Saturday, January 31, 2009

Behold! The Great Blue Heron!

The two pictures above are stock photos of a Great Blue Heron. We actually have one that sometimes stops by the two ponds in Palmer Park, which is the little park about a block from our house. Well, here is the story. On Friday afternoon, about 4:30pm, Judy looked out the den window and pointed out the bird under the huge magnolia tree that is just across the street. We looked and looked, and decided that since it was so very big, it must be the owl that lives down at those same two ponds. I had seen him once standing on the curb by the ponds, and he was very big. But then the bird turned its head, and we realized the beak was not at all an owl's beak. Judy was sure it was the great blue heron. Sure enough, it was. I went outside and whistled and clapped my hands, and he rose up on his spindly legs, but did not fly away. So Judy went out on the front porch, and out to the curb on our side of the street to get some up close pictures. (Below is the best one.). Then, before Judy was ready, he flew off. It was an amazing sight. How or why he came up this far from the pond is beyond us. But it was so neat that he did. I would say that while he was perched, he probably stood about 3 to 3-1/2 feet tall. His wingspan was massive. God has surely shown us some amazing things while living here in this house on Howard St. He continually amazes us!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Almost up-and-running

We are almost ready to go "online" with our new ministry website: Victory Ground Ministries, Inc. The website will be Judy has been working so hard on getting it just right. I haven't been too very helpful because I don't know anything about website design. Right now she is struggling with learning how to get my blog (not this newsy, personal blog) inbedded into the website. She has been dogged about it, and refuses to give up. The new blog will be more spiritual/devotional in nature. This one will keep everyone up on happenings in our life, and the website blog will be more encouragement. I think you will like the new sight. Watch here for the big announcement that it is ready.

Stumbled across my diary from my trip to South Africa and Kenya in 1996. Nice memories all around.

Big winter storm on Monday night and Tuesday all day. Freezing rain/sleet back and forth for 24 hours, then about 1" of snow. I haven't been to work in two days. Refuse to drive on ice, snow not so bad, but ice! Ugh!! I am getting too old for that.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Wife, My Grandkids

Judy and her artwork continue to amaze me. She is so very creative. Imagine opening a Christmas present of your children having been painted by your mother. We were in Branson for Judy's family Christmas get-together. Our girls gathered in our apartment with their girls and boy to open presents. It was wonderful to see their delight at what Judy had done. We removed the apartment pictures from the wall and hung the portraits. The girls climbed up on the divan to get a closer look, and Judy got a snapshot of them. Here is the outcome (click on the picture to see a larger view). Of course, Olivia wanted her picture to be by Caitlyn's, but that was impossible. I am blessed to have the family I do, and I know it! Enjoy the eye candy, while I enjoy the real thing!

Here are the portraits up close.

Olivia and Ava (5 and 4 years old).

Caitlyn and Brent (4 and 1 year old).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pictures of Christmas

As I have said in an earlier blog, we had such a great time with Judy's family at Christmas in Kimberling City/Branson. We stayed in 7 or 8 condos, and would meet up for various things throughout the week (bowling tournaments, mini-golf tournaments, Silver Dollar City, etc.). Often we would stroll over to someone's condo and sit around with coffee and just talk after breakfast. Here is a picture of Judy with two of her sisters and their spouses and her mom and dad. (Bob is watching the birds and the boats on the lake.)

Speaking of birds, we saw some spectacular eagles flying up and down the lake outside our condo windows. I saw one come so close that I could see his individual wing feathers. Wow!

A morning walk was scheduled at 8:30 every morning for those who were interested. Here we are walking through a cool covered bridge.

My mother went with us for the week, and went into Silver Dollar City. We got her a motorized chair, and she went all over the park. She really enjoyed herself. Especially when she drove over the bridge. The pavement was ridged, and so when she drove over it, she got a good bounce-bounce-bounce ride. She laughed every time she drove over it. Here she is waiting for the light parade with two of her great-granddaughters.

We found a great woodworking shop in Silver Dollar City. They had an area set up like a sitting room. The furniture was so very comfortable that Mother and I sat down and rested. I almost fell asleep. Doesn't she look pretty and sharp in her coat and blue scarf?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Great Christmas!

We just returned from a great week in the Branson area with Judy's really big family. (They are about 63 in number with #64 on his/her way.) Here are 53 of them who came from all over the US (Washington State to Maryland). Every two years the effort is made to be together for a week. Most everyone is there, on occasion some cannot make it, or can only come for a few days. But here they are. (Click on a picture to enlarge it.)

Each time we all go into Silver Dollar City for a day to enjoy the Christmas shows and lights, along with parades and all kinds of food. This year we went in on Sunday afternoon. It is so much fun to "go your own way" and run into some family member(s) from time to time. I stayed with my mother, who was there with us this week. She drove a motorized vehicle and I walked along beside. Every so often, you could hear my 3 granddaughters screaming across the crowd, "Papa! Papa! We missed you." At the live Nativity play, I saw Olivia coming in and enjoyed the "Papa! Papa!" routine. I picked her up and we hugged and kissed. Then I asked if she would like to be carried to her seat. "Uh-huh!" she said. "It's hard to walk with these many clothes on!" (I'll be showing more pictures of my little darlings in the days to come.)

Here are Dad and Mom with their 7 daughters (Judy is on your top right in the blue). They are (front row, left to right) Beth - #4, Carol - #2, Dad and Pat/Mom, Sue #1. Then (top row, left to right) Terrie - #5, Sara - #7, Pam - #6, and Judy - #3. Whew! From oldest to youngest is 29 years. And from these 9 people, you get 64.
We had our own church service on Sunday morning. We have more than enough ministers (3 spoke). I spoke on the Birth of Christ, Lance (husband of Pam) spoke on the Life of Christ, and Aaron (son of Carol) spoke on the Death of Christ. We had our own minister-of-music (Ryan, husband of Sara), musicians (Kevin and Michael -guitarists), children's choir, congregational singing, and special music (the 7 Vernon sisters pictured above singing "Sweet, Sweet Spirit").

On Monday, at our Christmas meal/gift exchange, we even had the nativity story acted out.