Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Recipe Books Revealed

The big secret was finally out--and the recipe books were given to sisters and nieces at our Gisel Christmas on Saturday. You can tell from all the smiling faces that they were pleased to get them. Amy is in the front on the far right (in the pink--I don't always get my 'right' and 'left' dirctions very well).

I'm sure these will be not only used, but kept as a little piece of history from mother. The only problem is--what will I do with all my time, now that the books are completed? I know I'll think of something!

Apparently everyone wanted a picture of all of us with our books. It all of the sudden seemed quite funny to see all the men with their camaras, preserving this moment in time for blogs, scrapbooks, photo albums, facebook, etc. So of course, we had to get a picture of the men taking pictures.

We all met at the Holiday Inn Express in Fort Wayne and had a great time. They have a big breakfast room and sitting area combo that was great for us to visit, play games, etc. Following are some of the happy faces as we enjoyed spending time with family.

Amy (niece) and T.J. (G-nephew)

Lynn and I

Sheila (sister-in-law), Lowell (Bro) and Rog (b-i-l )

Dan (nephew), his wife Bethany, and niece Katie

Sis Lou, G-niece Tanyale, and her mom, Sharice

Sis Brenda and hubby Bob

We played a game called "Kemp", which I had never heard of before. You can play with unlimited numbers of people (each has to have a partner), and we started with 12 of us, but soon realized it was a little cumbersome with that many. We divided into 2 groups. I am not going to explain the game (not even sure I can do a good job of that); but suffice it to say, it was a bit hilarious and noisy. Thankfully, I don't believe the hotel was very full, or we could possibly have been considered a bit disruptive.

This was our group of six; I was Amy's partner and sitting across from her, but I'm hidden by Dan's head. As you can possibly surmise from this pic, T.J. was obviously the life of the party, and he and his dad Brian (white shirt) kept us in stitches.

We originally weren't going to get together at Christmas, as it is difficult to get everyone there with bad weather, long distances, etc. I am so glad that we decided to still have a family gathering for those that could make it. If my math is correct, this was a little less than half of us, as we have a total of 40 in the family and we had 16 of us there.

We had a great time, and plan to get together with the whole family in June, when the weather is more conducive to travel. I am truly thankful for each family member. My husband said, "you have a great family. Everyone is so nice and you have such fun". I couldn't agree more.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Secret Project

Some of you will remember that a few weeks ago, in one of my posts, I mentioned a secret project that my niece, Amy, and I were working on for a Christmas surprise for our family. It all sort of started, I believe, in late summer, when we obtained some recipe boxes that held my mother's recipes. Amy had one box, and I had the other two. I started typing some of them, to make them more readable, and thought I would put them in a book. Then I decided that my sisters (and sister-in-law) would enjoy having them also. And I just happened to find these really cute recipe books online and bought 4 of them.

Then I called Amy. I thought maybe she would have some recipes I would like to include, and she had said she was going to type some of them also. So I asked if she had started typing any of the recipes yet. She said she hadn't started yet, but then she said, "I thought it would be great to put them in a recipe book for everyone". Well, I explained that I had already planned to do that for my sisters, and she sort of insisted that the grand daughters in her generation would love to have them also.

We agreed to do this, keeping it a secret from everyone else. At the time, I didn't realize how MUCH of a project it would turn out to be. We felt like we needed to type them to be more readable, but decided we would also like to make copies of the originals, so they could have them in mother's handwriting.

Did I mention, I have 4 in my generation, and 7 nieces (granddaughters) so we would be doing 11 books!

I quickly found the web site where I had gotten the books, and ordered the books, plus some additional recipe cards to go in them.

What a process! Amy typed the recipes she wanted to include, and copied the originals, and gave them to me. Because we live so far away from each other, and of course I am retired and have lots of time, I told her I would get them all put together.

I took the typed recipes, cut them to fit the recipe cards, and glued them to the cards. Then I put them in the plastic inserts, and put them in categories with tabs between each (cookies, meats, etc). I found plastic protector sheets to put the originals in, but they were too big, so I had to cut them down and hole punch them to fit, and then of course put the originals in the plastic sheets.

We ended up with 60 recipes in all, so you can do the math--60 x 11--for all the books. Above is a sample recipe page with 2 recipes per page.

Lest you think I'm complaining, and that this was drudgery, that was not the case. I really had fun doing it, although at one point I was feeling very overwhelmed, and wondering if I would ever complete the project. I kept Amy up to date on the progress; at one point a friend was going to help me, but the day that we had designated for her to help she was sick.

I am now very excited to see if everyone likes the books as well as I do. You know how I am with poems, so I just had to write a poem to go in the front of the book. This was the poem, called "Recipes Remembered".

We all can remember so many good things to eat
From Bernice's kitchen, most were healthy, some sweet.
Old recipe boxes among her things were found,
Browsing through them, what treasures did abound.

It seemed only right to preserve them in some way,
To pass on to future generations one day.
There are cakes, breads, casseroles, and cookies by the dozens,
Some were provided by sisters, aunts, friends and cousins.

This recipe book was put together with love (and lots of glue!)
We hope it will bring pleasure to each one of you.
As you look through this book, and try some of the recipes,
We're sure it will bring back many fond memories.

So now the secret is out! Our family members will be receiving their books at about the time this is being posted. (A few of them of course, will not be able to be there, so some were mailed.

Remind me next time I get a great idea like this, that I might want to pencil in a big block of time to get it accomplished! We hope it will be something to treasure, as well as providing lots of good eating.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Day to Celebrate

Nehemiah 8: 10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

These words were written when Nehemiah and the Levites were reading the Book of the Law to al all the people of Israel, after they had returned to their country. The people were weeping, as they listened to the words of the Law.

I don't remember this verse making an impact on me before, but it was in my devotional reading today. There are two things that stood out to me: First, they were weeping as they were listening the words from the Law. and second, Nehemiah instructed them to eat and rejoice, because it was a special day, sacred to the Lord. But he also told them to give food to those who did not have any.

Verse 12 says, Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food, and to celebrate with great joy, because they NOW UNDERSTOOD the words that had been made known to them.

My prayer for myself today, is that I would never take the Word of God for granted, but that I would weep and rejoice because He has given me understanding of His Word, and that He would give me a hunger and thirst to study more that I might learn more of Him. With that understanding comes a responsibility to share the wonderful good news of the gospel with those around me.

I also realize that I have been blessed beyond anything I could think or imagine; and I want to be a vessel that the Lord can use to supply not only physical food or other needs as He leads me to do so, but also be a source of spiritual encouragement and blessing to those I come in contact with.

This day, December 225th, is a day that has been set aside for us to celebrate the birth of our Lord, and to thank Him for the salvation and fellowship that He provided for us through His death on the cross. As we celebrate, let's thank the Lord, for giving us His Word, to give us guidance, comfort, and encouragement!

I rejoice in you today, Lord, for the salvation that You made possible. As Nehemiah said, truly the joy of the Lord is my strength!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Card Connections

Every year for the past several years (actually possibly 12-15 years) I have written a Christmas poem about the events in our lives during that past year. I actually started writing poems back when I was in grade school or junior high. One year back then, I wrote a poem for every member of my family. I still have them, and they are of course a little humerous now.

And every year for the past few years, I think, maybe I really don't need to do that--just send a little card to people I don't see very often. But I guess that writing poems is in my system, and every year, at some point, I get inspired and sit down to write my poem.

I also have thought about trying to shorten the list of people I send them to. But then I remember: I LOVE getting Christmas cards in the mail! There's just something about touching base with people that maybe you don't even see at all anymore, but they have a place in your heart. Family and friends are so important to me, and so I continue to send out many poems.

The true blessing in all of this, is that every year we get many Christmas cards sent to us; I think maybe we are getting more every year. I love seeing the different cards and reading the notes, and many of them also have letters with updates on their family.

As I mentioned, some of these friends I see only rarely and maybe haven't seen them at all for many years. But true friends remain friends forever. I can't help but think about the song by Michael W. Smith: Friends are Friends Forever.

And with the faith and love God's given, springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you live in is now the strength you show
We'll keep you close as always, it won't even seem you've gone
'Cause our hearts in big and small ways, will keep the love that keeps us strong.

And friends are friends forever, if the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never, 'cause the welcome will not end.
Though it's hard to let you go, in the Father's hands we know,
A lifetime's not too long to live as friends.

Also, at this time of year, we pause to remember that we will always have a friend in our Lord and Savior; one who will never leave us or forsake us, one who will never disappoint us, one who will love us more that we can ever love Him. Let's give Him all the praise and glory this Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Visit to Prison

Matthew 25:36, 39-40 (Our Lord speaking) "Ineeded clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these my brothers of mine, you did for me'.

Last Spring, our church received a letter from a woman in prison, asking if someone could please write to her. She wrote to our church, because her father had attended our church, and had recently passed away. Because she was in prison, she was not able to attend his funeral.

This letter was given to one of the leaders of our women's ministry; she brought it to me, and asked if I would be willing to write to her; she said she thought of me, because of the experiences I've had with my son. I told her I would be glad to do this.

Thus began our relationship. I have corresponded with Nichole ever since that time; we are able to do this by e-mail now. I have learned much about her. The first thing I wanted to know was if she had accepted Christ as her Savior. She assured me she had, but that she needed someone to help her grow and encourage her.

I gave her some scriptures to read, and have since sent some books to her. I sent her "The Purpose Driven Life", and she went through it faithfully, chapter by chapter. Over the months that we've corresponded, I truly believe she has really grown in her christian walk. She says she has a much more positive outlook, and she has shared the books and her faith with other women there.

I have also sort of become her advocate on the outside. She asked me to phone her Grandmother, as she wasn't able to call her. I did that and found her to be a sweet christian lady, 82 y/o. Nichole also has 2 little children, ages 2 1/2 and 3 1/2, who are staying with their aunt, who has guardianship. Nichole's grandmother and this aunt were supposed to take the kids for a visit to the prison on December 11th. But at Thanksgiving, the father took the kids for a "visit for a couple day", and has not allowed them to go back to the aunt. So this visit didn't take place.

Obviously, Nichole has been very upset with all of this. She asked if her grandmother and I could come for a visit. So we made arrangements to do that. Yesterday, I drove her grandmother, Colleen, and I to Rockville for this visit. We had a wonderful time conversing on the way down, and she filled me in on more of Nichole's background.

We were able to spend 2 hours with Nichole. I found her to be delightful. She has a bubbly personality, and has maintained a positive attitude through all of this. She has taken a CMA and QMA course while there, and is now in a labor apprenticeship, learning factory skills, and will be labor-certified. She is making plans and has goals for when she will be released, hopefully in May 2010. She of course was tearful about her kids. She will be sending a notorized document to the aunt, which she can then take to the police, to get the children back. (The police had said they couldn't do anything without a court order from the mother). There are circumstances which make it rather unsafe for her kids to stay with their dad.

She was so excited to have us visit. She is a beautiful young woman. I prayed with Nichole and her grandmother before we left. I continue to pray for her, that she will indeed be able to get a job and get her life back together when she is released.

I told Nichole that I truly believe God brought her into my life for this period of time. She is very grateful, and says she values our friendship. I also am praying for her kids, that the Lord will keep them safe until she can be re-united with them.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A 90th Year Celebration

At 65, I can hardly imagine what it might be like to live another 25 years. But my Uncle Andy has done just that. On December 21st he will be 90 years old. Some of us were able to celebrate with him on Saturday as we enjoyed lunch at the Harlan Cafe. Uncle Andy has been a blessing and inspiration to me all my life. He and my Aunt Esther were missionaries in Dominican Republic for many years. I can remember going to the airport to see them off to the Dominican, and just before they boarded the plane we sang, "God be with you till we meet again".

(left: Lynn and Mark Rupp (his son), Uncle Andy, Jean Ann & Ray Miller, and Deborah (Deb), his daughter.)
(right: Me, hubby Lynn, Tootie Grieser, Delight Fricke, Lou & Rog Roth)

There are 4 children in the family. His daughter Mary and her husband Jeff are currently doing mission work in Spain. He also has a son Tim, and his family, who live in Alaska. The rest of us in the picture are nieces and spouses. There were 10 kids in my mother's family, so if you do the math, you know this is only a few members of the family. If I counted correctly, there are 37 1st cousins, but there are 272 living relatives in my Grandma and Grandpa Rupp's family.

Uncle Andy has lived a godly life, and is a quiet, gentle man. He is the pastor who married me, both for my first marriage and again this marriage to Lynn. Lynn knew him back when he was in Fort Wayne Bible College and considered him a mentor. So we felt very privileged to share in this little celebration of his 90th birthday.

Proverbs 20:7 The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow after them.
Blessed also, are cousins, nieces, other family members, as well as countless Dominicans and church members, who have been influenced and blessed by the godly walk of my Uncle Andy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Getting in the Spirit of the Season

This past Sunday I was privileged to attend the "Living Christmas Tree" presentation downtown Fort Wayne at the Scottish Rite Theatre. This has been done for many, many years; it used to be held at Blackhawk Baptist Church. However, I don't think I've ever seen it before. There were 77 choir members from the community. They started out singing as carolers in front of the huge Christmas tree on stage. There was also an on-going drama. Then about
half-way through the program, the choir members were actually in the tree, with only their heads and white shirts showing.

I was SO glad that I went to this performance. The music was just so uplifting, and I was able to just focus on our Lord, coming as a baby, but then also going to the cross, and coming to life again, in order to provide us with our salvation and fellowship with Him. The program ended with the Hallelujah Chorus. They gave 4 performances; I can only imagine the impact on the members of the choir. I know I get even so much more out of music when I'm participating. It was an amazing tribute to our Lord and Savior.

It's also relaxing for me to just have my tree lights on while I'm reading or studying, and sipping on coffee or hot chocolate.

My husband surprised me by buying me a real wreath. The pine scent filled my house for several days. It came with the bow on it, and i added the other decorations. It's been a lovely addition to my Christmas ambiance.

My nativity scene is one that came from Haiti, thus the figures are Haitian. My husband and I have a heart for the people of Haiti, and will be going there for 2 weeks next March.

This basket was given to me last year by my step-daughter, Janelle. It still looks nice and looks good on my dining room table.

I have been so blessed this past year, and I just want to focus on giving the Lord all the Honor and Glory this season.

For unto us aa child is born,
unto us a son is given,
and the government will be upon His shoulders
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9: 6

Let us come and worship, come and worship, Jesus Christ the Newborn King! Hallelujah!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christ the Saviour is Born

One of the things I love about this time of year is that are many ways to cause us to focus on our wonderful Lord. Saturday night I was privileged to attend an open house at South Scipio Church, where Rebecca's husband is the pastor. (You can see more nativity sets at Rebecca's blog).

It was a really wonderful display of so many nativity sets (Rebecca could probably tell you the number). Some were large and elaborate, some small and simple, some very unique--made out of every day items you could find around the house.

Some of you may remember the Titus Project I've mentioned--a mentoring program for teens sponsored by my church. Erin is the student I've been mentoring, so I invited Erin and her sister Emily to go with us to the open house. I think they truly enjoyed the display.

It goes without saying that no open house is complete without refreshments. It also is a known fact that it's perfectly OK to have your dessert before your meal. We enjoyed some cake and punch, and then took the girls out to the Harlan Cafe for supper (or I guess it's dinner if you're from the city).

I have also befriended and mentored a young lady who is in prison, and she asked me to send her a picture of the manger scene to put on her locker, to remind her of the true meaning of Christmas. So I've thought a lot about the manger and the birth of our Lord.

It is good for us to celebrate Christ's birth as a baby in the manger. But I can never think about the manger without thinking about the reason that the Lord of the universe would humble Himself and come to earth. I am so thankful that He not only came as a baby but He went to the cross and rose again, to provide a way for us to live eternally with Him.

You came from Heaven to Earth, to show the way,
From the earth to the cross,my debt to pay,
From the cross to the grave,
From the grave to the sky,
Lord, I lift Your Name on High!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Man's Best Friend

A little cold, a bit windy, but a beautiful sunny day for a drive to visit my niece. Amy and I are working on a little secret project together, for the family; and since she was at her mom's, just over an hour away, we needed to touch base and co-ordinate our project.

My hubby works full time, and rarely has a chance to go with me on my little excursions. But today he decided to take the drive with me. Lynn had a very sweet-natured dog for many years and had to put her to sleep last fall because she was very ill. At Lou's house we found not one, but two dogs for him to play with. This little guy on Lynn's lap is Jasper; she's very lovable and sweet and was really enjoying all the attention.

This is Amy with Jasper and her own dog Lucy. Now one cannot describe Lucy as sweet and lovable. She is just a little bit high maintenance, as she loves to hear herself bark, and she wants to play ball incessantly. She's very focused and would probably make a good watch dog or hunting dog. Amy found her when she was just a small baby, 2 1/2 pounds, and nursed her back to health. Needless to say she has won Amy's heart, and she sort of grows on you after a while.

While Amy and I visited about our project, Lynn kept both dogs occupied. He really misses having a dog, and when we got home, he said "Well, I guess I got my 'dog fix' ; it should last me a little while". We are taking a missions trip to Haiti in March, and he will probably try to get another dog when we get home from the trip.

Before we left to come home, we went out to eat at Ivanhoe's, a very favorite restaurant in Upland. Nothin' better than a burger and cheese fries and a turtle sundae. Ouch! Gonna have to get back on that diet today!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Sara

This isn't very good of me, but I like it of Sara--it shows her personality.)

Today, my daughter Sara would have been 32years old. Her birthday often fell on Thanksgiving, as it would this year, or during the Thanksgiving weekend. So we usually had a birthday cake at our Thanksgiving dinners.

Sara went home to be with the Lord on August 2, 2006. I posted a tribute to her last year which you can read at this link. (It seems like I originally wrote it in 2007, but I couldn't find that blog, so I'm posting the one from last year.)

As I'm enjoying my Thanksgiving meal today, I am also very thankful to the Lord for allowing me to enjoy Sara for 28+ years. She was positive and fun-loving and brought much joy to our lives. I know she is no doubt enjoying her Birthday with her Dad and grandparents, and with the Lord in their beautiful heavenly home.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Come Ye Thankful People Come

I was browsing on facebook the other day, and I noticed that some of you are commenting on one thing you are thankful for every day until Thanksgiving. I'm not sure when this started--I saw one gal that was on number 5 of her list.

Since I'm getting a late start, I decided I would take a few minutes and just list everything that I can think of for which I am very grateful. I know before I even start, that it won't be all inclusive.
  • At the top of my list is without a doubt, my Lord and Saviour. He has loved me unconditionally, saved me, kept me through sad and joyful times, and is my source of peace, joy and strength. Great is His faithfulness!
  • My loving and wonderful husband. (I have been doubly blessed, as I have enjoyed two wonderful marriages.) I am loved and cherished and provided for in every way possible. Lynn is a lover, friend and soulmate.
  • My son, Tim. We have been through so much together in the last 7 years, with much heartache, but the Lord has worked miraculously in his life. He loves the Lord, and is back on track, wanting to live a productive life and find God's purpose for his life. For all the Lord has done for him, I am extremely thankful.
  • My family. More and more I've come to realize how rare it is to have a christian family. We enjoy spending time together, we support and pray for each other, and there is harmony--even among our extended family of aunts (only 3 left), one uncle and many cousins. I also so much appreciate my mother-in-law, Gloria; she has become a dear friend.
  • My many friends. I have old friends (meaning they've been friends a long time, ) friends I've made at church, and blogger friends (yes I consider so many of you my friends!), and I continue to meet new people along the way that I'm sure will become good friends. I am so thankful for friendship, which is so important in our lives.
  • I am very thankful for my home. Although it is not large or beautiful, it is my safe haven.
  • For my health. There are so many that I know that deal with chronic illness and pain every day. Both Lynn and I have enjoyed relatively good health.
  • I am so thankful for the freedoms that we have, living in this country. Our freedom has come at great cost to many men and women, and we are indebted to them. In spite of the fact that we see things going on in our country that are cause for concern, we still have freedom of speech, freedom to work and live as we chose, and most importantly, freedom to worship openly. We need to do what is within our means to maintain these freedoms, and never take them for granted.

I'm sure there are things I've forgotten or left out. This is what I know for sure. The Lord has blessed me, beyond what I could have ever imagined or expected. He is an awesome God! I will never be able to adequately thank Him for what He has done, is currently doing, and will continue to do in my life and the lives of my family.

Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Let the earth here His voice!
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father through Jesus His Son,
and give Him the Glory, great things He hath done.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blessed Be Your Name

I just returned from Oklahoma City, where my son lives. Many of you are already aware of some of the challenges I have faced with my son, Tim. I've written previous blogs about him here and here.

We had a really wonderful visit. Although I would hope my faith remains strong, sometimes I still tend to worry that Tim will fall back into his old ways or start associating with old friends. I am so grateful that his faith seems very strong, and he is very determined to stay on the right path and find God's purpose for his life. Because of his diabetes and his life style, he was near death several times; so he knows that God kept him alive for a reason.

I stayed in an extended stay hotel. They have a little kichenette, so I was able to have my own breakfast there in the room. I usually stay with a friend when I go to OKC, but I wanted to be able to come and go freely, and to spend the majority of my time with Tim and with his grandma, my mother-in-law, Gloria.

I haven't had a picture taken with Tim in a long time. He has put on some weight and says he's in the "worst shape of his life". That isn't really true, but he does want to start working out and try to get into better physical shape.

G-Ma Lavin is 85 years old. She is nearly blind and has a hearing aid. But she is a spunky, independent lady! Tim has been spending Sunday afternoons with her since he's been out of jail. They really are enjoying each other's company, and it's a win-win situation for both of them. We spent quite a bit of time with her while I was there, taking her out to eat, going to the grocery store, bank, etc. She still lives alone in her own home. Her favorite phrase is, "I'm waiting for Jesus".

On Saturday, Tim and I spent the whole day together. We ran a few errands in the morning, ate lunch, and then went to the Science Museum of Oklahoma. (It used to be called the Omniplex). It is actually more geared for kids, with hands on experiments, etc, but we enjoyed it. We also watched an IMAX movie on the Ocean. That was really interesting and I love the feeling that you are right there in the scene.

After eating dinner together, we went to a movie. It was at the dollar theatre (which is now $2.00). It would not have been my choice but Tim thought it was good.

On Sunday we had lunch with my cousin's family. Donnie is a wonderful pianist and Tim asked her to play a couple songs for him. ( Claire De Lune and some others). We had a good visit with them and their daughter and her family. They are really the only family we have in that area.

Tim and I had some wonderful spiritual discussions, and we talked about things he would like to do. He still has about another 6 months to a year of probation, but he is looking forward to what the Lord might have for him. He wants to learn spanish as he feels that there is a great opportunity for ministry to spanish-speaking people in our country.

While I was there, I heard this song on the radio. I just thought that it really described my feelings, with all that has gone on in Tim's life, and the path he is on now.


Blessed be Your name, in the land that is plentiful,
where your streams of abundance flow,
Blessed be Your name.

Blessed be Your name, when I'm found in the desert place,
though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name.

Blessed be your name, when the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be,
Blessed be Your name.

Blessed be Your name, on the road marked with suffering,
though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name.

Every blessing your pour out, I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in Lord, still I will say,
Blessed be the name of the Lord,
Blessed be Your glorious name!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Blessed Quietness!

(Disclaimer: This turned out to be longer than I thought it would be, so feel free to skip this one)

Last year I planned our Anniversary weekend. I thought it was wonderful--Bed & Breakfast, sight-seeing, etc. My hubby...not so much! The breakfast wasn't big enough, and he's really not into sight-seeing. So it was definitely less than exciting for him.

RIGHT then, I told him I would let him plan the 2009 anniversary trip. Let me just say, it can be dangerous when you let your hubby make the decisions! We booked a cabin at Chain of Lakes near Albion, Indiana. Originally, I thought to myself, OK, this will be good. A nice little cabin in the woods. Then reality set in. He said we needed to take all of our linens, dishes, and food, pretty much everything we would need. I told him it sounded like camping, and I'm really not into camping. (A nice hotel with a mint on the pillow is more my style!). And the fact that we would be doing the cooking didn't appeal for what was supposed to be a vacation. He insisted it wasn't camping (he said a tent and a sleeping bag is camping!). Being the positive person that I am, I decided this would be a great adventure.

When we arrived at the cabin, about 4 pm on Thursday, I wasn't so much impressed. In fact my first thought was 'you've got to be kidding!' But I was also thinking how lovely it might have been had we gone a week or so earlier; at that time the trees would have been beautiful. When I went inside it was quite cold, and I realized the only source of heat was a wood-burning stove. Every once in a while my husband can be a real comedian; he said, "Do they teach girl scouts to make fires?" I replied they probably did. He said "were you a girl scout?" I said "NO! Building the fire is definitely your department!

They have 18 family cabins there; they also have camp grounds for people with campers. Even though it was cold and rainy, the camping areas were packed with campers! I was surprised, but then realized this was the last weekend it would be open until Spring.

This picture sort of got out of order--which happens sometimes, even when I'm trying to be organized. There was a screened-in porch that had this swing; hubby and I sat out there on Friday and had coffee, even though it rained that entire day! We used it again a couple of times during the weekend.

This is the wood-burning stove, which we kept going the entire weekend. A couple of times it got a little TOO warm, so we would open a door or a window. I really do enjoy a fireplace, and haven't had one since I left Oklahoma; so I began to "warm up" to our little cabin in the woods and enjoy the time away with Lynn and just relaxing by the fire, reading etc. Even though it's hard for me to be away from my computer for 3 days, it was a good time of rest and relaxation. (Also, our cell phones didn't work at the cabin.)

We went out to the big town of Albion on Thursday evening to eat supper, after we got settled and got a fire going. We ate at the Kountry Kitchen, a little family-type restaurant. The food was really good--we had some great fish and home fries.

Lynn did take some work along to do; he has a label maker and made labels for these little drawers in these cabinets--probably 30 small drawers in each one and he had 4 of these little cabinets. He also spent time organizing his thoughts about what all he still needs to buy and pack for his Haiti trip. However, he really was able to relax, and rest, taking several naps. It's good for him to get away as he doesn't relax much at home.

I should have cleaned up a little before I took this picture of our kitchen. We also did have what they called a modern bathroom. It was VERY small but had the essentials--a commode, a sink and a hot shower.

For lunch Friday we went to the Quiet Corner Tea Room. I had been here a couple of times before and love this little place. It was only about 15 minutes from our cabin. The atmosphere is quiet and cozy, and the food was delicious! I had an egg salad sandwich, 9-bean soup and bread pudding--yum! Lynn had chicken salad sandwich with the soup and pumpkin pie. I of course also had the Chai tea, which is their specialty.

A sweet couple, don't ya think?

They have these cute little teapots at various places around the restaurant; I thought this one was worthy of a pic!

This is the lake at Chain of Lakes. It actually had been sunny a little before I took this, but as you can see, it was a bit cloudy. There is just something about water that is always peaceful and relaxing for me.

Lynn and I took a couple walks on Saturday, and I also did a more aerobic walk--about 3 miles. You can just picture how beautiful this might have been a week earlier. As it was, there were lots of fallen leaves to shuffle through.

One thing that we did, both evenings, was look through some old hymn books and sing some of the old hymns. He enjoyed looking at the names of the people who had written them and the copyright dates. We sang several Fanny Crosby songs. That was a really special time of worship and praise for us.

Even though, initially I had my doubts about this weekend, it turned out to be lovely, relaxing, restful, peaceful, and a time when we could just spend time together. My thanks to my hubby for planning a wonderful anniversary

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Unconditional Love

I am always amazed and encouraged when I see examples of unconditional love in action. I am reading the book "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. It has been sort of a hard book for me to read. But then I realized that there really are children/adults who are horribly abused by family or other people. It is hard for me to imagine, coming from such a wonderful family where love abounded. And it is difficult for me to think about.

That being said, I was so very impressed by a post I read on Cindy's blog, about an amish couple. The wife has multiple sclerosis, and the husband is devoted to her and lovingly meets all of her needs. I wanted to include a link to her post here, as I think it is good for all of us to see this kind of love in action, and in turn show more love to those around us in our every day lives.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with truth. it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13: 4-8.

Monday, October 26, 2009

He sends the Sunshine and the Rain

I so much enjoy a beautiful, sunny day! I'm afraid our beautiful Fall days are about over for this year. It just seemed like the colors were so bright and vivid; or maybe I just appreciated it more this year for some reason. Yesterday was a pretty fall day, in the mid 50's with sunshine. I took a walk in the afternoon and enjoyed the sun (and a little bit of wind).

However! Thursday and Friday were not sunny! It rained and rained! Now, I know there are times, living in farm country, when we desperately need the rain. But right now the farmers are trying to harvest beans, and corn, and the rain has been a hindrance.

My husband is an engineer with a full time job, but is a farmer at heart. We have 80 acres that someone farms for us. He also tends to fret and worry about the crops, the rain, etc. I try to gently remind him that none of this weather is a surprise to the Lord. He brings the sunshine and the rain according to His time table.

I was looking up a verse after reading Brenda's blog, regarding the trees clapping their hands. But I also saw these verses and they struck a chord in my heart.

Isaiah 55:9-11 As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways highter than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire, and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Thank you, Lord, that you know what we need and you send the sunshine and the rain, and we reap the benefits. Help me also to recognize that as we are faithful in sharing your Word, it will accomplish the purpose for which you intended it. Help me just to be faithful in sharing your love with those I meet every day, and be sensitive to needs all around me.