Sunday, July 31, 2011

Church Hopping Again...

Today was visit to church number 3. In comparison to the blog last Sunday, this one will be mercifully short.

Let's just put it this way -- in a nutshell, today's visit made us both extremely glad we are members of College Church in Wheaton.

We spent the first 40 minutes standing and singing. Well -- others sang. At the 11th repeat of the 7 words, I finally got it. To their credit, there were a couple of hymns I recognized. Included in that 40 minutes was communion. Now, at College Church, communion is a sacrament -- a worshipful time, accompanied by scripture, prayer, music, meditation and self examination. First the bread is passed around, and then the "wine" (not sure it is Welch's -- probably Jewel brand). No matter --

Here we stood, and two little cups were passed -- one on top of the other; the bottom had a little square of something -- hmm -- maybe 3 mm square -- and the top one had a half a communion cup of juice. We "held" until all had been "served" so we could "partake together." It certainly is expedient, and for this church, the largest we have been to thus far, communion was over and done with rather quickly.

Then we got to sit down.

The sermon was, um....forgetable. It was loud. Lots of yelling and pacing back and forth, bad grammar, and a young white man trying to sound like a black street preacher.

Yo, man!! We are not tempted to return....

I went to CostCo and picked up a delicious key lime pie for the birthday celebs next weekend. The members of the 9 day club which started in middle school will all be here -- Michael, whose birthday is today -- Tim, who is August 9, and Sam -- August 18.

I can't wait to see them all!

Friday, July 29, 2011


Chicago has now surpassed the rain record for July set 120 years ago.

Enough, I think. It is enough....

Nathan & Tiernan's wedding tomorrow is outdoors....let it be sunny and bright.

Thunder and Lightning and Rain, Oh My!

To say it's been hot is an understatement. 90ish most days. And we have had rain. Oh yes, we have had rain...lots of rain. It has (mostly) come in the form of really really nasty thunderstorms with lightning bolts that make you want to put your head under the covers. And all around midnight or 1:00.

Our electricity has gone out every night for a few minutes for the past 4 nights. Not nearly as long as many of our friends in the area -- one of whom is my friend Joan. Joan called this morning. Her electricity was out -- again!! -- and she is housing 15 people. Her son, Nathan is getting married tomorrow! Com Ed has promised she can have her electricity back on Sunday. Nice of them. So she was farming family out -- did we have a spare room?

We did, and we do.

She called back and Karin and Todd and baby Addie are going to stay with some good friends, and she has the rest of the family sorted out.

Our house is 113 years old. When we get these storms I wonder if its time is up. Will this be the night the mammoth maples in the back or the German chestnuts in the front will topple? Right on our roof?

So I ask the Lord to send his guardian angels around us and the house for yet another time....

And he does.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Today's Gift

How to begin?

Hmmm....well, to start with, we church-hop (somewhat) during the summer months. Though devoted College Church members, (and have been for 29 years), last year, childless and usher-free, we decided to visit other churches in the area. After all, Wheaton has a plethora of churches, doncha know?

Our number one church to visit is Calvary in Oak Park. I was a member there when I was in nursing school (West Sub), and our favorite pastor of all time, Todd Wilson, is now the senior pastor there. So -- obviously first on our list. Uhhhh....Todd isn't preaching any of the weeks we are available to hop.

Last week we were in San Francisco -- the week before that we went to Wheaton Bible Church where we saw some dear friends we hadn't seen in ages.

This week was open. Where to go? Bob suggested Willow Creek. South Barrington is a LONG way away, but we could go to Willow Creek DuPage, which is about 10 minutes from our house, and where our dear friends, Jan & Chris Lutes attend. So -- maybe we would see someone we know. Yeah, Willow is a seeker church and they do the "11 words sung 7 times -- stand up and clap" rather than good traditional hymns which we love (and are used to), but HEY -- check out the website and Lee Strobel was speaking today! He's the author of one of my most favorite books, "A Case for Faith" and I was pumped. So was Bob. Church at 9:00.

I overdressed.

Shoulda known. Jeans were the order of the day. Or shorts, or capris, or....not dresses. Good thing I'm past that sort of embarrassment. (Yeah, you could tell because I posted about it, right?)

Anyway. Fast forward past the three "songs" I didn't know. (I am a "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and "It is Well With My Soul" sort of person).


"We are really sorry to say this, but due to some minor surgery that Lee had to have the beginning of the week, his doctors advised him not to fly, and at the last minute, we are going to substitute a video from our Leadership Summit 2010 from Jeff Manion, pastor of the Ada Bible Church in Ada, MI."

Great. Who is Jeff Manion, and where is Ada Michigan, and bummer.

We then listened to the best message we have ever heard, that we (both Bob and I) will remember and quote and refer to for the rest of our lives. If I could have had one wish, it would have been that Jill, Torrey, Chris, Tim & Annabel could have been sitting beside me.

"The Land Between" spoke to us as no other message has in -- years? Decades? I don't know when. Jeff was funny, articulate, and right on target. Loosely based on Numbers 11 (my eyes glaze over by the time I get to Numbers when doing a "read thru the Bible in 20 minutes or less", he talks about the desert time for the Israelites -- between Egypt and Canaan. And then talked about how we go through our own "land between" where things aren't going lost, children straying, divorce, finances in the pits, bosses critical....all sorts of things. And, how this can actually lead to spiritual transformation depending on how we approach our "land between."

Anyway, I found that I could order the DVD -- got four of them -- one for each of us -- and then -- YAY!! Discovered his book on -- on Kindle -- for -- you won't believe this -- $2.99.

You can get the DVD of his message from (go to leadership summit, 2010 under 'resources' and look for Jeff Manion). Or the CD -- slightly cheaper. Or get the book (it's only 194 pages) for your Kindle or in hard copy.

You won't be sorry.

It was God's gift to us today.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Did I Leave My Heart in San Francisco?

I really don't think so. We had a great, intense, short, and busy vacation over a long weekend, but I was happy to come back to Wheaton. It was great going and not HAVING to do anything or see anyone....

We stayed at the Mark Hopkins on Nob Hill -- rather posh, but amazingly enough, less expensive than many of the other hotels we checked out, including the Holiday Inn on Fisherman's Wharf. And yes, we had dessert at the Top of the Mark (also breakfast which may have been the most expensive breakfast ever....).

Got plenty of exercise. My doc would be proud of me. Even walked up one of the hills from Chinatown to the hotel!IT might not look like much, but oh, my legs felt it!

Spent plenty of time at Fisherman's Wharf, made good use of the cable cars and the "F Line" trolley, had a half day tour of the city, and never did get a good picture of the Golden Gate Bridge since Friday morning was incredibly foggy.

That would be the only picture I got of the GG Bridge. It was a tad foggy!!
Just a very cool house!

We came home to very hot and very muggy Wheaton. A day later it was back to work, speaking in very hot and very muggy Coon River and Mille Lacs Minnesota....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Electrical Matters

It's been a humdinger of a week. Had a short but terrible storm Monday morning which knocked out the electricty to over 800,000 here in the Chicagoland area. Ours went out for about 5 to 7 minutes, but then came on again. Some of my Wheaton neighbors are still without power, and this is now 48 hours later. Comcast did go out for about 4 hours in the afternoon....I'm very grateful I have a Verizon doodah that gets me online wherever Verizon is. That plus my cell phone, and I was at least connected.

However -- and this is weird -- the monitor for my desktop went out and didn't come back on for 40 minutes after the electricity came back on!

Yesterday, Comcast went out again for another 4 or 5 hours -- seemingly no reason.

So this morning the electricity blinked off -- and then on again immediately. But my monitor didn't come on for another 25 minutes.

Obviously there is something going on with it and I don't like it. I DO like my monitor though. I wish it would just stay nicely and calmly and not give me fits.

Bob got his iPhone on Tuesday. He's now feeling quite like the postmodern man.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thoughts on Being a Grammie...

I've not posted since my Awards arrived in Wheaton (finally) on July 1. Jill's early morning flight out of Naples was canceled, and she was told -- too bad, so sad there are no more -- and rescheduled on Continental for Saturday afternoon, July 2. My type A, number one daughter is nothing if not persistent, and finally, after 3 agents and 3 hours with United, got one that spoke English (please someone, explain to me why United is outsourcing customer service to India???) and got her on a flight on Delta that got in Friday evening....just about the same time Torrey & Chris arrived....

It's wonderful having her and my two grandbabies here -- though they certainly aren't babies any more. I recently finished reading "The Granny Insiders Guide for New Grandmothers" and while I'm not a newbie at this, it did give me some food for thought.

Becoming a new grandmother is, in some ways, like becoming a new mother. It's untread waters to negotiate. And while it isn't as overwhelming as being a new mom -- and you get to go home at the end of the day -- there is much that gives you food for thought....

How much advice do you give? How much advice does your daughter/son/daughter-in-law/son-in-law WANT? What expectations do they have? Do they even have any expectations -- until you make a mistake and then they discover they DO have expectations?

One of the books I wish my own mother had written would have been about how to be a grandmother, but though I suggested it, she never got around to it. I clearly remember a conversation she and I had one day that went something like this:

Mother: Being a grandmother for you and Rosie (my next-down-sister) is certainly different.

Me: Yes? (Good open-ended question -- designed to elicit more information) What do you mean?

Mother: Well, if you want my opinion, you'll say something like, "I'm going to do thus and such. Whaddya think?" If Rosie wants my opinion, she'll say, "Oh, Mama. You raised four children. What do YOU think I should do about this situation."

Guess who Mother liked best??? :>D

Disclaimer -- my beloved sister is a southerner. They talk like that.

Me: Well, what about Rick? (My brother).

Mother: That is totally different because I'm dealing with a daughter in law, and I don't think I can talk to her the same way as I can my daughters.

Hmmmm. Lyn (youngest sister), was off the hook here because she wasn't even married yet, but I'd love to know what Mother would have said about being a grandmother to her children.

As you can tell, I've never forgotten what she said -- and it has really made me think. More about that later.

By the way, Mother was right on about our responses to her -- I'm a first, and pretty independent (Oh Jill, bless you....). Of course, Mother was a first too....

Rosie is a middle and the family peacemaker and smoother-over-of-rough-spots.

Lyn will say "I'm just like Jan, only less so, and just like Rosie only more so." Not that we really understand what that MEANS, exactly, but it sounds terrific.

Meanwhile, you need some pictures of my Awards.... The first two were taken at LegoLand in Chicago. The second one of Laura is during the family birthday - Torrey's, Deven's, Jill's, Laura's and mine. The second one of Deven is waiting for the parade on the fourth.