Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!

Merry Christmas from snowy Northern Illinois!
We woke to more new snow this morning and it's still coming down.

We leave in two days for New Orleans on our mission trip.
Please pray for good traveling weather. Friday morning doesn't looks so good right now.
After Friday, we will be blogging from
We'd love to have you follow our trip. Blogs should start on Sunday or Monday at that location providing the river doesn't rise and we have good internet connections. :)

Have a wonderful, blessed Christmas! If you are fortunate enough to spend it with family and friends, ENJOY!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Four days to go

and I'm not referring to Christmas.

We are taking two volunteer teams back to New Orleans leaving this Friday morning 12/26. We will be focusing on construction projects. Our church partners with His Hands 2 Go in New Orleans for these projects. There are 24 volunteers for Week One, who will return on Jan 3. Fourteen of return home and 15 more come in. Ten, including the four of us leaders will be staying the full two weeks.

If you would like to follow our trip, jump on over to the trip blog at

We are going to attempt to post everyday with the exception of travel days. We will post the days activities, photos and prayer requests as they arise.

For now, though it's time to get some sleep as tomorrow is a "packing" day for me. We not only pack our personal belongings, but we also take tools and cooking essentials. You would think the more trips we take the easier the packing would be, but not so much. Could it be that with each trip, I'm a little older as well? Naw, can't be, can it? I need to blame the brain fog on something. It might as well be my age!

Welcome to northern Illinois

A beautiful sunset one day

and frigid, blowing snow the next.

notice I didn 't venture much past the doorway to take the pictures. Brrr!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chicago-part II

Here are a few more pics of our day in the big city this past Sunday..

The Palmer House in one of the oldest hotels in Chicago and the architecture and elegance of it never ceases to impress me.

For those of you who were Saturday Night Live followers in the late 70's/early 80's, this is the famous Billy Goat Tavern from the John Belushi & Dan Akroyd skit "Cheezborger, Cheezborger." We've tried to find this the last couple of trips to Chicago and never could.
With an odd twist, we ended up on Lower Wacker Drive (not a great place to be walking around). As we were finding our way back up to civilization, we turned a corner and there it was. We had just eaten lunch and were stuffed, but since we found it, we had to at least buy one Cheezborger and split it up amongst us. Not a bad burger!

We happened upon this place on Erie Street. This home was built in 1886 for the President of the Chicago, Rock Island, Pacific Railway Company. It looked like this little oasis of Old Chicago amongst the skyscrapers.
I can't imagine how the people who lived here felt over the years as they were being surrounded by all of that concrete.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chicago-part I

Th six of us had a great time on Sunday. We boarded Metra at Elburn and 1-1/2 relaxing hours later, we were downtown Chicago. You can't beat the train for a no stress trip into the city. It was cloudy and windy but the temps were in the 50's! The 50's in mid-December in Northern Illinois. It don't get much better than that!

Our all-time favorite place to eat is Miller's Pub on Wabash. It has such a neat old pub atmosphere and the food is wonderful. The name Miller really has nothing to do with it, ;) really, it doesn't.

There are fresh greens everywhere you look. There were also alot of the cone trees in arrangements. I love it. Something about those trees reminds me of the sixties when I was growing up.

I'll post more pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas - Redneck style

Our annual Holiday Walk for work was yesterday. It's typically held on the last day of finals week. How this works is each building decorates, has food, games, etc and the rest of the campus comes through the building at a designated time. Our building theme this year was "Redneck Christmas". Only a small handful of us dressed up. Of course, there were a few of us who didn't have to try too hard.
We had a riot.

Tomorrow we're off for a day in Chicago. I kind of feel like Oliver Wendell Douglas in reverse, going from redneck country to the big city!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Snow Day!

We have a Snow Day off work today!

There is something to be said for working at an educational institution.
Classes were called off more than likely for the ice we are getting first rather than the amount of snow we are supposed to get. We aren't called off very often, but it's such a nice unexpected blessing when we are.

Do you remember that feeling as a kid when you heard on the radio that school was canceled? Your mind instantly started to flit to all of the things you could do with that day. Going back to bed, sledding, building a snowman, if you lived in town maybe getting together with friends and playing in the snow...

It's no different for me as an adult.
There's vegetable soup in the crock pot and now I'm thinking Christmas Cards, present wrapping, maybe some sewing. In reality I know I'll never get to some of it, but it's so nice to know I can at least o make a dent in something on my "to-do list".

Looking out my back door...

Watching my sweet hubby shoveling the sleet off the driveway before it freezes solid and there for eternity.

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Housewalk - check!

The housewalk to benefit the American Cancer Society was last night. There were 115 people who wandered through my home and 2 other homes with all the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
We had a great time other than it was really cold and very windy (so much for the luminaries I planned on using). We had music playing outside (per one of your comments from my previous post calling for your help). I am so glad that suggestion was made as I love it when I walk down a city sidewalk and hear music playing but would have never thought of it myself.
Alot of people commented on how nice it was to hear it as they climbed out of their cars.

I also put together a Survivor/Memorial tree(per another comment on that post).

Actually there were three trees,

one for Survivors(the largest tree) with pictures of my immediate family and 2 friends who are Cancer Survivors,

one on supporting research for future generations which had pictures of my and my sisters children and grandchildren and then

a memorial tree with a picture of my Mom and tags with my aunts names.

All in all it was a fun night being able to touch base with people from the area we don't see very often. Thanks so much to all of you who submitted decorating suggestions and ideas.

With that checked off my "Christmas list", it's on to all of the other items still to do before Christmas. Only 17 more days to go. I better get busy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Our first "real" snow

We received our first real soon of the season yesterday and last night, complete with blowing and drifting. If I wouldn't have to drive on the stuff, it really is beautiful when everything is dusted all white.

Here are a couple of pictures of my inside decorating. The housewalk is Saturday and I am about as done as done gets. I just need to clean the end of the week and we should be set to go.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A few quick pictures

Thank you to all who gave suggestions for doing up our porch for the holidays. The Housewalk is one week from today and other than a few heres and theres, I think I am ready.

Our porch has a door at both ends. This is the door used almost exclusively. This will be the door the housewalk participants will enter through. I've always liked the look of trees flanking the door. Usually the trees are in an urn of some sort. Well, I'm not an urn sort of gal so we country'd it up a bit and used old milk cans instead.

This is the door at the other end of the porch where the walk will end. I added some fresh greens to the crock with the sticks since this picture was taken the other night.

Mister Snowman is one of my favorite Christmas decorations. I bought him at a craft fair a number of years ago and haven't tired of him yet.

I also added fresh greens inside this steel wheeled wagon today.

I'll post some inside pics in the next day or two.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Quiltmakers Gift

The Quilt Maker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau

A friend from our church small group loaned me this book that her daughter received. She thought I would enjoy it and enjoy it I did!
What a beautifully illustrated children's book. It has a great story about kindness and giving to others.
This would make a wonderful Christmas gift especially for a quilters granddaughter. Unfortunately, my granddaughter is a little young for it yet.
And no, I'm not getting a commission on this, I just love a good children's book when I see one.

The illustrations are gorgeous.

Amazon carries for a little over $12.

They also have a nice website, Quiltmakers Gift you can check out.

Are you who you think you are???

Did you ever wonder if you weren't who you thought you were?

that maybe you didn't have the grit you used to?

or that your tolerance was diminishing from what it used to be?

I've had a few of those moments in the last 24 hours.

Last Thursday I had a dental procedure done (see previous post). I was doing pretty well, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I had envisioned. Oh sure, I felt like someone had smacked me in the face but I guess I expected to feel like someone had smacked me even harder yet. So all in all not too bad.

Yesterday pain took on a whole new meaning!
I was taking 4 Advil every 3-4 hours and it was barely taking the edge off of it. By last night, I was about beside myself. So this morning, I call the oral surgeon and ask the question if this is what's it's supposed to be like? First they wanted me to take something stronger which they gave me a prescription for but I never filled. My disclaimer on that is, the stuff usually makes me really sick to my stomach. That particular side effect with stitches in my mouth? It wouldn't have been pretty. Enough said.
Then the nurse goes down the road of it's normal to feel this way 5 days out. That just didn't quite add up for me either when I hadn't had too much trouble up til this point.

After pressing a bit, they agreed I should come in this afternoon for my post-op instead of tomorrow. Off we go to the doctor to find out I have dry socket! Now I know that's not a good thing or anything to be happy about but there is some satisfaction in knowing it was "real pain" and I'm not being a weenie afterall!

So good news, I am ME! and I had "real pain" not baby pain! It sure is nice to know I haven't gotten soft in my old age, or at least not yet!

Hopefully with the stuff he gave me and a little time, I will be good as new and back at it soon.

I have Christmas decorating pictures to take and show you all but just haven't felt like it these last few days.
By the weekend I will snap and post, I promise!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My new best friends

What you see here are my new best friends.

Hopefully those of you who are my "old best friends" won't feel too slighted.

I'm sure these new friends are only temporary but very welcome in my home, heck even my bedroom at the moment.

I "won" the prize and had 3 wisdom teeth and had a spot on the inside of my cheek removed this morning.

Now do you understand why I have these new best friends?

(Sorry for having to turn your head to look at the picture. Blogger is playing tricks on me again and turning the darn thing after I upload it! :{ )

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Made me think...

I received the message below in an email. It sure hit home with me. Why is it I cry out to God more easily when things aren't going so well but sometimes forget about offering thanks to Him for blessings received.
I do thank my Lord often. In fact, there are many times I am absolutely overwhelmed in thankfulness and gratefulness to Him. However, my follow-up on specific requests is sometimes lacking.

This is one of the nicest e-mails I have seen and is so true:

I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, 'This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.'

I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.

Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.

The angel then said to me, 'This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them. 'I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.

Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. 'This is the Acknowledgment Section,' my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed.'How is it that there is no work going on here?' I asked.

'So sad,' the angel sighed. 'After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments.'

'How does one acknowledge God's blessings?' I asked.

'Simple,' the angel answered.

Just simply say, 'Thank you, Lord.'

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Christmas stuff!

Could someone please tell me that eventually this pile of Christmas crap, oops, I meant decorative treasures will eventually make my house all pretty and festive cuz right now, I'm not feeling it!

When we went to the holiday showcase Sunday, I was starting to get excited about decorating but after hauling it all out of the attic tonight, I'm just plain tired!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Holiday house showcase

Tami, a friend of ours was wonderful and blessed Dan & I with a set of tickets to a Holiday Showcase house that benefited the Children's Home & Aid society in Rockford today.
How this works is different designers, home interior shops and florists come into the house and each take a room or an area and decorate it for Christmas.

I would think for the homeowner, the worst part about this whole house tour thing would be tomorrow the designers come and take everything away again. How depressing would that be? Your house is all decked out for Christmas and then poof! it's all gone again. It's like a fairytale dream with a nightmare ending.

Some of the rooms were way over the top, the kind where it's blatantly obvious a designer did it. But then there were some very nice touches as well. Someone was stationed in each room to tell about the room and the designers that did it. It was really interesting and I'm glad we went. It was just a little more high society than these two hicks from the sticks are used to. :)

Here are a few pictures of what I particularly enjoyed. Or should I say what I liked before I got busted for taking pictures. I did ask first, really I did which is so unlike me. I was told at the entrance that it was fine but when we were halfway through the tour, I was told it was a big no-no. Ooops!

I really like this rusty snowman with the goofy grin. He's just plain fun!

This was probably my favorite thing. Maybe because it looked like something I could or would do myself. However, notice the price tags hanging on everything. Something about that kind of screamed tacky to me, but hey what do I know?

I liked these tall skinny trees too. The bathroom was black and white so they really stood out.

This I thought was kind of neat. I sometimes get in a rut where I think everything should kind of match so the mix of the evergreen tree with the glass trees was unique and fun to see.

The greens hanging above the bed was a nice touch. It's hard to see but there were little star ornamnets hanging from them as well.

This pic is a little crooked as it's when the woman stationed in that room was reaching for my camera.

Hope you're having a great Sunday!