A Successful Bible Study

How do you know if you’ve had a successful bible study?

enough Bibles (in different translations for everyone to us)

a sink full of dirty bowls from having apple crisp and ice cream


and lots of drinks leftover for us!

A Surprise Visit and Tanner’s Orchard

On Sunday night my Uncle Tom called and said they were in Wisconsin on their way to Illinois via Iowa.  (They left Texas on Sept. 1st in their travel trailer and will eventually end up in Tennessee this coming Friday).

So, they showed up on Tuesday morning around 10:30AM and left at 8:45AM this morning….

We had a really good visit, complete with going to the Pizza Peel for lunch, Tanner’s Orchard in the afternoon, having enchiladas at home while it was hailing outside, and lots of time looking at pictures and doing laundry!  (A lot of stuff in a short amount of time).

This picture is from Easter of 2010.  Uncle Tom and Aunt Charlene are on the far right (my parents are in the middle and my other aunt and uncle are on the left).

Whenever we meet new people they usually ask us if we are related to “Tanner’s Orchard.”  Sadly, we aren’t; otherwise, we’d have a lot of money!  We’ve never been there, so on Tuesday afternoon we went.

Tanner’s Orchard is about 30 minutes away in Speer, IL.  I wasn’t overly impressed with it (people “talk it up” way more than I think it needs to be), but nonetheless we went. 

We bought apple cider donuts (which are really just cake donuts-they don’t even taste like apples), Jonathan apples, and Apple cider. 

Yummy Apples!

The apples are really good! 

Apple Cider

Paul really likes chilled apple cider.  I like it better hot, but it’s still really good…

On the gallon it says, “This product has not been pasteurized and therefore may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.”

And I’m DRINKING this stuff?!!!

As we were leaving Tanner’s a huge storm rolled in, complete with hail….

The temperature dropped about 10 degrees in about a 2 minute time.  The wind was blowing everywhere….

Overall, we had a very good visit and enjoyed Uncle Tom and Aunt Charlene being here.  Thanks for stopping by!!


R.I.P. my love….

We’ve had a good run….

We’ve been together for 10 years, since December of 2000….

We’ve moved together 8 times…

We’ve had a lot of good times together….

We’ve shared a lot of meals together….


On Thursday night our microwave sparked and breathed its last breath….

A Baker I Am Not

Yes, I cook as part of my job here at Great Oaks and yes, I cook at home, but I don’t claim to be a baker…

Here’s why….

My cookies (they’re supposed to be chocolate chip cookies, in case you can’t tell) look like pancakes….

These are the cookies for the Bake Sale at church after I made a desperate call to the local bakery….

See, I told you I am not a baker!

Life Goes On

We are now officially back to the grindstone of working everyday, I think….

The past month has been a revolving door for all of us…

Paul went on vacation

Tyler went on vacation

Paul took vacations day again while his parents were here

I went on vacation

Jesse went on vacation

And now Jim, Tyler, and Graham are all on a Boundary Water trip….

(Are you sensing a theme here)?

August and the 1st part of September are pretty much washed out by vacations….

Paul and I are back from all our travels (except Paul has gone/is going to Peoria 3 out of the 5 days this week), so we are back to a “somewhat” normal schedule…

Not too much to report.  We’ve been doing paperwork, answering the phone, organizing things for TRAIL, writing e-mails, cleaning, etc.

We had an awesome day of worship this past Sunday at church.  Jacob did a WONDERFUL job of leading worship!  And, we had a spur-of-the-moment baptism at the end of the service, which was even better!

This coming weekend we have “BIG DAY” at our church.  On Saturday they have a “carnival” (for lack of a better term):  inflatables, games, food, flea market, bake sale, etc. for community outreach and to raise money for IDES (International Disaster Emergency Service).  Then, on Sunday morning, we have a big worship service (another community outreach) and we are kicking off the OTC (Old Testament Challenge).  I think we’re going to go through the entire O.T. this fall….should be interesting.  Bob’s excited!

Other than that, not much is going on…

Here’s to another day!

“Where Were You…”

September 11, 2001:

I was teaching 2nd grade (as part of practicum) at an elementary school in Waco (I can’t remember which one)…

“Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)” by Alan Jackson

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don’t know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below
Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters

I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN but I’m not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you’re a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you’re watching
And turn on “I Love Lucy” reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love

(Chorus 2x)

The greatest is love
The greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day

Jamie and Elizabeth

Do you remember this post?  Or this post?

Well, while we were in New York, we took the train from New York (more specifically, from Grand Central Station) to Garrison, NY, which is not far from West Point, NY.  Jamie and Elizabeth live at West Point, so we were able to visit with them…

Here is Grand Central Station….

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

view from the train

 Not much to the Garrison Train Station.  You get off on the platform and walk straight to the parking lot….

Garrison Train Station

view of West Point from Garrison train station

We got there on Wednesday right around lunchtime.  Elizabeth picked us up from the train station and took us back to West Point.

West Point Visitors Center

Elizabeth and me in front of the West Point museum

 After the boys (they have three:  12, and twins, 6) got home from school and were off playing, Elizabeth took us on a walk around her neighborhood.

Michie Stadium

Football field

Resovoir at West Point (near their house)

mom and me on the bridge

new library

 On Wednesday night, after dinner, Jamie took us around West Point for a tour.  We had been there before, but it had been a long time….

Jamie and me

Jamie's house (they are very blessed with a big house)

On Thursday morning, before all the kids went to school, we took pictures…

Stephen and me

Jamie, me, and Stephen

Jamie and Elizabeth

Jamie and me

I also got to sit in on his Economics class on Thursday morning, but no pictures of that….

I can now say, “I’ve attended West Point.”  🙂

Thanks, Jamie and Elizabeth, for letting us come visit.  It was wonderful to see you!!

Ground Zero and Random Pics

I feel bad that the Ground Zero pictures are not in a post all by themselves, but honestly, I only have two pictures.  In my mind, I pictured that it would look different, more nostalgic, maybe but it wasn’t.  I’m not sure what I thought it would look like, but it was basically just a construction site.  If you didn’t know that the World Trade Center Towers used to stand there, then you would probably just think I was taking a picture of a construction site, as if it was completely normal.  The ten-year anniversary for 9/11 is next year, and I think they are going to have a memorial built by then, but right now, there was nothing “tangible” to look at.  There was a Ground Zero Museum that you could go to, but it cost $25.00, so we opted not to do that.   

Ground Zero

Ground Zero

So, I apologize if this post seems random….
While we were on the Top of the Rock, I saw a sign that said “Drake” which is my nephew’s name.  So….I took a picture of it.

Drake's sign

The funny thing is the date on that sign is September 28th, which is almost Drake’s birthday.  His b-day is September 26th, but the ironic thing is my mom’s birthday is the 28th.
I also saw a sign later that had Grady’s name on it, which is Drake’s little brother.

Grady's sign (It's really O'Grady's, but it was close enough)

I don’t think I’ll ever find a sign that says “Alika, Kainoa, or Kainani,” which is our other nieces/nephews.

"Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" musical

I laughed out loud at this billboard because I could just picture Paul saying, “Wow, honey, they made a musical about you!!”

we walked right by the "Late Show" auditorium (people were lined up to get in and it was the middle of the afternoon)

Madison Square Garden

The very 1st night we were there we walked to Madison Square Garden (it was about 2 blocks from our hotel).  We didn’t “see” much b/c all the doors to the arena, concert hall, etc were closed, but I can at least say we went there.