FIVE THOUGHTS …

1. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t take up skydiving. (Unknown)

2. If you think you’re too small to be effective, you’ve never been in a dark room with a mosquito. (Unknown)

3. It takes less time to do things right than to explain why you did them wrong. (Longfellow)

4. Here’s something to think about – why don’t you ever read headlines like “Psychic wins lottery.” (Leno)

5. Most people would rather die than think. In fact, they do so. (Russell)

THANKS

Thanks everyone for voting for me in the Kids Ministry Blog Contest.

I really appreciated it.  I did not make it to the Final Four, but that’s ok. I was honored to be chosen for the first 64 and thankful to you for getting me to the final sixteen.  Good publicity for Awana and the blog.

So thanks 🙂

ROB AND LEAH’S REHEARSAL

Friday morning we left (we being me, S and K and the munchkins) for Indy to join Rob and Leah for their wedding celebration.  For those of you who don’t know Rob and Leah, we are not related in any way – but Rob has been a good friend of our family for say … about 16 years!  We met him back when he was in high school and actually he was one of the first people I got to know well at Central because as Cubbies leaders, Rob and I had the inate ability to be entertaining in a VERY SMALL room with a VERY LOT of 4 and 5yo Cubbies. (Let me just say here – that Kelly and Rob can actually SING.)

As the parents would pick up the kids, we would be the Cubbies “worship” team (Cubbie chaos team?) and along with Kelly S lead the kids in singing EVERY SONG WE COULD THINK of amid tons of laughter. Oh, and there was the hot July Sunday that Rob and I did the pre VBS Cubbie skit with Rob dressed in the Cubbie costume (think about having your entire body covered with two inches of fabricated, unbreathable fake fur). I was in the air-conditioned auditorium, but Rob was stuck in a very small unair-conditioned oversized closet.  Let’s just say, Cubbie almost melted that day.

But then we both got “promoted” to JV – where we worked for several years. We’re very good at teaming together to do a magazine thing that will totally puzzle your middle schoolers and have them extremely frustrated in how we manage to do it.

Anyhow, S and K got to know Rob well, too, through JV  and through The Group at church. Ken and Rob were also very close.

About three years ago, Rob moved to Indy and then last August, on the way to Cedarville, Ruth M. and I stopped to meet Leah – the new person in Rob’s life. (I could’ve told you right then, we would soon be attending a wedding.) And then came the phone call announcing their engagement.

And now, this weekend, the wedding.

We went down early because Kelli played and therefore, she needed to be at the rehearsal.

Here are some photos from Friday night.

KIND OF COOL

Once again, busy day and then real Awana …

But here’s something kind of cool. When I was in sixth grade, I invited a bunch of friends from my class at school to come to Awana with me. Several did. One girl who came went to the Lutheran Church in town.   She came all year and we would work together on our books and both finished them.

Time went by … much time …years and years of time … totally lost track of her.

Then about seven years ago, Ken and I were at the mall and she saw me and recognized me.

Now, I am working with a fifth grader in my Awana group who has my sixth grade friend for a teacher in school.

JUST STUFF

Been an interesting week – everything from taking a tour of another organization to giving the devotions at a bridal shower to taking my car to spend the day at my local, friendly auto shop.

And today, as I picked up the car from my local, friendly auto shop, they promised me that it was good as new and that as long as I kept up with it (at which point I reminded them that THEY were the ones who took care of my car and therefore, they were the ones keeping up on it) I could drive it for many more miles.

We’ll see.

But anyhow, just a lot of stuff happening and little time to do long blog posts

PRESIDENT #18 – ULYSSES S. GRANT

I know only two tunes – one is Yankee Doodle and the other isn’t. Ulysses S. Grant

Grant’s house is tucked away in the northwest corner of Illinois, sitting on a small knoll in the river town of Galena.

I usually do houses backwards. We visit the house. I buy a book about the first lady in the gift shop, take the book home, read it and wish I could visit the house again now that I know more about the family.

But I read the biography of Julia Grant right before we spent a few days in Galena and because of that, doubly enjoyed the visit.

The Grants lived in Galena in the years before the Civil War began – Grant worked at a store that his father owned and his brothers managed.  At that time, they rented a house that is currently a private residence. Grant never aspired to be a soldier. In fact, his father was the one who got Grant into West Point – and Grant got revenge by finishing in the bottom third of his class.  One good thing about the appointment – a mixup in the  Westpoint papers officially changed his name from Hiram to Ulysses and he liked that because now his initials were U.S.

After graduation, he served in the army, but did not enjoy it and began drinking to such an extent that he was told to give up drinking or his Army career. He decided to do both.  He and his wife moved to St. Louis – then to Galena.  He scraped by, doing many jobs and when the call came to help Lincoln, he got a group of Galena soldiers together and headed for the Civil War. Soon he gained a reputation for taking undisciplined, unsoldier-like young boys and making them into no-nonsense recruits. He did not become a full general until Appomattox because at that time, it was a title most felt only Washington was worthy to possess

After the war, the people of Galena (well, basically a group of Republicans who pooled their money) gave the Grants this house as a “thank you” for his service.  The Grants lived there from 1865-1868 when Grant became president. They returned to Galena many times and always stayed at the house. The last visit was in 1880.

To the Grants, Galena was home and when someone asked Grant to run for president, he said, “I’d rather be mayor of Galena.”

Interestingly, Grant’s presidency is not one that is well-rememberd. Lots of scandals were happening – however, Grant was not involved.  And even though, he had a reputation for both drinking and smoking too much, he was extremely gentle and would not allow profanity in the halls of the U.S. Government. (If only he were around today.)

When he ran for reelection, he was the first of only four presidents to receive ALL the electoral votes.  He also was the first president to take vacations away from the White House (Long Branch, New Jersey) and the scandalized citizens didn’t think bills signed at Long Branch could be real.

I don’t have many pictures of Galena – I think we were in our videotaping stage. Currently there is a $3.00 – $4.00 donation for the tour.  And many of the furnishings are authentic, since the Grant children gave the house to the citizens of Galena, “with the understanding that this property is to be kept as a memorial to the late General Ulysses S. Grant, and for no other purpose … kept as nearly as possible as it was when General Grant resided in it.”

By the way, if you haven’t been to Galena, it is truly an interesting town, looking much like it did in the days of the Grants – especially the downtown area. Truly a river town, overlooking the Mississippi, it is filled with gift shops — and at least a few years ago had a couple very fascinating bookstores specializing in rare, historical books.

Hold fast to the Bible. To the influence of this Book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization and to this we must look as our guide in the future. Ulysses S. Grant.

STRANGE WEEK

This has been a strange week.

1. When I went to get my hair cut, I noticed a loooonnnnggg stretch limo stopped in the street. Photographers were anxiously getting pictures as fancily-dressed ladies got out of the car.  When I asked the lady who does my hair she told me that there would be a wedding at 5:00 next door in a banquet hall. The couple had just moved from New Orleans and walked in the salon earlier in the day to get their hair done for their Wednesday night (?) wedding. The bride said she didn’t care how the stylist did her hair – she would even be willing to have it cut.  Five o’clock on a Wednesday night is not common time for a wedding – nor do most brides tell someone who has never done their hair before to do whatever they wanted!

Anyhow, the couple did indeed get married – and then the bride came over to the bay window of the salon and did a little dance so we could all admire her dress and hair! Very unique and entertaining.

2. A website has been set up by a bunch of “true” atheists who, for a price will take care of your pet after you go to heaven. Not putting the site on here, but put pet and rap ture in your search engine and you’ll find it. You can pay by paypal. Couple questions about that, but I don’t think I’ll ask.

3. I stopped at McDonalds today for my tea and as I was going from the pay window to the pick-up window, a bright, yellow pick-up truck cut in front of me and stopped at the window. The truck was filled (and I mean filled) with garbage in the back and in the passenger seat.  Have no idea what the guy was doing, but they made him pull ahead and wait. When I got there, the worker was laughing and had to ask what I had ordered. I don’t know if the guy had literally not been in a McD drive thru before and didn’t know what to do or what.  Just very strange.

A KNIGHT IN SHINING T-SHIRT

So the 6yo had a birthday a few weeks ago and instead of giving him a tangible gift, I promised him a “date” to a surprise special place.

Today the surprise happened.

As we drove, the 6yo talked about everything from our destination to liking summer better than winter. (That conversation had something to do with the falling snow).  And then somehow the summer/winter conversation meandered over into theological issues like “Where was God when Jesus was on the cross?” or “What came first the nails or the crown of thorns?”  He decided the crown of thorns was the very painful (his word) part.

Still talking theology, we pulled into the parking lot of Medieval Times.  You are supposed to get there an hour early in order to mill around a gift-shopped enveloped lobby and ward off offers to upgrade your ticket by $20.00. We resisted, but I did buy him a $12.00, light-up sword which he wielded handily among the crowd of people wandering around (including many other sword-carrying kids). Meanwhile, trumpeters would herald the arrival of the king who every ten minutes would knight kids who were having birthdays or older guys who had finished boot camp or people who just wanted to be knighted for fun. (I’m guessing another $20.00.) We also had our picture taken with the queen when we walked in – that would’ve been another $20.00 (they take your picture at the table for $10.00). The picture with the queen turned out well – but I resisted. By the way, I did have a buy one ticket, get one free deal for the overall price.

Finally we were ushered into the banqueting hall – we were on the green team. The food included tomato-bisque soup (fairly good), a half chicken (fairly good), garlic bread (good), a half baked potato (good), a spare rib (fairly good) and a delectable apple turnover which was light, flaky and warm. (I don’t remember the food being very good or that MUCH food the last time I was there several years ago for my niece’s birthday.) Oh, and you don’t get silverware – you eat with your fingers.

And then the games began – with a rather convoluted story about a missing prince. Entertainment included a segment with horses – one that could walk on his two back feet and another that literally jumped in the air. (I know, I know, horses jump over things all the time, but this one jumped straight up.)  A falconer who had his falcon flying around the arena over our heads. Finally, the knights from the different sections competed for the championship.  Our’s did ok, but the king got angry with him and said he (the king) was boss.  Oh, well …

With much fanfare, the games concluded and we walked back through the crowded lobby and out into the still snow-filled air. (Once again resisting the offer to buy our quite good $20.00 picture with the queen.)

On the way home we stopped in a deserted land for our knight in shining t-shirt to conquer his own kingdom.