While my brothers are sending me photos of glorious spring weather
in California and New York City, I’m singing “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!” Because, here in Michigan there are still snowflakes sifting down from heaven! There were power outages over the weekend, and over 200 churches closed
(ours included) due to dangerous, “almost impossible” driving conditions. In Williamston, MI, east of Grand Rapids, my friend, John Bjorlie, posted these three photos from the ice storm that hit their area, with the following caption: “Excellent crop yield this year from our Ice harvest.
The Ice plants were full and fruitful.” 🙂 Yes, if ice were a cash crop, he’d be in the money! Last week our lake was reflecting dreamy blue sky eyes, and our cherry tree was beginning to bud. This morning all our hopes for spring have been put on hold. Our lives are like this sometimes, too, aren’t they? Stormy, fragile, and uncertain. And yet, I believe God cares for us and will continue to provide for us. If you feel like your life is on hold because of unexpected storms—
Be patient and hang tough! Spring will come again!
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
P.S.—A big thank you to John to sharing his photos with me. By the way, if you’re looking for an idyllic, rural setting for an event in the Lansing area, John and his wife have a new venue that is open for business. They’ve christened it Rosrmål Barn, after the Norwegian painting style of Rosemåling, so if you’re looking for a place to celebrate, let me know, and I can put you in contact with them!
Posted in A Patchwork of Little Thoughts, Activities in the Greater Grand Rapids Area, Around home, Bird Photos, Encouragements for Living, Meditations and reflections, Nature Studies, Seasonal Pictures, Weather
Tagged April 2018 Ice storm in Michigan, Cartoon of spring failing to Install, Photos of spring storms, Romans 12:12, Waiting for Spring
Do you enjoy poetry? Write poems? Since 1996, April has been designated as National Poetry Month in America to celebrate and encourage the enjoyment of poetry. Usually I take the opportunity to write a few poems, but so far this spring I’ve not slowed down enough to allow literary creativity to send up any new shoots from my soul. Nevertheless, I’m a believer (in good poetry), so I’m going to share 10 quotes on poetry with 10 poetic photos from around my home in the hopes of inspiring us all to poetic endeavors, and if you write any lovely poems between now and then that you’d be willing to share, please add them in the comment box below or send them to me via email (or message me on FaceBook), and I’ll reserve April 30 for sharing what we create. Sound like a plan?
“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” Plutarch “Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” Carl Sandburg “Always be a poet, even in prose.” Charles Baudelaire “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings:
it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” William Wordsworth “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought
and the thought has found words.” Robert Frost “As to the pure mind all things are pure,
so to the poetic mind all things are poetical.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow “A good poet is someone who manages, in a lifetime of standing out
in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times;
a dozen or two dozen times and he is great.” Randall Jerrell “Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose-petal
down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.” Don Marquis “Why should poetry have to make sense?” Charlie Chaplin “If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.” David CarradineAnd so, I’ll await with great expectations for any expression of emotion
mixed with bits of wisdom or puzzlement that blossom from our hearts.
May we all find some quiet time for reflection and meditation this spring! “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure” (Proverbs 4:26).
(As might be obvious, the last photo was not take around my home. 🙂 Rather, it’s from Meijer Garden, where “the butterflies are blooming” through April.)
Posted in Activities in the Greater Grand Rapids Area, Around home, Bird Photos, Flower Photos, Michigan Beauty and Fun, On writing, Poetry, Quotable Quotes, Writing
Tagged Butterflies Are Blooming at Meijer Garden, National Poetry Month 2018, Photographs of early spring in Michigan, Proverbs 4:26, Quotes on poetry by famous poets, Want a venue for publishing your poetry?, Will you take some time to write a poem this April
Ready to be inspired by a (dramatized) true story? All Saints recounts the tale of Michael Spurlock, who—as a young seminary graduate—was sent to close down a dwindling church but got sidetracked by trying to help a group of Karen refugees from Burma who came to him seeking spiritual and physical aid. A tense but heart-warming 2017 movie, All Saints relates what happened back in 2007. It’s PG, has a 94% rating from Rotten Tomatoes, and is a wonderful story for young and old alike…and every age and ethnicity in between! 🙂 John Corbett plays the role of Michael Spurlock, the Anglican minister who’s trying to figure out how to help the faltering little country congregation. Although the key actors are professionals (and the movie is very well done), many of the Karen refugees play themselves! How fun is that?! I have a dear friend who has been working among the Karen refugees in Thailand for the last 20 years. Did you know there are over half a million Karen people who have been displaced by ethnic cleansing in Myanmar?Are you aware that there are over 65.5 million displaced people in the world today and 12 million refugees (up from less than 3 million refugees in the mid-1970s)? America has historically been a global leader in resettling refugees, and we also take in about a million legal immigrants annually (who are not fleeing persecution and war). If you are an American, this means that there are probably foreigners who live close to you and need help in understanding the language, etc. I know our church hosts a weekly “Language Cafe” to help with this problem (if you’re looking for a place to help), and there are a lot of programs to come along side refugees in Grand Rapids. My son has helped a young man from the Congo for two years now, and I greatly admire his dedication, as well as the young man’s progress!One of the most exciting things about All Saints, to me, is bringing the problems of refugees into the public eye and reminding people that God still works miracles today. In an article interviewing Rev. Michael Spurlock for Christian Cinema News, Jacob Sahms reflects: “That in itself is the beauty of All Saints, that God would use an ordinary man, flaws and all, strengths and weakness, to work a miracle, to bring people together, to build the Kingdom of God upon the earth.”
If you’d like to read this wonderful interview in full, it can be found here: https://www.christiancinema.com/news/rev-michael-spurlock-tells-the-story-behind-all-saints-in-theaters-friday
“As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
(1 Corinthians 2:9)
Posted in Activities in the Greater Grand Rapids Area, Charity, Inspiration, Local News, Movie Reviews, Relationships
Tagged 1 Corinthians 2:9, All Saints 2017 Movie, Calvary Church's Language Cafe, Christian Cinema News, How many displaced people are there in the world today?, How many Karen refugees are there?, John Corbett as Michael Spurlock, Karen refugees from Burma resettle in America, What happened to Michael Spurlock and the Karen Refugees?
Happy Spring to you!! We celebrated spring and Cindi’s birthday yesterday, which was so much fun that I wanted to share right away in case any of you living in the GR area might be interested in going to the Sugarbush Festival at Blandford Nature Center tomorrow (March 24, 2018) where they’ll be making maple syrup, etc! Also, this coming week would be an ideal time to take your kids
to the Critter Barn in Zeeland, MI, during spring break because they have all sorts of babies being birthed, and if you show up at feeding time, they may even let you give the baby goats a bottle of warm milk! (This may depend on how many children come.) Of course, being our Birthday Club, we stopped at Sandy’s Donut House for some of their famous donuts, and we took a lunch break at El Aztecas Mexican Restaurant, where they spontaneously blessed us with some festive fried ice cream and sang “Happy Birthday” when they found out we were celebrating Cindi’s birthday. If you go to the Sugarbush Festival tomorrow, dress warmly, because it’s only supposed to be a high of 39°F, but there are lots of things to see outside and some lovely nature walks. Also, think about stopping at Sandy’s for a donut on your way, or maybe serving pancakes and syrup at home first, because there isn’t a pancake breakfast there. However, they did let us taste the syrup,
and you’ll be able to buy some yummy maple syrup cotton candy or other treats! If you decide to go the Critter House, I’d recommend going in the next few weeks while the mothers are birthing, and call ahead to see what time the next feeding will be. Be sure to wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little warm milk on,
because even kids will be kids…but it’s well worth the spilled milk! I’d never in all my years fed a baby goat before, and it was so much fun!One of the things I love best about our Birthday Club (and about life), is that we’re never too old to try new things, experience new joys and find new beauties. Are you trying new adventures? Keep exploring! The world is full of good things!
“The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 33:5).
“He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:3).
Posted in Activities in the Greater Grand Rapids Area, Adventures, Aging and Retirement Issues, Birthday Club, Critters, Friendship, Grandchildren, Local News, Nature Studies, Parks, Seasonal Pictures
Tagged Baby kids getting fed from milk bottles, Critter Barn in Zeeland MI, El Aztecas Mexican Restaurant of Allendale MI, Great ideas for spring break in Grand Rapids MI, Our birthday club having fun, Psalm 33:5, Psalm 40:3, Sandy's Donut Shop in Grand Rapids MI, Sugarbush at Blandford Nature Center in Allendale MI, You're never too old to learn and have fun!
For any of you who’ve read my blog over the past few years, you may remember we have a grandson living in Grand Rapids who was a micro-preemie. His survival was in question and the source of unceasing prayers for months. Three years later, Samuel is still almost off-the-charts small, but the doctor has signed off on his needing any more speech assessments and says Samuel has completely caught up intellectually and physically (as far as coordination and skill go), for which we are all deeply grateful to our merciful heavenly Father, who loves us all even more dearly than we can imagine loving one another! Samuel has a passion for “Dude Perfect” and anything that has to do with balls, and so he asked if he could have a bowling party for his birthday. I haven’t been to many parties for three year olds (since all our other grand kids live pretty far away), but I can say that this is one of the most fun birthday parties I’ve ever attended where a small fry was center stage! Sammy carried his own ball and learned how to roll it down a little ramp to give it enough momentum to make it all the way to the end of the lane. I’d never seen one of these contraptions before, but what a great way to get toddlers going! We had four lanes’ worth of family (Brianna’s family also lives in town), and everybody got to bowl a couple of games, but I think we all enjoyed watching Sammy, who was so excited he was practically ecstatic the whole time!Sammy’s mother was a heroine that day, carrying Baby Sister the entire time to keep her content and then making sure Sammy was happy even when it was someone else’s turn now and then (although I think he not only had his own turns, but he got one of his mom’s and one of his dad’s each round as well).Brianna’s dad handily beat the rest of us, although her brother-in-law Sam had unbelievable power! Most importantly, everybody had a ball…including sweet Samuel! He even got a few balls among his birthday gifts! 🙂 Samuel wanted a carrot cake shaped like a ball for his birthday. The cake was moist, full of carrots and walnuts, and had cream cheese frosting. We all loved it (at least, those of us with teeth), but it made me consider the fact that Sammy is very unusual! However, isn’t every child unique and wonderful?!?In a day and age when fewer people are investing in children and more people are lavishing their love on pets, I’d like to encourage married couples who are considering whether or not they want children to go ahead and take the plunge! Sure, they’re a huge amount of work and life will never be the same, but it will be better! Through all the sleepless nights and struggles, you’ll become less selfish and emotionally richer. Most parents I know wouldn’t trade their kids for anything, even if they do roll their eyes at times and tease about it! In fact, I don’t think there’s anything more precious on earth than a home with children.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” (Psalm 127:3-5).
(P.S.—I took the photos from the bowling alley, but the three portraits of Samuel were taken by his mom and used by her permission. Thank you, Brianna!)
Posted in Activities in the Greater Grand Rapids Area, Around home, Bringing up kids, Grandchildren, Life with Toddlers, Premature Baby's Journey: Samuel
Tagged Are kids worth all the trouble?, Bowling party, Bowling with a toddler, carrot cake, Pros and cons of having children, Psalm 127:3-5, Spectrum lanes in Grand Rapids MI, What's a preemie like three years later?