Thursday, July 26, 2012

Happy Gottcha Day!

Seventeen years ago today, in a small home in Hanoi, Vietnam, Brian joined our family. How to describe our feelings then. We were nervous about becoming parents, tired from the flight, excited that our long journey to parenthood was almost over. And then he came around the corner. Oh, my. How precious. He was perfect. He didn't seem to like us or dislike us!

Fast forward seventeen years. Today he is at Six Flags with his sister and the church youth group. He is about to enter his senior year of high school. He has joined the Marines. He has taken a mission trip. And, he's still as handsome as he was that first day.

This will be the last gottcha day we'll celebrate "together" for the foreseeable future. Next year at this time, he'll be in boot camp in San Diego. It's hard to believe that our baby is almost all grown up.

We are thankful to the Lord for bringing him into our lives. We love you, Brian, and pray God's blessings on you for many, many more years. We are privileged to be your parents.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jonalyn Update

Sorry about the long absence. Our computer crashed. Don't you hate that?? We have it back up and running and most of our information back. Yikes!

Meanwhile, Jonalyn had an appointment with her surgeon. For once, we had some good news. At first, we thought she would need surgery on one foot to deal with a fallen arch. The braces she's been wearing the last two years have worked for that problem and she will not need surgery on her foot! Praise the Lord for this bit of good news. Recovery will still be a long process, but we are thankful that it will be a little less.

She loved summer school. She will play her "Hi-pad" non stop if we let her. It's amazing to see how quickly she picked up on how to use the thing - much faster than her parents LOL!

Thank you for the prayers. We'll keep you updated as her surgery draws near.

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's Hot out There!

This has been a terrible summer so far, weather wise. We are in severe drought conditions here. To top it off, it's been hot. Whew. This compares to the summer of '95. I remember that because we joked God was getting us ready to go to Vietnam. Yes, this weather reminds me of Vietnam. Or the summer of '88. Doug and I were engaged and I was working in the office of a factory where his mom worked. Going out to the floor to check on things was brutal. She sent me a couple of times to get Popsicles for the men and women who didn't get to enjoy the air conditioning.

How hot is it? I'm glad you asked ;)

This was the reading on our thermometer yesterday at 2:10 p.m.
And they're predicting 102 for today. Yikes! That makes this a mocha frappe kind of day!

What are you doing to beat the heat?

Wonderful Words - Columnar

This week's Wonderful Word is COLUMNAR - column-like.

We have a little inside family joke. On the way to the cabin, we pass a cemetery with arbor vitaes around the perimeter. They are tall and slender, very COLUMNAR.

But there is one in our family (who shall remain anonymous) who has a hard time pronouncing the word. cuh-LUM-nar. Instead, it comes out columanar. Now, even though I think this person has gotten the hang of saying the word, every time we pass this cemetery, this person shouts out "columanar." Then we laugh and laugh until we cry. O.K., I guess you have to be there :)

COLUMNAR is a fun word to pronounce. cuh-LUM-nar. Now, however, I have to stop and think a second before I say it to make sure I'm saying it correctly. cuh-LUM-nar.

What kind of inside family jokes to you have?

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Bride's Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee

Travis Logan left doctoring behind after his experiences in the Civil War. Now he’s on a steamer bound for a new life of raising horses. Caleb Wharton falls ill on the trip, and, on his death bed, bequeaths Heaven to Travis.

Heaven Wharton, once a society girl, now is left to care for her blind sister and their farm while her father looks for a better life for them in Chicago. When a strange man rides in, she fires a warning shot in the air. The trouble is, her aim isn’t good and a bullet grazes the man’s head.

When Travis tells Heaven what her father left him, she’s furious and vows to fight for the farm – and herself. Heaven feels herself drawn to Travis. Then her presumed-dead fiancĂ© makes an appearance and everything changes.

This book had me captured from the first page. I fell in love with the rich characters Diana Lesire Brandmeyer created. She does a masterful job setting the scene, transporting me to a little cabin in Tennessee. The pacing is perfect and the end will have you cheering. I highly recommend this book.

And now you have a chance to win a copy! Sorry, this is open to the USA only. Leave a comment for one entry. Subscribe to my blog for a second entry. If you post a link on Facebook or Twitter back to this interview, leave another comment and you'll earn a third entry! Good luck!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Garden Produce

My first experience with a vegetable garden is going swimmingly! The weather has been so dry here. Meteorologists are calling this a severe drought. The grass is brown and dormant. Many of my perennials are in danger, and I'm afraid I'll lose more than a few of them. We have been watering the vegetable garden and it's starting to produce.

Here are the green beans I picked on Monday. Yesterday I picked more and the first of my peas.
Now, I don't like green beans. Since I was little, I've had to hide them in my mashed potatoes in order to choke them down. It didn't matter if they were canned, frozen or fresh from the grocery store. I couldn't like them.

These, however are different. Notice that there aren't any brown spots. None are old and withered. They went from the garden to the pot to the table in about an hour.

And they're good. Greg, I know your mouth is hanging open about now, but I liked them. Even in my mashed potatoes, I could tell the difference. They weren't tough. In fact, they were rather sweet.

Next year, I want Doug to build a couple more raised beds for me. I have to dedicate one entire one to green beans so we'll have enough to freeze for the winter.

What food do you find is so much better fresh than any other way?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

4th of July

We had a wonderful 4th of July week. In case you didn't miss me, we were at our cabin for a week. That was the longest stretch we've ever been there. We arrived the Saturday before the 4th to prepare things. I did some touch-up painting (too bad the blue in the girls' room didn't match. Still have that chore to do) and Doug mowed. With the lack of rain and the sandy soil there, it was a mess.

Sunday, we enjoyed worshiping with an OPC church about 55 minutes from the cabin. It's a small congregation, which we love, and very friendly. The preaching is solid and sound. We celebrated our day of rest by painting our nails and playing games.

My parents came around lunch time on Monday. It was my mom's birthday and we made it festive with a "firecracker" cake - red, white and blue. Yes, I'll post pictures as soon as Doug gets them downloaded. I asked her what her favorite food was. I've been her child all these years and didn't know the answer to that! Turns out, it's pizza. I'm not great with homemade pizza, but I tried a new crust recipe and I had different pizza pans. It was thin crust, which my mom likes, and turned out really well.

We have lived in Wisconsin for almost 38 years and none of us has even been on the Ducks in the Wisconsin Dells. Doug took the trip when he was around Jonalyn's age. Even though it was brutally hot and humid, we went, and it was very enjoyable. These are vehicles used in WWII that can go from land to the water. The area is so gorgeous with the rock formations and little glens. The best part was getting splashed when we went from land to water.

On Wednesday, the 4th, my sister and her family came. Unfortunately, it was sooo hot that we couldn't do much outside. The men grilled while the women cut the fruit. Alyssa made rice krispie treats for those with lactose intolerance, while the boys churned the ice cream. In the evening, we had a Yatzee game. I won!!!

My parents left on Thursday morning. The only activity that appealed to us on this 100 degree plus day was swimming. For the first time, we tried a county park not far from our cabin that has a beach on a lake. The water was filled with algae because of the heat, but once you got over that, even the warmer water felt great. I won the Yatzee rematch that night!!

Friday was the hottest day yet. I think the temperature was 102 or 103. Ridiculous. We took my sister's family to the Dells and walked down the very touristy main street. After a short while, we were all drenched and decided to try out the Sprecher restaurant. The cold sodas tasted great! They left from there and we went back to the cabin and collapsed.

Saturday was a day of clean-up and getting ready to go home. It was sad to see the week come to a close. It will be a memorable 4th of July week for many reasons.

How did you spend the 4th of July?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Wonderful Words - Cackle

The last several Wonderful Words haven't been what my vision for Wonderful Words was. So, I'm going back to the original thought - fun, wacky words that tickle the ear.

So, this week's word is...

During my morning walk, all kinds of interesting birds serenade me - cardinals, Carolina wrens, meadowlarks. My feet tramp on the road to their rhythm.

Then come the crows. They don't sing sweet songs. They CACKLE. Loud and raucous, almost as if the are taunting me. The word CACKLE sounds like their harsh call.

And the CACKLE as in laugh. We all know someone who CACKLES when the laugh. Not a sweet, tinkling kind of sound. Then again, a person who CACKLES really gets into laughing. They CACKLE and everyone around them laughs.

So go ahead. CACKLE. Laugh uproariously. Get your entire family CACKLING. Don't be shy about it. CACKLING is the best medicine!