Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hills and Movie Stars

Last week Hannah and Ellie were on spring break from their college classes.  It just so happened that Ramona, who attends a different college, was also on spring break.  It made perfect sense to both families to get together.  They loaded up their truck and moved to Beverly.

Except they didn't.  They loaded up their van and traveled to our home.

We had great fun all week.  A Christmas party, complete with a big turkey dinner with all the fixins', and even cheesecake. Other good food included fish and chips plus treats galore,  Lots of laughter, chatting, a Bourne marathon, visiting another family in the area who are mutual friends, late nights, lazy mornings, worshipping together at church and in the home, all made lots of good memories.

The oldest kids decided to have a tea party one afternoon.  They baked bread and scones and other treats. They donned various clothing to fit their 50's' theme.  They set the table with lovely linens and beautiful china.

Not content to simply have a tea party, they also filmed a silent movie.

Terror at Tea Time from Hannah on Vimeo.

To read more and see lots of pictures, be sure to read Hannah's blog.  She has posted here on our Christmas party, here and here with snapshots, and here with more on the tea party.

Yes, a great week indeed. Although they didn't load up the truck and move to Beverly, they did come to where there are hills, swimming pools (although not quite swimming weather yet) and movie stars.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Noise, Blessed Noise

Do you feel this way?

That the noise and chaos of life is precious?  Is a blessing?

Currently David and the boys are playing cribbage at the table with Grandpa.  Ellie is practicing piano right beside me.  Hannah is sitting across from me on her computer editing photos.  Abigail is in the room across the hall checking emails.

I love it.  Blessed family noise.  Yes I complain and want quiet at times.  But in reality, I see those quiet years creeping upon me quicker than even I can imagine.  For now, the counting of cribbage points, the notes played right and wrong on the piano and even the quiet of the two on their computers I treasure.  We're together.  Life is good.  God be praised.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Breakfast and Books

I snapped this picture one morning.  It shows a typical morning in our home.

At one end of the table, David and Hannah are working on Greek while at the other end Nathan and Sam are eating breakfast reading a comic book.  Abby, who has already eaten, is working through her Bible History assignment for the day.  Although not a morning person, Ellie is trying hard to greet the morning and prepare for another day.

Where am I?  Well, I'm taking the picture of course.  Also I have cooked eggs and sausage for those who wanted them, usually David, Hannah, and I.  Plus, I had eaten while checking blogs and emails and Facebook.  On this particular morning, Sam needed a place to sit as the Greek books encroached upon his normal table place so I got up to give him my spot.

Not a scene replayed every day, but definitely most mornings.  Breakfast and books are the combination that generally starts the day.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Bride tempted by Beer, Brats and Below Zero

A long, cold winter makes one decide to do crazy things.  As an example listen to the post dinner (that's lunch in some of your lingo) conversation at our table.

David who is scrolling through his Facebook feed says, "Today is Bock Fest at Schell's.  I bet it is cold.  Now, they are taunting me, it says, 'Today will determine the real festers from the fake festers.'  I want to be a real fester."

The kids with smiles on their faces are all amused as I reply, "If you want to go, I'll go with you."

David, "Really?  You'd go?  Should we?  What do you think?  It will be cold."

The kids, "Yeah, you should go."

Me, "I'll go if you want."

David, "Okay, are you ready to get cold?  It will be real cold."

Me, "Yep, I'll go."

Then he and I proceeded to put on multiple layers and headed on over to join the rest of the crazy people who could no longer stand being inside the house, and instead wanted to stand outside in negative temperatures drinking delicious Schell's brewed Bock Beer.

We bought our tickets and promptly got in line to get some bock beer.  We then walked around the Schell's Brewery grounds to see what everyone was doing.

Since we didn't arrive until quite late in the day, we don't know what the crowds were like earlier.  But we were surprised with how many were there and one of the event workers told us it was a good crowd for the cold day, but about a thousand less than a normal year.

Everyone was dressed as warm as could be.  But that didn't stop some from wearing tutus on top of their snow pants as well as various animal fur hats on their heads. Around the grounds there were fire pits that people would gather around.  Not only did it help keep us warm but also one's beer!

It was so cold that your beer would frost all along the edges.

Many festers weren't content to just drink out of the plastic cups, but instead had brought with them giant insulated mugs that would hold three or four or more of the glasses of beer.  That meant their beer would get quite icy as they stood around outside drinking.  But never fear, in all of the fire pits, there were hot pokers.  A staff worker would take one and gently put it in your cup to break up the ice if you desired.

Here is the place where event attendees would walk below towards the Beer, Brats, and Bonfire Below.  But also the place where if you so desired could then look throughout the Schell's grounds for cardboard bocks to win prizes.  We didn't care to do that, but did walk down to see the bonfire. Down below wasn't the only place to buy food.  Other spots had brats and sauerkraut and pretzels for purchase.

Yes, a long,  bitter cold winter that seems to never end causes craziness.  For us, that meant deciding at the last minute to bundle up and head outside to enjoy good bock beer around a bonfire with fellow stir-crazed citizens.


Monday, March 03, 2014

The Lord is My Shepherd

Just before my mother-in-law died, another member of our congregation was called home to Jesus.  Her son used part of his mother's memorial money for this:

This is the door that is just to the right of the chancel and leads to the sacristy.

The door is immediately to the right of the pulpit

This door originally was solid wood.  At some point that section was removed, apparently for the organist as this is where the organ used to be.  However, the eleven years we have been here and I'm not certain how long prior, the open section was simply covered with a dark cloth that would often flap in the wind.

Charlie had this beautiful glass etched with the scene of Jesus the Good Shepherd installed into this door.
To the glory of God, in memory of Irene

It is a beautiful addition and is a wonderful reminder that I am Jesus' little lamb who shall not want for He guides me through this valley of shadow and death, and feeds me from the table He has prepared for me.  Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

A New Favorite Crucifix

With the memorial money left for my mother-in-law, we bought this for our church:

My brother-in-law Mark, who is also a pastor, made the cross and base.  The corpus was hand-carved in Oberammergau, Germany.  Mark has made many of these crucifixes for churches across the United States.

From the bulletin, "A brass crucifix adorned the altar from the church's construction in 1925 until it was replaced with a brass cross in 1967.  That brass cross is now replaced with this crucifix."

"A crucifix on the altar is a vivid reminder of God's love for us in Christ, and that the very body and blood of Christ - given and shed for us on the cross - are now given to us at our altar."

I love that now on our altar I have two very visual reminders of what Christ has done for me.  He was crucified, died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven.  This is most certainly true.