Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sonoran Getaway...

I'm back from our retreat and still catching up on sleep, housework and clean-up from the event. My house is pretty much a disaster from several weeks of neglect, but Terry and I are going out of town again this weekend anyway. This time it will be all relaxation and fun! The house and mess can wait a few more days for attention.

This weekend we're hoping to see some evidence of fall. We're going to Payson, which isn't the best place for fall color, but several different sources list places to go near Payson to see the changing leaves. We wanted to go somewhere different and hopefully less crowded than the old standbys like Sedona. I'm sure we'll have fun with the Haugens and Thrushes even if we don't see much color. We always manage to make great memories.

We had an amazing time at the Leadership Catalyst retreat, but since I was working, I wasn't able to fully relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. I did have a little bit of free time on Friday and Saturday evenings and was able to get out and take a few photos. Here are a few of my favorites. Most of them were taken without a flash to try to catch the lights in the background.

My favorite place at the resort is the huge patio with 4 or 5 open firepits and 2 chimineas for relaxing, chatting and lounging on the overstuffed chairs. It creates such a magical spot with a view of the city lights in the distance at night. On Saturday night, after the evening session we were hoping for a good seat by the fire. Unfortunately, the patio was full of U of A students with their parents, who were there for parent's weekend. The hotel was totally booked!

Oh well, next time we'll get a place by the fire. This time we managed to sit at a dark lower patio area with no fire nearby. We had a great view of the city lights though and wonderfully awesome company! Guess what the main topic of conversation was? Blogging! We educated a few of our friends on the art and value of blogging. We laughed a lot about Linda's Pyrex postings and the culture of the blogging world!

This picture is of some of the gang that helped to make the retreat such a success. Of course, God was the key to all of it. The authors/speakers were simply amazing in delivering a life-changing message of grace and we had a great team back at the office that played a huge role in the detailed preparation over the last several months. These ladies were primarily at the retreat as a support to their husbands, but they were so sweet to help me too. (Left to right) Don was there for tech support & Carol helped me with whatever I needed at the moment. The surf board was there for decoration. Michele was a big help in clean up and moral support for the band. Her husband, Rand was a hit in the music department on Saturday night and Sunday. Linda drove down late Saturday night (you go girl!) and was also a big help on Sunday afternoon with clean up. Randy was the leader of the music and did an amazing job in putting together a fun and worshipful collection of songs. I was there for the details and Terry was there as a guitarist, mandolin player, background vocalist, my moral support as well as roommate & companion. What a fun group to hang out with and a treasure to have them as friends!!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I haven't done much posting in recent days because I've been busy preparing for an event for Leadership Catalyst. It's going to be held in Tucson, AZ at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort.

It will be a 4-day retreat for potential partners to introduce them to our ministry's mission and vision. We're expecting about 60-70 people for a fun time of teaching and lots of free time for relaxing. Of course, I won't get to do too much relaxing since I'm the Event Manager and I'll be trying to make sure everything looks like it's going smoothly. Right now I'm feeling pretty good about the last few days of preparations (except for the fact that my right eye won't stop twitching). The shopping is all done, now we need to finish up the printing and putting things together. Oh, we still have tons of things to get done in the next 3 days, but I feel like the team has a pretty good handle on it right now...of course, once we get to the resort a new set of challenges will begin.

I really need to remember to trust God with the event and I really want to see Him work in the lives of all of the people there. I have no doubt that the teaching will be awesome. They're going to be introducing principles from the new book that they're working on. Besides, that's why I work there. I love the wisdom that God brings out of the three authors, Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch. (If you Google their names you'll get quite a bit of info about them.)

I'm really very excited about the variety of people that are coming too. They'll be from the U.S. and Canada from many different walks of life. Some seemingly successful and some visibly hurting. And I always remember what our friend John Lynch says..."There are no together people in this world; only people who dress better." With that in mind, we know that everyone who comes has needs that only the Creator can meet. We will hopefully be tools to that end this week...

If you check out the link to the resort site you'll see that it's a pretty awesome resort, so I'm really hoping to get an hour here or there to actually relax...and maybe take some pictures too. The event starts Thursday night so I'll get there Thursday morning to set up. Terry's coming down on Friday afternoon/evening and will stay through the end of the retreat on Sunday. I may not get to spend much time with him, but he can enjoy the resort even if I'm busy with the event. He's going to be playing guitar and mandolin at the retreat on Saturday night and Sunday morning with our friends Randy Thompson and Rand Mozingo. They'll be doing some 60's style music at dinner Saturday night for atmosphere, then will be leading the worship time on Sunday morning. They sound awesome when they play together. We'll have to figure out a way to record them so I can post some of their music.

Side note: Randy will be having his annual FREE Christmas concert in Phoenix on December 2nd so if you're in the area, mark your calendars and come on by. He should have details on his web site about it soon.

Anyway, now you have fair warning that I may not be posting until next week...then again, you just never keep checking once in a while just in case.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

LOVE LOVE LOVE Steve Nash's new look!!!!!

Doesn't he look so much better with short hair? And the scruffy beard isn't bad either. Take a look at these before and after. WOW!

Now he won't be messing with it all the time during the games either.

So can you believe that preseason has started? The Phoenix Suns (my favorite team ever) played in Cologne, Germany today. Sad that they lost...they're saving all the best stuff for the real season, right?

I can't wait for the season to start. We really want to get GOOD tickets to at least one game this year. They're so much fun to watch! Maybe Terry will get some tickets through work...we'll hope for the best. If you hear of any good sources for buying good seats, let me know...we're willing to pay a reasonable amount.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tempe's Way Out West Oktoberfest...quite an experience...

Now that the kids are grown and gone we have more time on our hands to go out and explore the town and experience some of the local events. That was our plan last night. Jay was hungry for some brats, so he & Sharon asked us if we wanted to go to the Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake. None of us had been there before, so we were up for the adventure.

Instead of listing a long narrative about the night, I thought I'd just do a quick recap of some of the highs and lows.

Pluses (scale of 1-5) :
+++++ PHOTO OPS - I got a great shot of the Tempe bridge and a few other fun shots.
+++++ WEATHER - It was a perfectly gorgeous fall evening with a full moon and all.
++++ LEDERHOSEN - Check out the great lederhosen on the accordian player. People REALLY used to wear these. My old boss, Stefan grew up in Germany and he wore them as a kid, maybe 25 years ago.
++++ GERMANS - I overheard a few folks speaking German. I just wonder what they thought of the event. I was actually in Germany in October once and ended up going to an Oktoberfest with a couple of co-workers (as their designated driver). I must say, it wasn't too much different...pretty much a big drinking party with music and dancing. (Except in Germany they play music from 2 decades ago.)
++++ FOOD & BEVERAGE - Brats "mit Kraut" was very tasty. The Sauerkraut had kind of a sweet taste...interesting and good, Sharon said the raspberry ice tea was good but pricey. Roasted corn on the cob was excellent. Kokopelli Gewurztraminer wine wasn't bad either. We just shared one glass between all of us for a taste. We had the most fun trying to pronounce the name throughout the night.
++++ POLICING - The Tempe police were doing an excellent job! They must have to be so patient with all those rambunctious kids all over the place. I admire their commitment.
+++ MUSIC - polka band at the wine booth-entertaining, Flugelhorn and accordian duet at the entrance - fun! Other bands-didn't really get close enough to notice.
++ PRICING - Good news is that there wasn't a specific admission charge, but they made up for it other places - $6 for a large ice tea is a bit steep even if you do get a refill for $1. I guess it could have been worse. We could have had to pay for admission AND pay the high food prices like you do at the sporting events.
++ BEER GARDEN - Well what can you expect when its within walking distance of one of the largest universities in the country. VERY crowded. Lines VERY long (like 30 minutes or more). There appeared to be a good selection of beers on the menu board, but Jay and Terry weren't interested in waiting in the long lines to try anything. As a mom, I'm actually thankful for the long lines because hopefully it slowed down some of the drinking for those college kids who are so far from home.
++ PARKING - Trolley shuttles were a good idea, but they didn't have enough shuttles running to keep up with the crowds. There was close to a half hour wait to catch the shuttle to get back to our car. Driver was friendly and people were generally courteous.
- DRUNKS - no plusses here...we saw drunks from every age range from college to retirement age and we left by about 9:00 pm! Lowlights were seeing the people who needed help to walk, the guy "losing his lunch" and all that beer on the sidewalk next to the trolley stop...that was lovely. A great welcome for the arriving guests. The young man on the shuttle that was loud and obnoxious and clearly intoxicated boasting about being the designated driver for his group. The young lady who was pulled over by the police one block from the parking lot (probably for drunk driving). I imagine it wasn't a fun night for her, but better than having her on the streets.

Overall impression +++ Average- I probably wouldn't go again. It looked like there were some fun rides and inflatable houses for the kids, but I wouldn't recommend taking them at night. If you just want to party and forget who you are, you'd probably rate it much higher.

Well, this turned out to be longer than I thought...sorry.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pt. Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove just after sunset. It's a pretty cool place. The photo of Kevin was taken at the beach generally across the road from the lighthouse. Ever since he could walk he has LOVED to climb on rocks and throw rocks in the water. He could do it for days, I think. I like the graininess of Kevin's photo. I think he looks like an Ambercrombie model. Click to enlarge for the best view.

There's really no reason for these particular photos today, I was just testing the uploading capabilities on Blogger because I've been having issues with it.

For some reason today I'm able to upload regular digitals taken with my camera but not able to upload photos that I've scanned. Why would that be? I can't figure it out. Is anyone else having issues?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hey is anyone else having trouble uploading pics to blogger? I tried the other night and couldn't do any and I've tried tonight and was only able to get one in about 10 tries.

My friend, Scott is also having trouble. Has anyone else had problems over the last few days? Have you heard anything about any issues?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

In the spirit of all that is Autumn...

Here's a fun pic of Amy & Kevin the first Halloween that we spent in SCV 1986.

Amy was a ballerina in a hand-me-down tutu (is that how you spell it?) and Kevin was a farmer, of course. We generally created costumes from thrift store finds and they turned out o.k. Nothing spectacular, but they had fun. The kids both have pretty creative minds so the fun was in the ideas, not necessarily the costumes.

Let's's a list of a few of the costumes that they wore, not in any order. Sometime I'll post some of the pics.

Indiana Jones
Lumberjack with full beard
Mormon Missionary
Peter Pan
A Nerd
A Bum
A Hippie

Bunch of grapes
50's girl
70's girl
Gift-wrapped present
Black Cat

I know there's more, I just have to dig more through my old photo boxes. Some day I'm going to do a scrap book album just of their Halloween pictures. They are just so DARN CUTE!


A fun show to watch!

The Amazing Race

O.k., I'm admitting it. I watch a reality TV show. Only one, and it happens to be the one that's been awarded the Best Reality Show Emmy for 4 years in a row! If you haven't seen it, you should. While most reality shows are quite contrived, this one is much less so. It's all about the challenge of the adventure and the people are real, not humans on steroids like in most other shows.

This season, I haven't quite decided who I want to cheer for...maybe the single moms, Lyn & Karlyn or David & Mary, the couple from the hills of Kentucky. They seem to be the ones who need the money the most. So far there aren't any clear heroes or sweethearts. I do kind of like the brothers, Erwin & Godwin. They seem like nice guys so far.

Anyway, if you haven't seen it, take a look on Sunday nights. It's a lot of fun and you get to see some great scenery from all around the world!

...oh and there's always the host, Phil. He's a peach!

Monday, October 02, 2006

I finally set up my new photo scanner. Here's the first test photo. The original pic isn't very clear and is an old polaroid so I don't know (yet) how to improve the color, if I can at all.

This is a picture that Ernie had found and gave back to me when we met him and Joanna for dinner in July. I don't remember ever seeing this picture before. I don't know where it was taken and I don't know who's car I was sitting on. It has an AA bumper sticker on the back so it could be my dad's car, I'm not sure. The back of the picture says it was taken Dec 29, 1973, which means I was 15 and in the middle of my sophomore year of high school. This was one of my most favorite dresses. I usually don't get very attached to clothes, but this one I really loved! I think it was considered to be a "midi" which means that it came to about mid-calf. I went through the eras of the mini, the micro-mini, midi and maxi...every length of dress you could imagine.

Anyway...more old pictures to come! This will be fun! Can I have a month off work to play with my pictures, please?
Down the road and back again... this is the name of my blog for now. It makes me think of adventures and traveling and looking forward and reminiscing. It also makes me think about moving to California then back to Arizona. I know it's not too creative, but that's all I've got for now.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lego Church

Check out this church made of Legos! This lady named Amy, built it in her living room. Pay special attention to the FAQs and all the great photos that she has. It's a little "churchy" for my taste but she thought of everything, even a baptismal, and a drinking fountain.

Living in the Room of Grace...

This morning was a 4 tissue Sunday.

If you know me, to say that I cry easily is an understatement. Kodak commercials do it. A crack in someone's voice or even a hesitation when I know they're trying to collect themselves can do it. It's hopeless. I've given up trying to stop it, so I just go with the "flow" so to speak (pardon the pun).

I cry a little bit nearly every Sunday at church, but some days are worse than others (although I don't consider it to be a bad thing). I feel bad for the people who sit near me just because I'm sure they're trying to figure out what's so upsetting. Is she a non-Christian that's realizing her need for Christ? Is she struggling with some hurt or sin that she can't let go of? What is it that's making her cry all these tears? The good news is that it's usually happy crying. Oh, there are times when it's a struggle over something, but the majority of the time God just fills me with the reality of how much HE really LOVES ME!!! It happens so much since we've been back at Open Door Fellowship. Listen to the messages. They post them online. They're ALWAYS awesome and full of the reminders of our identity in Christ and His gift of grace. WOW!

Anyway, this morning was wonderful as usual. Randy picked a couple of my favorite songs and the guys played beautifully: I Can only Imagine by Mercy Me (I want that played at my funeral by the way.) and Enough by Jeremy Camp, (Choose the "Carried Me" CD at the website and you can hear a bit of the song).

Stuart Black gave the message. He talked about Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19:16-30. He talked of how Jesus could have slammed him for what he said, but instead chose to demonstrate that unfathomable love and grace that He has for all of us. Boy, is He a patient God! How sad that the ruler chose his own earthly riches over following Christ. I am so glad that I chose Christ so many years ago. I haven't ever regretted it!

I don't know exactly what it was that I heard that touched my heart so strongly today, maybe a combination of things, but before I knew it I was overwhelmed by the love of God and the reality that I'm one of his special children and that's all I really need to know to get through any day or situation. It was a good day!
My niece, Heather, her husband, Davis & daughter, Faith were in town for a visit this past week, so we had a little family get together at our house last night.

I'm not sure why, but the noise level always goes up dramatically when my family is together. Is it because everyone's trying to be heard or what? I kind of feel sorry for the visitors who aren't used to us. It can be overwhelming at times...just ask Terry and Andrew.

There's always laughing, talking, hugging, eating, kids running around, and sometimes even debating...although we try to steer clear of that as much as possible. My family comes from every range of opinion you can imagine; from relatively conservative (me) to extremely liberal (my sister Sharon). Note: Our birthdays are one year and one day apart. If this doesn't make you skeptical about astrology, I don't know what would.

Anyway, we try to love each other and get along no matter what. We've learned over the years to appreciate the things we have in common and tolerate the things we don't. It's been a great learning in communications to grow up in a family with 8 very different personalities and be married to a man in a family with 8+ very different personalities.

Last night we had dinner together, then celebrated Faith's 4th birthday since they were in Kansas on her big day. I think this was her 3rd or 4th party. That's what happens in big families, you just can't do it all at once so you spread it out over days and weeks. She was so cute...opening each present then rushing over to give a hug to the person who gave it to her. She's such a loving little girl...and so much fun!

The picture at the top is of three of the 2nd cousins. Faith is in the middle. They were so cute together!

Kassidy is becoming such a beautiful little girl. Notice the fake tattoo on Kassidy's arm. I realized once in the evening that she was comparing her "tattoo" to Andrew's real one. How funny!

The boys, Josh and Jacob always look like little cherubs, although I'm sure their parents would say they don't always act that way. I still can't tell who's who since I don't see them often enough.

It's so fun to watch all the kids interacting. Some day hopefully we'll have some grandkids of our own.

I know our kids will be great parents. How awesome will that be...when the time is right. No pressure!

Blogging and scrapbooking have really made me realize the importance of preserving memories and building a legacy for this next generation. I realize how much fun it is to look at old photos and read accounts from past generations. I hope they enjoy what we leave behind when they get here.