Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm back!

We are back from our vacation. We had such a good time. We enjoyed each others company and the beauty of God's creation.
I hope you are ready for this because I took lots of pictures!
We left our house early on Thursday morning; drove through Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and ended up in Nebraska.

This picture was taken early on Friday morning as we left Nebraska.

We stopped in Nebraska on Friday morning to see this little building. It's an original Pony Express building. It wasn't open yet, but it was nice to see the building.

I thought this little candle holder was pretty neat.
We continued on our drive, heading through Colorado. Early in the afternoon we made it to our hotel where we were greeted by our main reason for the trip:

It was so good to see Andy again!
After settling in the hotel, Andy took us back to his base to show us around.

We started by checking out Andy's room. Bob had to try out some of Andy's special gear. I can't remember what this is called, but I can tell you it is very heavy!

Andy then took us to the hanger to see where he works. Here is one of the Apache helicopters he loves to work on.

These two love this stuff. Bob was so happy to be able to get into the helicopter and check it out.

This is the view out of the hanger door. Wouldn't you love a view like that at your job?

After we left the base, Andy took us to see the Helen Hunt Falls. This was a beautiful spot!

He drove us around the mountain where the falls are, which was beautiful. I love these tunnels, but was not so fond of the drop offs on the side of the road!

Andy then had us start climbing steps. He said it wasn't bad, but there were a lot of steps!

It was worth it though. When we got to the top, we saw views like these!

This is looking out over Colorado Springs.
Our first day there was wonderful and there's lots more to see.
More pictures coming tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On the road again!

Our vacation is nearly here! Bob is still working on Wednesday, but I am already off from work. I'll be picking up the rental car, doing laundry and getting everything ready to go, including baking a batch of cookies for Andy.
We will be leaving here early Thursday morning, as in 5 am. It's about an 18 to 19 hour drive so it would be nice to to a lot of it on Thursday. We hope to make it to Nebraska on Thursday and then to Colorado Springs on Friday. Friday also happens to be our 28th anniversary and I think being in Colorado with Andy is a pretty good way to celebrate!
I plan to take my laptop along but probably won't have time to visit your blogs or do much updating.
I'll take lots of pictures though, so be ready for that! We plan to return on August 30.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Oliver gets visitors

Our daughter Laura stopped over Saturday with their 2 dogs, Sophie and Reminton. She said it was time for them to meet our cat.
You can see that Oliver isn't too happy about this idea! What you can't see is how the dogs reacted. Although they are way bigger than Oliver, they weren't going to go near him as he arched his back and hissed!

The girls decided it would work better to hold Oliver and let the dogs come up and check him.

Sophie decided Oliver wasn't so bad. Reminton still wasn't too sure and Oliver really didn't appreciate the whole situation.

Here Laura is comforting Oliver after that traumatic event! In the end, they all survived and we had fun watching them interact.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blog Makeover!

Do you notice anything different here today? I've had such fun in the last few days, getting a blog makeover! I've been thinking about this for awhile. I felt like my previous design was cluttered and could be hard to read. I checked out several different blog designers, but nothing ever clicked. Then, one of the blogs I read, had a redo by Sneaky Momma. I went to her website to check out her work and was hooked!
After working with her I can tell you that if you are thinking about having some changes made on your blog, Jill from Sneaky Momma, is the person for the job. She was wonderful to work with. She stayed in contact with me through each step and was willing to change things so I could see what another font or color or picture would look like.
Jill has several different packages that she offers, along with individual things you can have done. Her prices are reasonable and she was quick to start working on mine.
She made my blog into 3 columns, made me a new header and gave me a new navigation bar, which makes it easier to get to my other blogs, and just made things look nicer here!
So - go over and check out her work. Tell her Mari sent you!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Precious Lord

One of my favorite old hymns is Precious Lord, take my hand. I got an e-mail recently with the history of the writing of this hymn. Reading this makes the song even more meaningful. It was written by Thomas A. Dorsey, not the famous band leader, but this Tommy Dorsey was known as the father of gospel music. This is what he wrote about composing Precious Lord.

Back in 1932, I was a fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago's south side. One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis where I was to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting.. I didn't want to go. Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child. But a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis I kissed Nettie good-bye, clattered downstairs to our Model A and, in a fresh Lake Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago on Route 66. However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at leaving, I had forgotten my music case. I wheeled around and headed back.

I found Nettie sleeping peacefully. I hesitated by her bed; something was strongly telling me to stay. But eager to get on my way, and not wanting to disturb Nettie, I shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room with my music.

The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope. Pasted on the yellow sheet were the words: YOUR WIFE JUST DIED.

People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could hardly keep from crying out. I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could hear on the other end was 'Nettie is dead. Nettie is dead.'

When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between grief and joy. Yet that same night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little boy together, in the same casket. Then I fell apart.

For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an injustice. I didn't want to serve Him anymore or write gospel songs. I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well. But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first sad days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis. Something kept telling me to stay with Nettie. Was that something God? Oh, if I had paid more attention to Him that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when she died.

From that moment on I vowed to listen more closely to Him. But still I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially one friend. The following Saturday evening he took me up to Maloney's Poro College, a neighborhood music school. It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows.

I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys. Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody, once into my head they just seemed to fall into place: 'Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.'

The Lord gave me these words and melody, He also healed my spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open to His restoring power.

And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday

It's Slow Cooking Thursday again. The recipe I am sharing today is one that I've posted before, but it's been a few years. These sandwiches are a favorite in our house and we especially enjoy them in the summer.
French Dip Sandwiches
1 3-lb beef chuck roast
2 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
3-4 whole peppercorns
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
slices of swiss or colby jack cheese
bakery style hot dog buns
Place roast in slow cooker. Stir together water, soy sauce and seasoning. Pour over roast. Cook on low for 10-12 hours till meat is very tender. Shred meat with 2 forks. Place on hot dog bun with a slice of cheese. Pour broth into individual small cups and serve with sandwich for dipping.
For more slow cooking recipes visit Sandra at
Diary of a SAHM.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Works for me Wednesday

It's blueberry time here. I love fresh blueberries, but I also like to have some in the freezer when I can't get the fresh ones. Most of you probably already know this tip, but just in case someone doesn't, I'm sharing this tip.
To freeze blueberries, wash them and let them dry. Then, lay them in a single layer on a pan and freeze. Once they are all frozen, you can place them in a freezer bag. You can freeze any berries using this method. By doing it this way, they freeze individually and are easy to measure out for recipes.
For more tips, visit Kristin at We are THAT Family.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bloggy friends

Aren't blogging friends great? I have a few blogging friends that were kind enough to pass a few awards to me and I need to acknowledge them. The first one is the circle of friends award. This award was given to me by Renee of A Path of Joy, and Carin of grateFUL Heart. I've known Renee for some time and enjoy many of her recipes. I met Carin very recently. She also lives in Michigan and makes the most beautiful cards.

The second award is the Loyal friend and visitor award. This one came from Kat of Heart 2 Heart. Kat is also a new friend. If you have time, stop at her blog and read yesterdays post on prayer. You won't be sorry.


The next award is the Lovely Blog award. It's from Elsie of My Yarn Tales. Elsie is always a mood lifter. In spite of some health problems she accomplishes a lot and always has a great attitude.


I got this Friends blog award from Mike of Rambling Stuff. I think Mike is probably the best blogger out there, at taking prayer requests and passing them on.


Last but not least is this meme blog award from Betty of A glimpse into midlife. Betty lives in Paraguay and I enjoy reading about her life there.

This award comes with a rule that I list 7 tidbits about myself so here goes.
1. Most of you know that I have 2 sisters, but I also have a brother. He's a great guy but we can't get him to blog!
2. I don't like coffee
3. I have lived within 20 miles of my hometown all my life
4. I was born on Thanksgiving
5. I am the oldest child in my family
6. I have worked on a Bluebery farm, a Strawberry Farm and Celery Farm
7. I love to play games on my Nintendo DS
That's it! Now I am supposed to pass these all on, but you know I don't follow rules well. I just can't pick people out to pass it to. If you are here reading this, you are entitled to any one of these!
Thanks to each of you who passed these on.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What a storm!

It was a wild night here! It was very hot and humid all day and around 6:30 a huge storm came in. We had winds of 60 mph, hail, torrential rains and it sounds like lots of trees down. Our power went out and stayed out till a little before 11.
We spent the night reading by candlelight.

I also want to share an opportunity with you. Friends of ours are helping with the start up of a ministry called the Ebenezer Training Center in Haiti. This center will be training Haitian pastors and teaching them them to read. Many of the pastors there are illiterate and can't read the Bible, but are leading churches. They already have a building donated to them and are now raising funds to run this. Right now someone has offered to match any funds donated up to $1000. Anything donated is tax deductible. Thanks!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


"A laugh is a smile that bursts"
Mary Waldrip

Did you know that laughing is good for you? It's been proven to do things like reduce blood pressure and reduce stress.
When things aren't going your way, sometimes it can be so ridiculous that you can laugh about it. If you can, you will have a better attitude and your day will probably improve. And - if you are more lighthearted you will help those around you!
A good sense of humor is a winning situation!

"Laughter is the medicine of life"
Madeline Bamford

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Slow Cooking Thursday

It's time for another Slow Cooking recipe. Today's recipe is one I got recently from my friend Kayren of Everything's Coming Up Daisies. She got it from her Mom. I made it last week and it was really good; tender and full of flavor! Thanks Kayren!

Pork Chops in the Crock Pot

Pork Chops or Boneless Pork Chops (cut from the pork loin)
Cream of Mushroom soup (size dependent on number of pork chops)
Milk (1/2 soup can for whatever can size you use)

Beat eggs (probably a couple for most people) in a one bowl. Put flour in a second bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. In a third bowl mix the cream of mushroom soup with half a soup can of milk; set aside.

Dip pork chops in egg mixture and then dip in flour mixture, turning to coat well, one at a time. Then place the pork chops in a pan filled with a little bit of heated vegetable oil. Cook about three to four minutes per side, just until browned. Remove pork chops to the crock pot.

Turn the heat off on the burner. If you have an electric stove you will need to remove your pan from the heat as well. If you have a lot of oil left in your pan use a spoon to remove as much of it as possible. Take your soup/milk mixture and add it to the pan, stirring as you do. It will splatter a little at first. Stir until you get all the pan drippings mixed in well, then pour directly on top of the pork chops in the crock pot.

Take a spatula and go around the sides of your crock pot, lifting the pork chops slightly to let the gravy mixture down to the bottom of the dish. Cook on high for about 5-6 hours, until the pork chops are done. They will probably be falling apart they are so tender.

* I used 6 boneless pork chops, 1 regular can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 cup flour with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mine were done in 5 hours.

For more slow cooking recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's a girl...and a boy...and a boy!

This is my friend Lauren. She is the social worker at my nursing home. She and her husband have wanted a baby for some time. We were all thrilled earlier this year when she told us she was pregnant. She had a lot of morning sickness and started to show quite quickly. Because of her size we were suspecting twins. When she had an ultrasound, we were all surprised to hear that it was triplets - 2 boys and 1 girl!
Lauren is now 23 weeks along. Her doctor wants her to get to at least 30 weeks before delivering, and since her cervix is starting to thin, she has been ordered to start bedrest.
The residents had a baby shower for her today. The residents who are alert are quite excited about these babies.
Prayers for Lauren during this time of bedrest and for 3 healthy babies would be appreciated!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dead dog trick

Here's a funny video clip. This dog was on the David Letterman show and I think you'll enjoy it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


You may remember we got a kitten a few months ago. Oliver is now 11 weeks old and we are so enjoying having him around. I have a few pictures to show you what he has been up to - not all of it good!
This is one of the crazy positions he sleeps in. He rarely curls up to sleep, like our last cat did. He just sprawls all over.

Here he is, getting into trouble, crawling into a cabinet where he doesn't belong. I did take time to get this picture before removing him!
Bob is enjoying having him around as much as the rest of the family.
Yes - he looks quite innocent here, however - he was actually hiding under the bed, waiting to jump out at our feet.
This is his favorite spot - snuggling on the couch with Heather.