Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Artifacts in the Attic
Bats in the Belfry
Trash and Treasure

I've always wanted an attic that looked like these. That "shabby chic" look of abandoned treasures, tossed about in an artistically casual arrangement. This year when we ascended to the attic to bring down boxes of Christmas decorations, I decided to take pictures. I think it looks more like we descended into somewhere unpleasant, a dungeon perhaps? There are a few treasures, probably, buried amidst the trash. Is this like posting the skeletons in one's closet??? 'Twas but a dream -- that idyllic "Grandma's Attic." Reality is less appealing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bismarck entertains Sammy after most of the work is done.

Sammy poses with me by the tree he helped decorate

The Christmas tree in the Narthex stands elegantly decorated

Marta and I show off our work

About a dozen of us worked for two hours and transformed the building to reflect the season. Saturday evening. Thanks Rod F. for supervising the work. The tree is always my project. Assisting me this year were Marta and Sammy. Bismarck, M and M helped string all those the lights. It's a lot of work, but with so many helping we had fun too.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Photos from the Friday after Thanksgiving

Having dinner at a wonderful gourmet cafe in Elgin.I put on my warmest boots and coat -- it wasn't THAT cold, but I felt cold
And went to Al's Creamery
Where the Christmas decorations had just been put up
We were warmly greeted by the proprietor
Welcomed into a warm ambience
Served scrumptious food (that's Spaetzle Mit Lox made as only Tony can!)
We ate until sated (I look like I've been over eating!!!) I had a migraine a day later -- that's the pre-migraine swollen look!
We admired the beautiful decorations
And headed home.
(More on our decorations later)

Al's is a wonderful place to dine...if you want dinner, come at 5 p.m. or later. Daytime the menu is gourmet sandwiches, soups and salads. Delicious. But the evening meals are to die for! (So to speak!). It is my favorite place to eat, Elgin's finest little spots to dine.

Al's Cafe and Creamery.

Dios mio!! I misspelled "gourmet" first time around. Correction made!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Random Thanksgiving Day shotsM talks Matt into a "nice" pose.

First, Matt insists on a "silly" pose

Wes at Wii Golf

Bismarck & Bob

Neal & Laura

Roger & Bob

The hikers take off to explore the land

Ready for a hike! Brad takes the kids hiking.

This was at Brad and Rachel's house. There was a sprinkling of snow still on the ground. We live 20 minutes East and had none on the ground. Sometime after dinner, I got lazy with the camera and neglected to take anyone else's picture. Also had the wrong camera with me. The SureShot doesn't do well with so much contra light from all of the windows. I should have brought the Rebel, but was waaay too lazy for that! The SureShot lives in my purse, so it was handy.

Plenty of food here

Dessert or appetizer, anyone?

Two smoked turkey breasts, one spicy Southwest style
And the traditional stuffed bird (the turkey ducked when he saw my camera)

Rambunctious greeters answer the door

Wii golf after dinner
(Bob and I tried our hand at the tennis game, not too successfully despite his tennis background! Seems the skill didn't transfer to the video game!)

And the ladies perused the sales, planning for tomorrow.

Food, fun, family, friends. A day for which to give thanks.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Who owns it?

If your Thanksgiving feast doesn't match the picture, and relationships in your family get a bit rough about now, give the following story some thought.

A Question of Ownership
TGIF Today God Is First, by Os Hillman

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. - Matthew 10:39

Otto Koning was a missionary in New Guinea. He worked among a native tribe that had known only their village ways. One of those village ways was stealing from others. When Otto and his wife arrived and moved into a hut, the natives often came by to visit. The Konings would notice that after the natives left the missionaries' home, various household items had disappeared. They saw these items again when they went to preach in the natives' village.

The only fruit Otto could grow on the island was pineapples. Otto loved pineapples, and he took pride in the pineapples he was able to grow. However, whenever the pineapples began to ripen, the natives would steal them. Otto could never keep a ripe pineapple for himself. This was a frustration, and he became angry with the natives. All during the seven-year period in which this took place, Otto preached the gospel to these natives, but never had a conversion.

The more the natives stole, the angrier Otto became. Finally, one day Otto had a German Shepherd dog flown in from another missionary to protect his pineapple garden after other frustrated efforts failed. This only further alienated the natives from him.

Otto took a furlough to the United States and attended a conference on personal rights. At this conference, he discovered that he was frustrated over this situation because he had taken personal ownership of his pineapple garden. After much soul searching, he gave his garden to God. Soon the natives started having problems among their tribe. They discovered that Otto was the reason for their problems because he gave his garden to his God. The natives saw a correlation between what Otto had done and their own lives being affected by calamities in their village. When Otto gave his garden to God, he no longer got angry and was free from worry. The natives started bringing him fruit from the garden because they didn't want any more calamities to come into their village.

The light came on one day when a native said to Otto, "You must have become a Christian, Otto. You don't get angry anymore. We always wondered if we would ever meet a Christian." They had never associated Otto with the kind of person he was preaching about because his message did not line up with his life. Otto was broken in spirit when he realized he had been such a failure.

At the end of seven years, he witnessed his first conversion, and many began coming to Christ once he fully gave his garden to God. The fruit grew so abundant that Otto began exporting it and growing other types of fruit, such as bananas. His village became the most evangelized in the whole region, yet for seven years he had not one convert.

Otto realized something each of us must realize: To gain your life you must lose it, along with your possessions. It was only when he gave all his possessions to God that he became free from them. God measured back to him manifold once He had complete ownership.

Do you have some possessions that you need to give up to God today? Let God have all that you have. Become a steward, not an owner. You will be surprised at how well God can take care of His possessions.

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