Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I have spent this last week really messing with my sleep schedule. And have I said lately that I HATE HEAT? I just turn into a wilted freak in heat. Consequently, my blogging has taken a back seat to lying around and feeling like doing nothing. On the other side of that, my office at work has become a refrigerator. We opened the vents in there (the former resident had taped them shut) and all of a sudden the temperature is near that of a meat locker. For me, it's awesome! If you come visit me, I will nearly guarantee that you will complain about the cold air. Everyone that has walked in makes a comment.

While I haven't been writing a lot, I have been thinking and discussing ideas in my mind. Oh ... and just so all of you know, I'm not sure that the study on death is actually going to happen. We'll see. At this point, there are some things that are not quite right with all of it - and I'm just not at a point in my life to spend a lot of time stressing about it! Anyway ...

Dr. Delp's sermon on Sunday was taken from Psalm 115 - "Not to us, O Lord. Not to us, but unto you be the glory." He asked me yesterday if I could tell him what the sermon was about. Yikes! I was put on the spot, but since he's never done that before, I wasn't too terribly threatened by it. He had talked about selfishness. The reason for asking was that a lot of people had commented (positively) about his sermon and he didn't think that it had warranted all of those comments.

But, it's funny. I've been thinking about this same topic. The entitlement that many of us feel in the world today. There is little to no sense of giving selflessly. We want to be sure that our children have the BEST of everything and they don't have to work for any of it. Parents will threaten the world if their children aren't handed everything that they ask for. Kids have no sense of discovery anymore because they know that anything they want will be given to them. Grandparents step in and provide when the parents can't afford it. Wealth has become more important to everyone than ever before. I listen to kids talk about getting degrees in marketing and in business. It's the predominant discussion. They want to simply make money and don't care how they do it. It is all about them!

Fortunately for my own level of sanity, there are always a few bright spots - kids that become involved in the world around them.

I have a lot to say on this subject, but for now, I think I'm going to spend some time in scripture. what God has to say about it is much more important and I believe it is high time we find out that the prosperity gospel is taught by men and not by God.

I also have a lot to say about the link between that effect and the loss of passion in our young people. When things come too easy, we find that we dont' have to work for anything - not even our relationship with Jesus Christ.

All of this is fodder for coming writings. Not today ... but, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! Get me stirred up! Get me going! Make me focus my thoughts. That thrills me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Feeling morose?

I suppose. Max and I watched a VH1 special on Freddie Mercury this evening and I was saddened.

I grew up in the 70s and am a rocker at heart. 70s rock and roll is comfort music for me. It's the only music I can listen to that I know so well I don't have to concentrate to love it. When I am working, I can't have music playing in the background. For a musician that may seem weird, but I tend to 'listen' intently to music and that's the one place I have difficulty multi-tasking.

Excellent praise and worship music is the worst! I get all wrapped up in the music and find myself worshipping - even if I'm supposed to be working on something else. So, I just have to turn it off to get some work done. I love jazz, but again, I start listening to the rhythms and the musical lines and I'm gone. The only other music I can have going in the background is classical. The reason I can listen to that is that I grew up with that as a child. My parents didn't listen to popular music at home. Our library consisted of large amounts of Beethoven, Bach, Mahler, Haydn, Wagner ... it actually ran the entire gamut.

Back to rock and roll. I finally started listening to the stuff in junior high because my friends were playing it all the time. I would sneak a radio into my bedroom at night and play it under my pillow. I was thankful that my dad couldn't understand the words on the radio - it made it esier to listen. But, my parents didn't like it so late at night I stayed up listening to KIOA out of Des Moines. If the wind was right, I could pick up WGN out of Chicago. Don't forget this was 1971 and FM radio did not have a huge market yet. It was coming ... but, not yet.

Since I was the oldest kid in our family, I was the one that had to experiment with music. My friends would bring their records to school and I listened and listened ... Heart, Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Cream, CCR, YES, Styx, Toto and Queen. I fell in love with the big rock bands ... thick harmonies, grand music. I couldn't believe how fortunate we were to be living in a time when this music was being created!

Christian music was the pits. Recording quality was awful and the musicians were just discovering that it was ok to sing lyrics about God to rhythms found in rock concerts. Larry Norman was cool. There was a lot of growth that had to happen to Christian music and it really had barely started.

So, I poured myself into rock and roll. I love some of the bubble gum pop from that era, but it didn't stir my soul the way that rock did. And I just refuse to apologize for loving that stuff! It's amazing!

In the special, Freddie Mercury was asked if he would be in heaven. He said "No." He planned on being in hell - all of the interesting people would probably be there. He lived quite a hedonistic life and died of AIDS. That amazing talent ... lost at the age of 45. Had he contracted HIV several years later, there were drugs that would have altered his prognosis. But, his death greatly raised awareness of the disease. That amazing voice ... gone. He never had formal musical training, but composed intricate rhythms and gorgeous harmonies. He had nearly a 4 octave voice. Oh my ...

I told Max this evening that I missed him. He knew what I meant. Max is a complete Beatles freak and though John Lennon isn't his favorite Beatle, knowing that there will never be a chance for more of that creativity to occur is a sad thing.

Freddie Mercury would have been 61 this year. Who knows what could have been. He knew he was dying and made sure that he recorded some beautiful stuff before he did die. He announced the day before his death that he was dying of AIDS, though everyone seemed to know it. The last song he recorded as a music video ... "These Are The Days of Our Lives" has always been one of my favorites.

Those were the days of our lives,
The bad things in life were so few
Those days are all gone now,
But one thing's still true
When I look and I find ... I still love you.

Every year I have further and further to look back. People have died in my life and my memories of them remain. Tonight, I remember a musician that impacted my life through the music I listened to. And I miss him.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The heart - Love and Attack

Yesterday I got an email forwarded to me that told me one of my favorite people had a heart attack last Friday.

Sonna Jennings was my mother's best friend. They were so close that they even had rather wild fights ... not arguments, but fights. Two very passionate women in the same room with very strong opinions. God blessed their relationship. The first person I wanted to call when Dad died was Sonna. I haven't seen her in years, and we don't talk all that often anymore, but she has been a solid part of my life. She spoke at Dad's funeral ... she desperately wanted everyone to know how God had changed her life through Dad's ministry. And she was the one person who presented the gospel and invited people at the funeral to meet Jesus.

Her daughter emailed me to let me know what had happened. Heart attack on Friday in a little town in Iowa, ambulance ride to Iowa City (1 1/2 hours) because Sonna flat out refused life flight. 4 major blockages, nearly lost her on the table and home on Monday because medicine has progressed so well.

I didn't call her yesterday - not wanting to interrupt, so I called today. I had a difficult time all morning until I got a chance to talk to her. I couldn't think about her without getting all teary. I simply was being selfish. I did not want to deal with one more hideous pain in my life. I was so thankful to hear her voice. And she sounded wonderful. In fact, she says that she feels better than she has in a long time - her heart is working pretty well now and getting the heart back in shape after years of deterioration is going to give her a lot of energy!

She told me about the experience and the fact that she nearly died twice during the entire episode on Friday. She was surprised that she lived through it. And then, last night when she was finally quiet and away from the insanity of a hospital, she asked God why. And He told her that she wasn't done working for Him yet - she had a lot of people that needed to hear from her about how God worked in her life.

That got me thinking. I was told by God long ago that He had a plan for me. There were several life-saving events in my life before I got out of high school. God's hand was definitely on my life and when I questioned him about what He wanted from me, He told me! It wasn't profound in the large sense of the world, but it was very profound in the sense of what God's plan for mankind is. All God asked me to do was to teach 'love'. That's it ... nothing more, nothing difficult ... just love.

Now ... it is easy for me to love. I don't put a lot of qualifications on it ... I just love. But, let's not get too excited about this. Because along with that beautiful aspect of my life, I have all of the rest of the garbage that goes along with being Diane Muir. And that's where I think I fail miserably in the task that God set before me. I'm a gossip, I'm a bit cynical, I have a foul mouth, I don't spend enough time in the Word, my prayer life totally stinks sometimes, I get too busy to care for the people in my world ... on and on and on. How in the world can I teach love when my life is a cesspool?

THIS is why God calls us to perfection. This is why I constantly strive for that goal. Not so that I can be perfect on my own, but so that people will see God's love through my life without the fog of my 'stuff' surrounding it. Will I ever get there? Oh, I doubt it - I have a lot of work to do. But, as long as I'm working toward it - I pray that God will bless people around me. And when I screw up completely ... I pray that God will hide it from those who would be wounded and allow me to figure it out, get back on the path and keep moving forward.

Isn't He wonderful?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Much too old

Max and I figure we are much too old to drive overnight and not pay for it. Let's see ... I slept until 10:00 this morning and took a nap about 12:30 p.m. And, I haven't done much else today. Max was asleep on the couch this afternoon until I kicked him out and made him go back upstairs so that I could take another nap! I suppose it might have something to do with the fact that I didn't sleep well Thursday night either since we didn't have air conditioning. I figure tomorrow will be a better day.

The A/C guy was here yesterday afternoon and replaced the motor. Life is so good in 'frozen Diane's world'. I'm sad that we have to turn the A/C on at all, because now that it's on, it probably won't go off again until this fall and I really do love fresh air. Sigh. The animals are snuggling again. Thursday night the cats were sprawled out on the linoleum in the kitchen trying to get a little relief. Hey! They all know that mama likes the house cold. They were probably wondering what was going on.

I worked all day yesterday - realized that I had missed my new office. Cody and I had just moved in and left town the next day. We still have quite a bit to do in there to make it ours and make it fun and inviting. A few more lamps (thank heavens both of us hate fluorescent lights) and we'll be doing well for lighting. A sofa from Carol and then some funky paint on the walls. Not too funky - I'd hate to freak out the people of the church, but we ARE in the Creative Suite.

When I was in Gretna, I totally had people on the edge. I taught the Jr. High Sunday School class. We were adding a new sanctuary to the church and this caused an upheaval in the classrooms. I pretty much got to choose where we would move to. I took the old kitchen, knowing that they were gutting it and opening it up for a nice sized classroom. However, it had no windows! So ... I decided to have some fun. Especially since these kids were a lot of fun. We painted it. With a tropical fish theme. The walls were sea blue. We got fish decals for the walls, netting in varying colors, lots of fun things. I told the kids we could have black lights in the room and then we painted the ceiling yellow - for the color of the sun. It was different and a lot of fun. But, good heavens, you would think I was leading the kids down the path of destruction! One of the ladies heard about the blacklight and actually called the pastor worrying about the fact that I was putting a disco light in the room and it was going to look like an opium den! An opium den! From me! (I do have to emphasize that she really hated me - I never figured out what I had done to her, except not allow her to control me). I couldn't believe it. And I promise ... there was never any opium in that room, nor were there any other illegal drugs. And the kids DID have a lot of fun.

I've got people a little concerned about the Creative Suite. I kept threatening to hang beads for curtains and doors. That seems to be unacceptable. I guess I'll figure out a way to be subtle and wild at the same time, eh?

Today I'm thinking a lot about Ruth Bell Graham. I certainly am thankful for her impact on our world. You see, she gave up a lot to be the wife of Billy Graham and her loving support gave him the opportunity to be the man that he is. I'm thankful for her life.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Last day in Estes

You have to know that it has been years since I took a relaxing vacation. Years. And even though I spent a lot of time with the Soul Seekers, doing church stuff and even though I work at the church, let's just say, this was a wonderful vacation.

Max and I took off on Wednesday morning and headed back up into RMNP. Have I said lately that I have a wonderful husband? I do. We went back up Trail Ridge Road. I was feeling much better and this time I was facing things I had already seen. I watched as my husband hugged the yellow line in the middle of the road so that I wouldn't be terrified of going over the edge. Hmmm, I think he did that on Monday, but I was too irrational to recognize it! However, this time I was able to actually look out the window and see the beauty of the mountains and valleys.

We didn't have time to go to the top of the mountain - we wanted to get back down to Estes to meet up with the SS. But, we got past the treeline. again. Absolutely beautiful. All of the snow was melting and rushing down the hillsides. There were many, many flowing 'streams' of water coming down to the roadside. I caught a few of them as we drove past:

The Big Horn sheep is the state animal of Colorado. I hadn't seen any and was feeling a little sad about that, but I also know that it is quite random to see them, so I was fine with that. However, I had asked God if it would be possible to see them. We rounded a bend and here they were! So, Max stopped on the road and I snapped a quick picture. I was so excited! Then, around the next bend was the viewing area for the sheep and there were several park rangers and many tourists snapping away. Max and I pulled in and he got some pictures. I listened as one of the rangers explained that they felt fortunate to have seen the sheep moving down the mountainside and were able to call enough rangers in to stop traffic so they could easily cross the road into the pasture. The sheep are skittish and also tend to stress a lot. If they are stressed, their hearts begin beating blood into their heads and they will have an aneurism. Whoa! So, I felt even more fortunate to just be able to see them!

We got back to Estes Park and did a little shopping. Then, we waited for the SS to show up for their afternoon of shopping. We took Cody and Jen off the bus and drove back into RMNP. They had a lot of fun shooting with Max and I hope he was able to teach them a few things about photography. He certainly had a good time.

We had to be back at Performance Park in Estes at 5:15 for a 6:00 concert. As we were setting up in the ampitheater, I caught a few pictures. This is Mike Carmody holding on to Leica. She's such a social little thing.

This next photo is one of my favorites. Jen is always working with the kids to get them to open up their mouths and sing well! Put your hands on your checks and draw down. Open that mouth to an 'o'!

A bunch of the women from the Harvest Home (Tuesday evening's concert) showed up to encourage us and worship with us one more time. Worshipping in Estes Park, amidst the beauty of the mountains. Wow ... pretty cool!

Cody hasn't had a lot of luck getting photos up to the Faith-Westwood website. One at a time with intermittent internet access is difficult. He did get a bunch of them sent up to his google account. Check them out here!

We're Home

We got home about 5:30 this morning. We're exhausted. I don't know that we've ever driven and seen sundown and sunup in the same drive. At least in that order!

No telephone calls this morning, please! {grin}

But, it's always entertaining riding with Max and I have much more to share about our day yesterday and the overnight drive. There will be pictures and joy.

A couple of things, though ... Nebraska's system of charging for gasoline is really something. I don't know how gas prices can be so radically different - I'll explain more later. I do believe that I'm annoyed enough to write the governor.

I have heard the ENTIRE Brian Wilson Beach Boys Collection - ending with "Pet Sounds". Who knew that it could last 4-5 hours? But, you know what? It does!

Leica is already asleep on the sofa. I'm about to join her. Max is asleep upstairs. The car will be emptied later. OH! And we walked into a much cleaner home. How does that happen? You have a sister who has time on her hands. It's wonderful!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

God, the Mountains, and Everything

(I apologize for the layout of these blogs - I can't make the html work correctly when I load photos to a blog. Sheesh!)

Well, this has been a fabulous day. An interesting day ... and thankfully it started for me this morning rather than at midnight. I was a sick girl last night! I think that I am finally beginning to acclimate to the altitude, but last night I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. I have also decided that I am a lousy sick person. I whine and cry a lot. Poor Max had to put up with a lot from me yesterday. Last night, I made him crawl into the queen size bed (don't worry, Cody - I'm not telling anything you shouldn't hear) and let me snuggle up to him so that I could feel better. He just fell asleep with me up close to him - I felt so lousy.

Max is having a terrible time with his allergies as well. Goodness! We were in Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday (or RMNP as they call it around here) and the wind came up. I looked off in the distance and there was this yellow stuff swarming around in the wind. It took a few moments for me to realize what it was - pine pollen! Max remembered it from living in North Carolina. This morning when we woke up, there had been a light rain last night. The cars were covered in the stuff and it was in puddles on the ground. He has been hacking and sneezing. Claritin isn't even touching this stuff. But we're leaving soon and he'll live until then ... I hope.

Well, anyway ... let's get to today - there's a lot to tell!

We got up and moving ... a little late, but finally. We'd seen a fun breakfast place - "The Egg and I." But, this is what we saw as we drove into Estes, so we had to pull over and shoot some pictures before breakfast:

After breakfast we headed down the highway to Loveland. We were driving in the Big Thompson River Canyon. Wow! That was something. The highway follows the river, so the entire time on one side of the road or the other, we were looking at beautiful fast moving water. And mountains. As we were driving through the canyon, I was overwhelmed by the immense walls of rock around us. Stunning. Traffic was clipping along pretty quickly, so I didn't get any good pictures of it.

When we got to Loveland, gas prices were great, so we stopped to fill up. As we were waiting for the gas to flow into the tank, a young man approached us. "Hamilton County"? Where in Hamilton County? I realized he was looking at the plates on the van - which was Dad's van. Hamilton County, Iowa. I told him that it was Dad's van and he was from Webster City. So was this young man! He has been living out here for six years, but was thrilled to see someone from home. He figured his grandfather, who still lived there would know my father and when I told him that dad had just died in a freak accident a month or so ago, he was certain his grandfather would know of it.

But, the coolest thing about that conversation? After he told me what town he was from, the next piece of information that he shared was what church his grandfather went to. These are the things that link us together as humans!

We decided to turn around and head back. Before we left, we saw a lake and stopped for a quick walk for Leica and some photos for Max.

We got back into town, drove around a little and found the place where we would meet Soul Seekers for their late afternoon concert. The Prospect Park Living Center. They showed up and we went in to sing for a group of people that called it home. It was sweet! After the first song we did for them, one of the gentlemen just sighed with satisfaction. Pretty cool. The kids did a great job. Then, it was off to downtown Estes for supper. We ate a restaurant called "Locals". The staff was great and when they found out that we were a singing group, asked us to sing a couple of the songs for them. We did! The kids will have that memory for a long time.

After that we headed out for our evening concert at The Harvest House for Women. This was an amazing evening of worship, praise and song. The women responded overwhelmingly to the kids and the kids stepped it up for them. We were all in tears before we finished singing. Jennie was watching the kids lifting their hands in praise as we sang, and I was watching the women with their hands up and their faces lited in prayer. Weeping ensued. Even the kids were crying by that point.

The Harvest House Ranch is an amazing facility. It's been around for 34 years. They teach young women how to parent - God's way. They bring in addicts and abused women ... they care for young women and all of their children. They help young girls who are pregnant and will offer long-term care - at least until their child is 2 years old. The director told us this evening that strung-out heroin addicts will come into the facility and will never have to deal with coming down from heroin. God allows them to sleep and when they wake up, the heroin is gone from their body. She's watched it happen over and over again. What a ministry she has!

I'm sorry I don't have pictures. Max stayed in the van with Leica, so no camera.

If you are waiting for pics on the Faith-Westwood site, they're coming. Poor Cody has all of the photos from all of the sponsors loaded on to his computer, but he has had lousy access to the internet. I asked him what was up tonight, and after the look of panic on his face, he told me that internet access was fairly intermittent and very limited. We'll see what he can get done tonight.

We're home early this evening. It's nice. We need to get things wrapped up to pack the van tomorrow. We'll leave Colorado after the concert in the park tomorrow night. I'm not sure how far we'll drive - maybe all the way home. You may not hear from me until Thursday when I'm back in my own comfy home!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Are you kidding me?

So ... we drive back in to Estes Park late this afternoon and end up driving through the downtown area. I was trying to take in as much as possible. Looking for funky little restaurants, checking out the tourist traps and wondering about fun shopping. As I was scanning the store fronts, something caught my eye. I could NOT believe what I was seeing. I kept looking at it and looking at it, trying to decide if I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. Finally, I realized that YES! I was looking at Husker Haven. We had to come back to get a photograph of this. I was a bit astounded. But, scroll past this photo - there is more to the story!

Max and I went out to dinner at a cool little local place. I'm not one for reciting a menu, but when I saw that they had pan-grilled Rocky Mountain Stream Trout, I had to have that. It was amazing. After supper, we headed out to look for Husker Haven so that I could get a photo of it to share. We had come in on a different highway, so had to go around a little bit to find it. And as we were turning around in a plaza - you'll never believe what I saw there! It was more than incredible:

Yes, that's right. Not one, but TWO Big Red stores in the community of Estes Park. That's just nuts! (hehe) So, even when we think we're out of the state of Nebraska, I guess we're not!

The Big Wuss

That's me ... I'm a wuss!!! I admit it fully and freely.

So, today has been a weird day ... mostly good ... some signs of wussiness from Diane ... much love and help from Max.

We slept in this morning and left the hotel about 9:45 on our way to Estes Park. We began driving west towards the mountains and I got more and more excited. Yea!!! Here we go! We got to Estes Park and decided to find the hotel ... just to get things squared away so that I didn't have to think about it anymore. We drove up to the Columbine Inn and it's a beatifully restored strip motel from the 1940s or 50s. Max calls them "Timothy McVeigh' hotels because that is what he was staying in when they found him after the OK City bombing. We love these places. They are generally restored by the owners with lots of loving care and the little extras are noticeable. Each room is generally quite individualized with it's own decor. Here, the towels are folded quite prettily and aren't your standard white, but are a red, green and white stripe! There's internet access and even a little refrigerator. The chairs and table are from the 50s. Oh, it's wonderful!

I checked in, and the room was ready, so we came down, parked right in front of the room, went to the bathroom and got ready for our day on the road.
We left a few minutes later and it was noon. Time to get moving. We headed right into Rocky Mountain National Park on Trail Ridge Road. Because they can't get up there during the winter, road construction starts as soon as it gets nice. We dealt with a little of that today. Didn't slow us down too much.

Max was driving and I was holding on for dear life. Let's just say ... I do NOT like mountain roads. At one point, I was absolutely terrified. I felt that if I looked off the side of the road, that's the way we would end up going. I couldn't take my eyes off the road! I'm a wuss! Max started laughing at me - he was totally comfortable and was doing just great driving. I couldn't even laugh about it ... I was just crying. Seriously. I was crying. We pulled into one area and I realized that I had a death grip on the top of the car window (it was rolled down a bit for air). I pried my fingers loose and tried to breathe. Breathe, Diane!

You see, I DO remember riding these types of roads with my father and looking off the side down into the dark chasms of mountainside. Dad thought it was funny. I didn't. I still don't. But fortunately, I'm married to a man who has plenty of respect for my feelings. Whew! No teasing me. I think I might have threatened him with divorce papers this afternoon at one point.
And guess what, with all of that, I clearly explained to Max that people may see God's glory in these mountains, but God was going to have to do something different, because my eyes just weren't seeing the glory. I KNOW! I will say it for you. I'm a wuss!

We finally got to the top of the mountain. Once we got into the tundra, things began flattening out a bit and I started to relax. But, by this time, altitude sickness had caught up with me and I was really nauseated. Joy. We turned around at Alpine Peak Visitor Center. It had taken us 2 1/2 hours to get to that point and to go on to Grand Lake would have required quite a bit more time, plus the return trip. So, back we went. As we came down the mountain, the nausea subsided and this time I was next to the mountain. I perked right up!

So, we took a couple of side roads, just to see what we could see. And this is one of the stops we made!

I LOVE mountain streams. I know, I know. You have to go into the mountains to find the streams. But, I have discovered that the streams are really cool at the bottom of the mountains - when the water has had plenty of time to build up on it's way down! (Ok, I know - I'm still being a wuss). While Max was shooting the stream, I let Leica out a little bit. She certainly is loving all of the new smells that she encounters.

Finally, on our way out, we saw a moose. Everyone was pulled over - and there was no room - people were standing on the side of the road, so I quickly clicked as we drove past. He was immense! If you look in the picture - upper left - you will see a stream. About 20 feet away is an unsuspecting fly fisherman. I certainly hope he saw the moose before the moose saw him! The traffic was mad enough that I stopped for this picture, or I would have gotten the fisherman as well. It was the perfect cover for LLBean!

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Yup ... that's what I said. I think it's the coolest thing ever to be traveling with my small dog. First - she's the best dog in the world. Sorry guys ... it's my blog and I get to say that. But, she travels really well. And I'm so thankful for that. She and Max are curled up on the bed again while I'm typing. Do you sense a pattern? I make him drive to exhaustion - then he sleeps.

So, after we left the kids in downtown Denver, we came back to the hotel for some rest and to allow my addiction to the internet to be satiated. However, I needed a little bit of relief on my other addiction, caffeine, so we stopped at the closest Starbucks for my Iced Chai. And, as we pulled up the girl asked if I would like a puppuccino? Ok ... what's that? Well, it's just a little cup of froth with some sprinkles on it. You know what? Let's do it. She brought it back for Leica - who cleaned the cup to the bottom. What a wonderful thing! No wonder Starbucks is the leader in the coffee industry.

Leica gets a lot of attention. She's quite social and will allow nearly everyone near her. She's not fabulous around small children that poke and pinch and jump at her, but then, neither am I and though I don't bite, sometimes I wish I could (bad Diane). But, with older kids and adults - she's fabulous.

I'm trying not to worry about taking her into the mountains tomorrow. Oh, heck, I'm trying not to worry about GOING into the mountains tomorrow. I remember those mountain roads, and I've been warned and warned about burning up my brakes. And warned about dehydration. Oh for heaven's sake!

The last time I brought a dog into the Denver area - my dachshund, Bert - we had a miserable experience. Poor Max. As we were leaving, all of a sudden, Bert had, well, blood in his bowels. He obviously wasn't feeling very good. Instead of taking I-76 from Denver up to I-80, we had decided to go up through Wyoming. We'd never been that way before and thought it would be fun to check out new territory. And then, Bert got sick. And Diane got stressed. Poor Max was stuck with a sick dog, a stressed wife and the LONG way back to Omaha. I called the vet when we got home, he told me to feed the dog hamburger and rice, and we were fine. The stupid dog had altitude sickness and was dehydrated.

Living with me can't be easy. I'm totally nuts. I didn't sleep well last night. Duh, I never sleep well in hotels unless I'm totally exhausted. Everything on my body ached when I woke up this morning and there wasn't a single Advil tablet in the room. Frustration! I took a shower, looked in the mirror and my face had broken out. I haven't scared myself that much in a long time! Neither Max and I were feeling very human when we left the hotel. We drove straight for Walgreen's. A few quick purchases: makeup to recover the face, a rubbermaid container for water for Leica, Advil (panicked me bought a bottle of tablets and another bottle of liquigels for immediate relief), and a Diet Mt. Dew! By the time we reached the church, the Advil was kicking in, the makeup was covering the splotchies and the Diet Mt. Dew was surging through my veins. The morning was going to be fine. It just took a little while to get me there!

In my last post, Jacque mentioned that she had loved and hated SS tours. Jacque did this as a leader/sponsor/director/mom for a lot of years. She knows what she is talking about! But, she organized some pretty amazing tours for the kids. The one we are on this year is a repeat of one of her last years with Soul Seekers. But, I know her comment is a truism. I'm thankful that I could bring Max with me and escape most of the scheduled insanity. I'm not much for all of that stuff - I'm a bit too independent. So, I avoid as much of it as possible.

Hanging out with kids is a huge blessing! They are absolutely wonderful. At the same time, they are an incredible amount of work. They want to be independent and for the most part they make good decisions, but there is a full-blown guarantee that they will make a very poor decision and it will happen regularly. Especially when they are in large groups.

It occurs to me that I am about to go out on a tangent - sorry 'bout that!

Large groups are insanity! I am not a fan of Women of Faith conferences, or Beth Moore conferences. Anywhere there are 4-10,000 women in one space, complete insanity breaks out. Women ... in large groups ... are stupid! Individuals will stop in doorways to speak to each other, just at the time the entire group is on a mass exodus from the hall. They carry huge purses that take up an entire other person's space and will gladly smack you with the purse and they are surging through a crowd. There's not much worse than a huge number of women in one space. Unless it's a huge number of men! Then, all sensibility leaves them. They can't function without specific direction.

And kids? The noise level never dies down enough for them to ever take instruction!

I wonder if that's what frustrated God at the Tower of Babel. All of those idiots, crowded into one space. Smacking each other around with their purses, having no idea what to do next and babbling with each other all over the place. I can see God just shaking his head and raining down languages on them to make them just split up and go their separate ways!

Ok ... enough for now. I have an hour to join my husband on the bed before we have to take off for the Salvation Army.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

In Denver!

It's been a very long day and as I sit here typing this, my husband and my dog are asleep on the bed. Poor Max has driven all day long. Poor Leica has been pretty active all day long. I lay down for a few minutes, shut my eyes and allowed myself to rest. That, along with the Sobe Energy drink I'm consuming helps.

Check out the Faith-Westwood site. Cody will be loading pictures tonight after the concert and he's already got one blog posted. I'll be posting there as well (maybe). Dad's van (my van now) was a beautiful ride. We have the drums and a couple of guitars in the back end. You have to know I feel like a real hippie. We're in a 1989 Mazda van. Nothing new about this one, but it's fabulous! I refuse to paint it in wild colors, but it certainly is kind of wild - all of the musical instruments ... who knows, maybe people will think this old lady is in a rock band! (hah)

Max and I had a few interesting conversations today. He was playing his weird music. Let's see, I listened to early Badfinger, then Steppenwolf, Led Zeppelin, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons. (he's my geek and I love him)

I'm not sure what led to this conversation ... whoops, yes I am ... I missed one. In between Badfinger and Steppenwolf, we listened to Paul McCartney's solo album - between the Beatles and Wings. One of the songs was "Teddy Boy". Max likes to explain where McCartney got his lyrics. Let me tell you, for one of the most profound composers of pop music, his lyrics came from some of the most mundane sources. But, the 'Teddy Boy's' were a youth movement in Britain in the 1950s. They were like gangs. But, these guys wore Edwardian (From King Edward in the early 1900s) clothing and began the movement to wear clothing for style, not just for work or school. Did you even wonder where that had come from?

So, there are these punks - all stylin' - out looking for trouble and I think they got into a lot of it! Lots of bar fights. This, of course, led to a conversation today about 2 other groups that grew out of this. The 'Mods', effete intellectuals, who wore effeminate clothing and road around on scooters. 'The Who' came out of this movement. Then, there were the 'Rockers', and this group wore leather and rode motorcycles. I'm telling you, it's just fascinating.

I think we are so stuck in our own thought processes here in the United States. So many of us have no idea of the development of history in the rest of the world. We were talking to Dr. Delp about this tonight and he said that when he was in Israel, that fact really struck home with him. We are used to dealing in decades, maybe even centuries, but in Israel, time is measured in thousands of years!

So ... it's 6:20 - I need to change my clothes and get ready for a concert this evening. After that, I will be ready to crash and burn. Hopefully I will get a good night's sleep. You know ... I've actually discovered that I sleep better in a hotel room when I have my doggie with me. I think I'm nuts!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Put your lips together and buzz - now, take your index finger and flip your lips up and down while you do it. Feeling the insanity? Right now, today, that's what is happening here at the office.

Cody and I are changing offices to join each other in the brand-new 'Creative Suite'. That, in and of itself will be fodder for an entertaining blog, I'm sure. But, right now, it's the change! This morning, a team from an office furniture design team came in to change the modular furniture around in the offices. Which meant that yesterday we had to empty all of the shelves and drawers. Most of the stuff in the volunteer room (attendance, membership, etc.) has been deposited in my bookshelves. Yesterday I had people in and out of my office as they were emptying and depositing. I managed to keep working.

This morning began interestingly enough. Max brought me to work so that he could change the oil in the van before our trip to Colorado this weekend with Soul Seekers. We got breakfast at McDonald's and he wanted to come in and eat it with me. Hmmm ... we're messing with my patterns and my schedule! But, I'm a good woman and change is not supposed to affect me negatively, right? Whatever.

Staff meeting is always an interruption to my day. It's hard to work when you're stuck in a meeting. Today the newsletter is also produced and since that's my baby, I have to be sure to have everything ready for the volunteers: originals ready to go for printing, labels printed, mailing forms filled out, instructions typed up. And we did another mailing at the same time. It's all good.

New staff person today: Edna Fleming. That always means that we generally go out to lunch together and feed her as well. The waiter was wonderful, but it took forEVER to get out of there. More of my day slipped away from me.

All of this on top of an electrician who needs an answer about where to place a new electrical pole for the volunteer desk (I can't help him, so this is stressing me a little bit - ok, I COULD make a decision, but as soon as I did, it would be the wrong one).

My office is filled with STUFF! I have boxes of books from my aunt, shelves filled with stuff out of the volunteer space, a table filled with Luis Palau publicity stuff as well as Festival of the Arts publicity stuff and my desk feels like it has erupted paper all over the place.

I do not work well under these circumstances. Consequently, I am spending a few moments writing a blog about my randomness rather than cleaning up the mess. I'll get there.

I can't move into the new Creative Suite because they are going to spackle tomorrow and paint on Friday. I leave for Colorado on Saturday and will be gone for a week. When in the world am I supposed to move my stuff? Ack! So, my patience is wearing thin. I'm still exercising it as much as possible. But, I'm a little afraid for my poor husband this evening. He always gets the brunt of my insanity. Pray for him.

I don't like being unsettled. But, you know? It occurs to me that God likes having me unsettled. It's been a year of 'unsettledness' for me. And God has gone all the way through it with me. This is just an annoyance, not really anything that I can call important. It's just my own level of frustration.

If you wait a couple of weeks, we will be more settled into the Creative Suite. Come see us anytime. Everyone should traipse into the church offices regularly, we love to see people and sometimes feel like we are doing the work all alone up here! We might even have some m&ms for you!

Monday, June 04, 2007

He's My Boy!

Matthew is doing great! There's a possibility that he will go home tomorrow. Can you imagine? 72 hours after having open heart surgery and he's going home. They have taken out all of the tubes and he no longer is receiving narcotics - just heavy duty ibuprofen. That just blows my mind. Medicine has changed so much in such a relatively short period of time. I've been so impressed with Children's Hospital since the beginning of this experience. Wow, if you have to deal with a sick child - that's the place to do it. Oh ... and the funniest thing? They asked if pictures could be taken during surgery. Of course! If they provided a disposable camera, the team would be glad to take pictures. Some are pretty gruesome, but it's so darned cool to see what was happening in there. Good pictures of the new valve, excellent pictures of all of the equipment in the room - weird pictures of Matthew's chest being open. How cool is that? Janet wasn't thrilled with seeing her boy opened up like that, but I thought it was pretty cool. And I hate blood. No, I don't watch those surgery shows on TLC. Yikes!

I won't post any of the gruesome shots, but here are a couple of pics of my boy from the weekend.

The first thing we saw in ICU. Ack! My boy!

Saturday morning - he was doing so much better!

So, there it is - almost over ... all of those prayers definitely supported this family while they dealt with more stress.

I hope he goes home tomorrow ... much as I have enjoyed spending time with him - I'd rather make the drive to Firth ... or even just call him on the phone!

Friday, June 01, 2007

This Old Aunt

I was talking to Jen this afternoon about my nephew - about how it hurt me to see my boy so weak and feeble, in pain and all hooked up. My comment: "It breaks this old aunt's heart to see her boy this way."

Later on, I was talking to my Aunt Dorie, telling her about the day and I realized that she says that to us - I heard her speaking from my mouth! We laughed a bit about that. Then she went on to tell me that she felt for us kids - having dealt with dad's death and now worrying over my nephew. We had to hang up, I was pulling into Red Robin with Max and Emma and Jacob. I dropped them off at the front door, pulled around the building, parked the van and just sobbed and sobbed. I suppose I had wanted to do that all day, but never really found the time or the place. I was alone, just me and God and I let loose.

I watched my little (not so much - but 5 years younger) brother worry over his son and watched his wife try to remain normal while all they could do was think about their firstborn with his heart on a bypass pump. The room that we were waiting in seemed to get smaller and smaller and began to close in around us as time passed and no message from the surgery team.

Max and I took a walk ... and when we returned, the news was good, he was off the bypass machine and they were preparing to sew him back up. All had gone well. Whew. Max and I ate some lunch in the cafeteria, hung out for awhile with Emma and Jake when they showed up and then went up to the ICU waiting room. We were able to go in pretty regularly to see Matt. I just wanted to hold his hand and let him know how much I loved him. So, I did. Emma didn't want to leave him ... she held on pretty tight.

As we moved in and out (4 in the room at one time), things began to relax. Janet and I were in there together for awhile and she began reminiscing about his birth. That day was the beginning of their family and a point of extreme joy in my life. There is nothing like spending your 30th birthday holding a brand new life in your arms. I had the best 30th birthday party! And here we are - nearly 18 years later - I'm so thankful that he has had many birthdays with me and that we'll be able to celebrate a restoration of life to him with this surgery.

They replaced an aortic valve today with a porcine (pig) valve. These valves are to have 3 flaps which open and close as the blood passes through. The 3 flaps stop blood from flowing backwards. He only had 2 flaps and the doctors say that the valve was also quite distorted. His heart and his body isn't going to know what to do with a normal valve. He will finally be able to push his body and expect the stamina and endurance to be there. Matt has done amazingly well for someone who couldn't do many endurance type things because of this heart problem. He's looking forward to fall and a chance to maybe even play football!

I'm so thankful for my family. I am thankful for the fact that we are so close I can feel like my nephew is part of my heart and soul. I am thankful that I could be there to love my brother and sister in law while they were stressed. I am thankful that the 3 of us kids grew up as we did so that whether things are good or bad, we remain a family.

God has been good to us ... even when things seem to be falling apart ... God's love finds ways to shine through and remind us that He is sovereign.

Good morning

Max and I ended up at the hospital this morning about 8:30. In a small waiting room with a lot of family. Well, not a lot ... but enough. Do you know that I'm a hermit? Oh my goodness! I like my own solitude - and I like having a lot of space. This is enough to make a sane person a bit crazy. The other thing I've decided is that I have more claustrophobia than I realized. I'm breathing a little heavier than I like. It's alright.

We haven't heard anything from the surgeon for awhile - the last we heard was that he had gone on the heart bypass. So, we wait. It's difficult. When I was waiting for Max's surgery to be finished, I was fine. I kept myself occupied and managed to not worry too much. But, heck - that was an ankle! I knew what was going to happen and there wasn't any internal excitement going on. This is my boy! And I am a bit worried about him.

It's ok. I know that God is with us. I'm sure of that! That is what gets us through this. I simply can't imagine getting through life without the knowledge that my life is in God's hands. Thank you Jesus!