Category Archives: Mondays are for Memories

Mondays are for Memories – Christmas Memories!

One of the fun holiday things we did while daughter Lara was living in Waco was her Annual(ish) Cookie Extravaganza!

Cookies, Cookies Everywhere – December 14, 2011.

Last Saturday was the “2nd Annual-ish Cookie Baking Extravaganza”. (It was the 2nd annual-ish because, as you might recall this is what her kitchen looked like last year. No cookie baking here!)
But this year she was back on track. Not only on the track but with two ovens this year, thanks to the “summer kitchen” out on the porch (leftovers from her old kitchen)! The recipes were chosen, the invites were out, and the stage was set.
This was the plan – Lara would get all of the ingredients, make up most of the cookie dough ahead of time and have everything ready to go Saturday morning. Everyone pitches in $10.00 and after a day of baking, they all go home with 6-8 dozen fancy Christmas cookies! It was a great deal – and it was great FUN!
Lara got 4 different recipes (4 batches of each) ready Friday night.
And the cookie bakers arrived Saturday morning and the real fun began!
Cookie Extravaganza-1
Let me tell you, there was some heavy-duty cutting and rolling and dipping and decorating going on!
The first cookies were in the ovens by 10:30 AM, and the last batch came out at 6 PM. Now that’s a full day in the kitchen!
Cookie Extravaganza
And I think when all was said and done, only two trays of cookies got a little overdone and didn’t make the distribution cut. Not bad for the total number of cookies that were baked (about 23,879 I think). 🙂
If you’re looking for some great Christmas cookie recipes, here are links for the recipes we used-
Toffee, Homemade Thin Mints, Cinnamon Roll Cookies,
Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies, Italian Wedding Cookies, Raspberry Shortbread Thumbprints, Sugar Cookies, White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies,
Soft Gingersnaps.
Phew, that there is a lot of cookies.

And what, you might ask, was Gary doing while we ladies were being kitchen mavens?
He was happy as a clam, building a wood rack for the new fire pit, and then enjoying the pit as he burned all the scrap from the fall projects!

Definitely a good weekend for all involved!

If you want a closer look at the pictures in the collages (along with a couple other random shots) feel free to check them out here.

Mondays are for Memories – A String of Pearls

Since we’re still in November – the Thankful Month – I was reminded of a blog post I did many years ago about the blessings of dear friends from our “previous lifetime” blending with some of the precious friends we’ve made since we’ve been on the road. So I tracked it down, and here you go – from August 15, 2013

A String of Pearls –
We’ve returned from our weekend (+) excursion to see friends and family in Lancaster and Doylestown and I don’t think we could have had a better weekend. Each day seemed to represent a perfect slice of the different stages in our lives. Friday we were hanging out with some of our most precious SOWER friends. We did “Lancaster things” – a farmers’ market, a quilt shop, an Amish hardware store, and the like, and then a traditional potluck rounded out the day. A good day with good friends – what a great start to the weekend!
weston and the train

But then –
Saturday we spent with our sweet grandson, Weston (age 2), and his mom and dad (also some of our favorite people!). Abigail and I did some girl things while the guys ran some errands, we ate out and took naps and delighted in watching Weston watching the trains at the Choo-Choo Barn.
A beautiful day with our beautiful family – who could ask for anything more?
But then –
Sunday we drove to Willow Grove to worship at our old church. The church we were married in and the church where we found Jesus (or rather, He found us!). We expected that many faces would be different (we left that church when we moved to Jamison in 1981, so aside from some occasional visits over the years, it HAD been a while), and they were. But many were the same too. Oh, the sweet hugs from that morning! To worship with folks who had come to our daughter’s 1st birthday party and then to enjoy an impromptu lunch with those dear friends.

Oh, does it get any better than this?
But then –
Sunday afternoon we dropped in on some other friends and before we knew it we were enjoying another unexpected gathering. Sweet corn and sweet conversation and a bottle of red wine shared among friends.
Oh, the delight of it all.
But then –
on Monday I started the day with a coffee date with a dear friend, followed by lunch with my work buddies, and an afternoon hanging around with my BFF from our Doylestown days. BLTs made with thick slices of fresh from the garden tomatoes – Oh, now that was a great day.
But then –
catching up with my quilting buddies Monday night. Oh, my. Our days of quilting for the kids’ school are long over, but still, we start up right where we left off those many years ago. Oh, these days we might talk a bit more about our grandchildren than our children (to their great relief)and we might not spend quite so much time solving the problems of the world, but those precious friends will always be a safe place for me. Being the last ones out of Panera (almost an hour after they officially closed) and then still talking in the parking lot for another 30 minutes (honest, it wasn’t really that late! Panera closed at 9 PM – who knew?)came as no surprise. Regardless of our different places in life, we are truly kindred spirits. It was crazy wonderful!
But then –
just to add a bit of icing on the wonderful weekend cake, before we headed back to Montrose on Tuesday, we managed to squeeze in a quick visit with friends we don’t usually get to see. As we sat and enjoyed a cup of coffee (and were thankful for the rain that freed up her morning schedule) it was so wonderful to hear about their lives over the last two years. Sweet times, indeed.

So as I was trying to somehow quantify this weekend I was having trouble finding just the right metaphor. Was it worlds colliding? Not really. Though we saw folks from many different stages in our lives, there certainly wasn’t any colliding going on.  Was it picture-perfect? Actually, yes. Though I failed to take many pictures (you know I must have been distracted, right?). A medley of friends? A potpourri of relationships?  As I thought about how those five days strung together just perfectly, I remembered the lovely string of pearls I have in my cupboard. And I thought, yes. This weekend was like a string of pearls – each one smooth and delightful, strung together to make a thing of beauty.  And that’s how our weekend was – beautiful days strung together and filled with people we love and who love us back.
Just sorting through some pretties!

Mondays are for Memories – At the Beach

It’s cold here today. In fact, it’s been snowing here today. So I thought for my memory this week I’d look back at our very first Thanksgiving on the road – 2004. We shared that first holiday away from our family with another dear family, and these are treasured memories indeed. Those little girls are married now, and that sweet young boy has graduated college and begun a career in Texas. Georgi and Troy are grandparents these days. But that first Thanksgiving on Amelia Island – well, it was just what this heart needed!
November 28, 2004 – A Day at the Beach

First the morning – Gary and I walked to the beach just in time to see the sunrise through the clouds. It was soooo beautiful…….

Later that morning, Georgi sent Troy and I to the beach with the kids while she got things ready for them to leave the next morning. I played photographer while Troy played with his kids. It was a great way to spend a late November morning!
Here’s Troy with his new toy – an ocean kayak~

Abbi gets a ride ~

and Hannah gets a ride~

and Thomas just played with the waves!

Here’s the gang – a good time was had by all!


Mondays are for Memories – a Different Oklahoma Project

I thought for today’s Monday Memory, I’d check back to a different Oklahoma project we worked back in November of 2015 –

November 22, 2015 – From Beginning to End
From the beginning
New Life Ranch-1
to end
our November SOWER project was excellent! Here are just a few of the reasons we loved this project. We’ll start with the practical.
They invited us to join them for meals whenever they were serving guests. Now you might think we loved that for the savings it represented (and believe me, we did appreciate that!). Or maybe it was the beautiful salad bar that helped me stay on track with the pre-holiday attempt to lose a couple of pounds (and you know – it did!). But what we really loved about eating in the dining hall was being able to sit with, and get to know, the staff. And even better than getting to know the staff, was getting to know their little ones. From 6 weeks up, there were surrogate grandkids everywhere. We never knew when a little one would join us for dinner or a hug or both! It was such a delight – and an honor – to get to know these dedicated families who have given their hearts to “To proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to equip believers for ministry.” Plus it was pretty sweet giggling with the kiddos!

Then there was the property. From our parking area to the horse pastures to the hiking trails – this place really is “a valley set apart”.

Oh – the Work! I confess there was no disappointment when we weren’t asked to clean cabins. Data entry of Guest Survey Cards (so fun to read the comments, and just so you know – Biscuits and Gravy was by far the favorite meal) and then sewing curtains in our very own yurt.
All of us ladies were pretty happy with our job assignments.
And the guys liked building their little gatehouse. They finally split up the team (5 guys on that little building got a bit crowded), but Gary largely stuck with the building.
(What is it about that guy and roofs?)
They got it as far as they could, and we’re pretty sure the New Life guys will be able to finish it up in no time.

Did I mention the Birthday Month? Since my b-day is in November, I pretty much claim any celebration as being done in my honor and use any excuse I can to have a bit of cake and ice cream. I celebrated with our SOWER friends, talked and FaceTimed with all the kiddos, and had several mushy birthday cards to open. It was a great day – and a pretty darn fun month!
Yes, that bowl of fried ice cream is as big as my head, and I’m happy to report that four of us worked on cleaning the bowl!

Touristy stuff. NLR is tucked in the NE corner of Oklahoma. The closest town is Siloam Springs, AR and the Missouri border is not all that far away. I was amazed to discover all there was to see and do in the area. Everything from safari rides to historic villages to the very first Walmart store. We were pretty focused on getting the reno closer to completion, so we only took one day to be tourists. We headed over to Bentonville, AR (known as the birthplace of Walmart) but also home to a beautiful American Art Museum, Crystal Bridges. This was founded by Alice Walton and recently added a complete Frank Lloyd Wright house to its collection.
It’s pretty spectacular. And it’s free! What’s not to love?

On the renovation front, there was my beloved desk project –
and more recently, the addition of the long awaited (really, he’s been asking for a recliner for years!!!) recliner.
We’re still fine tuning the furniture placement, but all in all, it’s working out just fine. Zzzzzzzzzzz

Then there were the people we worked with.
Working SOWER projects is kind of like going to summer camp. Even if you don’t know anyone else when you arrived, when it comes time to leave it’s hard to say good-bye. Of the four couples we worked with we had worked with two before, had met one at a rally and one we had never met. By the end we were almost family. We worked together, often ate together, and played together. We’ve shared our sorrows and our triumphs. And we parted knowing we’ve found new prayer partners. Friday morning we all scattered in different directions – Texas, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma. We’re gonna miss these good folks! Although we’ve parted ways, we’re still joined in the heart!

Yes, from the beginning to the end – that was one fine project. Seeing God at work in camps and schools and group homes and rescue missions across this country – and maybe being a small part of that work – is absolutely the best part of being a SOWER! Joining together with other folks to share in that blessing (and maybe even see a bit of this beautiful country) is just icing on the (birthday) cake!

Thanks for stopping by and listening to me ramble on about New Life Ranch and our time here. If you just came by to find out about the bungee cords – well, the answer is 7. Unless you count the 3 factory installed straps that hold back the pocket doors and then the number is 10. 🙂

Psssst – there are more pictures of our time at New Life Ranch HERE if you’re interested!

Mondays are for Memories – Pining Away

I cannot say that there have always been pine trees growing next to the cabin.
cabin old_BW
I don’t know when they were planted, but as long as I can remember pine trees have been growing there.
Winter Cabin girls
(That’s me in the Santa hat – so late 50’s?)
They’ve been lush and green and hugging the cabin for many years!
We lost one during the winter of 2013 – which took out our electricity (and most of the electricity on the mountain apparently)
but the remaining two kept their careful watch for many more years.
But recently, we all noticed that they were showing their age.
Kobe Game

Last year, at our annual meeting, given the risk of damage to the cabin if either of them fell over winter, the decision was made to have them taken down.


UntitledWhen we said farewell to the cabin in September we knew we were also saying goodbye to those pine trees. Sniff.

This past week, the deed was done.
We needed to take care of those trees before they caused any damage to the cabin – but man, it looks so lonesome!  If I weren’t so far away here in Texas, I’d be up there giving it a hug!