Saturday, September 30, 2006

While a doing a little research for and my friend Blake, I ran across the following news article about designer Geoffrey Beene. I did not even know he had passed away and I never really liked the men’s fragrance Grey Flannel, but I have an new outlook on him.
Take a look around –people are still doing good for one another every single minute.
The media focuses on the rare ugly percentage. I feel bad that this in week in Bailey, Colorado random violence was acted at a High School and that in Florida more random violence occurred, but this is what we created. The media is completely frustrating and unfortunately our society gives them plenty to talk about.

Honestly, I could not bear to watch Monday Night Football this week. I had already endured a month long of news clips of Katrina a year later, I might sound bitter or even bitchy, but tragedy happens and we get back up and dust ourselves off. Ok that is my one sided rant.
This book excerpt choked me up = I have added it to my ever growing list
Reality excerpt
I have decided to take the challenge. 10 books by Christmas Day


What: The Fall Into Reading Challenge encourages you to set goals for your personal and/or family reading. Everyone who wants to participate will make a list of books that they'd like to read (or finish) during the next few months. We'll share these goals with each other, and then share our results at the end of the challenge.

When: Um...Fall. :) The challenge will take place from September 23, 2006 to December 21, 2006.

My List so far .. (subject to change)
Operation Homecoming Edited by Andrew Carroll
The Faith Club A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew-- Three Women Search for Understanding
Blog of War
Carried Away by Alice Munro
I Feel Bad About My Neck Written by Nora Ephron
That Summer in Paris Abha Dawesar
Prayer – Does it Make a Difference – Philip Yancey
Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik
The History of Love A Novel by Nicole Krauss
The Girls' Almanac By Emily Franklin

Friday, September 29, 2006

Fall, football and new cheerleaders

My dear friend Hayley is trying her fancy with cheerleading.. She looks happy, encouraging, peppy...

the week

This is has been a week of ups and downs, but really what week is not…
That is the way it is I think – just one constant roller coaster.
Wednesday I was hit with a 36 hour stomach virus. I slept for almost 16 hours on and off.
Amazingly and yet somewhat pathetic my dogs also slept near me for just as long only getting up when I needed to. The beloved companions they are so sweet – but they drive me crazy. I will swear off pets after this, but deep down I know better.

Maybe if I moved to Greece and lived in a small Mediterranean apartment.….

This weekend I get to catch up with some friends. It will be nice to see them, we are headed to an Air Force Football game and the temperatures are forecasted in the 70’s. It will be nice to be outside and visit.
Fall is beautiful right now. I will try to capture a few more pictures and post them.
Next week I have to prep for drill and all that comes with it, so I need to take advantage of today.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

These pictures appear to look like pictures from a calm, relaxing walk between a mother and her fifteen year old daughter. They are pictures from a beautiful fall day, but the conversation was filled with ugliness and bitterness. Apparently, I am failing left and right and I need to learn from a fifteen year old that knows everything. No peace today, maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Could it be true.......

Western and Pakistani intelligence officials are investigating reports received by French spy chiefs that Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan last month.

Citing information gathered by Saudi intelligence, the document from France's DCSE spy agency was reportedly passed to President Chirac and his prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, in Paris on Thursday.

A still from a video featuring Osama bin Laden

"According to a usually reliable source, the Saudi services are now convinced that Osama bin Laden is dead," the report stated, according to a leak to the French newpaper L'Est Republicain. "The information gathered by the Saudis indicates that the head of al-Qaeda fell victim, while he was in Pakistan on August 23, 2006, to a very serious case of typhoid that led to a partial paralysis of his internal organs."

Not that it really makes a big difference at this point in the game.

I finished this book today - The end suprised me.
Today was a day.
Nothing earth shattering took place.
Chores were addressed; a few loads of laundry, wiped down bedroom ceiling fan and ledge, wiped down patio door, and vacuum. I gathered up the recycle trash and headed for groceries with coupons in tow. I barley got out of the commissary under 125.00. I did save 22.65 in coupons and I found a few great deals. Produce was good grabbed acorn, spaghetti and butternut squash, bananas, plums, carrots and squash. One bit of good news is that our commissary is expanding the organic selection. They recently just added Cascadian Farms frozen fruit. I grabbed two bags of raspberries and one bag of blueberries… Yeah… For me it’s the simple things. For pure nostalgia I grabbed an Angel Food Cake mix. The sticky coating it leaves on the pan and the crunchy crust that forms reminds me of my mom. I miss her. Now that we are officially headed home for Thanksgiving my thoughts drift to her easily.

My daughter and I had planned on attending my friend’s son’s two year old birthday party with my niece. But my niece had visitation wit her mother and C bailed on me to go shopping in Denver. She has been asked to be an attendant in a friend’s Quincenera Quincenera They had a great say shopping, laughing and eating. She found a Mexican market that sold Inca Cola Soda Pop. She was thrilled, she discovered this drink in Peru and has been talking about it ever since. She had a great day and now she is off to the movies with friends. I am the chauffeur tonight, so I actually have to stay up past 9:30.
I went to the birthday party and stayed a few hours. He was not a happy two year old today. Too many people in his house! But, he is very keen to Thomas the Tank Engine. He will be playing trains for several months. Mom was stressed but all of the children had a blast, and filled their little bodies with sugar.
Tomorrow more of the same. I have chores to attend to and I am hoping to drive to the mountains and grab some fresh air, a bit of exercise and a few fall pictures.

Friday, September 22, 2006

second day of Snow on the Peak

Another week…..

Work has been very exhausting this week.
I am worn out and I think I am opting to work from home today.

It is the Last day of summer and my garden is showing the effects of an early frost. I spent about 30 minutes pulling out all the cucumber and zucchini vines. I had enough to fill an entire large trash bag. I will use some of the other leaves for garden mulch, but it felt great to clean it up. The garden is now sparse in parts, with a few greens poking up from beneath the earth. I am going to plant one last row of lettuce for pure experimental purposes only. Who knows the weather could remain constant and we will have a early fall surprise.

I spent the last days finagling frequent flyer miles to get two free tickets back to Michigan for Thanksgiving. So, we are an official go. Looks like I will have to only purchase one!

Monday, September 18, 2006

In the Navy

I will sail the seven seas....

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The way I am walking -

If I had a National Anthem it would be Walk by Faith - Jeremy Camp.

Will I believe you when you say
Your hand will guide my every way
Will I receive the words You say
Every moment of every day

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Help me to RID my endless fears
You've been so faithful for all my years
With the one breath You make me new
Your grace covers all I do

yeah, yeah , yeah, yeah, ya

well i will walk by faith
even when i cannot see
because this broken road
prepares your will for me

Well I'm broken- but I still see Your face
Well You've spoken- pouring Your words of grace

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me
Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Hallelujah, hallelu

I will walk by faith, I will walk by faith,
I will walk by faith
I will walk by faith, I will walk by faith,
I will walk by faith
I will walk by faith, I will walk by faith,
I will walk by faith
I will walk by faith
I will walk,I will walk
I will walk, I will walk by faith

Things you do not see every day

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My brother gets promoted to E7 in the Navy this weekend, he will wear the rank until June before he compensated for an E7 but it is a huge accomplishment for him and his family is very excited. Abby is wearing a beautiful sailor dress for the pinning and I cannot wait for the pictures. Congratulations! I am now the only E6 left in the family!

Notes from the plane.

When the flight attendant has the beverage cart in the aisle for service, just wait.
The aisle itself is narrow and the cart is only slightly smaller so it can easily be pushed and up down. When you try to squeeze in someone else's space it is annoying. Flight after flight I watch this craziness.
It is amazing that a grown adult cannot just rationalize the behavior. Your surprised look on your face, that you cannot simply just past by is not complimentary. The aisles do not miraculously get in larger after take off.
The woman in front of me luckily has the entire row to herself. That is like getting five across on a BINGO card when only seven numbers have been called. You are very lucky on this ten hour flight. But did you have to recline all of the seats back? Not just recline, thrust them to rear as if you need to take control of three dirty old and overly used chairs.
The gentleman next to me seemed like he was remorseful for leaving Argentina. He held a picture of him and his young lover. She had written him a note on a scrap of paper with the declaration, "I Love you, Darling." He actually kissed the photograph before he placed it back into his back pack. My curiosity wants to know the story, wants to hear the passion, but we nod, smile and fitfully try to rest.
I brought along the Island of the Blue Dolphins to read. It is a young adult book, but it was small and light weight, I had never read it but, as the first American Hans Christian Anderson award winner and usually required reading for middle schoolers, I figured it would be a good option. It was good, easy to read and soft story of live, love, loss and triumph.
I have also been reading Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. He is the pastor of a large church in Grand Rapids, MI. Two days ago I was reading Buenos Aires newspaper and saw a brief snippet that there is a MarsHIll Church in the city (an extension of his church) Next time I will have to do further investigation. Find out how close it is to the hotel, who knows maybe even find out a local need. I know it was not a coincidence that I found the two connections. Hopefully, a story for later.
We are debating about the logistics for Thanksgiving. My daughter has the entire week off from school. We are going to Michigan to celebrate and visit with family. I think she may travel out there early. She could start baking with her Aunt Mary, visit with old friends and help with Abby. I need to get busy on the details, the time will go fast.
The best news is that I am making progress on the Christmas list. A few purchases here and there are beginning to accumulate a nice pile. I am trying to be conscientious once again this year. I am staying away from Wal-Mart and looking closely where products are manufactured. Tuesday Morning is one of my favorite places to shop. I found a few nice ornaments from Poland and a few pieces of inexpensive crystal from Germany. This year I am going to craft all of Christmas Cards, or at least a decent portion of them. I have been running a few ideas through my head. When the leaves begin to turn I want to take a few pictures of the Aspens and gather a few leaves in hopes to come up with a creative look. By no means is it the quality of some of the scrappers on the web, but the love will be there.
Nip Tuck has a following in Buenos Aires. I guess I am not the only Dr. Sean fan.
It is amazing how many large dogs live in the city.
Yummy eats from the market.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
I had strawberries almost every day, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Update on Blake

Pieces from an email...

Blake is doing fine after his second chemotherapy round on Sunday with little or no side effects (Hum – I wonder why? Lot’s of prayer maybe?). But he took an emotional step back today in that a couple of days ago one of his doctors mentioned that he might get to go home earlier than thought but today his primary doctor said no go and that he would need to remain in the hospital at least until the end of the month.

Also today, he got his first lumbar puncture – which means they insert some chemo directly into his spinal cord so that it can take care of any cancer cells that would be hiding there. Blake also got to talk with another patient from Wyoming who is 20 years old and is about five weeks ahead of Blake in his treatment.

We hope to meet with the doctor on Friday to get a clearer picture of the road ahead. Pray that we get some good news as to prognosis and treatment.

If you have a brief moment, please just whisper a breath of prayer for Blake.

From a hotel room on the 8th floor…
One more evening, a full work day and then I am climbing back on an airplane to make the 12 hour flight home.

Sunday I went to mass a the Metropolitan Cathedral, Buenos Aires.

The Metropolitan Cathedral appears magnificent facing Plaza de Mayo, on a lot already allotted by Juan de Garay in 1580. In 1692, construction of three isles and lateral chapels started. In 1727, architect Jesuit Blanqui was commanded the projection of a new facade with two towers, but the interior collapsed in 1752. In 1770, almost concluded, cracks were observed in the dome. Its redoing was decided, under direction of Manuel Alvarez de Rocha. In 1791, worship started and just in 1822 French architects Prosperous Catelin and Pierre Benoît carried out the current neoclassical piazza, inspired by the Palais Bourbon of Paris. J. Dubourdieu took charge of the ornamentation of the frontispiece between 1860 and 1863. It presents twelve Corinthian columns symbolizing the twelve apostles. In the frontispiece a bas-relief represents Jacob's encounter with its son José in Egypt. The interior of the Cathedral holds five aisles. The main one with a seamless vault and a transept covered by a dome which, on a circular drum, reaches 41 meters high. As from the right lateral aisle, you may access the mausoleum where General San Martin ashes are. It has been designed by the French sculptor Carrier Belleuse. The interior decoration shows Italian improntas: Francesco Paolo Parisi is the author of the Renaissance frescos. He decorated the dome, the presbytery, the arms of the transept and the central aisle; these paintings were lost because of the humidity. The sculptor Victor de Pol made the monument to archbishop León Federico Aneiros, in San Martin de Tours chapel, left wing. It is a Carrara marble and stone mausoleum where the prelate’s image while kneeling is centered. Francesco Domenighini was the painter to the fourteen master pieces of the Via Crucis - originally they were at Pilar church -, and Carlo Morra designed the floor in 1907, which was manufactured in England in Venetian mosaic. In the interior you can see the Mausoleum where General José of San Martin’s ashes.

When we toured the church on Saturday, I felt like I just needed to be there on Sunday too. I made the decision that I was going there tomorrow for mass. The church is a tourist attraction, but serves the community alive and well with several masses daily. The others in the group bowed out for Sunday morning and said that they had been raised Catholic and were not big on mass. That’s ok, I was grateful. I wanted to walk through the city streets by myself, enter through the massive doors and find a bit of peace.

The architecture and artifacts in the building are truly amazing. Marble covers the entire interior of the building. It was cool and dark, yet comforting and mysterious. (pictures to follow)
I found a pew a few rows back. The pew itself was primitive, no cushion and no cushion on the kneelers. Just solid wood- ages and ages old and marble and catholic relics as fara as the eye could see.
I knew the Mass would be in Spanish and for the most part I would not understand much of the Father’s conversation with the congregation. But I needed to experience it. I was raised Catholic, so I knew that I could muddle my way through most of the ceremonial motions. I had not been to mass in a few years; perhaps my grandmother’s funeral was the last time. I sat for a few minutes and then an older lady sat next to me, we exchanged smiles. A few minutes later she leans over and asks if I have change in pesos. I did not and nor could I answer her back in any reasonable sense of conversational Spanish. She looked very puzzled, and turned around to a neighboring lady. Change and small conversation was made. With one eye on my activity, I am pretty certain she leaned over to the other lady announcing that I was in a Spanish Mass and could not understand anything. A part of me wanted to explain that it was ok, I was not really there to take part of the mass, I was there to experience the quietness and lift up my many prayer requests.
The service lasted about an hour. My new neighbor friend helped me find the place in the pamphlet that the lecterns were reading from and tried to mother me throughout the service. I missed my cue for the Lord's Prayer and the creed. But, I enjoyed listening to the voices surrounding me. She did find it odd that I had a small New Testament in my purse that I actually took out and was reading… (I wanted to lean over and say, "Yes, it is ok to read it... at your leisure...")

One thing that did take me off guard was the offering of the peace to your neighbors. I was raised that you casually turn to your neighbors shaking hands and offer smiles and blessings. I was quickly enveloped in several full body hugs and greetings of kisses. I mean… what do you do… I just smiled and said “peace be with you”. I hope they felt my sincerity, layered under the brief moment of anxious shock. I am glad I participated; it was a deeper observation of the people of the city and the country of Argentina.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A picture from Argentina.

The trip is going well. Two things I am not impressed with is the amount of cigarette smoke everywhere. EVERYWHERE! and the amount of beef consumption. I have not ate beef since 1994... Beef is the star attraction on every menu. The pasta is pretty good but the sauces so far have been interesting at best. I am learning about a new culture and that is what counts.

This trip has given me time to think about many things and pray. I have 5 more days to explore and learn and teach as much as possible. It should be fun.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I received a forward from sister-in-law today. I typically do not pass these things on - but keeping on my current theme -Rick Warren's wife has cancer -


You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having "wealth" from the book sales. This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren, "Purpose Driven Life " author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California.

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:

People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal.God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.

God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always somethingbad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.

If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, "which is my problem, my issues, my pain." But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.

It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitter ness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. Difficult moments, SEEK GOD. Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. Painful moments, TRUST GOD.Every moment, THANK GOD.

Good News: I finished this book last night. It is a wonderful story.
Bad News: I only brought four books for the trip and this is day two.
I made it to Argentina. Hola.
The flight was long, but I tried to sleep and pray as much as possible. That might sound like just a phrase that Christians say, but seriously each time when I closed my eyes and I did not find the comfort of sleep close, I prayed.
I received an update on Blake this morning and he was moved from ICU to a regular room. He seems to be in good spirits, even eating Hagan Dagz Strawberry Ice Cream.
I will keep you posted on the trip and events.
My daughter has the big homecoming dance on Saturday and I will not be there, so keep good thoughts.
Believe it or not the news down here is wonderful. They have BBC World News and CNN International. I watched tv for an hour last night and did not hear anything about Hollywood or bashing of liberals and connservatives. It was really nice....

Monday, September 04, 2006

Theme of the week, theme of the month, theme of the year, theme of my life

Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.–Matt. 18:20

Please pray for this family SC Eagle and Elicia

Tomorrow I have a ten hour flight to Argentina and I plan on closing my eyes and crying out to God for a good part of it.

Please pray for my family while I am gone - I will be back in ten days, but my heart is very heavy.
Not a great weekend.I just found that friends of mine are being faced with a huge struggle. Their 18 year son is very sick. I received an email on Saturday morning and on Sunday morning they made a special announcement at church.
I also received the email below

Bryan and Diane Myers son, Blake Myers, has been diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. He is at the University Hospital in Denver where he will start on Chemo Therapy Treatment tomorrow. Please pray for the treatment to work quickly to reduce his white cell count. Pray that there would be no damage to any of his vital organs and that his kidneys would hold up under the stress of the treatment and the damage the leukemia could do. Pray that God would send His angels to watch over Blake as he is undergoing treatment. Pray for the doctors and the nurses thattreat him. Pray for his spirit and his body to be strong. Pray for strengths and
encouragement for Bryan, Diane, Bryce and Brandon.

My heart is breaking and this is only one of the reasons.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Bride Was Beautiful

Story summary:
Katie Kirkpatrick, 21, held off cancer to celebrate the happiest day of her life. Katie had chased cancer, once only to have it return-to clog her lungs and grab hold of her heart. Breathing was difficult now, she had to use oxygen. The pain in her back was so intense it broke through the morphine that was supposed to act as a shield. Her organs were shutting down but it would not stop her from marrying Nick Godwin, 23, who was in love with Katie since 11th grade.

This is an amzaing story via photographs and short captions

Friday, September 01, 2006

Labor Day Weekend.
My daughter escaped to rural Kansas to go visit her friend’s grandma.
I got the call this afternoon that we are having a house guest for the weekend.
My husband went to Afghanistan with a bunch of young kids; he and a couple of others were the token older guys that took care of them.
He left with only one and brought back a few sons.

Schweitz really liked him. He came back a little crazy and always with constant adrenaline. Just like the rest of them. During his demob phase he got into a horrible car accident and spent over 30 days in the hospital. I spent a lot of time in ICU and with his family because the guys just could not. This caused a bunch of “crap” for lack of a better word in our home. There was a lot guilt that everyone carried, but what happened, happened.

So, the National Guard did not take the best of care for him and he has been just wandering for about three years now. He is back on orders (after a long and difficult time) and assigned to a medical hold company five minutes away. I expect to see a lot of him, they told him his surgery and recovery may take up to six months. This situation is crazy. I get frustrated that the “we” (I say we as in the military) did not take better care of him.
I made up a bed for him on the futon and laid out the husbands extra pajama pants….

All I can do is love on him while he is here and hope everyone heals more in the process.