned about being stressed out some with all I was trying to do. So, before I left work I was going through some e-mails to find a devotional that gets sent to me each day and guess what it was about. Yup, stress. Well, maybe I should say it was stressing making time for Christ in this busy season. I did have my time with God before I left the house but it was hurried. The devotional suggested setting aside 30 minutes this week to spend with Him.

I just had to smile as I remembered this while waiting for the tow truck to arrive. It was a wonderful 30 minutes. I was blessed by that time. When the man was done with changing my tire, I told him that God had given me this time to concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas. I wished him a Merry Christmas and headed to the auto service we use so I could bring in my tire. I would pick it up after work.

I returned later in the day after doing some quick shopping. As I went to pay, he said that he didn't want to do a credit card charge for something that was less than $20. I told him that after shopping I didn't have enough to pay him.

I had to smile when he said, "You can come in anytime and pay it. That's fine."
I didn't know that there were places like that anymore.

I quickly ran to the grocery store for milk.
I just had to smile as I overheard 2 sisters. Maybe 8 and 5 years old.
"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", said the older girl.
"super", said the older girl
"super", said the younger

I just had to smile...
I hope that you had a day filled with things that made YOU smile!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Last week our son, Zach, asked Christina Prince of Holland, MI if she would marry him. We are pleased to announce that she said, “Yes.” They have been dating for over 2 years, with some of that time being spent many miles apart. From their first date in October 2006 to now, it has been fun to watch and hear of their growing relationship. They were both students at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI when they met. She has been here to visit several times and we have enjoyed getting to know her better.

Now begins the work of trying to make it all come together. I know that it can be a rather stressful time – location, dates, photographer, flowers, invitations, etc…
My advice to Zach is to be praying and asking God to help it fall into place. Don’t allow the stress of planning your special day effect your relationship with the one you love.

Many years ago there was another man “pledged to be married”. Joseph, “a righteous man”, finds himself in a difficult situation when he finds out that Mary is pregnant. What should he do? How did this happen? How does he still protect Mary? The laws at that time could call for her stoning. Now that’s stress!
Then God breaks through in a dream and an angel tells Joseph just what he should to.

What an example of faith both Joseph and Mary are to us. It is hard to even imagine what feelings they experienced through all of this.
Fear Excitement Praise

Joseph “did what the Lord had commanded him.”
Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

The last two weeks has been so busy for me. I am, to be honest, struggling at times as I feel the stress creep into my life. Our tree stands in our living room carrying only some of it’s lights. Our entry has boxes of ornaments and lights waiting their final placement. There are those special gifts yet to be found and the cookies that are still in their most early stages – like in the bags of flour and sugar!
Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving was so late. Maybe it’s because we haven’t done anything for Advent here at home this year to remind me daily of the most precious birth ever.
I don’t know. But, what I do know is that I want the rest of this Advent time to be different for me. I don’t want to be stressing on things that really aren’t all that important. What gets done, gets done. What doesn’t, doesn’t.

This is what REALLY matters.

Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you, He is Christ the Lord” Luke 2:11

Father, help me keep my eyes on you. Always and forever!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Welcome to December!

I love a good snowstorm!
We've had about six inches so far. I was so glad to hear on the radio that our school district had a two hour delay because of the snow. This is the view from my front yard this morning. It's still snowing and rather windy. When I turned back to look at my house getting ready to take the picture, the wind was blowing into my face. It's the kind of wind that on a day like today makes you catch your breath. I wish that I had more time to really bundle up for a walk and head down to the river which is behind those trees. Maybe tonight Dale and I will break out the snowshoes and do just that. I love going out in the evening with our way being lit just from the snow.
But, for right now, there are things that I need to do. I'm thankful for the extra two hours to put away my Fall things, now that Thanksgiving is over, and start getting out my Christmas decorations.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is Good. His love endures forever. Ps. 118:1

I have been blessed in so many ways. I could change the famous quote of Elizabeth Barrett Browning to “How am I blessed? Let me count the ways.”

I would start with the blessings of God Himself and the salvation that is found in Christ alone.
“Praise, (bless) the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me,
Praise His Holy name,
Praise the Lord, o my soul,
And forget not one of His benefits.” Ps 103:1-2

From there would come the blessings of family: parents, brothers, sisters, children, daughter-in-law, grandchild :) aunts & uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews….etc.
Always and forever…family.

There’s my church or spiritual family which consists of many wonderful people whom I love dearly and whom I love serving our Lord with. They are people who hold me up to our God in prayer and who count on me to do the same for them. There are the teens that I love working with, who help keep me young and excited about what God can do in a life.

There’s our friends, our health, our jobs, our home...

Our Thanksgiving plates were full and soon so were our stomachs. We had an abundance at my parent's house and they were glad to be able to share it with others. Then we also went to Mom & Dad Vinson’s for a later dessert.

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above all heavenly hosts,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”
by Thomas Ken

I am blessed!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

From Generation to Generation

“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders He has done.” Ps. 78:4

These hands are mine. One with my Grandma Grace and one with my grandbaby Ruth Elizabeth. They are a picture of this verse from Psalms. A picture of one generation having an impact on the next for the glory of God.

We recently got to meet our granddaughter Ruth, who was born October 19th. What a joy to see our first grandchild. Those of you who are already grandparents, know what I mean. It is an emotion that is difficult to adequately put into words. When Josh first handed her to me I felt waves of emotion – thankfulness, joy, & praise to the giver of life.
It was so much fun to watch Lauren and Josh with Ruth - the seeming ease at which they have settled into the roll of “mom & dad”. To see them snuggling, talking and playing with her is heartwarming.
So, I’d like to introduce you to Ruth Elizabeth Vinson, my granddaughter.

The last morning we were together, I had time alone with Ruth Elizabeth. As I held her out before me in my arms, I prayed for her. I asked God’s blessing on her life and wisdom for Lauren and Josh as her Mom & Dad. I asked that God would use her to impact others for His kingdom. As I prayed quietly aloud, she stopped any moving around or fussing and just stared at me as though she were listening. It was a precious time.

Saying “good-bye” was never more difficult. We knew that it was time to go and I couldn’t keep the tears from coming.

Life is precious.

Family is a gift.

I wonder, will I have a granddaughter that will sit with me and hold my hand when I’m 90 years old? Who will smile if I forget her name?
Will I have made an impact on other’s lives like my grandmother did on mine?

I pray that this will be able to be said of Ruth –

I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother, Lois and in your mother, Eunice and I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” 2 Timothy 1:5

To read more about my grandmother see blog entry - June 22, 2006

Friday, October 24, 2008

Saturday, October 04, 2008

October 2, 1976

In some ways it seems like such a short time ago. It was the day that I committed to love and cherish Dale for the rest of our lives. It was a day that changed my life forever. I will always be grateful to God for leading us to that point as we stood before our family and friends to pledge our love for each other.

Parts of that day I remember so well, others are gone forever. The night before the wedding I remember realizing that this would be the last night in "my room". I was saddened by that thought.
I remember waiting at the bottom of the stairs of the church after the others had headed up. I remember waiting at the end of the aisle with Dad as we prepared to walk down toward Dale. I was so nervous! I even remember sighing with relief after Pastor Mooney pronounced us "man and wife".

We thought we were ready.

Boy, did I have a lot to learn, we both did. I'm so grateful for all that God has taught us in our years together. That day we thought that we were so in love - that we could never love each other more. But, I was wrong. As we have matured and grown our love has changed. It too, has grown and matured. We understand each other so much better, can "read" each other without a word spoken at times. We are comfortable with each other, but still are wanting more for our lives and time together.
We went out to a local restaurant to celebrate on the 2nd and as we talked, Dale mentioned that he doesn't remember thinking about what this time in our lives would be like. We knew we wanted a family and that I hoped to be able to stay home with the boys. But, we hadn't thought about what it would be like to be "empty nesters". Zach is still in college, so this is really his home yet, but for the most part he is gone. So, it's just the two of us. It took a while to get used to that. But, now it is a time that we enjoy. Oh, don't get me wrong, we love having them home. It's just that now we've fallen into a routine, a good routine, that works for us. It really is less stressful once the kids leave! We enjoy being together, even if it's just sitting on the porch.

I look at this picture and I see two people who now seem so young. Where did that couple go? Where did the 32 years go?

What would I say to them?

I'd tell them...
keep their eyes on God. He is the only one who can get you through the difficult times, and all marriages have them.
Learn to let go of all the little things that really don't make a difference anyways.
Don't sweat the small stuff and be willing to forgive the big stuff.
Never let go of your dream to spend your lives together enjoying the time that God gives you.
Have fun, work together, pray together, live life together, dream.

I need to go... and sit by the "sweetheart of all my dreams".

Monday, September 01, 2008

Summer's End

I can not hardly believe that it is September 1st today. But, I just ripped August from my little calendar and there it was!

Saturday we went to an Amish Auction. There are several held each year in Wisconsin. One is always the Saturday before Labor Day. They sell hundreds of quilts of varying sizes, baskets and beautiful furniture.

They also have an area where people can bring in things that they want to be auctioned off. We again brought a load up. We’ve been going through things in the house & garage packing up things that we no longer need. Dale had a large amount of tools and miscellaneous items. We put it out in the field along a fence line and the second auctioneer sells these items while another one is under the tent top selling the quilts. In about 2 weeks we will get a check in the mail for our total, minus the 12% that the Amish use for their school. The Amish do all of the selling at the auction and providing of delicious food. They also sell baked goods and homemade noodles. It is always such an interesting clash of cultures – the Amish buggies all lined up, the women in their plain dresses and men in solid colored shirts, little boys with the bowl-cut haircuts and the little boys & girls running around barefooted. Then there’s us. It causes me to pause and think about what we have and what we really need.

When I was outside on the screen porch this morning there were several large V’s of geese heading South over our house. Behind us is a river and just up the river a little it has an area that is very wide. As a kid we used to call it the Mill Pond, although there has never been a mill on it. In the Fall the geese like to congregate there. So again this morning I heard the familiar sound of the geese.

The quiet, unhurried time on the porch with my Bible open speaks to me of Summer.
The calling of the geese speaks of Fall.

When asked which season I like best, I would tell you that there are things that I love about each of them. But, honestly, it’s summer that I love most.
I’m gearing myself up to getting up early tomorrow morning to go back to work at a local high school. I’m trying to decide when I’ll bring out my Fall items for the house. I’m just not quite ready to let go of summer. So I made a light summer lunch of a ham & cheese mix that I put into a pita. It’s great for a hot day like today. I was in the pool twice and also sat outside and read.
It has been a lazy day, a summer day. I loved it!

I’ve loved my walks with my Mom three times a week. That has now ended.
This week it seems that many things start – work, youth group, planning suppers ahead of time. Oh, and as Dale reminded me – it’s the start of the football season.
Oh,boy. Can't wait.

But, it is a new season.
God has helped me to prepare for it.

I feel ready.
I think.

Rockin' the Corum!

This is the flyer that Zach put up for his Sr. recital last Thursday. Dale and I headed out on Wednesday so that we would have time to drop off some needed furniture at the apartment that he had recently moved into with 3 other guys. It was nice to see the neighborhood where he lived. I love being able to picture in my mind what he’s talking about, to be able to “see” his world. We went to a nearby place for lunch called Marie Catrib. They have an interesting cuisine which is a combination of Lebanese and Yooper flavors. (Upper Michigan for you none Midwest folks) It was quite different from anything around here.

Thursday we helped Zach move some of the sound equipment from one building on the campus to the Student Union where his concert would be held. Both sets of Grandparents were able to make it to Grand Rapids along with Sharyn & Lori (Dale’s 2 sisters) and Peter, our nephew.

Christina, Zach’s girlfriend, did a wonderful job of planning and making the food for the reception. Our family helped by bringing bars, breads and some fruit. I’m so thankful for Christina’s willingness to do that for us and Zach, of course. She had a delicious assortment of food that the college students greatly enjoyed. We had them grab some food before Zach started playing. It made it feel more like a concert at a coffee house than a recital. There was a lot of food so that also gave them more time to eat!

Zach did a terrific job playing. He played 14 songs. Eleven of them were ones that he had written. A bass player and a drummer accompanied him on most of the songs. I really liked how they sounded together.

You could tell that he was comfortable in front of the almost 100 people who were there. The head of the music department said that it was one of the best attended recital/concerts ever. I also liked that fact that he had to write up information about each song, so that helped us to understand the meaning behind the lyrics on some of them.

I sat in the back and not only thoroughly enjoyed watching Zach, but I was also watching others watch Zach. It was unlike a “coffee house” in the fact that no one was talking. Everyone was totally focused on him. At the end of the last song there was an immediate standing ovation – even by his professors that were there.
I don’t know where he gets it from.
Well…I guess I do. His musical ability is a gift from God. He has an unusual ability write music and play notes that come from somewhere inside of his head.
What a gift. Our prayer is that he continues to use that gift to give glory back to the one who gives “a new song”, God Himself.

On Friday before heading home we went to Holland, MI and made a stop at Veldheer’s. It’s a tulip farm. We had been there is Spring a few years ago and saw the millions of tulips in full bloom. Now, in the Fall, the bulbs are for sale. So I wanted to pick some up to plant at home. That should keep me busy for a good part of a Saturday!

It was a fast 2 days. But, it was a wonderful 2 days. To able to share in Zach’s accomplishments with family and friends is something that stirs deep in a mom’s heart. I am so thankful for everyone who came and helped make that night so special.

If you’re interested in hearing some of his new songs go to:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Letting Go....Again

It’s the most difficult time of the year for me, the end of August. It’s the time when students head back to school. Seniors from youth group are moving on to college and they are saying their “good-bye”s.

But for the 10th year in a row, I am saying “good-bye” to one of my own. Zach was home for about 3 weeks and it has been a joy to have him here. I love having him around – having his friends around – hearing him play his music at a wedding and at a coffee house. He has been working part-time and has been busy finalizing the details of his CD and upcoming recital. I try to be here most of the time when I know that he’ll be home. The time just goes by too quickly.

In the earlier years I would always be wondering if they were ready. Did we talk about money issues, friends, churches, studies…..?
This morning I find myself wondering if there are any last truths that I should be sharing, any words of wisdom that I should tell him, anything that God has laid on my heart for his life?

This morning it was Psalm 37:4, 23-24
“Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.

If the LORD delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm;
Though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with His hand.”

I tearfully read theses verses to Zach as he was about ready to head out.

You see, if we “delight” – find joy- in Him, then our ways WILL delight the Lord because we will be seeking to please Him in all that we do.

I notice that there are no extra shoes in the entry, no guitars at the bottom of the stairs, no books lying around. The only evidence that he was here is his name tag from work on our bench.
Oh, and a dirty bathroom.

I know that I will see him next week when we head to Grand Rapids for his Sr. Recital for his Contemporary Christian Music Major. He will be playing his own music and it will be more like a concert than recital. So, I’m excited to be there along with his grandparents and Dale’s two sisters.

I remind myself that he loves God, that he is where he feels God wants him to be, that he is developing the talents that God has given him.

But, the letting go....is still hard.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Life Long Friends

Last week a friend of mine, who now lives out of town, was back to visit her parents. Usually when she comes there is only time for a short get together. In that time we cover all of the major goings on in our lives: spouses, kids, parents, jobs. The time goes by quickly and she is off again. This time she was able to stay for a few days without it being the rush of a Holiday. It was so much fun to be together again unhurried.
Linda and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. We were neighbors, classmates and attended the same church. That meant we were in the same Sunday School classes, youth group, attended church camp together and even sang together. We were together when we made our S.S. teacher cry – and they weren’t tears of joy either, sorry to say.

With another friend, the 3 of us pooled our great resources and bought a little tent which we would camp in during the summer. We would set it up in the back field behind my parent’s house, in fact, right where my house now sets. We would run through the fields in the middle of the night getting wet up to our knees from the alfalfa. Then we would lay on the highway that was still warm from the summer sun. Those were the years of trying to figure out who we were and who we wanted to be. There was the typical Jr. High game of Truth or Dare and others while we camped that seem to be almost a rite of passage. And I remember saying good-bye in her driveway the day that she left for college.
We stood up in each others weddings and celebrated with the birth of each of our kids.

We would go for quite a while without seeing each other or talking. But, it is so wonderful to be able to pick up almost right where we left off years before. I have been so thankful that for the past several years we have made it a point to do a better job of keeping in touch. I actually think that Linda worked on that before I did. I am so blessed by her friendship.
So last week did a project together. She had brought along a small bookcase that we painted and then did a feather technique to add other colors.
Late one night, when it was the height of the Perseid Showers, we laid out on a blanket and watched the show. Well, it wasn’t much of a show, it was rather slow. We only stayed out ‘til midnight so we didn’t see a lot of them. But, it was a wonderful time to talk, lying there looking at the expanse of the heavens created by the God that both of us love.
And to share:
To share what God has been teaching each of us
To wonder – and hope – that there is food in heaven :)
To share concerns with each other

In the book that I just finished reading the author says, “The gift of friendship among women is a treasure not to be taken lightly. … Friendships need to be nurtured and guarded and fought for. To have a women friend is to relax into another soul and be welcomed in all that you are and all that you are not.” We need to “listen between the lines.” When we do that and show love in the little ways “We offer our hearts.”

So, Thank you, Linda, for letting me help you paint, for Tiramisu Tuesday, for watching the heavens with me late one night last week, for praying, for pursuing, for being my friend.
I am blessed!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Family Camping '08

For the past, oh, maybe about 15 years, once a summer we go camping with family. When the boys were home it would be with Terry & Sandy and their kids, our family and also my parents. Early on Mom and Dad used to take just the grand kids for a fun weekend and give us some time alone. Then we all started going. Usually we stay in WI. One year we headed out to Colorado and had a wonderful time out there in the mountains and another year we went to Missouri – now referred to as “misery”. Sorry those of you who love it there. Picture 90 degrees and humid and us having our usual campfire while we sit 20 feet away. It was nuts!

Slowly the kids started dropping out of the camping scene as they moved on and out. The first time that we camped without either of the boys it just didn’t feel right. There was definitely a void. Now we are used to it and we are the ones at the campground and beach watching young parents with their kids. A number of times we’ve said, “Remember when….?”

This year we went to Ottowa Lake. It’s a state park near Eagle, WI just a little west of Milwaukee.

It is a little campground with a nice lake but not a lot of other things there at the park to do. Nearby there were hiking trails which we didn’t go on because the mosquitoes were AWFUL! We never even had a campfire in the evening because: a. the mosquitoes were so bad and b. it was too warm. So that was really weird for us.

I had 35 bites on one leg from the first night.

Dale's following at Ottowa Lake.

We spent one day at “Old World Wisconsin”. It is an historical park with century old homes that have been moved there and restored. They have people working there as if it were the 1880’s. It was a beautiful place and thankfully there was a tram that brought us from one area of homes and old stores to another. Each area was a little different because they were built by settlers from different countries.

Dale found a little hiking area with a trout stream and unbelievably clear pool where we spent a little time. It was called Paradise Springs. About 80 years ago it had a hotel, horse track, spring water bottling plant and a water turbine. Now all that is left is some of the stone walls. Of course, Dale wasn’t too interested in that. He spent his time fishing. He caught 2 while we were there. We could see them in the clear spring fed pool. But, after that he couldn’t get them to bite. He said that he tried every fly that he had with him. Believe me, that’s a lot.

Looking for more

For suppers we took our turn making supper for the 6 of us. That gave us the other meals off. That has really worked out well and we have fantastic meals.
After that we played “Jocker”. It’s a fun board game and it is the men against the women. Boy, do we get competitive. This year we tied at 4 wins each. We’re going to have a tie breaker in the near future.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Reunion Pictures

For all of you family who were not able to be at the reunion, I've put together a slide show.
It will run on it's own or you can click on the arrows on the top or the little pics below. I tried to get some of everyone, but I know that I didn't. Sorry. Everyone is on the group picture. It's hard to see clearly so that's why I sent along the group picture separately.


The next entry below has more of a write up about the day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

30 Year Family Reunion

Last Saturday was a very special day. Our family celebrated the 30th anniversary of the “Kruis Invitational” best ball tournament. Now it wasn’t special because of my love of golfing. Oh, not by any means. Those of you that know me, know that the only time I golf is this weekend in July. But, it is “family” that makes this so special.

Each year one of my aunts & uncles from the area organizes the golfing. Those golfing register one month ahead and from there the foursomes are set up. There will be one good golfer, an average golfer and usually 2 people like me – non golfers in each group. We never golf with our parent or spouse. We get to spend 2 + hours with members of our family that we usually don’t get to see much. One very important rule is that each group has to take a tee shot from everyone – even the non-golfer. That way it isn’t just the good golfer carrying the group.

I don’t know if you know what a “best ball” tournament is. It means that each person hits their ball and they then decide which of the balls is in the best location. I then go pick up my ball :) and we go on to the farthest one.
Near the end of the course I still hadn’t hit any tee shot worthy of taking. The pressure was on. So my cousin, Mike, loaned me his big, new, Callaway driver. I couldn’t miss with that big head! I actually had a very good hit. You know the sound of a good hit that you hear on TV or when you’re with a good golfer? Yup, that was mine!! We were all so excited. To be honest I did have a few other shots that we took, just not tee shots.

After the golfing we all headed to River Park for the reunion. My Mom organized this part. For the first time ever we had all family members join us. Usually just those 16 & over went to where we ate and had prizes. But this year everyone was invited and we had quite a range of ages, from my Mom’s oldest brother, Hermie – 88, from California to the 2 infants born in June. Name tags were very helpful.

The meal was catered by a local restaurant and afterwards prizes were handed out.
Each of my aunt’s & uncle’s families were asked to stand so that we could see who people belonged to. There were about 110 people at the park and with my quick calculation there were maybe another 50 who could not make it.

Greetings were read from family members who were not able to be there and my nephew, Daniel who is in Iraq, sent greetings through his wife, Donna, who came from NY. My brother, Terry, was “Big Bob” sharing his knowledge of the connection between golfing and birds and giving us each some great laughs.

Cousin, Maggie, led us in a time of remembering those who were no longer with us. They were those who prayed for us, taught us & loved us. There were those whose lives were much shorter than we had wanted.
We love them, we miss them.

Family reunions are a time of honoring our families, to recognize who & where we came from, to get to know our extended family better. It was a time of thanking God for His blessings- for my Grandparents, Henry and Anna, and their love for God and family. I remember Grandpa always ended his journal entries with “All is well”. Years ago I wrote out his diary and learned more of the battles in his life. It was God who he turned to, God who helped him to see that “all is well” even when things were hard.

I am rich – blessed because of my family.

There are many people to thank for making this big event happen:

Mom, Betty and family, Irene and family, Maggie and family, Terry (Big Bob)

God for bringing sunshine out of a rainy forecast.

For His watchful eye through Tiffany and Olivia that kept a young boy's slip into the river from turning tragic.

God is Good!

Oh, yah. In case you were wondering.

Yup, that's me!