December 28, 2008

Celebration Traditions (3)

Here we are, Christmas day has passed. Corrie and I watched the entire extended version of “the Lord of the Rings” on Christmas day. It was just the two of us. Traditionally we celebrate the gift exchange family gathering, commonly called “doing Christmas,” during the year end celebration. This leaves our children free to visit with their respective in-laws for Christmas.

We did attend Christmas eve services and were blessed with the real reason for the season.
The birth of the Son of God as the Son of Man.
The first step to the resurrection from the dead.

To provide propitiation. To be God in the Flesh, God with skin on...
Look at Rick's blog to get another view of the reality of Christmas.
Look at “Operation Christmas Child” to experience life changing gift sharing.
“God gave His one and only (only begotten) Son to be God with skin on, to be like us in every way, except sin; so that He could be propitiation.

Who is the Christmas Child?
In chemistry, he turned water to wine.
In biology, he was born without the normal conception;
In physics, he disproved the law of gravity when he ascended into heaven;

In economics, he disproved the law of diminishing return
by feeding 5000 men with two fishes & 5 loaves of bread;

In medicine, he cured the sick and the blind without administering a single dose of drugs,
In history, he is the beginning and the end;
In government, he was be called wonderful counselor, prince of peace;
In religion, he said that no one comes to God, the Father, except th
rough him;
So, who is he?

He is Jesus,
Son of God,
Son of man.

Join me and let's celebrate Him; let’s celebrate CHRIST-MAS

December 13, 2008

Celebrating Tradtions (2)

Grandparents Day. At our Thanksgiving day dinner, we were invited by Arn and Will to come to their school in Hollandale, Minnesota. The school usually has a Christmas Special to which specifically the grandparents are invited. This year was no exception. After volunteering at the local VA hospital on December 11, we headed north, to Minnesota. Every 40 miles we went, the temperature dropped 3 degrees or more. When we left Des Moines it was 37, when we got to Hollandale it was 19.
The next morning we went to Hollandale Christian school and the temperature was 2 chilly degrees.

The presentation of traditional Christmas songs and the view towards the cross was illustrated by “Chrismons.” These are iconic representations of events in the life of Jesus Christ and in the Christian church. These chrismons were placed on a wreath for all to see.
The kids performed really good. The teachers are to be commended for putting it together and presenting it flawlessly.
The grandparents were blessed.
After the presentation we shared cookies and drank some coffee ass we shared the classroom setting with each of our two grandsons. Another great tradition.

December 4, 2008


A real Dutch tradition is the feast of "Sinterklaas" or "Sint Nikolaas". He was a bishop who lived some centuries ago, in Asia minor. Sinterklaas is a special children’s celebration although a lot of grown-ups also enjoy it very much. Legend has it that he would put a gold coin in the shoe of a deserving poor child on the eve of his birthday. Which appears to be the reason for putting a shoe by the fireplace. Even in the week before they may put a letter or a drawing for Sinterklaas or some carrots for his horse. They sing some Sinterklaas songs and the next morning they may find some candy in their shoe. The feast is primarily celebrated on the evening of December 5. That night "Sinterklaas" on his white horse and his helper "Zwarte Piet," go over the rooftops to the houses to bring gifts for the children who have been good. The American tradition of Santa Claus is a bit similar. Even the name is related, sometimes even called Saint Nick.
There are some traditional things to eat and drink with Sinterklaas. We have chocolate initials, pepernoten (very small cookies,) thrown into the area by Zwarte Piet. Figures of Speculaas, know here as “windmill cookies” also a kind of chewy cookie, “Taai-taai” which is bigger and made with cinnamon and clove. For adults a nice drink is “Bishops wine”. Red wine with sugar, cinnamon and clove, usually it is drunk hot, nice on a cold winter’s eve.

November 21, 2008


Gratitude is the memory of the heart.

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received;
Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling.
Thanksgiving is the result of that impulse.

Thanksgiving puts power in living,
because it opens the generators of the heart
to respond gratefully,
to receive joyfully,
to react creatively.

Every moment is full of wonder
and God is always present.

Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want,
but the realization of how much you already have.
Gratitude is the memory of the heart.

So what am I thankful for?

Just look at the previous blogs were we report and share:
about save travel, from the mid-west to Florida, Arizona, Colorado, and Texas.
about our family gatherings, celebrating the one life God has given us, in the company of those we love.
about enjoying our assurance in our marriage, our health, and even our wealth.
God (in Jesus Christ) is the same, yesterday, today and forever.
I am content and my hearts bursts with thankfulness.
May you also

November 11, 2008

Veterans' Day

Today is Veterans’ Day, 11-11-2008. What is a veteran? What emotion does this word evoke?
I am one, so I guess I should know. “Webster” says: a veteran is “old, of long experience” with the sub-definitions of “an old soldier;” a “previous member of the armed forces.” I qualify on all counts.
The definition applied most often today, is to the last one, particularly a soldier who has been at war.

Veterans Day honors all soldiers, young and older, and rightly so. Soldiers can “march-on” a long way on just some appreciation, a pat on the back, a “Thank you! For the job you are doing.”

It has been said: “A Nation that forgets its Veterans, shall itself someday be forgotten”
We are Veterans, Souvenirs of War
a part of the times: for some the worst of times...
We struggle with memories,
We see the world through scratchy lenses,
A sound or smell may awaken a horrible memory.
Yet, we who remain alive, we who are part of “society,” still do our part.
The tapestry of our life serves to hold us together and make us better citizens,
so we can help to hold
our nation together
by remembering our Veterans.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life. He gave me life that I might enjoy all things." - Anonymous)

We walk the way God has prepared for us.

Memorial Day with my
grandsons passing on the heritage.

A reunion of VietNamVeterans soldiers and wives

October 30, 2008

Fall is here

Fall has been falling. But now we are enjoying a very beautiful “Indian” summer.

To be sure it is still fall and the 70 mile per hour winds we had on Sunday stripped many a tree of its fall splendor. But we were spared a blizzard. This week the temperature has been slowly climbing, and today we went bicycling in 70 degree weather. All the way to election day we expect nice sunny and dry days. I guess, that Corrie and I will do some more riding.
Although we live in a town-house and have no yard to care for, Monique and Rick have a flower garden which needs fall clean-up. They are fortunate that Corrie likes to do this kind of work, so we plan to provide a helping hand, clean up the yard and maybe “earn” a dinner at their beautiful renovated kitchen and dining room.

November is just around the corner and our thoughts are going toward Thanksgiving.
Many things to be thankful for... bu that will be another blog.

October 22, 2008

Good Bye, Vacation....

Good-bye to San Antonio and good-bye to our extended trip of this fall. We had very beautiful weather while we were in San Antonio. The day is rained, we were visiting the missions, just south of the town. It was dry for most of this exciting visit. We learned about the change of culture, initially mediated by the Roman Catholic Church and enhanced by immigration of Europeans from the north-east, the thirteen colonies. These change ultimately caused the formation, – founding, if you will, of Texas. Of course, the dictator of Mexico had a lot do with that. “Remember the Alamo....” It made our re-visit to the Alamo more significant as well.

Mission San Jose

The Alamo

TheViet-Nam Memorial, -- very expressive!
Tower and Torch
View NW from the Tower of the Americas,
can you find the Alamo?
and the Torch?

San Antonio is a beautiful city, teeming with life.
We walked the Paseo del Rio at least once every day. On our trip to "Fort Sam," Rick found his kindergarten-first grade school and it had not changed at all.
The housing area where we lived in 1974 no longer exist though. But lo and behold: Brackenkridge Kiddie Park is still there; unchanged! The rides are still the same, I think even the colors are the same, still. The train still runs throughout the park, but we did not see any paddle boats. I remember buying tickets for the kids to take rides, now you get a stamp. Other than that, it was déjà vue. Unfortunately Fort Sam Housten is also closed now, due to security risks. The old Brook Army Medical Center is now an office complex, but the new BAMC is much more accessible for patient care, located outside of the post security zone. It was fun, to drive across this base and reminisce.

Our trip home was uneventful; it is good to be back home after nearly two months.

October 15, 2008

Another Place to Enjoy

Last Saturday came and went; no "hike" this time. But we did arrive in San Antonio early afternoon. After a fabulous 4 weeks’ stay in Glen Eyrie, we are now on vacation in the beautiful city of San Antonio. The walks along the Paseo del Rio are wonderful too.
Rick and Jena, our children from Missouri, are here with us. The weather is very mild and we have been blessed with overcast skies. The River-walk is addictive and our condo is just south of downtown on the walk. Easy access to all the beauty of “paseo del rio” here in San Antonio, Texas. We usually do some of the “touristy” things, but this is also a time for relaxing and recovery for all of us.
On Sunday we were visited by nephew Jesse Kasper and his wife Laura. Jesse is in fighter-jet training in southern Texas, so they were reasonably close to us and came up to San Antonio to spend the day.

October 7, 2008

Glen Eyrie, Still beautiful!

Another Saturday and another local hike. This may sound like a drag, but as you have seen in the previous two postings, we reaaly do enjoy these hikes. On our third weekend at Glen Eyrie we hiked up “Lady Bug Overlook.” We were able to get a (almost) birds-eye view of the Garden of the Gods, located just south of us. Also we were able too overlook our glen and get an idea of the size. It was an effort to get proper orientation of all the landmarks we were familiar with.

On Sunday we drove through the Garden of the Gods. The weather was an another beautiful sunny day. There were some clouds in the sky to help with the contrast of the beautiful scenery we were privileged to behold. We were able to see the golden Aspen on the mountain slopes to the west of us, and noticed a bit of fresh snow on Pike’s Peak.
Our work continues to give us much satisfaction; the relationships with the staff here are awesome. Corrie is spending the evening with the girls from housekeeping on a “girls’ night out.” I get to play with the computer this time. (Corrie’s facebook activity takes away some of my computer time, just kidding!)

Yesterday, (October 6) the cook was alone in the kitchen, two of the helpers had called in sick. My sweetheart told the cook, just ask Joh to help you, he has worked in the kitchen before... Asks the cook: “Joh Who?” “My husband,” was the retort. As I walked into the dining room for a nice quiet breakfast, I was cornered for a tete-a-tete with my loving wife, whom I had not seen for 45 minutes, because she left for work early. Thinking I would get some “sweet nothings” I instead was encouraged to help Karen, the “lonely” cook. “You can do it, you know how!”
So, what is a man to do? I talked my supervisor into letting me help in the kitchen for the day. I had a wonderfully fulfilling day, – preparing meals, doing dishes; – cutting “cold cuts,” doing dishes; – setting up the salad bar, doing dishes. But in all earnestness it was a fulfilling day in the kitchen. My dogs were barking and my back had a work-out, but we got out-of-there on time. Accomplishment melts away fatigue. (Appreciation works too.)
It is our last week here, Friday we leave this wonderful retreat, but plan to be back next year.

October 2, 2008

Glen Eyrie again

Last Saturday we went up Queen’s Canyon to go to Dorothy falls and the “Punch Bowls” on top. These are like “shut-ins.” It was a difficult climb, but beautiful none the less. We saw some awesome sights, creations is so majestic here! Our map said it would take about one hour to climb to the falls, but we took 3 hours, because every time we stopped and looked around there was something else to see and marvel at; we love the Glen Eyrie area.

As I mentioned before, it is located just north of the “Garden of the Gods” and has similar mountains, but this area is private and soooooo incredibly peaceful. Your whole being comes to rest and you know that God is in this place. You don't have to go looking for Him, He is right here, giving you peace and rest, even on a difficult hike...
The organization that runs this place, “The Navigators”, is a nondenominational Christian organization, well known for emphasis on discipleship training. They provide a restful place for a weary bodies and a restless spirits. Even though the work is hard sometimes and we come home tired, after just a little rest, you can go on again, because of the serenity of this place.

We see lots of wild life here. The Big Horn sheep sometimes come down to meadow at our elevation, turkeys roost in the trees in front of our cabin. Every night, at sundown, they take a running start to fly into the trees, it seems they crash into their roosting place.

Deer come take a drink in our little pond and if we are very quiet, they will let us take their picture...

There are all kinds of birds and small animals as well. The local rabbit has adopted us in his territory, but the squirrels continue to be skittish. This is a wildlife preserve, and the animals have the right of way. We ate having a marvelous time.

At work: in the dining room

At work: The work shop Joh uses.

September 25, 2008

Glen Eyrie

What ‘s in a name? If you know Scottish (or Gaelic), you’d know: a glen is a narrow valley and an eyrie is an eagle’s nest. So, now you know as well whence the name... The eagles’ nest which named this place is still here, halfway up a cliff; it has been there over a hundred years. The golden eagle family has moved out, but I’m told that another bird family uses the homestead. We live and work here as well.
The days have been sunny and warm, although the evenings remind us of fall. It cools down and the trees are turning as well. We really enjoy working with the other regular staff and volunteers. Many of the regular workers are young, like mid twenties. This almost did Corrie in, because she tried to keep up with them; their energy is infectious, but our stamina is more like “sixty something.”

On Sunday, because of a very small crowd, we had plate service, a nice change. For a special treat we drove to the “Royal Gorge.” It is about an hour away from here. We have taken many visitors to this spot, ever since my Dad and I found it in 1987. We had never been there, just the two of us; but this time we were, just the two of us there.

On the day of our anniversary we went out for dinner, not because the food here was not good, but b
ecause it was special, of course! We ate at a local rustic place, “the Stage Coach Inn” in Manitou Springs. Corrie had sirloin, I had salmon. We took about two hours to do the dinner.

On Saturday we went for a hike right from our cottage. Our cottage is at 6540 feet elevation, and Echo Rock, behind us tops at about 7000 feet. The hike was about a mile and a half and took us three hours. It was rated “difficult” and we stopped frequently for pictures and something to drink. It is easy to get dehydrated at elevation in the sun, even in the fall. The scenery was breathtaking. We saw big horn sheep on the mountain side, we were heckled by “Jays”, we took pictures of flowers and the surroundings. Throughout it all, we are constantly reminded of our Creator and the beautiful creation.
Big Horn sheep

What a view!

Our home, away from home, neat he?