Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tying Up Loose Ends

Thanks for all the wonderful comments on my previous random post. I have some really neat new commenters, and it is such fun to have new cyberfriends. I have been honored with two new awards, which I need to acknowledge. First of all, thank you so much to Angela at The Life and Times of Gran for the Sweet Treats award. I must admit (see first paragraph of previous post - the lost mind thing!) that I know somebody else gifted me with this previously, but I cannot for the life of me find that comment. I apologize to whichever wonderful friend it was, and ask you to please let me know who you are. I am so embarrassed. But thanks, Angela, and my other anonymous benefactor.


The second award is from a brand new friend, Cynthia at Walking On. Cynthia is the mother of 8 children, and writes so beautifully. Go over and visit Cynthia at her lovely site. She has given me the following award, which I greatly appreciate. Everyone I read lifts me up every day. I truly love this community of women I have grown to feel like I know in person. Thank you, Cynthia.


Not only is it a wonderful sentiment, but it is a beautiful button. I would like to pass this sentiment on to Nancy, who finds something to thank the Lord for every time she posts. She has been a blessing to me. Right now, she is in pain, so please go over and encourage her.

Many of you wished me "Happy Birthday" when I posted about my belated birthday gift from DC - the laptop! It arrived this week-end, BTW. I am so excited, and looking forward to learning yet more new things!! Hmmm. But most of you did greet me, way back when I posted about it at here. Aren't I sneaky, to get double blessings for this 60th anniversary of my birrth!

I finished listening to Tuesdays with Morrie this morning on my way to work. Oh, my goodness, this book had a terrific impact on me. A brand new commenter, Julie, pointed out that people on Oprah and Dr. Phil are told not to give God the credit for being able to make it through horrendous experiences. I suspected that to be so, but it grieves my heart that they cannot give God the glory so that others may find Him as well. We are in precarious times in our land. But back to Morrie -- at the end of the CD of the book, Mitch Albom plays some of the actual footage he recorded with Morrie. It touched my heart deeply, and if you have opportunity, "read" the book in this way, or go back and listen to it if you have already read it. As Sharon Lynne said in her comment, "Even though I'm not sure if Morrie knew the Lord, I still think the God uses books like that to speak to us." I agree.

I must stop now and go do that for which I am being paid. But I leave you with a bit more of Care Bear's wisdom. As Pea said in her comment, "That Care Bear is wise beyond her years:-)" We were talking about the gifts they were wrapping for the Navajo brothers and sisters which I wrote about a few days ago. We as a district of our church always take down an entire 18-wheeler full of gifts just before Christmas. They had gifts for a young boy and a teen-age boy. The young boy had a toy and the teen boy had a DVD. She said, "Teen-agers don't want toys, you know. They just want to hang out!" Now I ask again, "How in the world does she know these things??"

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Some More Random Rambling

A mind is a terrible thing to lose, and I feel sometimes like it's happening! Often I will think of something that I want to write here, and I'll think of just how I want to say it. I'm so positive that I'll not forget this brilliant phrase, but it lasts about 10 seconds. I truly need one of those little recorders so that I can capture my brilliance before it disappears. So sad.

I have little slips of paper all over the place with notes to myself - I try to write things down while I'm driving, but that's not such a hot idea, and I can't even read it most of the time. So here goes - I'll dump some of the overload from my "memory card" or "hard drive" and call it good.

You know how many times I've written about my chocolate addiction? There's good news - there's a reason! I read this article in the paper the other day. "If that craving for chocolate sometimes feels like it is coming from deep in your gut, that's because maybe it is." It seems that there is a "small study" (meaning, it's probably not going to prove to be true) that "links the type of bacteria living in people's digestive system to a desire for chocolate. People who crave daily chocolate show signs of having different colonies of bacteria than people who are immune to chocolate's allure." That explains the difference between me and say, Barb or Diane! It's such a relief to know that I'm not just weak or powerless, but there's a good reason!! Ha.

Has anybody read Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom? I've heard of it for years, but just recently saw the author on Dr. Phil, and decided I needed to read it. I got the cd version from the library and am listening to it on the way to and from work. It is wonderful, and very well written. But it has me thinking and questioning - Morrie was a wonderful man who acquired ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) in his 70s after teaching sociology in a university for 35 years. His outlook on life was amazing - he refused to let his disease ruin the rest of his life, short as it may be. The thing that puzzles me about him and the other guests that both Oprah and Phil have had this week, who know they are dying, is how they can have such good outlooks on the end of their lives with no mention of eternity. No mention of God's help in making it through their illnesses. No feeling of hopelessness. I can't imagine facing the end of life without knowing that God was going to be there to greet me when I die.

I have not often been rebellious in my life. In fact, my brothers give me a hard time for being what they like to call "Goody Two Shoes." Once as an adult, they were teasing me so much that I actually cried to my mom, "So what's so bad about being GOOD?" But I must confess to all of you that I am in a state of rebellion - against the parking services department of our university. They are the largest money-making entity, next to the athletic department, on campus. They are raising parking fees every year, and significantly so for the next 5 years. (Interestingly, when you retire, you are privileged with FREE PARKING on campus for as long as you live!) But I digress. This year I decided not to buy a parking pass, but to park on the one free street on the periphery of the campus. Don't ask me why they haven't grabbed it up and make it into restricted space. But they haven't yet. Trouble is - you have to get there by 7:00 a.m. to be sure you get one of the coveted spots. That's not a problem for me, because I love getting there early and having a bit of time to myself before the busy day begins. The unexpected plus is that I make someone happy almost every day. You see, I leave at 11:30. Almost every day, someone spots me getting ready to leave and waits for my spot, holding up a line of traffic behind them. I can only imagine how excited they are to get it. It's nice to make someone's day!

The moon has been so awesome this week. Quite a few people have taken pictures and posted them. When Kevin was in Africa, every month I'd look at the beautiful moon and think of it hanging over Africa as well, and hoping he was looking at it. It made me feel closer to him.

It's been a year now since my father-in-law went to heaven. Mom C has done remarkably well. She's had a hard time with her memory, but it has improved. But one disadvantage of sort of coming out of the fog of the first year is that the pain becomes more acute. She has been dreaming about him almost every night. After 65 years of marriage, it is certainly understandable. But the dreams usually involve her looking for him in some large place like Wal-Mart. But then that really happened when he was alive - he tended to wander off and do his own thing without thinking to tell anyone where he was going! I just know he's up there in heaven waiting for her to join him.

On my birthday a month ago, DC gave me an IOU for this:


The promise was for "when he had the money." I thought it would be awhile. Imagine my surprise and delight when he wrote me an e-mail yesterday saying he had heard from Dell that it was being shipped. He wanted me to know that I should be watching for it. I can't believe it! I am so excited. The only down side is that now I get to learn a new operating system, Windows Vista™. I'll be way ahead of everyone at work, because we haven't been upgraded there yet. I'll keep you posted.

I think that's about enough, except for one great quote from Care Bear. We didn't have a birthday party or cake for me this year. In fact, the adults all went out to eat, and we didn't really tell the kids where we were going. She asked me a few days later when we were having a party. I said I guessed we weren't. She said, "What's a birthday without a party?" What indeed??

Have a wonderful week-end!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Recipe Tutorial

When I posted recently about DC's 65th surprise birthday party, I told how I "got rid of him" so I could set up the party by asking him to go home and bake the rolls I had put out to rise during church. Somebody asked me for the recipe to these delicious, light-as-a-feather crescent rolls. I am going to do a step-by-step tutorial, because they can be sort of tricky.

EDIT: Lest you think I am better than I am, I must admit that I only make these for special occasions. It's usually the Pillsbury Doughboy and me, as Diane commented below! I happened to have two special occasions in the last two weeks, so did them twice. One was particularly calculated to get DC home and away from the church so I could set up for above-mentioned surprise pot luck birthday party! ;-)

This recipe came from a great recipe book called Sunday Dinner Cookbook. The rolls are designed to be mixed late on Sunday evening, to sit on the cupboard all night, to be rolled out in the morning, to rise for 6 hours (less if you use Rapid Rise Yeast), and baked when you get home from church. Remember this was written in the "olden days" when Sunday School was at 9:45, church at 10:45 or 11:00, to get home a little after noon. They never foresaw all the different scenarios for church that were coming! Anyway, here goes:

Hot Rolls
1 pkg. yeast, dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. salt
4 cups flour

Mix dissolved yeast, sugar, eggs, warm water. Add oil, salt, and flour.
Let stand, covered, 8 hours or overnight.
Roll lightly, divide into 2 parts; roll out as if you were making pie crust.
Cut into 8-12 sections the shape of pieces of pie.
Roll wide edge into the point, like crescent rolls.
Place on greased cookie sheet, let rise 6 hours.
Bake 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees, until golden brown.

Keep in mind that I am not a Better Homes and Gardens or Good Housekeeping kind of cook or baker. I'm pretty plain. I did bring out my beautiful hand-painted wooden spoon given to me by a missionary from Italy, so it could show off a bit!

This is what the dough should look like when everything's mixed.


Tuck it in for the night with a nice blanket - mine is an old-fashioned one embroidered by my sweet mother-in-law - oops, it says Tuesday, not Saturday!


The next morning, it's nice and puffy in the bowl,


I use a very old, wearing out Tupperware mat to very lightly and gently form it into an elongated ball - dust the mat with a bit of flour, and use a little more as your roll it out. I use a wooden spoon to release it from the sides of the bowl - and I dip the wooden spoon in flour as well. Be very gentle as you knead.


Divide into 3 even portions. Put two of them aside, on a little flour.

Roll each ball into a circle. Cut into 8 or 12 triangles, depending upon whether you want petite crescent rolls, or if you want them to be more substantial.


I'm only showing you my two decent cookie sheets - the other one looks like I've had it since my bridal shower 35 years ago - it could be that I have!


Cover again with light cloths and let rise for 4-6 hours. If you use the Rapid Rise yeast, it will be 4.


Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.


Let me know if you try them. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. I seem to bring them to most family celebrations on both sides of the family. I think Kristen can eat about 10 at a sitting - but then they are really small when I make them. They are so light and fluffy and delicious.

Monday, October 22, 2007


The big day finally arrived - we had lunch with Barb. Add in Aaron and Mandy; Krissy and Cameron; Kristen, Care Bear, and Feisty; and my husband, DC, and we took up quite a bit of space at a place chosen for cost, not ambience! Taco Bell/KFC was close to the exit. I don't think Barb was too thrilled with her taco salad! If we do this again next year, we'll definitely choose a classier place to eat. But it was fun anyway.

Aaron and DC were the only guys. Krissy and Mandy made up for lost time at the other end. In between was a bit of chaos and putting voices to faces to stories. A fast and furious hour and a half.


I just discovered that this is the only glimpse of Care Bear.


I absolutely adore this picture of Cameron and Feisty getting acquainted - note the mac and cheese face! Aren't they just the cutest little pair??


Can you see the wild snow going on outside? It was a freezing cold day with huge flakes of snow. None stuck though, because it was 80 degrees on Saturday.


It was fun comparing baby bumps on Krissy and Kristen, who are due within two weeks of each other.


Of course, Barb couldn't come without bearing gifts. I should have been the one giving gifts! But she gave Kristen and me each one of these care packages. Care Bear instantly claimed the Santa star from Kristen's package, but I was selfish with mine!


It was short and very sweet, but I am so glad we were able to connect for a few precious minutes. On the way home, Care Bear said she was going to call Barb "Girlfriend Grandma." It fits!

One final picture - check out the difference between my yard and Barb's! Good thing Care Bear LOVES to rake. But now Grandpa has mowed them all up and wrecked all the fun.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Saga of the Jobs - Part 6

At the end of the last episode, I had resigned my teaching job in southeast Kansas and moved back in with my parents. We got along well, but I was used to having my own place, so this was like going backwards, and I felt stifled. I couldn't afford to live in an apartment in by myself (as in, there were no old houses with an upstairs apartment that cost $65.00 a month!), so this was to be a temporary solution. Eventually, the church bought a different parsonage, and my dad built a little apartment in the basement. The idea was to have a place to house evangelists and missionaries. I was privileged to live in it when it wasn't needed for that purpose. That helped immensely my feeling of claustrophobia.

Mom and Dad's church had a day care center. Mom had been directing it, but the state was cracking down on licensure. Since I had an elementary education degree, I lacked only 3 courses to be a licensed day care center director. I decided to take the position and obtain the credits by correspondence courses. I remember studying nutrition while the kids were napping. To put it in as few words as possible, I didn't like it. I had made a huge mistake.

The biggest reason for my unhappiness had nothing to do with the position, or living back home, or making less money. The boyfriend I mentioned in the last chapter broke up with me two weeks after I got home. He had tried to tell me over Christmas that he wasn't ready to settle down. I didn't believe it. I just thought he needed me nearby to see that he couldn't live without me. Wrong! He really meant it. I was devastated. (I tell more of this story in my "100 Things About Me" on my sidebar). Now add a broken heart to an unhappy job situation, living situation, and financial situation!

I lasted through that semester, then began looking for something else. I looked into several things that sounded promising, including trips to Pueblo, Colorado; Kansas City, MO; and back to Oklahoma to my college town. Nothing worked out.

At the end of the summer I began applying for jobs in the Denver area through various employment agencies. I was sent all over the metro area to some really horrible places. I got lost so many times. I am a bit directionally challenged, and couldn't see the mountains in the midst of those tall downtown buildings, which was the only way I could get my bearings. There were a couple of interesting places, but I knew I could not afford to live down there by myself, and I knew I didn't want to have to drive downtown or pay for parking down there. My dream was to get a job, find a good church in the north Denver area, and find a roommate at the church, after which I would move.

Finally, I was sent to the interview that would result in a position that would bring me great enjoyment. It was a company called "Gerry Outdoor Sports Industry."


I was hired as the secretary to the Personnel Manager. This was another situation where that one lone typing course I took in high school stood me in very good stead. I had landed in a very good spot. It was quite a drive down the Interstate every morning, but it was far enough north that I didn't get into heavy traffic, and my little green Mustang got pretty good mileage. I actually made it to work better on snowy days than the people who lived in the Denver area communities, and was there to take their calls telling me they couldn't make it in, or were stuck somewhere in the snow. I'll never forget one morning when I was running late. I was the only one on the road (that would never happen now, no matter how early in the morning it is), when suddenly there was a guy in the middle of the interstate lane waving his arms over his head. Somehow he'd clocked me speeding, and was stopping me. I could've killed him! As he was giving me the ticket, I was trying to evoke sympathy by telling him I was running late for work. He drolly remarked, "You're gonna be later now!"

I worked for Mary Cook, and we had our office area in the factory side of the company. There were approximately 100 garment seamstresses making down-filled sleeping bags and jackets, as well as nylon tents. I had a wonderful time working with these women who worked 8 hours a day at industrial sewing machines. There were times when it became my job to take one of them to the emergency room a few miles north of us when the incredibly heavy-duty needle would go through a finger. Not the most pleasant aspect of the job! It makes me cringe to think of it these many years later!

Mary and I had fun organizing social events for the plant and the office. I felt the difference immediately when I would cross that entry way to the rest of the office suite. I was the designated "key operator" for the Xerox machine. I'm sure they always gave it to the new kid on the block, because it was a nasty job. It was particularly ridiculous since my office was totally separated from the main office area, but I had to run over there several times a day to un-jam the crazy machine, add paper, etc. They wouldn't touch it when something went wrong.

There were so many ethnic groups represented on the sewing floor. We had some wonderful pot lucks with all of their specialties. They loved taking note of what I wore every day, and I had fun sewing outfits that they would enjoy seeing.

Mary gave me so many opportunities for growth. One of my duties was processing the insurance claims for all of the employees. She sent me over the mountains on a very bumpy, airsickness-inducing flight on a small plane to the sister plant in Alamosa to try to straighten out the mess in their office. She sent me to business meetings she could not attend. It was a great experience.

Mary had clawed her way up the ladder from an impoverished single mom working in an office, pushing the "goodie cart" around to the employees - and she took the left-overs home to survive. She was now on the highest level of male-dominated corporate leadership. She was an author of several books, she dressed so beautifully - a very classy lady. I'll never forget making myself a navy pin-stripe suit, to emulate her dress style.

I really enjoyed working at Gerry. I acquired some great camping equipment, and ski jackets for everyone in my family at employee sales of seconds and returned products. The product was so great that the Denver Broncos all wore these jackets. Their practice field was just north of our office building, and often we'd go to lunch where they ate lunch as well. All of the higher-ups in this company were on a first name basis with the coach and the players. You could identify the products by the "G" in the triangle, embroidered on the left lower arm of the jacket.

When I met DC, he couldn't believe I drove 100 miles round trip for work every day. But when he learned what kind of product I worked with, he got really excited! When we became engaged, he began to encourage me to get a job closer to home.

The "girls" in the factory, who had become such good friends, were so excited about my new romance. DC sent flowers once a month. They were so involved in the evolution of our relationship. They gave me a wonderful shower, and some attended the wedding.


It was bittersweet when I left that position after 16 months. But the company moved into downtown not long after I left. Though it was a wonderful product, the administration was not up to par, and the company struggled financially. I think I left just at the right time - just more evidence of God's providence over my life.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Not So Wordless Wednesday


Autumn leaves, Winter Boots, Summer Clothes!!


Even if baseball bores you to pieces, you take a book to the game because you want something fun to do, you feel claustrophobic in the stadium because the seats are so close together, and you will probably never go to another game, you can't help getting excited when your local team sweeps the play-offs and heads to the World Series for the first time in its young history! GO COLORADO ROCKIES!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oh, What a Busy Week-End!

As you may have picked up on in past posts, I am a self-described fairly "laid back" (read lazy) housekeeper these days. My dear husband does the floors every week, and has ever since I went back to work full-time years ago. I hope he continues that wonderful habit when I retire next fall. But, I am much happier delving into a book on Saturdays than dusting, and decluttering. I get the laundry and the grocery shopping done, but on nice sunny Saturdays, I love to sit on my patio, or under a shade tree (depending on the intensity of the sun) and read between loads. I haven't always been this way, and I know DC hopes my clean gene comes back when I'm home more. For most people in our stage of life, the house pretty much stays the way they left it, and they can come home from work every night and find it just as neat and tidy as they made it on the week-end. Not when you have little munchkins in your house every afternoon! It is a constant battle against toys, fingerprints, and general chaos. But that is not a complaint, just an observation! Grandma doesn't mind the mess nearly as much as Grandpa does. But, I digress from the original topic.

I said all that to say this - I finally got busy on my house and even caught up on my ironing. Now, don't expect to come here and find my lightbulbs polished, as you would in Barb's house. But I did change some light bulbs that had burned out, so at least they are nice and clean! I also managed to move the very heavy dresser from the wall so that I could unplug a lamp that's not working and take it to Dad to see if he can fix it (I know he can, because he's always been our Mr. Fix-It and loves to be needed!) This energy came about because of - NO SUNSHINE! It is currently raining, and has been all night, and much of yesterday afternoon - very unusual for our arid land. In fact, poor DC, Kevin, and Sema sat at our university football game in the rain and cold - at least until the third quarter when they couldn't stand the cold and wet AND lousy playing!

One of my projects yesterday was getting the church ready for the annual Navajo project which we do at Christmas. For many years each church on our district buys gifts, pinto beans, flour, and other necessities for our friends on the reservations in New Mexico and Arizona. They are so appreciative and it has been such a great thing for us as well. Every year I, as chair of the missions program of our local church, come up with a new way to promote the project and let the folks know who needs what. Often I have placed some sort of ornament on an artificial tree in the lobby of the church, and they take the ornament telling them what age and gender to buy for. This year, I did it like this:


We'll have Christmas in November. I usually like it to be Christmas in October, but we got a later start this year - thanks to guess who, so we're putting it off until November 4 after the evening service. Everyone digs out their Christmas goodie recipes and makes something yummy. We'll have cider, have carols playing, and gather our gifts. Then in early December. all of the gifts from the entire state will be loaded on a huge tractor trailer, donated by a man who drives truck for the company my husband works for (owned by our wonderful Christian friends from our church), several people from the district will head down to the starting point, and head for the reservations to distribute the gifts. One of our great SS teachers, who teaches Anakin's class, is taking her class of 3rd, 4rd, and 5th graders on this mission trip, and I am so excited that she has caught that vision.

Once I had that project taken care of, I was free to concentrate on the house, the laundry, the shopping, and getting ready for DC's surprise birthday party. Now Dwight's birthday was in July and he turned 65. I was on my way home from my Minnesota trip on his actual birthday. I had arranged for flowers to be delivered to him that day, so he'd know I'd hadn't completely forgotten this important milestone. I kept trying to find a time all summer when the most people would be home, and not on vacation, so that we could celebrate appropriately. It never happened. Poor DC thought he was never getting anything for this significant birthday. Finally, on the day we celebrated my 60th, I gave him a gift certificate to buy a new suit - yes, he still wears suits!

So - finally - I announced a pot luck dinner for today after church for our SS class. Kristen made some really neat invitations, which I sneakily passed out to those members of our class, as well as our choir friends, family members, and others in church who know him well. It is called a "Baste," instead of a "Roast." Kristen's idea. We will share fun and humorous things about DC after we eat. On the surface, my husband appears to be a very quiet, retiring kind of guy. But he can come up with the funniest things on the spur of the moment, and people are very surprised when they see this side of him. So today should be fun.

But that meant a lot of work, self imposed, for me. The ideas just finally started percolating Thursday, so I've made many trips to the dollar store and the grocery store for both this event and the previous one mentioned.


The party went off beautifully. It took me a long time to figure out a way to get him away for the hour between Sunday School and the end of second service so that I could get the place set up with all the decorations. Then I thought of what I should take as my "pot luck" item - fresh rolls. This recipe is mixed up the night before, left out on the counter all night long, then rolled into the lightest, most heavenly crescent rolls imaginable. It occurred to me that I could roll them out at 6:00 this morning and they would be ready to bake just at the right time for him to come home and do that task for me. He was cluelessly very willing to get himself out of the church for the hour it took to bake 3 pans of rolls, cool them, and bring them back in time for dinner. When he finally arrived with rolls in hand, we sang "Happy Birthday" as he walked in the door. As you see, I managed to pull off the surprise! I will have to admit that he was mugging a bit for the camera!


Here are a few shots of the decorations:



Here are some of the photos I had made into 5x7's and placed in the middle of the tables.

Dwight's baby pictures

Dwight's baby pictures 2

First time fatherhood

dwight's baby pictures 3

First time grandfatherhood

Dwight's baby pictures 4

Here's the cake - the incorrect usage on the first word was not my fault! I guess I should have written it out for the girl at the bakery - You're, not Your! And following that, the picture that was put on the cake, so you can see it better.



Many people shared stories, and there was much laughter. The food was wonderful. The fellowship was priceless. I am so thankful for friends and family who love the Lord and love each other and love us.

One more project - when I woke up this morning (after about 3 hours of sleep), I remembered that I had signed up to bring dinner tomorrow tonight to a couple whose wife has just gotten out of the hospital with unbelievably serious surgery. DC suggested Swedish Meatballs, and I totally forgot when I went to the store - so back tomorrow for the ingredients I need.

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chocolate Boutique™ and Other Assorted Things

First things first! I have been so honored to be given the Christmas Spirit Award by Groovy, Michelle, and by Angela. What a blessing! Thank you so much!

This award is for those who talk about and show the spirit of Christmas in their blogs. What is the Spirit of Christmas you ask?Quite simply it is those that have a generous and giving nature. Those who care about others. Those who have a kind word to say or a broad shoulder to lean on in the times that others need that. Those who display the "Spirit of Christmas".

Groovy said this when she gave me this gift:

I can't pass over Grandma Dawn. She has been such a support and blessing to me through some difficult moments. I 'm getting kinda teary just thinking about it! She's kinda like my internet Mommy (though she's young enough to be my sister!). I love you Dawn!

Groovy makes me laugh every day, but this almost made me cry! Thank you all. I just hope it gets me in the Christmas mood soon!

Autumn has been so beautiful this year. I posted mountain pictures a couple of weeks ago. But the drive to work has been equally wonderful in the morning sun. I particularly love this tree in our neighborhood.


Last week-end I spent a few wonderful hours with two dozen women from my church at the YMCA of the Rockies. Our retreat plan was from Group Publishing, Christian publishing company that started in the owner's basement here in our town and now is worldwide - your church quite possibly has used their Bible School plan at some time or another.

Last year's retreat centered around scents - I can't remember what it was called, but I couldn't go because of my horrendous allergy to anything perfumed. So imagine my delight when I learned that this year's retreat was called Chocolate for the Heart, from the Chocolate Boutique™. Barb is probably thinking right now that she would not have enjoyed this one! Most of us who went are admitted chocoholics, and thought this would be a pretty amazing way to spend a week-end. Truthfully, you were only "officially" offered about 3 pieces of chocolate during the sessions. We also had a chocolate judging session where we scored white chocolate, dark chocolate, filled chocolate, and milk chocolate - with saltines between each to "cleanse our palates". But it was everywhere! I have to admit, I had reached saturation point by the time we left on Saturday afternoon. I thought I was cured. I even had a headache.

Unfortunately, I have relapsed. But, back to the program --

The focus of the retreat was from John 2. We spent the 3 sessions discussing trust, the first miracle of Jesus, if Mary had any idea what Jesus would do when she asked him to help the host of the wedding, what the miracle helped us understand about Jesus, the changes in our life that were because of God's grace. The most interesting object lesson was when we held a Hershey's Kiss in our hands throughout the presentation. It showed us what a mess we can make when we hold on to something we should just trust God and turn over to Him.

The view when I got up on Saturday morning was wonderful. It brought back such great memories of the years when DC and I went to Laymen's Retreat in the same location at the same time of the year. It was great to be back up there for a few hours.


That's me sticking up above everyone else!
Below is the youngest and only male in our group. He was perfect! (But then I wasn't in his room during the night!)

If you're at all interested in checking in to this for your women's ministries group, go to http://www.group.com/.

The following two shots are just some that I took on my way to work early one morning. I can't resist a good sunrise shot! Kristen asked me how many sunrise and sunset pictures I could possibly take. I told her - "as many as God makes!"