Saturday, February 28, 2009

I just had to post this.

I've been sorting old pictures all day and many of them made me smile, but this one made me laugh out loud (several times). It's the look on Amy's face.

I know she was sincere in her affectionate gaze at her new little brother. Come on she wasn't even two years old, but you'd think she was going to grow up to be an actress or something.


What did people do before photographs? It's so fun to look back at these.

Today I started sorting my old printed photos by subject. I realized that when I look thru old pictures, I usually am looking for a picture of "someone" not a specific event or date. So, I'm sorting our photos in separate boxes that way. Here's the categories I have so far:

Amy (includes activities that they participated in school, church, etc.)
Amy & Andrew
Kevin(includes activities that they participated in school, church, etc.)
Amy & Kevin together
Terry & I together with or without the kids
Perkins extended family
Hann extended family
Home & Pets
General (scenery or whatever)

At some point I may sort there even further and I'll scan my favorites, but for now this will help greatly to narrow down the location of photos when I'm searching.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Trip Down Memory Lane...
I'm starting to work on a short slideshow of the history of our church, Open Door Fellowship. I recently attended our Newcomer's Class, even though I started attending over 30 years ago (with an 18 year absence in the middle when we lived in California).

They didn't have a class like this when I started attending when I was 16 years old, so I went to the Newcomer's Class just to see how they describe this unique family when people are new. It was a wonderful reminder of all the reasons that I love this place and hope that we never have to leave again.

Anyway, one of the Sundays they went thru the 30+ year history (which was fun). While they were talking thru it, I had so many pictures pop into my head of the various buildings that we met in, and the people in those "early days" when most of the attenders were hippy Jesus Freaks (in the 70's).

So I offered to work on a slide show that they can use in future classes just to give people a flavor of where we've been. It doesn't need to be anything too long because the newcomers won't really care about too much detail, but I thought it would be fun to give them some visuals just for the big picture. So, I'm starting to try to track down old pictures.

These are a few pictures that I came across of Terry and I and friends from the "early days" when we were each singing in Christian bands. Terry's band, Glory Road, was more rock n roll, and a little bit country rock. The band I was in, Shira, was more of a folk band. We had tons of fun.

If you notice Terry's pictures, he goes from almost no beard to a ZZ Top-type beard. Isn't he just so cute?

My hair was long, I didn't wear make-up and overalls were my very favorite thing to wear. I would still wear them if I could. They were SO comfortable!

The most awesome thing about all of these memories is that we're still in touch with most of these people on a regular basis. The picture at the top is my precious friend, Sharon and me when we were teenagers. She's also in the center of the last picture with her future husband, Jay on the left of the picture. She is still one of my dearest friends. We also just saw two of the guys from Glory Road a few weeks ago when we went to see John, who is still playing guitar. What an amazing gift in this transitional culture to have such sweet friendships that have continued over more than 3 decades.

I really believe that much of that is due to the environment of grace that has been cultivated in this place since the beginning. Don't get me wrong, mistakes are made and people are hurt because we're human, but the goal is to be able to forgive and continue to love each other, no matter what. I am so thankful to be part of this amazing family of God.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A weekend of choices & checking tasks off the list -
Colors, Books and Technology Day

We're getting closer to the reality of getting our house painted! Yea! We are hoping to get price quotes in the coming days and have picked out our paint colors. Saturday we went to Home Depot and picked up samples of the colors and tried them on the outside of the house. Basically I wanted it to be anything other than the beige/tan color family. If you've been to Phoenix, you'll quickly notice that about 90% of the homes are some shade of beige. For those who know me, you know that I LOVE color and just couldn't settle for beige. Nothing against that choice for others, but I just can't do it myself. Now I'm not going to be too radical on the outside of the house, so as not to upset the neighbors, so it's going to be a pale sage green with white trim and a few splashes of fern green here and there. Or to be a little more specific, go to the Behr paint website and look up these colors: Pale Sagebrush, Icy Tundra and Sea Fern. I think these will be good colors to help bring out whatever green we have in the plants in the yard. I can't wait! Next big project will be the landscaping in the front yard. Looking forward to that one too.

I'm very excited about another change around here as well! We've had our wireless network set up for quite a while, but it's also been unsecured for a long time, so anyone - neighbors, strangers, or whoever happens to drive by - could access it with no resistance. Lately we've had some issues with our computers that have concerned me and prompted me to want to reset our password for the wireless connection to protect it against unauthorized access.

So today I dug out the original disk and jumped into the instruction manual to try to figure out how to set up the password again. Now, you need to know that I'm really NOT good at anything relating to hardware on a computer, especially networking and cofiguration, etc. It's all very intimidating for me because I'm afraid I'm going to click the wrong box and everything's going to crash. Also because when I work on this kind of thing, I inevitably come across one or more questions that I have no idea how to answer. In this case, here's just one example: Please choose the encryption type. How in the world am I supposed to know? Both choices are just 3 random letters that mean absolutely nothing to me. Fortunately there were only 2 choices, so I was able to determine it by process of elimination.

Anyway, it took me a few HOURS and I thought I had totally messed up the whole setup at a few points, but I finally stumbled through the process and got it to work like I wanted. The cool thing is that while I was in there, I figured out how to connect wirelessly to our printer and documents from the laptop to the other computer in the office, so I don't have to go back and forth between computers to print or access documents or pictures that are on one or the other. Spiffy, huh?

Now I still have a few technical things that I need to figure out, like:
  • How to get my Outlook to auto-complete my email addresses when I begin to type them. It drives me crazy that it won't do that.
  • How to sync my contacts and calendar from Outlook to my iPod touch. (I may be calling Randy or Shawn - our resident iPod geniuses for help)
  • How to download audio files to my computer, then iPod touch - Terry should be able to help me with this.
So I guess I'll need to have another technology day soon.

Also, my mom has been cleaning closets and is getting rid of some of her books. But, before we give them away, I thought I'd check and see if anyone wants any of the hard covers. There are also quite a few Reader's Digest Condensed books, but I'm guessing that most of the reading purists won't be interested in those. Plus some paperbacks, but most of those are romance novels.

So, open up these pictures and look at the titles. If you're interested in reading any of these books, let me know and I'll set them aside and give them to you when we see you again.

Once we see if anyone wants any of these, we're going to donate what's left to my nephew Daniel's fund raising yard sale in March. He's raising money to go on a basketball mission trip to the Philippine's next summer.

If you have anything you want to get rid of, let us know and we'll have Daniel get in touch with you to pick up your "treasures" before his big sale. Or if you just want to send him a check, let us know that too and we can give you his address.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sweetheart Dinner

Last night Terry and I went to a Sweetheart Dinner and Dance at Open Door. It was a fund raiser for our Marriage Ministry to help defray the costs of the ODF marriage retreats so that all couples can afford to attend. This is such an important ministry that has impacted so many people. Terry and I attended just in the last few years and would have loved to have gone many years earlier because the teaching is so helpful in all areas of life, but especially in that most important one.

I would love to find a way for Amy and Andrew to be able to attend these retreats. The principles taught there are so foundational to a great marriage, that it would be a worthwhile investment in their lives. Now we just need to figure out a way to get them here from So Cal for those weekends, which is tough because Amy works on Friday nights and Andrew works on Saturdays. Well, maybe someday we'll be able to figure out a way.

The team that leads the ministry is the same team that served us last night, along with other amazing cooks in the kitchen.

We had a wonderful relaxing time, eating delicious food and chatting with great friends. I took my camera, but didn't take too many photos since I wanted to enjoy the evening.

Here are just a few to give you a feel for the evening. As mentioned before, the food was delicious and this dessert was so tasty. I can't remember what it was called, but it was basically a chocolate coated, cream filled eclair with raspberry sauce. Mmmmm...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Travel Stock Photography - now that sounds like a great plan!

Check out this great article about this guy's career doing travel stock photography. Note: there are 3 parts so read them all. The photo here is one of his.

It sounds like a perfect way to start small and work up to something full time, plus you can make your own hours.

I also have another idea for making custom greeting cards with photos taken at the gorgeous resorts around AZ. The gift shop at the resort could sell cards (saying things like "I miss you!" or "Wish you were here.") with photos of their own resort. Do you think anyone's doing that already? All I would need is permission to go around and get shots, then they could decide if they want to buy the cards as they go along. I've been thinking about this for a while, but just haven't had the time to follow up on it.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shredder's Lastest Tricks

We've been trying to figure out what's up with Shredder. She's been doing all kinds of things that we haven't seen her do before. Maybe she's becoming senile or maybe she's just being more adventurous in her old age.

I caught her on the kitchen counter in the middle of the night even when I was sitting in the same room. She's also been climbing up on the bathroom counter. No idea why!

We've seen her fairly regularly drinking out of the swimming pool. Fortunately it's a salt water pool so the chlorine's not quite as strong as in other pools. I hope she doesn't fall in.

And she's been sitting on Terry's lap more, even though he says he doesn't like it.

Crazy cat!
A belated Happy Valentine's Day to All!
As always, it's been a busy weekend! I even had today off to spend with my hubby! Yea!

So have I told you lately how much I LOVE flowers? They just make me so happy. And it doesn't have to be anything really expensive like roses or calla lilies or something. I love most any kind of flower. For Valentine's Day, Terry sent me a bouquet of red tulips and purple iris'. They arrived on Thursday all tightly closed but opened up beautifully over the last few days. They even look better today! I just love them! I have probably taken 100 or so pics of just the flowers in different settings and lighting and looks. Aren't they gorgeous? I LOVE them!

I also received some of my favorite chocolate (the Lindt Intense Orange - Dark Chocolate bars) Mmmmmm!
Saturday we had a quiet day at home and at night we made a nice dinner.

Yesterday afternoon we went to the Melting Pot Restaurant which was really nice and a delicious meal. For those who have never been, it's all fondue and you basically prepare your meal yourself. Cheese fondue for dipping veggies, breads, etc. Hot savory vegetable broth for cooking your meats and seafood, then chocolate fondue for dipping all kinds of sweets. They are generally out of our price range, but we had a gift card which helped a lot.

Yes all those desserts were for just the two of us! We had a great meal!

Friday night we went to visit our friend, John Heath play at a local club nearby. We had dinner with him and our other friends, the Brunners before the concert too. I took a few pics and hope to post them soon.

Last night I was working on a new Hawaii photo book and worked on it until 3:30 am, which is unheard of for me. I just really wanted to get it finished so I could submit it for printing. Unfortunately, the program is having some issues right now and I can't seem to complete the process. I submitted the info to technical support, so let's pray that it all gets fixed tomorrow and that the whole thing wasn't lost. This one was over 90 pages, so I will just give up on it if it's lost.

Today Terry and I cleaned the garage. Not the most fun on a holiday, but we are certainly pleased that it is mostly finished and we can actually walk from one side of the space to the other without tripping over various obstacles. It's looking so much better! I'll try to post a before and after soon too. Oh, and I was doing a bit of sorting and came across some great old memorabilia, vintage coffee mugs, and special treasures from when the kids were little that I will also post soon. Just a little more to add to my growing list of pending posts.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Let me know what you did.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Update from Sharon in Kuwait

The wind has stopped blowing. We have had a sandstorm blowing for 3 days. I am told this is called a Shahlam. Here's a link to some pics of a dust storm here last year.

Constant dust, dirt and sand blowing constantly everywhere in everything. This is a regular weather occurrence that lasts 1-3 days.The world as I know it is covered in sand, dirt and dust in my bed, my clothes, hair, skin. I am a bit weakened and rundown from working 7 days a week for months on end. And after what has amounted to inhaling pounds of dust and dirt, my lungs have become a haven for an upper resperitory infection. I cant breathe, coughing,and congested, general unwellness prevails. So, the Shahlam has ended and Inshallah (God willing) I will be leaving here in about 35 days.

I also attended a briefing, which is mandatory for all returning military and deployed civilians. The briefing includes information on financial issues and a chaplain's briefing on readjustment to normal life and suicide prevention. Last month 24 soldiers committed suicide. The highest suicide rate for one month in history. What can someone say about such things? I ask you to think about this issue with your heart and spirit. I think the number speaks for itself. For every
soldier who commits suicide, friends, family, wives and children are left to bear the pain.

So, not only 24 soldiers committed suicide, if that does not give you pause, 24 families were decimated to the point of despair and lifelong heartache. You must hear this with your heart. Enough Said!

As-salaam Alaaikum ( Peace be upon you/Peace be with you )

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Busy weekend!
This weekend was busy with lots of fun things, but busy nonetheless.

Friday, I spent the day with my mom. We went to lunch, then ran a few errands, bought her some shoes at Ross, and stopped to check out a new Goodwill store where I found a top for myself. She thought the prices were too high, plus they had everything generically priced, for example, all long sleeve shirts were 5.99 no matter what the quality. She didn't like that, so we didn't stay too long.

Then while we were waiting for Terry to come over after work, I showed her how to use her new cell phone. She does pretty well for 85. Sometimes she gets a little frustrated and would rather not use a cell phone, but has agreed to carry it with her when she goes out, in case of emergency.

When I picked her up earlier in the day, she let me know that the Glendale Chocolate Affaire was going on this weekend. It's an outdoor chocolate festival that they have every year around Valentine's Day. Since we both LOVE chocolate, Terry and I have talked about going ever since we moved back from California. Mom lives less than a mile from the festival and had never been there herself. Fortunately, I had already set aside the whole day and evening for her, since I wasn't sure what we would be doing, so we decided to check it out that night with Terry.

It was interesting, but I have come to find out that most of these festivals are much too crowded and not nearly as great as they sound. We felt the same way about the Scottsdale Culinary Festival. Just too many people in one place at the same time. Amazingly mom navigated the festival quite handily with her walker. There was a nice policeman that told us we could use the handicapped parking even though she doesn't have a tag for the car, which helped with the walking distance getting TO the festival. Anyway, we bought some chocolate dipped strawberries which were good, sampled several types of fudge, including goat cheese fudge. Terry ended up buying some coconut & chocolate fudge. He also bought the T shirt above as a souvenir. Overall we had a little fun and were glad that we went, but probably won't go back. Once was enough.

Saturday, I went to an all day Nikon Photography seminar. I learned some new techniques and info about my camera and got some great information on multi-day photography workshops offered in the field around Arizona by the "Friends of Arizona Highways". They're a bit pricey, but I'd love to save my money to do one someday. I'm sure it would be a great learning experience.

Today after church, my friend Cathy and I went to the Willo Historic Home Tour in central Phoenix. This is a neighborhood of homes built in the 20's and 30's. A very eclectic neighborhood with all styles of architecture. The tour is also something that I've wanted to do for a long time, but have just always missed it somehow.
I was very pleasantly surprised and will definitely go again...hopefully every year.

These are just a few glimpses into some of the houses.

And I loved watching this little girl playing in the puddles.
Cathy and I already talked about setting aside more time next year and asking some more friends if they want to join us. We didn't have enough time to look at the unique craft booths or even to get to all the houses. The ones we visited were very nice and each one had so much character and gorgeous decorating. Just the things I love to look at. And because the tours are spread out over several blocks, it never really felt too crowded. Very manageable. The weather was gorgeous except for just a few sprinkles. We had a great time!

And just for fun, here's a picture of Shredder exploring a shopping bag.

So, back to work tomorrow. I told Terry that I need a whole week off just to get my house in some kind of order. I've been ignoring it for a while...or I guess I just need to stop having so much fun on the weekend.

Let me know what you're up to. What are your Valentine's Day plans?

Monday, February 02, 2009

In memory of our dear brother Gordon Barr...

Today Terry and I attended the memorial service of our friend and fellow musician, Gordon Barr. He was diagnosed a few short months ago with an inoperable brain tumor and went home to be with his Lord last Sunday morning.

What a tribute it was to his quiet, gentle, caring spirit when the church sanctuary was filled with people. Gordon was not one to draw attention to himself or even want to be up front or in big crowds, but you could tell by the stories shared by family and friends that he had his own private way of touching peoples lives thru a shared meal or witty bit of humor. You could see and hear that those who knew him best loved him dearly and cherished their time with him. What a testimony to God's work through him.

He was an excellent keyboard player and bass player. He wrote much of his own music and loved to tinker on the keyboards. We'll miss seeing him up on stage playing for worship on Sunday mornings.

You can read more about his life and legacy, see photos and even add your own comments here.