Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Family Photos

This is probably the most famous
photo since I have shared
it and it is now my FB
profile picture.  The
Little Princess
with her loyal subjects.

I thought it would be fun to give
a little background on our
recent family photo adventure.

Several years ago, our three
families decided to do
"something different" for
Christmas gifts because
we didn't really need any more
"STUFF."
We still buy for the children
but for the adults, we have
done a variety of things.
One year we all bought
gift cards to restaurants 
and other places
 and then we all picked
our favorite gift cards 
as gifts.

For another couple of years,
the rule was that
you had to buy your gifts
at a yard sale or thrift
shop.  Lots of fun with that one.

This past Christmas,
each family drew a season,
and we were in charge
of planning an event
for the entire family
for that season.

So the event from
David and I to the
entire family was to
fly in my very talented
nephew, Jon Aven,
who takes beautiful
photos.

In early June, he spent
a weekend with us, snapping
away and these are the photos
that we all got as our 
Christmas present.



In a field at Rock Ledge Ranch
close to Garden of the Gods

An old barn at Rock Ledge Ranch

At Fox Run Park

On our own Harding
swing in our backyard


On the steps of our deck

These next two are with
a very unwilling Koda
(the young Gibson's dog)


Jon lay down in the street in
front of our house to get this photo

Fox Run Park

Just the two of us


With our sweet grandchildren
Rock Ledge Ranch



The whole family at Rock Ledge Ranch


Love the cute arms crossed
with the kiddos
Jon is not only a wonderful
technical photographer,
but he has great ideas for shots

My girls


The Guys
(and the girl)

The whole family
Rock Ledge Ranch



This one was taken at the end
of our final session.
We were tired and hungry
but the boys had seen a great
tree way across the field
and really wanted
"Uncle Jon" to take their
picture in it.
And of course, he agreed.

I have not shared the
kids individual family photos.
They are fantastic, but I thought
they might want to share them
themselves.

We had a great time and have
some wonderful photos to
document this special time
in our lives.

Thank you, Jon.
You helped us both
make and keep
memories.


He's Got the Whole World in His Hands--Nana Camp Summer 2016

Today's Nana Camp was probably
my favorite of all time.
And, yes, I might say that a lot,
but this time it is really true.  

I came up with the theme
several months ago
when I found these cute little
globe balls at Dollar Tree.


We had two wonderful books to read.
We also listened to Louis Armstrong's
rendition of the song.
Kelly had this book that she kindly volunteered
for use.  We sang the song several
times and all during the day,
I would hear one or more of the
kids singing, "He's Got the Whole
World In His Hands."
We talked about how God
loves us all regardless of
our skin color, our jobs, our
background.
Using ziplock bags, we filled bags with
goodies, like a water bottle, small kleenex,
hand-wipes, granola bars, cheese
crackers, and cookies.

I got this idea from the wonderful
Children's Ministers at our church who did
this earlier in the summer at our
Family Bible Sessions.
We then headed out to see if
we could find a homeless person.
Photograph by Caleb.
I had a pretty good idea
that there would be someone
sitting close to our neighborhood
Wal-Mart because I see
someone there often.

Sure enough there was a gentleman there
when we arrived.  We all piled out of the car
and Caleb did the honor of taking the bag
to him.  We introduced ourselves to
him and he told us his name.
He proudly told us
that he was a VietNam Veteran.
He was very sweet to the kids
and told them that he was very
thankful for their gift.

We told him goodbye, and as
we left, sweet Aaron called out,
"I hope you find a home."
Then the kids spied a lady across the street
on the corner with a sign.
We headed that way and she was also
most grateful.  All the kids
shook her hand.  
Before leaving home, Caleb suggested
that they might want to write a note to
put in their bags.
The notes above are from Caleb
and David.

The bags that were not handed out
today were taken home to hand out
at another time.
David already had in mind the
person he wanted to give his bag to.
He said they often see him in
the same place when they go
bike riding.

I must admit, I struggle when I
see someone with a sign trying to
decide whether I should give them
money or not.


This was a good lesson for Nana as well.
It was more of a blessing to us
than to the people we helped.
It takes so little.
And although, I will not disclose the
two people's names for privacy reasons,
the greatest blessing was realizing that
they were not "homeless people".
They were ________ & _________.
They have names and are
loved by God
just like us.

Both of these people told
us "God Bless You" as we walked away.
And we were blessed!  


Saturday, July 9, 2016

North to Alaska--Highlights

As many of you know, David and I, along with 
my siblings and their spouses 
try to take a trip each year together.  
This year the trip was to Alaska.
Unfortunately, my brother Lynn
and his wife Terry were not able
to get away from jobs this year,
so they didn't get to go with us.

I am definitely not the pro-photographer
of the trip.  That distinction goes
to my brother-in-law, Randy.
But here are a few of the highlights
from my camera.
Note:  The pictures loaded in a crazy
order, so I will jump around
with the highlights.
A huge highlight that happened early in the trip
was the actual sighting of Mt. Denali.
I know it says Mt. McKinley on the sign,
but the name has officially been changed
to the Native American name of Denali.
We were told that 70% of visitors never see the
mountain because it is usually veiled in clouds.
We felt blessed to be in the lucky 30%.
This picture does not do it justice.
It was an awe inspiring sight.
It brought my sister, Kim, to tears.
Those of you who know her, know that is not
an unusual occurrence.  :)
We loved wandering the little towns of
Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan and
seeing unusual sights like this little
car with the top hatted driver.
The flowers in Alaska are amazing.
This Texas girl thought everything was
bigger in Texas, but Alaska flowers
proved me wrong.

Traveling with this guy is always fun!
The first couple of days, we had
drizzle, which we expected the entire
trip, but we were blessed with beautiful
weather the rest of the time.
This was the sight flying into Fairbanks.
I was amazed at how green everything was.

Our favorite excursion was "The Deadliest Catch".
We had never seen the TV show, but were fascinated with
learning all about how fishermen work.
The crew was fun and made us feel like
family.  And they provided me with my
favorite moment on the trip.
We stopped in a secluded bay and were
suddenly surrounded by what seemed like
hundreds of Bald Eagles.
And it was the Fourth of July!
What a way to celebrate America!!!!

This was the first morning of our trip.
This is a great group to travel with!
For those who don't know my family, from left to right
Randy, Kim, Terry, Gail, me and David.
We thought about photoshopping in
Lynn and Terry

This is a reindeer that we saw on
our first excursion.  We learned that
reindeer and caribou are the same
except that reindeer can fly.
(actually reindeer are domesticated)

This is the Alaska Fireweed.
It is everywhere and grows taller
than my sister-in-law, Gail.
For those of you that know her,
you will realize that is not all that tall.
Just kidding, Gail.
It is one of the first plants that
returns after a wildfire.

This is one of the fishermen from the Deadliest Catch
Excursion.  He had as much or more fun than
those of us who were on the tour.  

Another view of Denali.
When we got to the Lodge, you could not see the mountain.
One of the amenities of the Lodge is that if you request it,
they will give you a wake up call if the mountain decides to
show itself. We had just gone to bed at about 10:15 and it
was still daylight outside when the call came.
This picture, however, is the morning after
when Denali was still showing all of its glory.

This picture was taken at about 9:30 p.m.
I LOVED it being light all the time.
I'm sure that I wouldn't appreciate the winter
darkness though.

Another flower picture.
I was captivated!

This is a beautiful Athabaskan Indian
in her summer parka.  She was delightful.

Alaska was more than I ever expected!
God definitely used his paintbrush
in that beautiful land.  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

First Nana Cousin Camp Summer 2016--Favorite Animals Theme

We had our first Nana Cousin Camp of the summer 
last week.  We did a FAVORITE ANIMALS theme.
Foods included:
Kiwi/Grape turtles, Fruit Loop Butterflies
Favorite Animal Fruit Cup

Grape Caterpillars

Animal Mix


We had books from the library
for each of the favorite animals.
Please excuse the upside down picture.
Caleb's Favorite Animal--Koala
Aaron's Favorite Animal--Penguin
David's Favorite Animal--Great White Shark
Cora's Favorite Animal--Elephants

We played the Matching Animal Game
which was a huge hit.

We thoroughly enjoyed the ocean punch where the
white sharks were swimming.

David

Cora
We sat in the zoo (hallway)
and each child gave a report
about their favorite animal.
Caleb went first because he has
lots of experience with recitation from school.

The funniest part of the evening
(so funny that I had tears
rolling down my face
from laughing)
was Cora teaching about elephants.
She had obviously observed
the method of teaching from her brother
and cousins and when she
took the floor, she didn't want
to relinquish it.  That girl
likes to talk.

They each made a book about their
favorite animal.

These kiddos love to draw.

David hard at work.

In case you wonder where the artistic
Cora is in these pictures, well, she
decided that she needed her nails
done in the middle of the party.
Yes, she's our girly-girl!

Such fun times with these
precious grandchildren.