Sunday, November 26, 2006

Dozens of reasons to be thankful...

I know that many people have a difficult time around the holidays, due to pain, or loss, or illness or sadness. I’ve always felt that God has given me so much more than I deserve. I guess that’s what grace is all about, right? Getting something that we don’t deserve? Amazing, isn’t it. (Grace= the free and unmerited favor of God). Oh, I’ve experienced my share of losses, but often I feel as though there’s a protective hedge around my immediate family that doesn’t allow in too much pain. I also know that this may not always be the case. We all experience various trials and tests, but I hope that even when the hard times come, I’ll still be able to say thank you to God for walking with me through it all.

In light of the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the blessings that I’ve received even just recently…I’m thankful that

We made it through the last 2 years of craziness with a move from California, Terry being out of work for 6 months, both of us changing jobs, moving twice, remodeling a house, and both of our kids’ weddings being 6 weeks apart.

I have a wonderful husband who loves me and takes great care of me.

Our daughter, Amy is somehow able to juggle, a new marriage, work, school and fun and is almost finished with her Master’s degree at ASU.

Our son, Kevin graduated from the Defense Language Institute with a certificate in Mandarin Chinese.

Kevin made it through Air Force survival training safely, despite rain, mud, freezing temperatures, and stressful physical and mental treatment.

Our children are healthy, gifted adults who enjoy life.

Our children have wonderful loving spouses that are supportive, encouraging, patient and loving, who would do anything for them.

Our children have in-laws that love, encourage and pray for them.

Our extended families are healthy and safe.

Our nephew, Russell came home safely from Iraq.

We have a fantastic comfortable home that we can share with friends, families and much more.

Terry and I both have good jobs that support and encourage us.

We have the freedom to attend church and worship God whenever we want.

We have a wonderful church home at Open Door Fellowship where we’re learning what it means to trust God and others with who we are.

We have amazing friends all around the country who have always been there for us through all of our ups and downs.

We have opportunities to travel and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation all around us.

We have been blessed with so much more than we deserve in relation to physical and material things.

We are in excellent health.

We live in a country where we’re free to do and be whatever we want to.

I can dream, plan and explore in whatever direction my heart takes me.

Most of all, I have an awesome God who walks with me every minute of every day and is totally crazy about me, know matter what I think of myself at any given moment. He has great plans in store for me and all I have to do is trust him with myself.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving in four places...

Location 1: Amy and Andrew had a nice quiet meal at home in their apartment in Tempe and made their first Thanksgiving meal together. It was kind of strange not to have them with us, but we totally understood that they wanted to enjoy their 2nd Thanksgiving holiday as a married couple, to begin some of their own traditions and create some of their own memories. It sounds like they had a beautiful day.

Location 2: Terry and I had dinner at our house with some of the Perkins family. It was our smallest Thanksgiving gathering in a long time, if not ever. For dinner there were only 7 of us! That's less than our original immediate family of 8. We had mom(Grandma Jaye), Sharon and her friend John, Sharon's son Russell (in photo above) and his girlfriend Shannon, Terry and me. We were so thankful to have Russ here this year, now that he's home safely from Iraq.

Diane, Steve and Lisa had dinner with Steve's family since his mom had just been released from the hospital the day before. They joined us later for dessert (lots of pie) and games (Apples to Apples). We had a 19 pound turkey and cooked 10 pounds of potatoes plus much more, so we had plenty of leftovers to send home with those who wanted them and we still have quite a bit here. It's o.k. though, because we like leftovers. It was a gorgeous day outside so we set up the table in the of the perks of living in AZ. The weather was perfect!

Unfortunately I got so involved in being the hostess that I forgot to take pictures when we were eating and playing...another reason why we missed Amy. She always remembers the pictures!

Location 3: Kevin is stationed near Spokane, WA right now and he wasn't able to get home for this holiday. He actually spent Thanksgiving on the base and said that the turkey in the mess hall wasn't too bad.

He and 3 of his (linguist) friends also drove 3 hours south to our friend's house in Mabton, WA and had another turkey dinner on Friday. It was so sweet of Paul & Jane to host this meal for the guys. Of course, they've been loving our kids for decades and this is just another evidence of that. How awesome to have such dear friends there when we can't be!

Location 4: Our new daughter-in-law, Erin was in Santa Clarita with her family there. Ever since Kevin graduated from language school, he's been in Texas and Washington state on assignments that were too short for her to be with him, so she's been living in SCV since the end of September. We look forward to seeing her again and to the time when they'll be together.

Even though we couldn't all be together we're thankful that we could all be with people we enjoy and who love us. That's a true blessing.

Friday, November 24, 2006

NBA All Star Voting

Don't forget to VOTE for our Phoenix Suns to be starters in the NBA All Star Game in February. We actually have enough Suns listed that if they get enough votes, we could have ALL Phoenix Suns as the starting line up. Wouldn't that be AWESOME!

Balloting ends January 21, but you can vote every day, so keep going. You can also enter for a chance to win a trip to the All Star Game. Wouldn't that be cool...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Thanksgiving Prayer
(from a friend of a friend)

Glorious God,

how curious,
and what a confession
that we should set aside one day a year
and call it Thanksgiving.
I smile at the presumption,

and hope you smile, too.
But the truth is,
Holy Friend,
That my words can't carry all the praise
I want them to
or that they should,
no matter how many trips they make.

So this day,
all is praise and thanks
for all my days.
I breathe and it is your breath that fills me.
I look and it is your light by which I see.
I move and it is your energy moving in me.
I listen and even the stones speak of you.
I touch and you are between finger and skin.
I think and the thoughts are but sparks
from the fire of your truth.
I weep and your Spirit broods over me.
I long and it is the tug of your kingdom.

Oh Glorious One,
for this curious day,
for the impulses that have designated it,
for the gifts that grace it,

for the gladness that accompanies it,
for my life,
for those through whom I came to be,
for friends through whom I hear and
greater worlds than I otherwise would,
for all the doors of words and music and worship
through which I pass to larger worlds,
and for the One who brought a kingdom to me
I pause to praise and thank you
with this one more trip of words

which leaves too much uncarried,
but not unfelt, unlived, unloved.


Monday, November 20, 2006


"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: ‘Wow! What a ride!'" – Robert Wickman

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Creative People - Part II

O.k. since I'm getting flack about not including my son and daughter-in-law in the list, I'll continue now that I'm back home.

Update on Kevin - here's a link to the Pranczar And Vyxx'n website where he and Shawn Thompson recorded a couple of a' cappella songs, just being their crazy selves. They constantly keep us entertained when they're together.

Andrew, our son-in-law is also very creative. He works doing custom framing of artwork and does an awesome job! Soon he's going to be learning how to do audio engineering and I'm sure his creative juices will show up there as well.

Erin, our daughter-in-law is also quite talented. She plays the violin beautifully, is learning to scrap book (due to peer pressure) and loves to decorate with Shabby Chic. I look forward to being able to spend more time discovering her many gifts in the months and years to come.

John Lynch is my friend, one of my bosses, the teaching pastor at Open Door Fellowship, one of the authors of the book TrueFaced, an amazing speaker and quite a creative hilarious guy.

He can deliver a message filled with the grace of God that everyone can understand, he makes you laugh and cry, does drama and accents and writeslife-changing inspiring words. I love to hear him share his heart through preaching and the written word. God has given him a real gift for communication and I'm proud to know him.

Update on Terry: I was looking online for any links that might refer to his old band, Glory Road and besides a ton of stuff about the recent basketball movie, look what I found. Glory Road the gospel quartet! (for those who don't know, this is NOT my husband's band) Or did you want to buy a copy of the old album? Exit - Glory Road

Gary DeLacy is our friend that does all kinds of graphic design in So Cal. He does album covers, and much more. He actually designed and created our wedding invitation, which was printed on clear plastic (acetate or something). It was way cool! He designed the Glory Road album cover as well. One of these days when I have time to dig through my stuff, I'll find these & post them for you to see. This photo shows some of his album cover work.

He often has created great custom Christmas cards and one year he did one with a picture of Pope John Paul II on the front with a Christmas greeting in Polish on the inside. He actually sent one of the cards to the Vatican and got a nice note back from the Pope!

Mark Converse - Terry was privileged to play regularly with Mark at Placerita Baptist church where we attended in Santa Clarita. Mark is an amazing professional drummer and percussionist who's played with dozens of orchestras, ensembles and shows. If you Google his name you'll see him listed on many many albums as well. Terry always looked forward to Christmas time when he and Mark had a chance to do a few duets of old Christmas favorites with guitar and percussion. Generally I'm not big on the drums, often they are too overpowering and over shadow the vocals (which I think are very important). Mark is one of the few drummers that I really looked forward to hearing. He is so tasteful and knows just what to add to a song. I LOVE listening to him play.

Bernie Rolfe (photo right) has been a singer, musican, song writer, record producer, arranger, choir director, band leader and inspiration to me since I was 16 years old. He was my choir teacher in high school which was so fun! (I told him about the job opening.)

Even though I had no musical training, he recruited me into a singing group called Shira, where I had the pleasure of singing and sharing Christ with hundreds of people in Arizona through the outreach ministry, Hand in Hand. He's always been a great encouragement to me and he gives awesome big bear hugs!

Well, I could go on and on but these are just a few people who have and continue to inspire me to think and act creatively. I'm so thankful for all of their involvement in my life.
Creative People!

I have been so blessed to rub shoulders with many creative people in my life. I love the creative arts, but have probably a thimble full of creativity and talent compared to most of these people. Check out their work and enjoy the gifts that God gave them!!!

Randy and Linda Thompson are dear friends and Randy's the worship pastor at our church. We've known them for almost 30 years. Yes, he's that old, even though he doesn't look it. Check out Randy's site and come to his concert if you can. You won't regret it. The rest of the family, Linda, Shawn, Miranda and Tyler are very gifted as well! You'll see links to some of their blogs at the right.

Dave Argentati is a friend that we've known since the late 70's. We lost track of each other for a while, but now we've reconnected. He was in a band with Terry and played an awesome steel guitar as well as other things. He's still writing and performing. You'll also see that our old friend and amazing guitar and bass player, Greg Williams is on his recordings.

Obadiah Parker is a musical trio that are friends with my daughter, Amy. They sang at Amy & Andrew's wedding and Matt wrote an amazing song just for them. Love 'em!!

Scott Crozier
has been my friend since elementary school. It's hard to see all of his creative talents from his blog, but believe me, he's a gifted musician, writer and artist!

Craig Yoe - I had the privilege of getting to know Craig when I was 15 years old as a new Christian in Ohio. He was arrested for preaching in the streets at that time. He's a wild man, as you'll see from his web site!!! He (with God's help) was actually responsible for telling me about Hand in Hand when we moved to Arizona, so he's indirectly responsible for me meeting my husband and the basic course of my life and he doesn't even know it. Crazy, how God works, huh?

Our daughter, Amy is a wonderfully gifted photographer, scrap booker, vocalist, and actress. I look forward to seeing where God takes her with her gifts and talents.

Our son, Kevin has been blessed with an amazing gift for comedy. He also plays guitar and bass, has a wonderful tenor voice and loves to write.

My husband, Terry is a gifted musician. He plays guitar, bass, mandolin, a little bit of banjo and a mean harmonica. He doesn't have a website or blog, but some day, I hope to post a song or two that he's played and/or arranged.

There's more for this list, but I'm on my way out the door so I'll have to stop here for now. Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Forever Friends:

We just found out that our gathering of "forever friends" is going to be held this year at the Mozingo's and we're really excited!

The Mozingo's house is way out west of Phoenix in Waddell. They built the adobe home themselves, brick by brick and its loaded with character. This is their front door and one of the doorknobs in their house. Aren't they awesome! The two outdoor shots give you an idea of what their backyard and the firepit looks like. We love going there because it feels like we're in another world far beyond the city.

This annual gathering started around 20 years ago after Terry, the kids and I moved to California. We started coming back to Phoenix to visit family and friends during the week between Christmas and New Year's and started a tradition of setting aside one night to gather with some of the families that we were closest with when we lived here. When we started this tradition, all of our kids were very young and now almost all of them are college age, married or out of the house. I don't think we've missed a year since we started, a couple of decades ago and now that we've moved back to Phoenix, the tradition continues. The core group has always remained the same: Haugens, Hanns, Thrushes and Thompsons. The Rolfes have joined us off and on and the Mozingos have joined the clan regularly in the past several years.

Every year, usually sometime around New Year's weekend all of the families gather at one of our homes and have great food, fellowship, fun and often a fire either inside or out. The parents hang out and catch up on the latest family news and the "kids" hang out and do what kids do. Often times there will be story telling, playing of instruments, singing, etc. usually by the kids as they've grown older and joined the parents in their respective musical talents.

We cherish this get-together every year and can't wait for another one. Over the last few years boyfriends, girlfriends, fiances and now spouses have joined the group, so our numbers have grown to nearly 30 and will continue to grow as more mates come along and when the grandkids start showing up. How cool! In the past few years Nicole, Jed, Andrew and Erin have joined the group. We're so blessed to have such an amazing group of friends that have stayed close even though we lived in two different states for 18 years. What a testimony to God's love and grace in our lives. We've all stuck together through thick and thin, laughter and tears, pain and sorrow and we're so thankful for each one of them in our lives. Our kids have often shared about their hope of keeping the same kind of friendships as they move into adulthood. What a precious treasure we have been given!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Quiet weekend...

With Terry in Vegas winning the big bucks (ha ha) and me taking a day off on Friday, I had a wonderfully quiet weekend at home. Even as married couples we all need some alone time. This is what I chose to do with my time. Feel free to skip over this if it's too boring. I may add a couple of photos later.

  • Friday - cleaned the house and did all the laundry - so I could forget about it the rest of the weekend. I also FINALLY repotted a couple plants that had been crying out to me for months. They're much happier now that they can stretch their roots in bigger pots.
  • Friday night - 3 of my dearest girlfriends, Sharon, Linda and Julie, came over with the original plan of doing scrap booking or crafts together. Three of us were tired from having busy days so we chose to just sit and not do crafts...I don't know if Linda ever gets tired so she worked on sorting and filing some memorabilia while we watched her. We all shared food, fellowship, friendship, stories about what's happening in our lives, stories about our kids, a few tears and lots of love and laughs. These ladies know me better than anyone on the planet (except maybe my husband). I would give the world for them and know they'd do the same for me. God has blessed me with these wonderful friendships, each one being unique and sacred, for close to 30 years and I hope they'll be around for 30 more. I thank God for every time we get to be together.
  • Saturday - slept in, lounged around the house and sent a bunch of emails about holiday plans to friends and family. I also created a wish list so my kids would have some ideas for Chrismas gifts since they always say they don't know what to get me.
  • Saturday night - had dinner with Sharon, shared more tears and laughs and went shopping at Kierland. Picked up a few Christmas gifts and some new Christmas decorations. You'd think after 29 years of marriage that I would have enough decorations, but noooo....they're always coming out with cool new stuff.
  • Sunday morning- posted my turkey recipe on my blog then went to church at Open Door.
  • Sunday mid-day-attended a lunch to begin establishing a community for artistic and creative people at ODF. Not that I'm hugely creative, but I love the process and love creative people, so I went.
  • Sunday - 3:00 - picked up my mom and met my two sisters for Chinese food and a movie in Deer Valley. We saw "One Night with the King" which is very loosely based on the book of Esther in the Bible. Unfortunately, I wouldn't recommend it. It was hard to follow and I know the story, not really well acted and pretty slow-moving. It doesn't really follow the book of Esther accurately either so not really worth the price.
  • Sunday evening - Came home and created an inventory of the Christmas gifts that I've already bought, so I know what else I need to buy. I always end up with more gifts for the girls (Amy & Erin) because they're so much easier to buy for. I'll even it out before we're done. Now I'm blogging and checking email and I'll be leaving in just a few minutes to go pick up Terry from the airport.
That's it. That was my weekend. Sounds pretty dull, but was wonderful for me...lots of fellowship with people I care about. One thing I realized is that the more time I have at home, the more I want to be home. One of my goals for 2007 is to figure out a way to cut back on my work, even if I only get one more day a week at home. That would be so helpful for my soul!

Home Group

We go to a home group twice a month with some new and old friends from our church. God has already knit our hearts together in less than a year of knowing many of these folks. We enjoy just getting together and sharing what's going on in our lives, encouraging one another and praying for each other. We had a small group on Thursday. There were about 6-8 people who couldn't come, but we still had a great time.

Randy & Linda are always such wonderful hosts. Their home is so welcoming inside and out. When the weather's right, we sit out in their backyard by the fire with white lights in the tree. It's magical!

I took a few pics last time we met. The ones without flash are blurry of course, but I like the glow. I asked for a remote control for my camera for Christmas so next year I'll be able to take these pictures on a tri-pod with my remote without making the camera shake. Won't that be cool!


So Amy and a couple of other people asked me to post my recipe for turkey.

It's great because you can put your turkey in the night before. YES, the NIGHT BEFORE you want to eat it and you wake up in the morning with the delicious aromas filling the house. Another awesome thing about this recipe is that even if you cook a large turkey, it comes out moist and tender.

I first found the recipe in a book by Emilie Barnes called "The Complete Holiday Organizer". I was going to add a link to buy the book, but it appears to be out of print. Sorry. For those of you who haven't heard of her, she is/was a "Christian" version of Martha Stewart before anyone ever heard of The Martha. Some of her stuff is a little too fru-fru for our blue collar heritage, but she has some fun ideas and some great recipes. This is one of them. Apparently Emilie still has a web site. You can see it here. I'm going to include the text from the book to give you some background. I hope you try it and enjoy it. It's SO easy!

"Perfect Turkey Every Time"

" Trust me on this one. The white meat melts in your mouth. This is a SLOW roasting method, but once in the oven, you can forget it until it comes out.

Choose desired size turkey, wash it well, and remove the neck and giblets from inside the cavity. Dry turkey with paper towels, lightly salt the cavity and stuff with dressing of your choice, if desired. Rub the outside well with pure olive oil.

Put the turkey BREAST side down (this bastes itself, making the white meat very moist) on a rack in a roasting pan.

Put into a 300 degree F preheated oven for one hour to destroy bacteria on the surface. Then adjust the heat to 180-185 degrees for any size turkey.

This is important. The turkey can go in the oven the night before eating it!

Example: I have a 22 pound turkey. At 5:00 p.m. Thanksgiving Eve I put the turkey in the oven prepared at 300 degrees for one hour. I turn the temperature down to 185 degrees and leave the turkey uncovered until it's done the NEXT day about 10 or 11 a.m.

Although the cooking times seem startling at first , the meat is amazingly delicious, juicy and tender. It slices beautifully and shrinks so little that a turkey cooked at regular temperatures no longer tastes good. It cannot burn so it needs no watching. It literally cooks itself. " I do feel the need to baste every once in a while, but that's probably more habit than anything, besides I like to open the oven and smell the turkey.

A good rule for timing is about 3 times longer than a standard recipe. For example: a 20 pound turkey that normally takes 15 minutes per pound to cook would take 5 hours. This slow cook method would be 3 times 5, so it equals 15 HOURS to cook the slow way. A smaller turkey cooks 20 minutes per pound, so an 11 pound turkey takes 3 hours, 40 mins standard, times 3 which equals 11 hours for the slow roast way.

Now here's the cool part. Once it's done, it will NOT overcook or dry out. You can leave it in the oven an additional 3 - 6 hours and it will still be perfect! Thus your roasting can be adjusted totally to your convenience. So allow yourself plenty of time. It's better to put it in a little early than too late though, since you want to be sure that it's done. That's it. That's all you need to do. Can it be more simple?

One item I need to point out. If your family actually puts the whole turkey on the table as a nice presentation, then you need to know that cooking it breast side down will not be quite as pretty as the picture above. If you're like our family and you just take it out of the oven and slice it up on platters, no one will even know that you cooked it upside-down.

New idea: Now with all that said, I saw a show on the Food Network last night that had a recipe for a way to prepare the turkey before putting it in the oven. I may try this recipe from Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Thanksgiving show, but I will still use the slow roasting method above for cooking, because it is so delicious.

Have fun and let me know how your dinners turn out.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Viva Las Vegas!

So this is the weekend for Terry's annual Las Vegas trip with the guys. He's been doing this trip in the Fall with the same 3 guys, that used to go to our old church, for at least 15 years, maybe more. They always go during football season. When we lived in Santa Clarita, they all drove together (a 4-5 hour drive one-way) and played radio music trivia games all the way. Now since we live in AZ, Terry just flies up and meets them there. The other 3 guys, Mark, Greg and Kent are all teachers so they also spend a lot of time razzing Terry about all the time off they get, that he doesn't. But the real goal of the weekend is football, football and even more football.

They get there sometime on Friday, check into as cheap a hotel as they can get without being too sleazy and make their plans. Basically they do the same thing every year. Scope out the best sports book(the middle picture is the inside of a sport book if you haven't seen one) and get there really early on Saturday morning so they can get great seats. Then they sit ALL DAY and watch college football (and any other sport that happens to be televised) on dozens of TV screens including several that are usually over 10 feet tall. They love to just sit there and be able to see ALL the games ALL the time.

It's like heaven for them!

Some of the sports books even have "personal" TVs right at their chair so they can watch the most important game up close and personal. They may place small bets on a few games, but that's not really the main point. It's pretty much just to get their fill of football (for that weekend, at least). Then Saturday night when the games are over, they'll find a good Vegas buffet and have dinner, probably hang out in the evening at one of the casinos, then hit the sack to start again the next day. Now on Sunday it's pretty much the same, except of course, that it's PRO football. So once all the games wind down at the end of the day, the teachers pile into their car for the long drive home and Terry hops on a plane headed for Phoenix.

A few interesting items to point out. We have been friends with these guys and their families for nearly 20 years, but now we really only get to connect a few times a year and only see each other MAYBE once a year. Terry gets to spend the whole weekend with these guys, but when he comes home and I ask how are the kids and the wives and how are things with the guys, he usually says he forgot to ask! They don't seem to talk about anything but football or sports the whole weekend. Crazy huh? Oh well, I guess I'll have to get the important news myself from the wives... I'm glad Terry gets to have a fun weekend away. It does him good...and I get a weekend in the middle of the season with no football. :-)
Terry's a celebrity!

Some of you may know that my husband works for American Funds (a division of the Capital Group). Well check out this website. Capital Group/Careers If you watch the slide show at the top of the page you'll see a photo of Terry with several other employees sitting in their break room. Kinda fun, huh? They sure look like they're having fun!

You may also notice that they have offices in London and Geneva (Switzerland). I asked Terry if he could transfer to one of those for a year or two, but so far no luck.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

First Artful Souls Tour 2006

I'm not going to write much on this since I've been on the computer too long already today. I'm posting some of the highlights of our scrapping tour yesterday. We had a blast and after hitting 5 stores, 1 coffee shop and Wildflower Bread Company, we came home tired, happy and satisfied that we had found lots of treasures!

We started in Tempe, drove to Phoenix, then the East Valley and visited Lucky 15
Annalis Scraptique
Scrapbooks Etc,
Mystic Paper.

Linda did an amazing job on all the planning, research and prep and she even greeted us in the morning with hot coffee, orange juice and fresh baked muffins along with a fun gift to start the day! We're already talking about the next one. Hopefully this time Beckie will get to go too.