July 30, 2010


It has been nearly a month since my last entry. July has been a busy month. We celebrated Independence Day with all our friends, in our local community. Rain put a bit of a damper on most of the fire-works displays, but because of the long weekend some of the celebrations were on Thursday, already. We watched the downtown fireworks from a high point near our home. We were not quite in the spirit yet on July 1...

We came home from Glen Eyrie on June 2. We did the family camp the weekend of June 12, we attended one wedding, in Orange City, Iowa on June 19 and visited with friends in the Sioux City area. On June 25 we were in Mt. Sterling, Illinois for another wedding. Coming home on Sunday we were looking for a relatively quiet week, but the Independence day weekend started on Thursday already.

Although June may be for weddings, we also did some great family stuff. A weekend camp-out near Pella at Red Rock lake. The grand-children got washed in their sleeping bags by rain the first night, but we had a great time in spite of some not so perfect weather. Being together is so precious, even on rainy days. We rode our bikes on the beautiful lake side trails. We cooked most of our food over open fire and sometimes got smoked in the process. We ate smores and roasted marsh-mellows. We took shelter under a great tarp when the drops fell. We slept in comfort in the pop-up camper. Others were in nice tents, keeping dry most of the time. Families that accomplish things together in spite of some short comings, are special! We really appreciate our special family.

We celebrated a week with our two grand-sons. We did crafts on rainy days, we rode our bicycles all over Johnston, enjoyed ice cream, and rode the motor scooter too. The visit to the zoo on a beautiful sunshiny day, was a high-point of their visit.

Between volunteering at the local VA, these visits and trips we also needed to shop for groceries, wash and clean house. Oh, yeah, we continued to provide hospitality as a stop over for travelers using “Mennonite Your Way,” a great way to travel and enjoy Christian Fellowship as you go, or as you provide a room and hospitality for “total strangers.” Some of these strangers become new friends, and these friendships grow and grow.

Then the preparation for our wine-motorcycle tour started taking shape, but I plan to highlight that in the next blog.

July 1, 2010

June is for weddings!

Although the first one we attended was on Memorial Day weekend at Glen Eyrie. A grandiose wedding on the Pink House Lawn. A week earlier there had been another wedding on the Pink House Lawn, but then we were mere observers. The Jessica Graham wedding on May 29 got us very involved. We beautified the rooms, catered to the bride and her attendants and we provided hospitality and service for a formal Victorian tea. We got to know the family very well; all of whom were involved in the wedding in some way. The wedding took place in gorgeous sunshine on the lawn with the reception following at the castle terrace. A great weekend experience!

On June 19 we were invited to witness the joining of Marc Pederson and Anne-Michelle Altena in Northwest Iowa. They both work in Des Moines and we got to know them very well at out Bible study. They have become very dear friends and we attended their formal church-wedding. The reception dinner was scrumptious and the whole experience was very uplifting. The rest of Saturday evening and early Sunday we spend with our dear friends in Bronson, Iowa.

This past weekend we were at another very special wedding in Mt. Sterling, Illinois. Our daughter’s best friend, (since first grade,) finally found Mr. Right! Our daughter had met the Bride while we were stationed in Germany, back in 1979. The last time we had met her parents was in 1985, when they came back to Germany for another tour. We had remained there for all this time. Getting together for this wedding was like a great family reunion! The groom’s mother had arranged for all the “out-of-towners” to be part of the rehearsal dinner, so people could get to know each other and have time to interact before the hustle and bustle of the wedding. It was a great success. We were able to renew our friendship with the parents of the bride and also her brother. We had not seen each other for 25 years, but the time melted away, as we shared many old and new experiences.

The wedding ceremony was held at a local winery, out on the deck; with bright afternoon sunshine and a warm experience. The reception and dance were inside at this rustic location. The whole event flowed on beautifully and ran like clockwork; everyone had a wonderful time. The brides’ maids were all special friends from different times in the life of the bride, so this made for a very special reunion as well. Many events from the past were reenacted, which made for surprising hilarity, and great reminiscence.