Monday, March 30, 2009

Marriage Retreat

One of the highlights of our year is teaching at the A TIME FOR US Marriage Retreats. So Friday morning we headed up to Kohl's Ranch near Payson, Arizona for the Level 1 retreat. We stopped in Payson for a quick burger and I noticed an older lady (and her twin sister and husband) sitting at a picnic table outside Burger King with a Wisconsin t-shirt on. So naturally I had to ask where they were from. She said they were from Black River Falls. I told her I grew up near there and that my Mom was the former Leona Steinke. She immediately got all excited and said "oh my gosh, your Mom was the Valedictorian of the class of '49 and your aunt was the Valedictorian of my class of '50 and I know them both!" What a small world! We had more fun talking about all the people we knew in common. Everyone thinks I'm crazy when I ask someone where they are from... but invariably we know someone mutually! Happens all the time!

So we arrived at Kohl's Ranch, we set up, settled in, went to dinner and then waited for the 12 couples to arrive. WE, being the teaching team. Randy & I just love teaching with Tom & Marcia and Nick & Kim. And we love connecting with the 12 couples and watching them respond to the truths.

These gals are so dear to me. I love that they model for me a heart of serving others. Thanks Marcia and Kim!

OK, so the teaching is great and all, but come on, let's cut to the chase ... the food is awesome! Nick & Kim serve us the best meals... made from scratch soups and salads and the best strata dishes along with delicious desserts! But my favorite... Kim's Cranberry Orange Scones!! (click for recipe) Oh my gosh, fresh baked, served hot from the oven! THE BEST SCONES EVER!

I love watching Randy teach. He is so gifted at communicating the various topics... meeting needs, forgiveness, strengths and weaknesses, the affects of unresolved issues and acceptance. It never fails, I always come away having heard something that hits home. Randy & I are committed to doing all we can to strengthen our marriage. And I can honestly say, the past five years have been the best years so far! And it's because of what we keep learning at these retreats.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

24/7 prayer

So, what is 24/7 Prayer? Well, check it out HERE. What a great site! It will answer all your questions. Anyway, this the 3rd year that our church has been doing 24/7 Prayer. And what a week it has been! I am serious, if you live anywhere within the great state of Arizona, you have got to come!! NOW! Get in your car... get on the light-rail... hop on your bike... stick out your thumb (kidding!)... you will not be disappointed! Click HERE for map and location. Our 24/7 ends Friday, Mar.27th.

Here are some of the many prayer stations that help facilitate as a visual, a tool to take you from crazy, busy to a place of quiet meditation. I can't even begin to describe the prayer stations that gifted artists have put together. I am instantly drawn to the Lord and I am able to shut out the world and be with Him. The tears start flowing and I am calm and peaceful.

If you'd like to read about other 24/7 experiences from this past week, then check out our ODFprays blog.

Monday, March 23, 2009

mommy & daughter day

I had a little photo session with Nicole & Emolyn yesterday at Amy's bridal shower. It was the perfect day to celebrate Amy and to share it with these two pretty girls.
Emolyn loves giving kisses and climbing all over her Mommy in the grass. She is without a doubt the happiest, most contented little girl I've ever seen. She smiles all the time.

Miranda wished me Happy Mother's Day on facebook over the weekend. Yes, it was Mother's Day in the UK. Randy & I can hardly wait to go see our daughter in 18 days! Trip itinerary coming soon.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

a walking inspiration

I love that my sister Ginny walks her dog everyday. Not because it inspires me to walk my dog... or even inspires me to walk in general. No, I love that she walks her dog because that's when she calls me on her cell phone and inspires the heck out of me!! Seriously, she is a walking, crafting, sewing sensation! And I'm the recipient of such creative genius.
So yesterday she called and told me about something she saw in a magazine and I was reminded of my old cast-iron pan and well, this became my version of what she was telling me about. Love the mixed colors and textures. But don't think for a minute it will remain this way. I have yet to dig out my very favorite buttons. No, my creative juices have only just begun~ to flow. But that's what I mean, Ginny just oozes with ideas galore every time I talk to her and my to-do project list is overwhelming to say the least and when will I ever find the time to do them all! Mmm, someday I will. When I'm living in my cozy cottage in the woods. But first we have to win the lottery and or something.

Ginny made me the pin cushion in the middle. Too cute. But you have got to the see her latest pin cushion creation... unlike anything I've seen so far! She's got me going to thrift stores on the look-out for 100% wool sweaters to felt. She's teaching me when she comes for a visit in May. Can't wait! You'll love em.

Thanks Ginny, for turning me on to thread catchers... bags... and pin cushions. You are so generous in sharing your many gifts and talents. And I am blessed to have you as my sister and friend.

Btw, I can't tell you how many times Ginny called this winter and she's walking Lacy in below 0 temps... like waaay below 0 temps! And she's alive... and functioning. You see, she lives in Wisconsin... and that's what you do. 'Nuff said.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tyler & Emy

I love watching my sons spending time together. They have so much fun. And they are each others biggest fan. Randy took these two out in the desert on Tyler's birthday. With guns and ammo. And a cooler filled with Gatorade, Symphony bars and beef jerky. Not my idea of fun. But then, they didn't ask. And who cares anyway, cuz I got to spend the day with this little munchkin! She's my idea of fun!

Uncle Tyler is one of Emy's favorite people in the whole world. And she is his. So it's understandable that her presence was his favorite present.

Nicole had to work so the guys left Emolyn with her Grammie and well, as you can imagine, I was in heaven. Emy loves jewelry and cell phones and books and Cheerios. She loves watching her Aunt Miranda sing to her on Skype. And she waves at her the whole time. Too cute.

Love this image of her little shoulders and tiny foot peeking out... ahh, pint-sized perfection to the max.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tyler's 20!

Happy Birthday Tyler!
My baby is 20! I am no longer a Mom of a teenager. And I gotta tell you, I'm sad about that. And I'm not sure what that's all about. Anyway, all three of my kids are in their 20's now. And Randy & I are grateful every single day to have had the privilege of being their parents. I get all weepy just typing those words. What an honor to see God use us in the lives of our children.
Anyway, after we had Shawn and Miranda, we wondered if we'd have another baby. I mean, we had our boy and girl. But I had always wanted 3 kids. And I wanted the 3rd to be at least 4 years after the 2nd. And that's exactly what happened. And I thank God every day that we had Tyler. You see, we had every reason in the world to rethink having a 3rd... money being the main reason. We were living on very little and we were committed to me staying home as I had with Shawn & Miranda. We trusted that God would give us the wisdom to make wise choices and live within our means and He did and we did. We look back now and marvel at the ways He proved Himself faithful and provided for our every need.
It was actually about the time that Tyler was born, that Randy took the job as janitor at our church. He had been the high school director for 4 years and needed a break. He was still doing concerts, but it was during those couple years as janitor that he took the necessary steps in forming Randy Thompson Ministries. He would go full-time with RTM in 1990 and that would change our lives forever. But that will have to be continued on another post.
So, when I think of Tyler turning 20, I am so aware of all that has gone on in the past 20 years since we embarked on this faith journey... and well, no wonder I'm so emotional.

Anyway, Tyler is a gifted musician and we're so proud at what he has created on his myspace music page. Hope you can take a moment and listen to one of his arrangements. My personal favorite is "I'm Yours".

And who do you suppose would make Tyler's birthday extra special? His extra special niece Emolyn of course... the prettiest girl in the whole widest world... as he always calls her. He adores her.

Oh and check out Miranda's post and pics all about her brother Tyler. She couldn't have said it any better. She adores her little brother.

*** The top pic was taken by Kelsie Pinkerton Photography. Thanks Kelsie!

Monday, March 09, 2009

cows... coos

Cows.. coos... let me explain.
Miranda recently spent a weekend in Scotland and had the pleasure of meeting Hamish. Hamish is a famous heilan' coo... a highland cow. And well, I was instantly smitten with the disheveled, shaggy coo.

I have always had a soft spot for cows. Having grown up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, I have seen my fair share of them. But Hamish beats all. She's a looker all right.

Several years ago, my brother Ron had a rather unconventional cow living amongst the traditional Holsteins. I believe she was a Guernsey cow. Anyway, this particular shot was taken from the top of the 90 foot Harvestore that Randy climbs every year before we head home to Phoenix. I don't know about you, but I find this photo rather troubling. I mean, who knew that Holsteins could be so... well... prejudice... intolerant... discriminatory. I mean, can't we all just get along?!

But thanks to my nephew Aaron, he captured an amicable shot of them coexisting. I knew it was just a matter of time. You go girls!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

love this watch

Have I told you that I love watches? Well I do. I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but I do wear watches and have acquired quite a collection of them over the years... from yard sales of course. Who doesn't come across a pile of watches at every sale. And usually the seller doesn't have a clue if the watches work, so they let em go for a quarter. As was the case yesterday. So this morning I went to Walmart, got myself a $4.00 battery and ta-da, a new watch AND one that I can actually see without my glasses on. I love a watch with a big face. I love this watch! (enlarge to see the exquisite detail)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Emolyn's toophers

Oh how she loves to show off her toophers! And a mighty fine set of toophers I might add. Emolyn had her developmental assessment the other day and good news! She is a totally normal 1 year old! No deficit, no "based on gestational age"! Those very words were taken from Nicole's blog. We're so grateful. Be sure to check out her post on Emolyn's 1st year. Her pics and moving journal entry made me cry.

Isn't she a button! And she is the sweetest, most mild-mannered little girl!

She loves to pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man. Or is it patty-cake, patty-cake... or padda-cake, padda-cake...Mmm, rather confusing because every one of those showed up when I googled the old nursery rhyme.
Anyway, I love this little cutie pie to pieces!

Monday, March 02, 2009

good day!

Hey everyone! This is all I got from the wedding I coordinated over the weekend. But I can assure you, it was one beautiful wedding! But my camera decided the memory card was full and I was limited to a cupcake pic. But what a fun weekend! I love weddings. And I can honestly say, I have never been a part of such a devoted, loving group of friends and loved ones with the one goal of making Todd & Krisanna's wedding both magical and memorable. And it truly was.

In other news, I was saddened by the news of Paul Harvey's passing. I have vivid memories of listening to the rest of the story as far back as I can remember. We always had a radio on in the barn growing up, and I have fond memories of listening to Paul Harvey's rest of the story while feeding the baby calves their daily milk. And now that I think about it, my love of storytelling was most likely influenced by his unique style and delivery. And no one delivered the news like he did... who can forget- stand by, for news! and page 2!

I remember many years ago thinking that one day the world will be without Billy Graham, Bob Hope and Paul Harvey. I mean, think about it... what do I love more than Jesus, laughing and storytelling! These men deeply influenced my childhood and were loved and respected by my parents. I'm telling you, no one could make my Dad laugh like Bob Hope. So now Bob Hope and Paul Harvey are gone. And one day Billy Graham will go home and we'll be without the one that God used so powerfully... those of us that choose to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. That will be a sad day for us, but a great day for him.
So, I will leave you with Paul Harvey's classic cliche... good day!