Tuesday, September 29, 2009

End of a long career!

I said on Sunday, "I am beginning my 25th and last year of being the parent of a teenager." Brian turned 13 in 1985 and Jessie will turn 20 in 2010. But, actually, when I did the math, I realized I had a four-year break when Annie turned 20 in 1999 until Jessie turned 13 in 2003.

So, does that mean I'm an expert?--BY NO MEANS. Just ask any of my kids! I have no special insight and no particular wisdom. It was only by the grace of God that any of us survived.

My friend Susanne Scheppmann just did a workshop on Parenting Teens at the D6 Conference in Dallas. True, her career was a little shorter than mine--probably only 10 years--but she has put some serious footwork and study into the subject. Look her up at www.susanneonline.com, and if you are struggling with your teenagers or know someone who is, order her book Divine Prayers for Despairing Parents. She has some great insight into traveling through those years.

I must say, too, that I had some great teenagers. Sure, there were trying times here and there, but God is so faithful! He worked in spite of all my efforts to derail what He was doing. He deserves ALL the glory.

Have a great day!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Home from Louisville

John and I have returned from a "working" trip to Louisville, Kentucky. We had a good week of work setting cosmetics in an Ulta store.
The drive to Louisville, although about 11 hours, is really a very pretty drive and is divided easily into 3 fairly equal parts--home to KC, KC to St. Louis, St. Louis to Louisville. As you can see, we drove right past the St. Louis arch.It's interesting, too, that each of these three major cities sits on a major river--the Missouri, the Mississippi, and the Ohio. But, we know that many of the early settlements were on rivers because rivers were major sources of transportation for both people and goods before we had railroads, highways, and semi-trucks.
Here's a view of the Louisville skyline. I'm thinking about posting some skyline pictures to see how many you can identify.

One evening I was able to take the car and do some sightseeing on my own. John was exhausted from work and doesn't really care for historical sights anyway. So, I found two places not far from our hotel that I could find without having to drive on the interstate system!
This is a picture of the home of George Rogers Clark. He was the brother of William Clark of Lewis & Clark fame and supposedly the founder of Louisville. His home is on a beautiful piece of land called Locust Grove in a beautiful neighborhood of Louisville. I wasn't able to go in the house because it was closed for the day but enjoyed walking around the estate.

Not far from Locust Grove is the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery. Taylor was the 12th president of the U.S., but died just over a year into his presidency. His father, Richard Taylor, had served as an officer in General George Washington's army during the American Revolution and received 6,000 acres of land in Kentucky for his service. So, although Zachary was born in Virginia, his family moved to Kentucky soon after his birth.
This picture is of the grave of President Taylor and his wife. The stone object in the background is the original grave and the mausoleum structure is the current burial place. Several members of their family are buried in a plot to the left of the picture, but then the rest of the land is a national cemetery.
If you have never been to a national cemetery, you should try to visit one sometime. It is interesting to see the uniformity of the gravestones and to walk among the graves and see which war the soldiers served in. Most importantly, it gives you a tiny glimpse of the numbers of valiant men and women who have served our country. I'm curious to know when this particular piece of land first became a national cemetery because the oldest grave I noticed was from the Spanish American War. But, I didn't walk throughout all the graves.
The next night John took me on a date for the highlight of our week! We attended the National Quartet Convention at the Louisville Exposition Center. The auditorium holds 20,000+ people and it was nearly full. This picture is not the best, but I thought the colored spotlights made quite a sight. The stage is the white segment.The music was excellent. It started at 6 pm and we left at 10 pm although the music continued until 11 pm. That was 4 hours of solid music from quartets and other small groups. Even while they were setting up for the next group, they played black and white films of old groups singing. Each group peformed for 17 minutes and the convention was Sunday night through Saturday night with concerts every afternoon and every evening. That's a LOT of quartet singing!
All the groups were very entertaining, but the most exciting for us was seeing the Bill Gaither Vocal Band. This next picture shows how they announced each band with their name in lights around the auditorium.
Thanks for putting up with my travelogue with a little history thrown in!
Have a great day!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Two books this week

I have just finished the second of two books I read this week. They have some common points, but yet they are so far from each other.

People of the Book and Dewey are both about people who love books, they both have a central narrator along with several other characters surrounding that narrator, and they both have a thread that moves forward while at the same time moving back in time to tell other stories. The authors of both books are skilled and passionate about their stories.

People of the Book is a fictional account of the making and preserving of the Sarajevo Haggadah. The narrator, a conservator of ancient manuscripts, is called to work on this precious prayer book commonly used at the Jewish Seder. As she searches for clues about the book's past, the author recounts stories of each stage of the haggadah's journey from its beginnings in Spain in the 1400's to its current display case in the museum in war-torn Bosnia.

Dewey is about a library cat in Spencer, IA, and the librarians who rescued him from the book drop on a very wintry morning in January in 1988. This tiny golden kitten readily adopts his new surroundings and wins the hearts of everyone who meets him.

Are both books redemption stories? Dewey Readmore Books (his official name) certainly gives his life day-by-day to redeem Spencer at a time when it was facing economic collapse. People of the Book is a chronicle of God's chosen people, which is always a story of redemption, but that is an underlying theme of this particular story. Neither book is a "history" book, but a telling of the stories of the people in those times and places.

Both books are great reads, but really at opposite ends of the spectrum of "types" of books. People of the Book is a very serious work--rather dark and intense, but yet intriguing and powerful. The author, Geraldine Brooks, is a masterful storyteller, already proven by her Pulitzer Prize for her book March. Dewey is a light-hearted account of a darling cat growing up in a library in small-town America. The author, Vicki Myron, is a librarian surrounded daily by books, but she's never written a book before and I doubt she'll write another. People is for mature readers (rated somewhere between PG-13 and R), but Dewey is for anyone who loves cats or libraries or the Midwest (totally G-rated). One book wrenches the heart; the other warms it.

It's good to read a variety of books--that's what I was about this week. It's doubly good when a book-lover is blessed with books about books!

Have a good day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

Today is the first day of the rest of my life, but isn't that what EVERY day is? I know God has a perfect plan for me, but I'm not sure what it is. I don't want to miss it. But, while I'm waiting, here are some pictures.

The first two are from Texas when I stayed with Paisley. The first is at the park near Paisley's house and the second is Donavan at the parakeet house at the Tyler Zoo. Scores of parakeets and a few other birds flock to the seed-covered sticks you hold in your hand. Paisley wasn't too sure about all the birds flying around, but Donavan and I enjoyed seeing them.
These two pictures are Jessie's dorm room at North Central University. Emily and Bri were excited to see her room the day they picked me up.

These two are some pictures of Jessie and I enjoying some loving from our little Minnesota girls.

The last two are my dear friends Mark and Susanne, Jeremy's folks. They were so sweet to just happen to be in Minnesota with their motorhome and planning to return home through Nebraska just when I needed a ride. Susanne and I had great "girlfriend" time on the trip. We didn't mind that the detours and stops along the way caused the trip to be longer than intended. Thanks, guys, it was great fun!

Have a great day!