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!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


So the conversation went something like this:

Me: Something ate off my plants.
Dale: Where?
Me: In the berm by the wooden thing that you made. I didn't spray them and now something has eaten them off.


Dale: I thought they were weeds.
Me: What??
Dale: I was weeding and I thought that they were weeds so I pulled them out.
Me: Don't you remember, I planted morning glory seeds there?
Dale: No, but, they still might be in the bucket unless I already threw them down the hill.

Well, they still were in the bucket. So out I went with my wilting plants to hopefully restore them back to life. I did need to thin them out, so at least that's now done.

Oops! again.
Dale has started smoking meats on our grill. Last week he did salmon and it was wonderful. Today he is doing a pork tenderloin. Well, the meat needed to marinade in the refrigerator with the "rub" on. When he went to get the meat out he noticed that it had leaked over the shelf and down into the drawer and under it. Well, at least now most of the frig is clean.

Oops! X's 3
Just now, Dale came in and said, "I thought that you were coming out swimming."
"I am, I'll be right there."
"Well, I'm done. I was in for 1/2 hour wondering if you were coming."

There will always be things in life that take us by surprise. These are little things. But, if we let them, they could really bother us. It's in the "oops" times that we show where our hearts really are.

Life isn't all about me.

It is about me living my life in a way that honors God.
There is a song by Mercy Me entitled "So Long Self" that says it so well. It talks about getting rid of self and having God in charge.

Here's the chorus:

So long, self
Well, it's been fun, but I have found somebody else
So long, self
There's just no room for two
So you are gonna have to move
So long, self
Don't take this wrong but you are wrong for me, farewell
Oh well, goodbye, don't cry
So long, self

It isn't all about me - "no room for two" - it needs to be God living through me.
So, in the "oops" times. Stop and consider, does it really matter? Is it really that big of a deal?

Usually it isn't.

Friday, July 04, 2008


Last Sunday afternoon we spent some time going through a foot locker filled with items from WW II. The locker belongs to Dale’s mom and dad, Ed & Ruth Vinson. Dale’s sister, Lori, and husband, Gary and son, Peter, were there also. We spent a few hours learning more about that time in history through the eyes of 2 people who lived it. Ed and Ruth actually met in Japan near the end of the war. Ruth was a nurse on a U.S. Army base and Eddie was a bombardier in the Air Force. He was stationed in the Philippians and then at Tokugawa, Japan. There were many photos of his train ride through Japan near the seaport of Hiroshima. It was obvious that they were riding right through the area demolished by the atomic bomb dropped on August 6, 1945.

I recently finished reading “Victory in the Pacific” by Albert Marrin. It is a short book following each step of the war in the Pacific starting with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It's not the typical book that I would pick up to read, but, I am so glad that I did. Then to have this foot locker to search through was a real treasure. Lori and I were busy writing names and places on the back of photos so that those memories won't be forgotten.

It is hard for me to imagine the number of lives that WW II took. It was the most costly war in terms of human life ever. One source stated that in total 72 million lives were lost. In “Victory in the Pacific”, is said that the United States used the atomic bomb which “killed thousands to save millions.”

On this Fourth of July I am mindful of those who died or served in the armed forces for our country’s freedoms and for the freedoms of others. We are celebrating our country's independence day, but we could not be celebrating that without the sacrifice of the men and women through out the centuries.

My Grandpa Kruis was a cook in WWI. Dale and I have several uncles who also served in WWII or the Korean war. Right now my nephew, Daniel Soerens, is serving in the Army in Kirkuk, Iraq.

So today, I don’t want to get caught up with what’s wrong with America – be it gas prices, inflation, politicians, courts…

We, as Americans, have much to be thankful for.

Today, to those who have served or are presently serving our country, I want to say THANK YOU!!
Thank you for your sacrifices,
-for your love for this country
-for being willing and able to fight for us
-for being away from family and friends that love you

May God bless you richly, may you be so aware of His presence. That in the safe times and the dangerous times you will seek His wisdom, trust His hand, remember that He loves you.

And so do I!

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Where has the month gone since I blogged last? Wow!

Some of my time has been spent with family - going, doing, eating, learning.

One day Mom, Sandy and I went to Brickhouse Bistro and then to Olivu. It was my belated birthday and Mother's day gift to mom. The Bistro is in a cream city brick farmhouse that Dale and I had one day hoped to purchase, so it was interesting to be inside and check the place out. The food is great! Very casual - go to the counter and order type of place. Mom and I split a turkey club sandwich that I had a hard time getting my mouth open far enough to eat! We walked around the grounds of the house because it is also a landscape business. They have a wonderful assortment of unusual plants and landscape ideas.

We then went to Olivu. It is a little boutique where you can make your own bath and beauty products. Or if you're in a hurry you can purchase items already made. Each of us made a sugar scrub. We customized our scrub with ingredients of our choosing.

I later went again to the same 2 places. This time I went with Mom, Ruth, Dale's mom, and Lori, Dale's sister. The food was wonderful -this time I had a ham & cheese with dill pannini. It had just rained so we didn't spend as much time walking around outside. But, then to Olivu. I've spent so much time & money there that I had earned a few free products of my choosing. So this time I picked things that will given as a gift to someone I love.

Here are some of the pictures from those 2 outings.


One evening we had friends over for a campfire.
But, we were joined by an uninvited guest. She really didn't want to be moved from the campfire area. She was snapping at Dale as he tried to move her away from our chairs. Lyn was a little concerned about turning her back to this snapping mama.

But we decided to share our dessert - carefully.


We had the youth group over for a "hang-out, grill-out, schools out" evening. There was ultimate frisbee, campfire, swimming and grilling whatever they brought along.


There was Father's Day which we spent at my parent's house. We are both so blessed with Dad's who have set a wonderful example for us in faith, family and love. Dale's dad was with Dale's sister for Father's Day in Indiana.

Then there was the morning spent at a farm for the "Farm Breakfast". Dale got tickets for the 6 of us to enjoy a delicious breakfast on a farm. In Wisconsin many of the counties hold this event each summer. One farm is chosen per county and they feed and educate thousands of people about what a modern farm is like.
Now, I didn't take these pictures because I am a "city girl" but, because Dale's employer, Braun Electric, supplies farmers with many of the things that we saw that day: watering systems, barn cleaning systems, fans, misting systems for the cows when it's hot in the barns (a happy cow is a productive cow), manure treatment systems and more. They gave us farm tours on buses. That worked pretty nicely!

We were so glad that we went early. This is a look at the line as we were heading home. Wow! I heard that Terry and Sandy came, looked at the line and left. I don't blame them.

Then there was a quick Door County trip for our yearly church youth staff get away, 7 or 8 graduation parties, a wedding, a bridal shower, brisk morning walks with Mom and yard work.
As I've been writing all of this, I am a little surprised at all that has happened in the 4 weeks since I've written here.

This summer for the first time a while, I'm not at our church's national youth conference being held in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am excited for what God is going to be doing in the hearts and lives of the 40 from our church that are there now and the thousands from across the country. It is a week of encouragement and challenge to live differently because of who we are in Christ and what He has done in us. I've put a link in case you're interested in listening to some of the speakers from the week. I've also put a link to Pastor Jon's blog (our youth pastor) where he has pictures of our group. Catch Terry in a hair net!
They are in my prayers throughout the day. I love these kids and I can't wait to hear how God has continued His work in their lives.