Friday, July 31, 2009

Busy Week

This week has been so busy. I can hardly believe it's Friday again, and not only that, but will someone tell me what happened to JULY? I'm sure I've misplaced mine. I cannot believe tomorrow is August 1st. What happened to 2009?

My mother said this is a sure sign of getting older. The days-weeks-months fly by. One minute you are a little child - the next minute you're having little children and then out of no where - little people are calling you Grandma or Nana in my case.

One minute your biggest financial concern is whether you can buy a house, the next it's whether or not you can afford to retire.

I remember wanting so much to wear my first pair of shoes with heels - any heel - any height at all. Then when I finally got to wear them, I chucked them out the window after a night on the town because they were so uncomfortable I swore I would never wear heels again. Yes, that is a confession of littering, but I swear I never did it again.

I remember when I was young and time seemed to move so infinitely slow that I thought I would surely die a tragic death before ever reaching 16. I remember thinking my 16th birthday would be something magical and wonderful - people would suddenly see that I was finally grown up. Folks would gather round to hear profound 16 year old wisdom, and beg me to write my memoirs. Hmmm, they never did.

Then I thought 18 would surely prove to the world once and for all that I had arrived, but alas folks still thought me a silly girl - despite all of the important information I had to share.

21 and 25 came and went and I was married with two children. 30 arrived and so did my last child. I remember planting trees in the front yard when my middle daughter was born and now they're over 70 ft. tall. I remember dropping my oldest daughter off at college and crying all the way home because she was 25 miles away.
Now she's 2,500 miles away and I would give most anything for a 25 mile separation.

I remember my son putting together intricate LEGO creations and proudly bringing them to me for approval, and now...well...he still does that, but he's much much bigger and here's his senior photo from last year to prove it.

Ah time. It drags when we don't want it to, and flees us like a robber when when want it to linger.


Friday, July 24, 2009

National Ice Cream Month

JULY IS NATIONAL ICE CREAM MONTH! Just in case you didn't know, I felt it was my duty to fill you in on this wonderful fact. In 1984 President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month, with the 3rd Sunday being National Ice Cream Day.

Ice Cream goes way back in time - at least iced desserts do. In ancient times everyone from the Chinese to the Romans had a variety of treats they made with ice or snow and flavorings of honey and fruit. As time progressed rich milk with cream was added to some of these and eventually they "churned" out what we know today as ice cream.

Iced cream was a term our ancestors knew well, even as far back as 1776 when the first iced cream parlor opened in New York City. Eventually the "iced" became simply "ice" and the title has been with us ever since.

Jacob Fussell made the first large-scale commercial ice cream plant in 1851. Bless his heart.

The ice cream cone made its American debut at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Well, actually there is great dispute over this, as many claim to have been serving ice cream in an edible waffled-like cone prior to this. Even so, the World's Fair definitely gave the ice cream cone a boost in marketing.

One of the neatest facts I learned about ice cream was that in the late 19th century vendors who sold ice cream and other frozen desserts via portable carts were called Hokey Pokey men. Proving once and for all that ice cream really is "what it's all about." Actually it's said that the saying may come from the fact that many ice cream vendors were of Italian descent and would call out, "O che poco!" ("Oh, here's a little!") or occi-pocci (mixed colors or flavors).

No matter what - the important thing here is that ice cream deserves to be celebrated - even the President said so. Everyone go grab a bowl and get started. The month only has another week left!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ups and Downs

The last couple of weeks have been full of ups and downs for my granddaughter Rainy. Since I'm often asked about her and how's she's doing, I thought I'd share just a little bit today.

Rainy has a cyst on her brain. She's suffered brain damage and other medical issues. She is often sick, has had over 25 brain related surgeries, and endures a lot of pain. Because of all of this, Rainy has weekly physical therapy at the Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. It's a pretty fantastic place, with a lot of great people. Here's a shot of Rainy getting some balance therapy and her brothers Max and Fox waiting for the hospital trip to come to an end.

This last week has been really hard for Rainy and for the family, but after physical therapy there was a moment of positive pay-off for everyone. Here are a few snaps of the kids having fun at one of the downtown water parks. Wish I could have been there.

Every day is a special gift. We're none of us here for long. Cherish the moments!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Christy Award winners

Thought since Robin didn't have a message listed today that she might be very busy with the Christian booksellers convention. I wanted to share with the readers that the 2009 Christy Awards for outstanding Christian fiction were handed out Saturday night. Here's a list of the all the finalists and the ones in bold and listed first are the winners - including our very own Tamera Alexander. Congratulations to everyone!

Contemporary Romance

Beyond the Night
by Marlo Schalesky (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Finding Stefanie
by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers)

Zora and Nicky: A Novel in Black and White
by Claudia Mair Burney (David C. Cook)

Contemporary Series, Sequels, and Novellas

You Had Me at Good-bye
by Tracey Bateman (FaithWords)

Sisterchicks Go Brit!
by Robin Jones Gunn (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Summer Snow
by Nicole Baart (Tyndale House Publisher)

Contemporary Standalone
by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)

Embrace Me
by Lisa Samson (Thomas Nelson)

Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon
by Debbie Fuller Thomas (Moody Publishers)

First Novel
Blue Hole Back Home
by Joy Jordan-Lake (David C. Cook)

Rain Song
by Alice J. Wisler (Bethany House Publishers)

Safe at Home
by Richard Doster (David C. Cook)

Until We Reach Home
by Lynn Austin (Bethany House Publishers)

Shadow of Colossus
by T.L. Higley ( B&H Publishing Group)

Washington’s Lady
by Nancy Moser (Bethany House Publishers)

Historical Romance
From a Distance
by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House Publishers)

Calico Canyon
by Mary Connealy (Barbour Publishers)

The Moon in the Mango Tree
by Pamela Binnings Ewen (B&H Publishing Group)

The Rook
by Steven James (Revell)

By Reason of Insanity
by Randy Singer (Tyndale House Publishers)

Winter Haven
by Athol Dickson (Bethany House Publishers)

by Tom Pawlik (Tyndale House Publishers)

The Battle for Vast Dominion
by George Bryan Polivka (Harvest House Publishers)

by John B. Olson (B&H Publishing Group)

Young Adult
I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires
by Cathy Gohlke (Moody Publishers)

The Fruit of My Lipstick
by Shelley Adina (FaithWords)

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness
by Andrew Peterson (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lovely Summer

We've finally been experiencing summer. We only get about 2 months of true summer here in Southwest Montana, but those two months are generally gorgeous. Yesterday it rained with great gusto, but then we were rewarded with the most incredible rainbows. We often get doubles and this time was no exception.

Last week we took a little Sunday drive and ended up in Helena, where the Thunderbirds just happened to be flying an airshow. It was incredible and the day couldn't have been more perfect.

Of course summer is tourist season so we see more traffic and definitely more visitors. My niece and nephew have spent the last week with us, and we've had so much fun. They made their way through Yellowstone and got some amazing photos. Here's a great one of Mammoth Hot Springs at the north end of the park.

Since we've had a lot of rain, the threat of forest fires are way down, which is a great relief. We're hopeful that it will stay that way, but our worst months for that seem to be August and September (right before the first snows in the higher altitudes.)

We've also enjoyed plenty of wildlife in the area. We caught these photos on a little drive the other day. My niece shot the one of the young moose.

All in all, I'm very blessed to have Montana for my home state. I've truly been amazed at the beauty God has provided, but then I remind myself as lovely as this is - we live in a fallen world. Just imagine what the perfection of Heaven will be like. I can hardly wait!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th a day early

I'm so blessed to live in America! I know we have our problems, but I do love this country. I love that we were founded on Christian values--that we are a blend of so many cultures and heritages--that we are free.

So often people are afraid to take a stand for freedom. They are afraid of the price--afraid of the consequences. Sometimes we stand back and say nothing, even when we know the problems that will ensue if the situation goes unaltered.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

Being free requires us to take a stand in both our country's heritage and our spiritual walk. Freedom, as they say isn't free at all. Jesus paid the price for us spiritually, and many men and women have gone before us to lay down their lives physically so that we can celebrate our liberty.

Cherish your freedom! Take a stand for what is right!
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