Saturday, October 02, 2010

126 Years

Last night we went out to celebrate our anniversary. But, not just ours, my parent's and my brother & wife's anniversary also. Together we have 126 years of marriage!
We started the evening by going to a local marsh where a new tower was built overlooking the area. It's only 80 ft. up, so it was an easy climb. We took a few pictures up on top. I almost lost my camera over the edge. I had set it up for taking the picture with the timer and forgot that it was looped around my wrist. As I pulled my hand away I almost sent my camera a long ways down the stairs. Thankfully I realized what was happening before it was sent sailing.

From there we went out to eat. Dale and I split a walleye sandwich. It was really quite large and tasty. We also had sour cream and chives French fries. Nothing fancy, but nice.

Then it was to my parent's house for dessert and a few games of Jocker. We regularly play this game. It is fun game where it is men vs. women. We - the fairer sex - won two games rather handily. Wohoo!! We always have fun together playing that.

Tonight, Dale and I went to an Italian place about 30 minutes away and had a wonderful dinner together. He has some kind of steak and I had grilled shrimp over angel hair pasta. Both were delicious.

Both of us have such a wonderful example set by our parents. My parents just celebrated 59 years and Dale's parents just celebrated 64! That is such a wonderful heritage for us and our kids to have. We are so thankful for them. They have lived life before us and shown how to trust God through difficult times.

Tonight we reminisced about our wedding day so many years ago. I wish that cameras were as frequently used then as they are now. There are things that neither of us could remember clearly. As I look back, we seemed so young - and so in love, excited about what lay ahead for us. And now, we are no longer young - but are even more in love, still excited about what is ahead for us. We continue to learn about each other and how we can encourage and meet each other's needs. It is something that we need to be working on and striving for each day. But, it needs to be intentional or else I find that I take for granted the amazing man that God has placed in my life. I am so thankful for Dale. He is the perfect man for me and I am honored to be his wife and live this life with him. He is a man who loves God and strives to live in a way that will glorify him.
He is my friend, my encourager and the one who I hope I have many more years with here on this earth.

Happy Anniversary, honey!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Watch This!"

I love the colors of Fall, the crisp morning air, a blazing fire in the fireplace in the evening, fresh apples and the smell of anything baked with pumpkin and spices.
The colors of nature in this season: the oranges, yellows, reds call to something deep within me that I don't fully understand. I have been known to pull to the side of the road to just sit and soak in the beauty of it. That in itself sort of surprises me, because I don't like orange. I don't think that I even own anything that is orange.

But, I do have a creator God who will take colors from his palette, double load his brush, step back and say, "Watch this! I hope you love it."
Then he paints a landscape that takes my breath away.

Maybe that's why I struggle at times in the Fall. The season that makes me want to pause and dwell in the creative genius of God is also the season where my schedule picks up quickly. Even though I'm back at it, inwardly I find myself fighting it. I'm not ready for all that this season brings.
So, maybe this blog entry is really for my benefit alone. He is reminding me of his continual presence and of the way he blesses me by showing a smidgen of his power for my eyes to behold while here in my temporary home.

Psalm 104:32 says, " May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works - who looks at the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke."

Kidney stone - "Trust me"
Unemployment - "Trust me"
Unsettled heart - "Trust me"

Monday, September 13, 2010

Trusting in the Waiting

Last January I remember talking with a friend about the new year of 2010. I mentioned that I had this sense of some kind of adventure awaiting Dale and me. It was hard to put my finger on what it really was, an uncertainty or unsettledness if there is such a word.

Less than 3 months later, Dale was unemployed - his position eliminated.
And so the adventure began.

He enjoyed having the Spring and Summer off to spend time outside finishing projects and gardening again for the first time in years. We drove to Montana 2 times and also went camping with my parents and my brother, Terry, and his wife, Sandy.

Every week he was filling out many job applications and sending out resumes and trying to follow up on them. But he got no response, only rejection letters. For the first time in 6 months he actually had an interview last week. Woohoo!
Thankfully, I am now back working at a local high school.

As I write this I am sitting in a hospital room waiting for Dale...
- a new adventure.
Just over 2 weeks ago Dale found out that he has a kidney stone - a large one. He was to have it removed this morning, but...God had a different plan "A". With the Dr. unable, after many tries, to do what was necessary to prepare to actually remove the stone, Dale is now with an "intervention radiologist" who will hopefully help make it easier for the urologist to try again in retrieving the stone in 2 days. (I'm deliberately leaving out the graphic details.)

I know that this was God's plan from the beginning

I know that God still loves us.

And... I know that I've got to get out of this little windowless room! The sun is shining and I'm going for a walk to the lake.

God is good... all the time.

I know that I can trust Him in the waiting.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Now the earth was formless and empty...

... God called the dry ground "land", .... and God saw that it was good...

... God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." Genesis

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Lesson from the Trail

On our recent trip to Montana we took three hikes in the area surrounding Bozeman. Though it was unplanned at the time, we actually hiked them with there being increasing difficulty for each hike.
The first one was Grotto Falls which is over 1 mile in length but quite easy. It is actually listed as “wheelchair accessible”. Not sure I’d want to try it in a wheelchair, but it definitely was the easiest hike. We took some great photos along the way.

The 2nd hike was the “M” Trail. There is a 260 foot “M” made up of whitewashed stones on the side of a hill just outside of Bozeman. It is for the University of Montana, Bozeman. The trail was almost 2 miles long with a 850 ft. vertical climb. There were a lot of switchbacks as we zigzagged our way up. We headed up after dinner and we were able to view the sunset on the way.

Such beautiful views!
The lush rolling hills dotted with trees looked soft in the setting sun.

Once at the “M”, we rested just a short time as it was getting dark and the
hike down would need to be taken very carefully.

Our final hike was on the Mt. Ellis trail. It was about 6 miles long with a 2400 ft. vertical climb and by far the most difficult. The first mile was in the sun along what looked like a cattle trail. The temperature was in the upper 80’s, so we were packed with lots of water and food for lunch at the top.

Grateful when we finally got to some shade, we rested and drank when we got to a place at the bottom of the hill where we could get relief from the sun. From then on there was a mix of sun and shade with the trail getting more and more difficult. Sometimes it would plateau and allow us to rest our legs for a bit, but we knew that it wouldn’t stay like that for long. To reach the top we knew that there was much yet to climb. At the steepest point where the trail went straight up, I could go maybe only 10 steps and then had to stop, gasping for air.

We carefully picked our way over roots, plants and rocks. We were rewarded for our perseverance when we reached the meadow near the top.

The meadow was filled with beautiful wild flowers.
Everywhere you looked!
Everywhere you stepped!
And the views were amazing!

Even though we weren’t quite at the very top, this was where our ascent would end. In the shade we ate our lunches, rested and took it all in.

The cameras would try and fail to capture the beauty of what lay out before us.
My God is the god of creation.
He spoke and it came to be.
I remember standing in silence as I looked at the work of His hands.

But, therein lies the lesson.
A few times along the way we stopped to turn around and look at the views around us. We were so focused on what was right in front of us as we picked our way along the steep trail that we had to remind ourselves to look up and around.
To see where we had come from and take time to enjoy the process.
I find that at times I can be so focused on what I’m going through right now that I fail to take in the bigger picture.

“What’s my next step?”
“Where do we go from here?”
“How will we manage this?”
“When will this end?”

Yes, those are things to consider – prayers to be brought before my God.
But, wait!
I don’t want to exhaust myself with myself!

I need to remember that God sees the big picture. Not only is He at the top – He IS the top. He’s “the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2
Yes, there will be times where we can only manage a few steps at a time. We need to rest, to remember to breathe, to remember that we only see “but a poor reflection as in a mirror.” II Corin.13:12
I’ve heard it described as us only seeing the back side of the tapestry of our lives. God seeing the front, knowing what the finished portrait will be. While we see the back – the tangled threads and knots that look like chaos.
But, I do believe that we choose the colors. Will they be the colors of joy? Of a life lived by trust through the unknown?
Or will it be the colors of doubt? or of fear?

Direct my path, holding me up like the hiking poles I used, turning my eyes to search for you and your working in my life and those around me.
Direct me with your eyes. Help me to trust, dwell and delight in you.

“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 36:5-7

Thanks to Christina and Zach for some of the beautiful pictures.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Montana Part II

We arrived in Bozeman on the 4th of July. So after dinner at friends of Josh & Lauren’s,
(Desiree & Adam) we headed up to YAA – Yellowstone Alliance Adventure camp where Josh and Lauren had worked last summer. The staff sets off fireworks for the campers that are there. Off in the distance we were able to see the fireworks display down in Bozeman.

We spent that night at Josh and Lauren’s. It was wonderful to meet little Anna Sierra. In the morning when we heard Ruth waking, I went up to get her. Later they brought Anna down and Dale and I had time alone with our grand-daughters while Josh and Lauren where able to sleep in.

Zach and Christina flew in from MI and we checked into the C’mon Inn where we shared a suite. A few times over the week we all went to the pool area which had a little kiddie pool that Ruth loved. Even in the big pool when her little lip would be quivering from being cold, she wanted to stay in the water and play.
It was a great place to sit and talk together and have fun watching Ruth. It’s a very interesting fact that we as adults can sit and be content just to watch little ones. At times there was no conversation going on, just watching. Maybe it’s just that we don’t get to see them very often and are trying to take it all in. Maybe it’s the innocence of youth or their excitement for even the little things in life. We very quickly became “Papa” and “Nana” instead of Grandpa & Grandma. Much easier for Ruth to say.

The week was filled with time spent together. Whether it was “Music on the Main” in Bozeman, eating at McKenzie River Pizza, hiking, the guys fishing and the women watching a movie, eating or being in the pool – we were together. One night we headed to the Farmer’s Market with the Ruth so that Josh and Lauren could go to their Bible study. It was wonderful to be able to help out and baby-sit along with Christina and Zach. There’s something about a little one’s hand grasping your finger as you walk along. I miss that already.


“Companionship” or “unified” according to Webster.

We were together
We were enjoying companionship
We are unified
We are family

We are blessed beyond measure

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Montana - Part 1

We just got back from a trip out to Bozeman, Montana to visit our son, Josh, and his wife, Lauren. They have 2 little girls. Ruth is 1 and Anna was just born 1 month ago. We haven’t yet had the joy to meet her. So, these next blogs will be about our drive out there and the time that we were able to spend with them along with Zach & Christina who flew out from MI.
After a night in Mitchell, SD, where we had to at least go past the Corn Palace, we were on our way to Burgess Junction, WY.
Along the way we had beautiful scenery in the rugged mountain area.
Road construction made it interesting for a while and we watched as the temperature continued to drop.

Dale had done fly-fishing there in the past and had made reservations for us at Bear Lodge Resort in the Big Horn National Forest where a little rustic cabin awaited us.
"Little" and "rustic" are the words. There was no running water – which of course means no bathroom. I knew that ahead of time, but I incorrectly assumed that there was some sort of bathhouse nearby. We were shown where there were 2 bathrooms with a shower in them, off of the bar. There was another single shower near the pool and one regular bathroom. Those were for the restaurant/bar customers and us. After we were shown to our cabin, to be honest, I was a little taken aback. But, after taking a few moments to re-adjust my thinking and to be honest -my attitude, I was OK with it. I decided that I would enjoy it as something new.

It was sufficient. It was unique. And for the most part clean. I had mentioned to Dale that there were no cobwebs or spiders. Then Dale said, “And hopefully no critters.” I glanced at the ½” space under the door. Oh, boy, could be trouble there. We made sure that all of our food was left in the car.
Dale fished the North Tongue River. I came along for the experience of it and to take pictures. Cold, but not horrible. We were kept warm by walking in the waders and making our way through an area where there was no path, but plenty of beautiful wild flowers.

Now this “Resort” is not the type of place that I think of when I hear that word. This is more of a REAL western place. There were a lot of all terrain vehicles on trailers and 4-wheel drive trucks or jeeps. It is out in the middle of nowhere, Montana.
People were greeted as welcomed friends and any request we had was graciously answered.

We had an interesting talk with one of the morning cooks, Ol’ Mike. He was an interesting man who worked to keep his upper denture plate in place as he was telling us about his being there for over 20 years. Because the area is a“free range” area, he said, there will be 20+ horses tied up outside as the cowboys come in for a hamburger at lunch. It almost tempted me to stay just to see that. The bar part of the place even had the obligatory swinging ½ door.

Yup, the old West.

Glad that we stayed there.

Glad that it was only one night.