Saturday, March 31, 2012

baby showers and surprises

We had the baby shower for my sister today. The only problem with that was that Cyndi wasn't there. That's because the baby decided he was ready to join us yesterday.

Spencer Quinn was born at 6:53am, March 30th. He weighed 6lbs. 3oz. and is 19". So we still had the shower. Jerry opened the presents and then we took them down to the hospital. Almost everyone who was at the shower stopped by to see Cyndi.

Lots of babies were born. They post their little prints up on the wall, how cute!

Here's Spencer. I caught him smiling!

Aunt Em got to put on the gown and hold him for awhile.

Big sister loves her new little brother.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Puke of Vera

Here it is. As Bill calls it, my "puke of Vera".

I headed to my parents for the weekend so most of my Vera was in use. I decided to take a picture. I did throw in a couple purses because they happened to be right there. But they didn't all come with me on this trip.

Yes. It's a lot of Vera.

Here are some other pictures with pieces of Vera...

Vancouver, Quota Convention. Me and my Hipster (yup, they all have names too).

My new lunch tote (it's insulated, perfect for traveling).

The Book Cover (currently holding my Bible).

And the sweet kitty, Juliette, who loves my duffel bag!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

what I did today

Guess what I did???

I cleaned off my desk.

I should take a picture (see below).

I cleaned it off and dusted it.

Wow. It was dusty. Remember when we reconfigured the printer and wires behind my desk?


So now it's clean.

Yes, I'll let you know how long that lasts...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

still "need" to do things

What a busy week! Monday night was the concert (remember? I may have mentioned it), last night I had Bible study, tonight I finished my crochet project (pictures will be taken in natural light tomorrow), and tomorrow night I have a committee meeting. Friday night I'll be at my parents preparing for the baby shower on Saturday that we're throwing for my sister.

I did manage to bake a cake for Gary, his last one of the twelve desserts!!

I have yet to clean.

My office is a disaster.

Bill walked in today, looked around and said, "it's a good thing we moved that printer off your desk so you could have more room..."

More room to spread out. It's that Flat Surface Syndrome. *sigh* I can't help it.

I have a lot going on right now.

I'm organizing our Installation Banquet for Quota (that's in April).

I was on the nominating Committee (that's done, now I just need to file those papers) for Quota.

I need to register for Annual Conference for church.

I need to go through the stack of magazines and recycle them after cutting out the recipes I want to try.

I'm looking for a new job.

Did I mention Skylar is coming to visit for Spring Break?

And I've stayed up way too late the last two nights, so good night!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

the concert

I am a dork. And a huge Needtobreathe fan. I left the house at 5:05pm to go to the Intersection (the venue). The doors didn't even open until 7pm. Our tickets (Sarah, Lindsay and Chandra) were at Will Call, so I thought I would at least pick them up, then get in line.

Fifty other people had the same idea.

The people around me in line were very friendly. We all agreed to hold each others spots while we took turns going to Will Call when it opened at 6pm.

Lindsay and Sarah got there around 6:15p and had to wait in the line outside. Eventually that line wrapped all the way around the block... and it's a large block.

I made it up to the stage and got our spot. I talked to the people to my right and they agreed to help me "hold" space until Lindsay and Sarah got inside (Chandra had to come later; she had to leave work, go home and feed her sweet baby, Addison and then come back downtown). A couple of girls came up behind me, so I warned them that I was waiting for my friends.

I figure it's the best thing to do. You can either be mean about it and let your friend force their way to the front, or warn the people around you, so when your friends force their way to the front, it's not a surprise. It's not any less rude, since it's general admission, but it is what it is. They had school and practice. They couldn't be there at 5:15p like me, the dork.

Despite the rude girls, it worked. Lindsay and Sarah found me.

At 8:00p Ben Rector came on stage and played, even though he had the flu. He had gone to the Urgent Care earlier in the day. The doctor told him not to play, but he did anyway! He sounded good, even though he wasn't feeling good. Sarah loves him, so she was super excited.

Right before he came on stage, Chandra had called me. Addison was being fussy (she has another ear infection, poor muffin) so Chandra wasn't sure she was going to get her calmed down. Then, during the last song, Chandra texted me that she was there! (I left her ticket at Will Call with her name on it. She told me later that when she walked up to the window to pick it up, as she was saying, "My friend left my ticket here for me..." the girl was reaching for it. She was the last person into the show! That will mean something a little later.)

Then, her next text said, "Stuck".

Where? I asked.

What happened to her was this: She walked into to a crowd of 1500+, the concert was sold out (the Intersection can hold something like 1537 people, it's a random number -it's not 1500 even) and it was packed. She saw a group of people headed through the crowd, so she attached herself to them and got about a 1/4 of the way forward. Then she said she would just point and say, "my friends are just right there!" and get through another couple of feet. Then she would say that again. If she saw people moving forward, she joined them. And a couple of times they would realize there was one more person coming through and sort of pull her up with them. She sent me another text when she got stuck about 20 feet behind us. She thought that was it, she wasn't going to get any closer. I asked her if she wanted one of us to come join her. A few minutes later, I still hadn't received a text back, someone grabbed my arm.

It was Chandra! She had managed to get to the girls behind us and was grabbing me to pull herself forward. I think we all sort of grabbed her and pulled her through.

She made it!!

It was a few more minutes before Needtobreathe came onto stage. Their set design was superb, I enjoyed the attention to detail. Here are photos (don't worry, I didn't take that many)

The backdrop looked like a typewriter, here it is lit

and here it is not lit...I started taking pictures of the set lists (or begging for one after the show) but there wasn't one at our end of the stage! There was a photographer taking pictures and he was kind enough to try to take a picture and then let me take a picture, which didn't work. After the show I asked if he could get one for me, but by the time he got to it, the roadie had already given it to somebody.

Knowing that I might not get a set list, I started recording the songs. Here's the thing about that. When I heard them on tour for their album, "The Heat", I recorded "More Time". It's one of my favorite songs. But when you're recording, you're missing out on being present. So halfway through the song I stopped recording. But because it was live, they performed it differently then the recorded version. I loved that version and because I stopped recording it, it only remains in my mind (which ultimately is the best place, it's not like I would be able to sell copies of it or anything like that).

So I didn't want to record the entire song, I just wanted enough that when I go back and listen I'll know which song so I can recreate the set list (dorkiness warning: I create playlists in iTunes of each concert, hence the Need for a set list).

I enjoyed the show without spending the entire time recording it or trying to take pictures.

When it was over we screamed and screamed some more.

They came back for an encore and played three more songs. Bear (the lead singer) kept telling us how honored they feel about their fans. That when they had the chance to play at Ford Field [when they opened for Taylor Swift] last summer, it still doesn't compare to coming to venues like the Intersection where the line wraps around the block two hours before the doors open, and that it sells out. He also mentioned the first time they played at the Intersection (I was there, I blogged about it here) and how far they've come. It was clear the emotion that he was feeling was real. I like the "small"ish venue and hope they don't get too big for their breeches.

If you're still reading, thanks. That was a lot.

Actually it's not over yet. They stopped playing and the light came up. Lindsay looked at her watch and said, "It's 10:50!" Oops. They had a pre-calc test this morning. They left immediately. Chandra and I sort of hung around, I tried and failed to get the set list, and then the pangs of standing for seven hours hit me. Whoa, were my legs sore!

Chandra and I headed toward the exit. We both agreed we wouldn't hang around to try to talk with them. The doors were pretty clogged. Finally a security guy yelled that "there's another exit over here" which was right by where we were stuck, so we went for it. We walked out across the street from my car. But Chandra's car was two parking lots away.

Here's after concert logic: we walked to her car, because it was in a lot, and then she drove me back over to my car. Hey, why should I pay to "park" when I would just be dropping her off? It helped stretch out our legs too.

As we were walking she was telling me about her parking saga, which was just as eventful as pushing through the crowd of 1500 people! The first lot she pulled into only accepted one dollar bills. All she had was a ten or a twenty. She had to back out of the entrance and go to the other lot. At which point a pheasant (not peasant, as I kept saying when I was retelling this story to Bill) crossed the road.

A pheasant crossed the road in the middle of a city at 8pm.

Would you like to guess why?

Because we have no idea.

At any rate, Chandra finally made it into the second lot which accepted credit cards.

The last thing I have to say, because it didn't fit anywhere else in this post, is: this was the first concert I saw them that was smoke-free! How nice it was to walk out and not smell like an ash-tray! Or have a cough this morning.

That's almost as good as seeing the band. Almost.

Monday, March 26, 2012


There was a time when you could google Needtobreathe and my blog was on the first several pages. Mostly because I've talked about them a lot. But that was before they got a song in a ridiculously sappy movie ("P.S. I Love You") or on the commercial. They've also had other songs in tv shows and one of the band members, Bo, was in the movie "Radio" with Cuba Gooding Jr and Ed Harris.

For those of you who have been long-time blog readers, you'll probably be able to guess why I'm writing about this (and if for some reason you really don't know yet, maybe this will help: it's 11:35pm as I write this post).

I just saw them in concert.


I'll write more tomorrow and I'll post pictures.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

things I've neglected to blog about

I've neglected to mention a few things, so I'll use today's post to let you know what you've been missing.

I crocheted another blanket. Pictures will follow once it's a) finished and b) given to the recipient.

Irony is having almost two entire weeks of 80 degree weather, but no tires on the Corvette and the day the tires are put on the car, the weather turns rainy and chilly. Good thing we have the rest of spring and summer.

There are two weeks until Easter. As to keep myself humble I did not talk about what I gave up for Lent. But to explain any irrational behavior that might occur, it was sugar. I gave up sugar, mostly in sweets form. Again, I will mention the 80 degree weather we had and my insatiable craving for ice cream. I did go buy a Shamrock Shake last Friday and stick it in the freezer to be enjoyed after Easter. I think it will keep. I did that a few years ago when Sami purchased shakes for our Bible study and no one else liked them as much as us. I brought one of them home and stuck it in the freezer. That was the year I found out what happens when you drink two Shamrock Shakes in two days. Let's just say the green dye dyes more than just the shake.

The 2012 Formula 1 season is under way. We just finished watching the second race in Malaysia. Thank goodness for the internet; because of a rain delay our dvr didn't record the entire race.

And the last thing I neglected to mention is that Juliette celebrated her twelfth (or thereabout) birthday last Saturday.

Now it's time to go take a ride in the Corvette!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

high school musicals

We enjoy supporting our youth by attending their high school musicals.

Last night was no exception as we saw Sean (in his last production) and sister Jenna in "Legally Blonde" the musical. Last year we saw them in "Once on This Island" (don't worry, we had never heard of it either). We've also seen their school plays; most recently "A Christmas Story".

Last night's production highlight was seeing Jenna shine in the spotlight. She played Brooke, a widow in jail for supposedly murdering her late husband. Brooke is an exercise star, so while the legal team is "watching" her video there was Jenna; jump-roping and singing.

Jump-roping, doing dance moves, and singing.

I can't even lip-sync while I jump-rope.

Jenna sang. And she jumped rope. It was super impressive. It was easily the best part of the musical.

We've also seen Abbie in her school's production of "High School Musical 2".

We saw Molly and Tim in their high school production of "Our Town" and I saw the same school's performance of "State Fair" in which Molly played in the pit. I probably blogged about that somewhere... or maybe that was before I was blogging everyday...?

Anyway, we've seen a lot of plays and musicals and we look forward to seeing many more.

Of course that made Bill and I reminisce of our school musicals. I was in "The Wizard of Oz" in 5th grade (I was a munchkin, my one and only line was, "How are we going to find out?"), and in high school I played in the pit for three musicals; "Mame", "Music Man" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". Bill was in "42nd Street", "Bye-Bye Birdie" and "The Pajama Game". He was in more, but can't remember. He was also in their school play, "Auntie Mame" which I find amusing since our school did the musical production!

Music, performance art and the visual arts are important.

I just thought I'd share that last statement.

Also, on a performance note: Skylar's orchestra won the highest ranking at their contest (this was a few weeks ago, but I never mentioned it, this seems like a good time and place to do that)!! Woo hoo!!!

She'll be here for Spring Break next weekend. I can't wait!

Now that this post has gone absolutely in a random direction, I'll leave you. Hopefully you can find your way.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Cat in the Attic

The other night, while I was getting ready for bed, I heard some noises. They sounded like they were coming from the attic. My first thought was, "what sort of small critter is up there?". My second thought was, "where are the cats?".

Their curiosity is always peaked whenever Bill or I go up there. We call it Narnia, which I've blogged about before, here.

So there I am, wondering what could possibly be up there; even though I called out to Bill he had not moved from our bedroom. "Damsel in distress? I'll just keep reading my car magazine."

Before we were overrun with skunks, squirrels or worse, raccoons I took matters into my own hands and bravely looked around the bedroom corner toward the attic door. It was ajar. And there in the middle of the room, looking as guilty as a cat possibly can, stood Juliette. That meant Atticus was most definitely in the attic.

At that point I yelled out to Bill again, making it sound more urgent (because it was but I was not going up there; I did turn the light on for him). He finally came to my rescue and saved us all from certain danger, or what turned out to be just the cat in the attic.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Wait. What?

It's only Thursday?

Oh. Well, thank goodness it's Thursday then.

I guess I'm confused because I got my work done today. Tomorrow I'll be busy helping Bill upholster the stereo box for the Corvette. Here, you can read all about it on his blog. It's going very well. And it will be nice to be able to hear music while driving in the car.

I'm not saying that sarcastically. I hope I can do as good of a job as he wants it to be; if only because he's done a superb job so far. I don't want to be the one to screw it up.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

thoughts on cookbooks

Oh, if I could have my dream kitchen; the cookbooks that would fill my shelves...


Yup. You read that right.

While I have dreams of a beautiful glass tile back splash, cupboards set at the right height, cupboards that don't leave behind a trail of termite-looking dust as wood drags on wood, cupboards with cool features that don't require climbing onto the counter to reach into the far depths (a trait that few appreciate, hey it's a good upper body workout!) or literally crawling into to reach into the back corner, a dishwasher and maybe even a garbage disposal (that one is still up in the air, I may prefer composting; but you can put anything down the disposal so maybe it would come in handy for what can't get composted), I dream more about the cookbooks.

I do more research for the cookbooks. The rest is stuff I know I want. Period. The cookbooks are like the cherry on top. Having new cookbooks and new recipes are always fun to try whether in a new kitchen or the old.

The iPad has helped reduced my printing off of recipes, lowering the paper usage (I've gone green!) and generating a whole new world of hoarding, er collecting recipes. But I still love books. And there are still cookbooks out there that I want.

I think to convince Bill that I need more cookbooks I have to read and cook out of the ones I have now.

My list as it stands???

I'm glad you asked:

One Dish Dinners by Pam Anderson
Joy the Baker Cookbook
Better Homes and Gardens (in the three-ring binder version)
all of PW's cookbooks
all of Giada's cookbooks
possibly an Emeril cookbook
possibly any other tv host cookbook (I'm not picky)

I am on my way to utilizing the ones I have. I have blogged a couple of times about recipes from my "Back Home Again" cookbook and I often use my BH&G and Betty Crocker for basic recipes (and pecan pie). I also have a couple from my grandma, both Italian cooking. By now you should know how much I love Italian food. And I have Ben & Jerry's ice cream cookbook, along with several others.

They're getting used. Slowly but surely. What happens when I've cooked and baked through all of them?

I'm not sure, but maybe I'll still be blogging and I'll let you know!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Look what the cat dragged...


Atticus is living up to the phrase. With the exception that when he kills or catches something outside he doesn't bring it to the house. Thank goodness. But what he does do is drag things upstairs to our bedroom. In the middle of the night. It's become a game. We wake up and see what he's dragged into the bedroom.

The other day it was the dust cloth. I don't remember where it had been, maybe in the basement, but it ended up on the floor at the foot of the bed.

This morning it was two rags and a different dust cloth. Those had definitely been in the basement. One was just inside the bedroom door, the other two were over on my side of the bed

So in the middle of the night, when Atticus roams about the house crying, he must find himself in the basement looking around thinking to himself, "What would my human parents be proud of me bringing to them?" Then he spies the dust cloth and carries it two flights of stairs to leave on the floor near our bed.

I just hope to God he sticks to dust cloths.

If I ever find an animal... you'll hear my scream.

Monday, March 19, 2012

top ten list

This is my "Why I Like Winter" Top Ten list in honor of the last day of winter

10. sitting in front of a fire in the fireplace
9. watching Christmas movies during the "normal" time of year
8. Christmas
7. my birthday
6. I like wearing layers and sweaters
5. I don't have to shave my legs
4. the snow fills in all the potholes
3. I like shoveling snow
2. I like watching snow fall
1. I like snow/cold weather

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Blog log entry number 645

Dear Blog,

It's the beginning of week two of the warmest winter in my history in Michigan. Spring will officially arrive on Thursday, but Mother Nature has already decided to play tricks on us and make us think that Spring is here to last. The crocus are done blooming. The Daffodils are blooming. There are even tulips that have the nerve to bloom. I will take pictures to record this in Blog history. There is no end in site of this heat wave. The news and farmers are worried about their crops, more specifically the fruit crops. In a state where apples, cherries, blueberries and more make it the leading grower of fruit in the country; this could be bad if there is a hard freeze. Is winter really over? Are these June temperatures here to last? What will our weather look like in June? Most importantly, if it's this nice outside: why am I sitting inside blogging?

yours electronically,

Saturday, March 17, 2012

here's to my parents

Today, along with St. Patrick's Day (which means everyone is Irish today), is my parents anniversary. But it's not just another anniversary, it's their 45th!

Forty-five years.

That is a long time.

Congratulations Mom and Dad! You've been terrific role models for us.

Here's to many more happy years together!

And Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

For Friday

I didn't blog yesterday.

I was busy. I had a list of things to accomplish, and I'll proudly tell you that I crossed all of them off.

I baked an oatmeal cake for Emil (Gary has also requested an oatmeal cake, that will get baked next week), I cleaned the bathrooms, ran the vacuum, read my Bible study, wrote note cards, washed dishes, took my walk, did my yoga and other exercises, made dinner (petite filets with goat cheese and angel hair pasta with homemade alfredo) and went to a wedding rehearsal.

I'll let the cat out of the bag: I'm training (shadowing, apprenticing) to be the Wedding Coordinator at our church. It was sort of a secret because the woman who has been doing it would like to retire. But she's met with some disagreement. Since she's training me it's no surprise that she (like me) does what she wants. She is 100% behind my training. But she needed to let the appropriate people know ahead of time. I think they all know now. If not, I don't think they read my blog and if they do, they know now.

I am going to post-post this, because I have a Saturday post. I don't want you to be confused because I wrote it today (Saturday), not yesterday (Friday), but I posted it to look like it was done on Friday, but it was really posted Saturday...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

what month is it?

Mother Nature is confused. She thinks it's May. Things are blooming. In the last two days the tulips doubled in height. The crocus are done blooming.

It's a heat wave sensation that's sweeping the nation.

Clever, right?

I'll go trademark it.

For a very small group of us (weatherman included) this winter sucked. I don't have official numbers, but I'm pretty certain we were below our average snowfall.

Instead of shoveling for exercise, I had to actually exercise. I was able to walk three times a week. I had to keep up with my push-ups and yoga.

Okay, so one or two days I was walking on sidewalks that had been neglected. It was not much of a winter.

Now we wait and see what Mother Nature has up her sleeves. Will we get a hard freeze that ruins our apple trees? Will it snow again? Will it get hotter? What will spring be like? (Remember, Spring doesn't officially start until next week!)

For now, I will enjoy the sun and warmer temperatures. I hope you do the same.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

photos from Philly

First are the photos from the historic St. George's UMC. We attended church service there Sunday morning.
It was rich in history (check out their website) and records show that John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross and Dolly Madison attended worship there!

After church, we went to lunch at Gigi's (no pictures). Then we headed to the historic downtown. we saw the Liberty Bell...
And Independence Hall.

Sami got us tickets for the tour, so we headed over for our history lesson!Here is the room where they signed the Constitution (and where the Continental Congress met, for all you history buffs).

This is Walnut Street and these are for my dad. Okay, which building was GA??

I was going to ask the National Park Service Guide, but he had only worked there for one year...

I took a picture of the Corn Exchange because what city is complete without the Corn Exchange building!?

Then we went over to Betsy Ross' house so Iain could check on his tulips. He planted them on a mission trip years ago, they were still there! And almost ready to bloom!!

I kept experimenting with the sepia and black and white settings on the camera. I wanted to make the places we saw look older... since they are.

I don't think this is the original flag that Betsy Ross sewed, but it's a nice replica!

From downtown, we got back in the vans and headed to the Museum of Art, more famously known as the steps Rocky ran up. Here's my view from the top!

And my view as the sun finally peaked out from behind the clouds.

And that's it. Those are all the photos I took.


Today is also known as Pi day.

In all my years I have never celebrated Pi day with a pie. Today is different. I had the time, so I baked a pecan pie.


I had baked a couple back in the fall. Bill had asked if I could bake one just for us to eat (the ones I baked were shared at Thanksgiving and were part of the desserts for a year) and it was then that I decided I could actually bake a pie on Pi day.

It's fun.

I like doing fun things.

Like 11/11/11

And I like posting pictures from my trips. I'm going to go do that now, in a separate post.

Enjoy Pi day. I hope you get to have some pie!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Yay for everything!

I'm still waiting for photos to put on the blog. In the meantime, I'll work on getting my own photos posted... tomorrow.

Dinner last night was delicious.

Yay for sunshine! Time to start walking more than three times a week.

Yay for chili dogs! I had lunch with Sami and we ate some of the best dogs in town. Conveniently it's right across the street from the church. They have tasty fries too.

I should have written about walking after writing about eating hot dogs and fries...

Here's what I thought about on my walk: there are people in this world who do not believe man has been on the moon. They think it was fake. A set. Have you seen a movie set from the 1960's? I can't say they were that great. If you compare movie sets to the man on the moon footage, can you please explain why we didn't have better movies???

Apparently it's the anniversary of the discovery of Uranus.

I'll leave you with that.

Monday, March 12, 2012

what's cooking?

I'm glad you want to know (if you don't- stop reading now, if you're hungry- give me a call, if you want another good recipe- please keep reading)!

If this could be a scratch-and-sniff post it would be so much better.

Jalapeno and Beer-Baked Beef

It smells so delicious.

I started it this morning; it had to bake in the oven for 2 1/2 hours before chilling out in the fridge. Now it's back in the oven getting warmed up.

While the oven does all the work, I've got potatoes boiling in some water. Once they're cooked, they're going to get pan fried and tossed with baby spinach. I'll season them with some oregano, garlic, salt and ground pepper. I'm not following the recipe exactly, but I did link to it for you.

The beef recipe is from my "Back Home Again" cookbook (I don't know if I mention it in the post I linked to...). I don't have time to type the recipe, so if you want it let me know. I'm always happy to share recipes!

In the meantime there will be lots of red meat and spinach in our house as I try to raise my iron levels. I don't have an official word that I'm anemic, but I've been bruising a lot easier lately. It's not going to hurt anything to eat foods with iron, so I'm hoping that will help. I had been avoiding red meat because I know chicken and pork is better for you. And we just so happen to like chicken and pork.

But we also like red meat.

But red meat can be pricier.

I should have gone to Ken's Fruit Market (they have a meat counter). I may have to go there next week for more red meat.

Time to go finish my potatoes!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

the clocks

Today is one of my least favorite days. Least of all because we lose one hour. But mostly because the majority of people who use the English language are making DST plural when it shouldn't be. I don't know why it bothers me, but it does. Once I was taught the proper way to say it I realized how many people were saying it wrong and how many people just didn't care.

So here's to longer days, animals who don't care what time they get fed, losing an hour of sleep, changing all of your clocks, and "saving" time.

My original thought was about changing clocks. So many of our clocks change for us. I remember when we used to have to change all of our clocks. As technology continues to move us forward it seems that there is less and less for us to do. Some think that's advancing, others think it's laziness. I would be happier if all the clocks read the same time in my house.


Because in the kitchen alone there are four clocks. And no matter how hard we try, they are all off by one minute. Probably because there are just two of us, and since we're not synchronized swimmers or anything, we aren't coordinated enough to set the clocks at exactly the same time. But we don't need those clocks because the other eight clocks in the house that are magically set by technology keep track of time for us. Yes, down to the minute.

I lost an hour of sleep last night. So I'll stop rambling. Or else I might go on all day about our clocks.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Love is...

so many things.

  • Love Wins
  • Love will bring us together
  • Faith, Hope and Love... and the greatest of these is Love

I've always known that God is amazing and He works in wondrous and mysterious ways. Today is no different and as I read through my Bible study I find that it is talking about love. Love was our theme in Philly. When I told Bill he asked, "Are you really surprised by that?" Good point.

There are a couple of quotes that I feel are a good way to sum up our trip (and you thought I had summed it up yesterday):

"The choice set before us is therefore the choice of [growth] or withering." -Robin Mass. Admittedly I have struggled with the verses in John (ch. 15:1-5) about the branches and the vine. But the quote helped me realize where I am in my faith. Through many different experiences, my love has grown. I think that I used to believe that eventually my love would become stale and would stop growing. These verses and this quote taught me that through my faith, I will continue to grow. There is no end to God's love, therefore there is no end to how much I can grow in love.

I will probably still continue to be amazed after each trip, and I think that is the awesomeness of God. It is again summed up by another quote, "Faith expressing itself through love" -Gerrit Scott Dawson. For those of you who have experienced this on a mission trip, for those of you who just returned from Philly, for those of you who are searching for this, I hope and pray that you find it. And once you do, know that it cannot be lost. Because Love is great.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday, a day of recovery

I should be doing laundry. Instead I am looking at the photos being posted on Facebook from the Philly trip.

I thought I'd let you know how much money I found while I was gone (click here if you don't remember my other post about change). I ended up finding about $0.47! About because I may have found another penny or two. But that's a close estimate.

My apologies to the man who got stuck behind me when I found a penny on my way out of Meijer this morning. I had just gone in to buy yogurt and on my way out I saw the penny halfway under the threshold. I stopped to pick it up, but couldn't pick it up because I had on my gloves. So I had to take a glove off. By this time the man behind me realized what I was doing.

So don't ever get angry with a person if they stop to pick up a penny. You never know when that person might be me!

Thursday and the drive home

We packed up the vans at 6:30am. We said goodbye to Nicole (Kelsey had said goodbye the night before) and headed over to the Simple Way (the organization started by Shane Claiborne) Once there, we joined in their morning prayer. They use a book (yup, that's as much as I can remember right now, some kind of devotional book. Sami knows what it's called) and the Bible (that's the more important one to remember). It was sort of a service, there was a call and response, two scripture readings a song and prayers. Neighbors joined us, the sounds of the city were all around us. It was a great way to end our trip. Plus the prayer we read together was about going home. How appropriate!?

We headed west. It was Team Rojo Grande vs. Team Rental. We drove on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for what felt like days. Actually, it didn't feel that long at all. We stopped once for a potty break and then around 1:30-ish we stopped at a plaza for lunch. Team Rental hadn't stopped talking, but Team Rojo Grande had some sleepers; time to switch! Then it became the Girls vs. Guys. \

At the beginning of the trip while we were still at the Vine, Tony had asked where we were going as a joke. My response was, "Isn't this the trip to Florida?" And Sami responded with, "All you packed was a bikini?!" Which was funny because my suitcase was large (not the biggest, the same size as Sami's) and extremely heavy. If all I packed was a bikini... well you get the picture. So on the trip home, in the all-girl van, we decided Girls Rule and it was time to show the bikini. Good thing Sami has done this a time or two. There were sharpies, a pad of paper and tape. I drew my bikini and made a beautiful sign. We taped it to the back window. It amused us. We wonder how many people we amused on the Turnpike!?

We made it into Ohio. Pennsylvania is a long state.

We had to make a gas/potty break. Thank goodness for Service Plazas. It was pouring down rain at this point. And it was much colder. We had left a warm spring day in Philly... We stopped near Sandusky to drop off Brenna. Then we were back in our Team vans. We did Affirmations. If you're not familiar with that, it's when everyone says nice things about everyone else. It's a warm fuzzy and after spending almost an entire week with my group it was a nice way to tell them how proud of them I am. They didn't know each other hardly at all (with the exception of Precious and Shelby) and by this point in the trip they were begging Sami to let them stay in the same van. Switching for Girls vs. Guys was not easy for them. Each one of them showed amazing courage and love. They jumped right in to anything they were asked to do. I didn't hear a single complaint about any of our tasks, even the dusty, dirty day of cleaning! They showed God's love to everyone. They didn't hold back. It was amazing to see how God was working in each of them during this trip. They grew before my eyes. I am so happy that I had each and every one of them in our group. And as I said through tears on Wednesday night, last years' trip was so awesome! I came into this trip wondering how it could match last years?? And while last year remains awesome in its own way, this year did top it! The groups are what make it awesome. What? Can't I have a favorite trip two years in a row?

I can't wait to post pictures.

After we dropped off Brenna at her car, we made it to Ypsilanti for dinner. During Affirmations, we had watched a gorgeous sunset in front of us. Then we saw the moon rise behind clouds and then the skies cleared. We drove through all kinds of weather. As I type this, it is snowing!

We made it back to the church in GR by 10:30pm. It was time to say goodbye. The GVSU van headed out. A few people were picked up, and Sami's Speedy Shuttle Service with a Smile delivered the rest of us home safe and sound.

I hope I did our trip justice in my blogging. If any of the participants are reading and would like to add more (send me a message on FB or leave a comment), please let me know, I would be happy to!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday in Philly

Together both groups went to Philabundance. A food bank that serves nine counties in the Philly area (including New Jersey). We packed Emergency boxes. They are for a family of four and are packed to last three days. They have an awesome assembly line. The average boxes packed is 750. We packed 840. There were several other groups there to help. The people who work the assembly line were very kind and patient with us.

From there we went and ate lunch at Fairmount Park. It was a nice day. We had fun playing frisbee, and whispering on the whispering bench.

Our group headed to Fellowship House (Camp Peace) one last time. Najae was not there, so I wrote her a note to say goodbye. I helped Tanijah with her homework. She had a sheet that said, "We need one ___." She was supposed to draw a picture underneath it. She told me she was going to say "God". I asked her how she was going to draw a picture of God. She pointed at the wall of drawings that they had made and said, "I already drew Him." I was amazed at her wisdom. Of course it's possible for a five year old to know what God looks like!

From there we went to Jim's to eat an authentic Philly cheese steak (they were voted best in Philly). I must admit, I thought it was better (I also ordered mine with mayo). We had time to wander around South Street. Then we came back and debriefed.

We're going to pack the vans at 6:30am tomorrow. I'm blogging so I can pack up my computer. I hope you all enjoyed reading about our adventures. I hope they made sense (I'm still sleep deprived). Keep us in your prayers tomorrow as we drive home.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesday in Philly

To finish last night's adventure, we went to a park and there were a couple of people hanging around. My group (which consisted of Brenna, Jen and Chris) handed out a sandwich and talked to one man. All of the other groups were talking to the other people, so our group moved to another park nearby. No one was over there, it was a cold night, so we walked back. By then a couple more people had arrived at the park. After talking to them for awhile, we headed out to go over to the subway station. Our group had one sandwich left (we had packed six). We found someone to give it to right after walking down into the subway. By the time we got back to the CSM site, it was eleven o'clock. We debriefed and got to bed around midnight.

This morning we didn't have to leave until 9:15a, so we got to sleep in a little bit. Our group headed to a site called Mary Jane Enrichment Center. It was run by Miss Williams and her son, Mr. William. Some of us helped make sandwiches. We gave them to anyone and everyone who stopped by the "shop". Others in our group sorted clothes and carried them outside to a table. Again, anyone walking by was welcome to them. If they signed in, that allowed them the privilege of getting a sandwich.

We finished at the site early, so we came back to the CSM house and ate our lunch. Some of us took naps, or tried to until another group came in and decided to sit on me.

We left at 2:00p for our afternoon after school program. It was the same as yesterday. One of the girls, Najae, befriended me yesterday. She asked me to help her with her homework. She was working on math, algebra and decimals. Today, she had homework, more math (word problems) and science. They are learning about gases, liquids and solids. She got her homework finished today, so she had free time. There were two other girls who were working on a dance, she joined them and they danced for me. They were very cute. The time flies when we're there. Our group is split up among the different grades. Everyone was doing something different.

We left at 5p, after the kids go home. We came back to the site to hang out before dinner.

Then we headed to a Milian restaurant. I had the chicken with spinach and rice. It had a fancy name, but that's what it was.

We came back to the site and the two groups acted out our days for the other. It was quite amusing. We debriefed and were finished by 9:30p. I would like to go to sleep now because we're leaving at 8am tomorrow. Devotions will be at noon instead of during breakfast. I'm sure I'll still be up at 6:30p.

Everyone is having a great time. It would be nice if our "roommates" were a little more respectful, it seems like they can go on less sleep. They've been done earlier (except for tonight) and have left later. It's amazing how much you appreciate consideration when you're in cramped quarters. At least we don't have the snorers... they're in the boys dorm. Nightie, night!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday in Philly

We are split into two groups. We have Sami and Iain is her unofficial co-leader. They have Lauren, Tony, Caitlin, Mike, Amelia and Clarence. The white van, now known as "the rental" has Greg and myself, Jen, Brenna, Chris, Casey, Precious and Shelby.

This morning our group went to Mother's Home. An organization that houses and helps pregnant women. We cleaned and organized their basement which is where they house their community store (Jen, Precious and Shelby are helping me remember details). It was a little dirty and not exactly neat when we got there. By the time we left around noon, two of the three rooms were cleaned. The third room was filled entirely with children's clothes and we made a good dent in it.

After lunch back at the CSM site, our group went to Camp Peace. An after school program in Camden, New Jersey. They work alongside another program. Camp Peace has K-4th grades. The other program is for 5th-8th graders. At Camp Peace, the counselors are former students. It was amazing to see how well these kids behaved. In Camden, 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. New Jersey is the second richest state. Interesting facts.

Now we have a few minutes before heading out to eat Mediterranean for dinner. Then we are participating in a program called "Hands of Hope". We will be hanging around in the subway building relationships and handing out sacks of food (like dinner; a sandwich, snacks, fruit and water) to homeless. I won't be blogging again tonight. If I have to add anything, I'll add it tomorrow! I hope this is making sense, sleep is not a luxury and the other groups were a bit late to bed last night.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday in Philly

After church this morning in historic St. George's, we did more tourist stuff. We checked out Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. We walked over to Betsy Ross's house. That was really all we had time for because lunch took a little longer than expected (there were 19 of us after all).

We drove over to the Art Museum and ran up "the" steps. Then we came back to the CSM site. Dinner was at an Indian restaurant. Then we officially started our week with a prayer tour. Two hours of driving around the city seeing it through God's eyes. It's always one of the best parts and definitely the best way to start the week.

It's late, we have an early morning, and the girls are packed in like sardines (there are 24 of us in this room, Sami took pictures, so those will get posted).

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday, we made it to Philly!

After driving through terrible wind and rain last night, we stopped in Cranberry, PA to sleep in a Holiday Inn Express. They offered a well-stocked Continental Breakfast, and we were on the road by 8:30a. We made it into Philly by 3:00p. Our original lunch stop at Geno's or Pat's became our dinner stop because city traffic was, well city traffic.

From there we walked over to City Hall (that was about 1 1/2 miles which was good since we had been sitting around in the vans for so long). We took pictures at the LOVE sculpture (pictures will be posted after the trip) and we found out that the statue on the top of City Hall is William Penn but was sculpted by Alexander Caulder. You might recognize that name if you live in GR. We have to do some research to figure out if it's the father or grandfather of our Caulder.

Now we're back at the CSM site and we're getting ready for devotions. We'll see what's in store for us tomorrow with our last free day...

Friday, March 2, 2012

From Nashville to Philly

It's time for another College Spring Break Mission trip! This time we're headed to the city of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia.

Once again, I am not 100% sure that I will have access to internet at our site. It seems more and more common, but I don't want to take it for granted. So you will either hear from me tomorrow night, or not for a week. But if I can't blog, I'll keep a "journal" and post upon our return. I know last year, some of our student's parents enjoyed hearing about our trip, so here's a little prayer that they do have wireless at our site! (See, I find it a bit ironic because the facilities are usually pretty run down, light bulbs are burned out, paint is peeling off of every surface, yet they can afford wireless...?! So I'm not holding my breath here.)

In the meantime, hum the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song, or "Streets of Philadelphia". I have to go pack.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

more biscuits

I have buttermilk leftover from when I made biscuits the other day. Guess I just have to make more! I'll just stick them in the freezer and save them. Oh happy day!

Happy March 1st! Spring is close!