Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why Dara Makes Me Wish I Was "Suthrn"

  • Hospitality
  • Cooking ~ especially fried green beans!
  • Black Gospel music
  • Country music
  • The Accent
  • The Vocabulary (David Branham might be to thank for that!)
  • Sassiest Pastor's wife this side of the Mason-Dixon Line
  • Sweet Tea
  • Love of God, Family and Country
And all of this from a girl born and raised in (southern) Missouri.
Happy Birthday, Dara!
Your friendship has been, and continues to be, a blessing to me!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Strolling Errands

I woke up feeling ugly today. I can only hope that I am the only person who has ever had to deal with this, because it is just the pits. And especially after my post yesterday about how God loves me, created me, and loves me unconditionally, feeling ugly should be pretty insignificant, but it was not. I just wanted to stay home and hide in my unattractiveness.
But I already had a sitter lined up for the day. Nothing special planned~ just a summer day with a teenager available to give me a day off.
So I did what any smart woman would do. I went shopping and got my hair cut.
Oh! So much better!!
And with a re-newed spring in my step, I set out to get something done today.
And then I realized that although I had the time and the means to get something done, there was nothing that I had to get done.
What a lovely feeling!
So rather than running errands, I slowed down, and I strolled errands.
What a lovely day it turned out to be...

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Me: "Girls, would either of you like to take a tubby tonight?"
Lisi: "No, I have a boo-boo, and it would hurt. I have a boo-boo, and I cannot take a bath for 60 days."

That is just full disclosure for any of you who might be near Lisi in the next couple of months.

new Bible study

This past week I began a new endeavor~ a Bible e-study. And so far, I like it! My 1st Bible study was probably 5 years ago, and I went because I heard there was free childcare, and a couple of hours without a new babe sounded LOVELY. (I found out years later that we were actually suppose to donate to cover the cost of childcare...OOOPS!) Anyway, these days trying to co-ordinate time & schedules to get to a Bible study is just tricky. And then there is the study itself! But my friend Melinda e-mailed me with an idea to be a part of a womens e-study. Women of all ages and generations from all over the country meeting on-line to chat about how the book Designing a Woman's Life by Judith Couchman can impact each of our lives.
It is a quick, easy to read book. But chatting with each of these 29 women and hearing what they are pulling from the book really makes it all that more insightful. This past week was just chapter 1, and the main concept is simply accepting that God Love Me.
Think about it. Do you know that God loves you? Do you know that He loves you regardless of what you do, will do, have done, might do? He loves you because He created you. Could not love you more; will never love you less. He created you. He knows who you are, probably better than you know yourself!, and He loves you.
It is easy to write that, but still not so easy to believe it.
So this is what has been on my mind this week, and I get to church this morning, and our sermon is Identity Theft: I'm Not Good Enough. Crazy. God's timing is so amazing.
The 1st point of this morning was "A lie believed as truth will affect you as if it were true".
Let that one sink in.

Bottom line of this morning is that I am not the sum total of past experiences, and not even who people say I am.
I am new in Christ and who He created me to be.

I can do everything through (Christ) who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:13

Saturday, July 28, 2007

what I love about Panora

  1. It is in Iowa
  2. The town square
  3. House of B
  4. Lefty the Goose
  5. 4th of July ~ once invited, always invited!
  6. The Fairies (they are kind of tricky, you know!)
  7. Lazy boat rides with my cutie husband and our sweet girls
  8. Kids jumping off the dock
  9. Memories of the Pizza Ranch
  10. Swinging in the indoor hammock

another reason to love Panora

Log Cabin BBQ is the newest restaurant on the Panora square. And it is definitely another reason to visit Panora!
What makes it unique?
Clean and smoke-free, for starters!!
My dinner choice from the "health conscious" menu...
pulled pork and 'slaw

Thursday, July 26, 2007

my birthday cake!!!

Do I have great friends, or what?!? THIS is the birthday cake that my friend Jenn made for me!!! And in the words of our friend Sandy, "white cake with pink frosting...it doesn't get any better than that!" Hands down, those were the best flip flops I have ever eaten~ thank you, Jenn!!!

thank you, Pastor Lori

Isabella: "Mom, do you want to hear what I learned at Creek Kids last night?"
Me: "Sure!"
Isabella: "Be patient, bearing with others in love. Colby pretended to be a bee, and that helped me to remember how to start it."
Me: silence
Isabella: "Mom, can you explain that to me so that I can understand it?"

Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Ta-Da! Isabella has successfully grown a sunflower~ 2 actually! If you will remember back about a month ago (1st picture), the sunflower that Isabella had grown from a seed was large enough to be planted in the ground. Within the past week, "Planty" has grown to its full size and opened up with beautiful sunflower. I am expecting a 2nd bloom within the next couple of days:)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

how I spent MY day!!!

Despite the kind, and generous!, comment from Lindsay(on Pastor Lori's blog comments), I am not a mere 25 today, but a much more satisfied 37 years old:)
And why, at 37, does it being my birthday put more of a spring in my step??
And what is really crazy is that it has been the most ordinary of days. TRULY!! Well, the extraordinary part was both girls being at Vacation Bible School for 3 hours this morning:) The ordinary part was that I relished the quiet and alone time to clean their play room. Go figure!
But while I was at it, I listened to a Focus on the Family broadcast with Ryan Dobson that was just excellent. I don't get enough time to just listen to encouragement like that. And, of course, I enjoyed an excellent cup of coffee while I was at it:)
What I also enjoyed were thoughtful blogs from my awesome friends Dara and Pastor Lori, excellent jewelry from favorite cousin Heather, a surprise gift certificate to The Spa from my step mom who found it quite by accident (it is my favorite place to spend my rare 'me time'!), and probably the BEST assortment of birthday cards I have ever received.
My cutie husband and I were planning on a birthday dinner out with our sweet girls tonight, but they are just having so much fun playing, we opted to stay home. Oh My Goodness!! And speaking of my sweet girls...Mark took them shopping to each pick out a birthday gift for me...
Lisi gave me a tiny, pink soccer ball "for our whole family to share",
and Isabella decided to shop at Archiver's and found an assortment of pink paper and stickers (many with a puppy theme). I think that gift is for our whole family to share, too (hee,hee,hee).
As I think back on how I have spent birthdays in years past, what was important to me at the time, and the people I chose to spend that time with, I realize that "older" and "wiser" really do go hand in hand. Enjoying my home, my family and my friends is the absolute BEST way to spend MY day!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The "ReBag" Rocks My World!!!

Although not quite the trend-setting craze of this bag, my new ReBag is already rockin' my world!!
The concept is so simple~ use re-usable bags for grocery shopping (and all shopping, for that matter!), and cut down on all of the plastic bags that pile up under your kitchen sink.
What I totally LOVE about this one is that
1) it is the size & shape of a paper sack, so that it hold alot, and stands up on the counter
2) has handles that are long enough that I can put it over my shoulder

I am just keeping them in my car, and taking them into the grocery store with me.
Wanna set a trend in Des Moines with me???

10 Years Ago Today

10 years ago today my cutie husband and I had our 1st date.

And I did not even know it was a date!! It had been 15 years since I had first met his family, and for all of that time, I had thought that Mark Main was just a great guy. Mark Main, however, did acknowledge that I even existed. (In his defense, he does point out that at the time, I was 12, he was 16, and he had a driver's license and a Jeep!)
I had stayed close friends with his family, so when he called to ask if I wanted to go to dinner, I really thought it was just dinner. As I have often pointed out, I did not even buy a new outfit! And had I realized that it was finally a date with Mark Main, that definitely would have been worthy of a new outfit:)
We had dinner at Mondo's. And if you know me, you know the rest of the story because we have been together ever since.
I love you cutie husband!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

1st Horse Show

Today our family attended our 1st horse show. I know, I am stepping into dangerous territory. But Megan, who has been giving the girls 'horse care lessons' told us that she was showing today, and that it might be fun for the girls to see. I cannot say that any of us are 'hooked' on it, but it was a nice way to spend the afternoon.

Lisi riding Frisky (miniature paint) at horse care lessons last Friday. I love to see her this happy:)
Isabella on Lacey, who is 16.2 hands! Ever since Mark and I got home from Alaska, Isabella has been telling me that while we were gone she got to sit on Lacey. I know you can hardly see her face in this pix, but it is a good pix to show just how BIG Lacey is!
Isabella on Lacey.
Mark and Lisi on the bleachers at the horse show.
Isabella making a new friend at the horse show.
Isabella intently watching Megan and Gunner jump. (If you look very closely at Isabella's lips, you can also see that she enjoyed discovering blue Icee's at the show:)
Megan on Gunner

Thursday, July 19, 2007

10 Random Things About Myself

I think this may have started with a friend of Dara's, and it has spread like wildfire! And now I have been tagged by Jenn Adair to list 10 random things about myself. I have loved reading everyone else's, but now that I am here trying to write this post, I am just drawing a blank! OK, I am a woman, and totally incapable of really drawing a blank (Angela will understand that!), but I am drawing a blank on 10 random, yet profound, things about myself. ARGHH!
Well, here is goes:

  • I think I have the opposite of anorexia. I think of myself as very thin, yet the scale and the size of my clothes indicate otherwise.
  • While attending BYU, the only food I remember eating for the 9 months that I was there was Pepsi and mini-marshmallows
  • It took 4 Universities for me to graduate from college, and when I did finally graduate with a degree in Economics, I realized what I really wanted to do was be an optometrist, so I went on to college #5 to get the needed background in the Life Sciences
  • I did not follow thru with Optometry School, but I did become a Mom, which is something I was not entirely sure I would ever do:)
  • Doing laundry use to be one of my most favorite ways to relax...until I became the mother of 2 pre-schoolers
  • Thanks to my cutie husband, I have a room devoted to paper and crafting, but I have yet to scrapbook for my sweet girls
  • My spiritual gift is in paper
  • Depending on who I am talking to, I claim St Louis (and the suburbs of Kirkwood and Florissant), Collinsville, IL, and West Des Moines as "where I am from"
  • I think that eating and going to the bathroom are complete wastes of time
  • I have no trouble making time for e-mail and blogging!!!
And now I am going to tag friends who having threatening to blog, but have not quite gotten there. I hope this is good motivation!!!

favorite cousin Heather
Jena Raridon
Jen Hollingsworth

And I am also tagging
Ed Sustala (that should be an interesting read!)
Melinda Garman

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Local Color

Of all that Seattle has to offer, The Local Color might have been my favorite place:) It is this funky little coffee shop/ art gallery located directly across the street from Pike Place Market. (And about 2 blocks from the original Starbucks, which we walked past a few times, but did not actually go inside.) Anyway, even a latte is presented with an artistic flaire (1st picture)! And I was so tempted to pay too much for a cool beaded necklace (2nd pix), but instead snapped a few quick pix, and am hoping to re-create it (at home and in my free time ~ hee,hee,hee). Beading anyone??

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Alaskan cruise

After a lovely few days in Seattle, we boarded the Oosterdam to begin a fabulous 7 day Alaskan cruise with Focus on the Family. Mark and I have vacationed with Focus before, and we knew this would be an amazing adventure, and it was! Not only did we meet some really great people, but we explored land that really does need to be explored to be appreciated. I had not done much research before our trip (because I knew that Focus would have a phenomenal plan) and I was truly surprised at all that I saw and learned.
I think most significant was realizing just how HUGE the state of Alaska is, and to cruise the southeastern edge of the state does not even come close to doing it justice. I also had not realized that most of Alaska is a temperate rain forest. And on that note, Mark and I really had not planned on the shear amount of rain that we had. In hindsight, not a big deal. But at the time, it did hinder our sight seeing. No worries, though! We still experienced plenty!
The pictures are of Mark and I before dinner at The Pinnacle Grill with Dr James & Shirley Dobson, the new president of Focus, Jim Daly, as well as a hundred or so other supporters of Focus on the Family.
Then just a couple of the 'towel animals' greeting us each evening. (these pix are for you Angela!)
And finally a formal evening dinner with Sue & Larry Kingston, our friends from Focus on the Family in Colorado.

Juneau, Alaska

1st stop...Juneau! The capital of Alaska...and only has 20 miles of paved road! Our big excursion for the day was a helicopter ride to Mendenhal Glacier. I had not been in a helicopter before, and I LOVED it! (1st photo) It was a surreal experience to know that we were landing on a glacier. And I learned that a glacier is made of a unique composition of water than is neither ice nor snow. It is a very dense glacier ice. It starts high in the mountains with the snow fall, accumulates, and 'pushes' down the mountain. Seeing the juxtoposition of the glacier ice and the mountain is awe inspiring. Then to see a waterfall coming from the mountain is breathtaking. (4th photo) Where water runs through a glacier you can drink the water. Mark and I each did that, but this pix (6th) of a little girl on our tour was way cuter:)
(I have no idea why this entire post is in blue hi-lite, and now it is all normal. Go figure.)

Hubbard Glacier

The Oosterdam did not port this day. Instead we cruised the shore of Hubbard Glacier. And let me assure you that after seeing the glacier from this perspective, it made the previous day's adventure to Mendenhall Glacier even more significant! To see the side of a glacier as it reaches the ocean is stunning. We were also able to see several incidents of calving, where a part of the glacier breaks free and falls into the ocean. Just before it happens, the sound resembles thunder. It was so impressive to see!

Sitka, Alaska

For me, I think Sitka was my favorite stop on our trip. (Between here and our next stop, Ketchikan.) Had it not been raining again, this definitely would get top marks. (And thank you to Mark's Auntie & Clarke for emphasizing the importance of rain gear on this trip. Without them, we would have been unprepared, and as uncomfortable as several of our fellow travelers.)
Sitka has an amazing history. Originally inhabited by Indians, the area has stayed rich in their culture. Then taken over by Russia, the area and its people took on characteristics of that culture. And then when Russia had no more use for the land, it was sold to the United States as a part of the Louisiana Purchase agreement. The first US governor of the Alaskan Territory was so taken with the rich culture of the area, that he was the one who collected many of the totem poles from around the area (far beyond Sitka) and located them in a preservation park in Sitka. Mark and I walked through some of that park, which is actually a temperate rain forest. Who knew???
The 1st photo above is of a series of small islands just beyond the shores of Sitka, where homes begin at $750,000. The picture does not lie~ these are simple, tiny homes.
The 2nd picture is of a totem pole.
And if you look very closely, you can see an eagle in the tree of the 3rd photo.
Had it not been so rainy, I would have liked to take an excursion to an island of puffins. Amazing, amazing wildlife in Alaska!!

Ketchikan, Alaska

This was DEFINITELY the high-light of the trip! Not only was it the 1st day since we had been on the Oosterdam that we saw SUN, but this was the day for Mark's float-plane ride. What was most amazing about the sun, though, is that Ketchikan is known for rain. On average, 150 inches per year! Even the tour guide book said that if you arrive to Ketchikan and see sun, consider yourself lucky! (6th photo) We toured the town a bit early in the morning. Creek Street (8th picture) is not really a street at all. It is a boardwalk and each of the buildings is on stilts into the water! Originally, it was the 'red light district' for the gold miners headed further into Alaska. Now it is just preserved as an interesting piece of history.
Then, at Auntie and Clarke's suggestion, we went on an Island Wings float plane tour into the Misty Fjords. And if you should ever find yourself in Ketchikan, definitely go with Michelle from IW for this tour. It was EXCELLENT!!! We were on an 8 seater plane, and each of us had inter-active headphones (1st photo). She told us about the history and landmarks of the area as we flew off the island and onto mainland Alaska. The Tongess National forest in Alaska is more than 17 million acres. The Misty Fjords, about 2.3 million acres, is a land preserve within the National forest. A Fjord is created by a glacier, in the same way that Yosemite was created by a glacier, but rather than having land beneath it, the ocean is beneath (2nd photo). So there are areas were the mountains of the fjord are 3,000' high, and the ocean below extends down 3,000 feet. And the wild life! We saw mountain goats from the airplane. They live on top of these isolated mountains. It was just amazing. We also had the opportunity to land the plane in the fjord and get out on a little island on the water (5th photo), take pictures, and just enjoy the serenity. Well, I enjoyed the serenity; Mark enjoyed the plane:) (3rd & 9th photos)

Victoria, BC

Victoria, BC was our last stop on the cruise. Totally different than Alaska! Actually, alot more like Seattle, but more refined. We were not there for long. Mark and I had dinner near the ocean shore, and then strolled the 'Night Market' where we saw the fire juggler. (And BTW, he SO reminded me of Keaton Eilers! If this guy can make a living as a fire juggling comedian at a street market, then so could Keaton:) But this guy joked that rather than tell people the truth about how he earns a living, his family tells people that he is in prison. OK, it was really funny at the time.) Anyway, I digress. Victoria is a really pretty city, and SO CLEAN! The people were nice, and happy to talk about their city.
The 1st photo is of The Empress Hotel, where the Queen stays when she visits Victoria.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

for Melinda, and my e-mail

I have having a glitch with sending e-mail. I can receive new e-mail, post blogs, and get the comments that are left on my blog (which is the best part of blogging, by the way! so keep the comments coming!)
Anyway, if you have been expecting an e-mail from me, I have no idea when it will go out. I have about a dozen being held in my 'outbox'.
Melinda, see if you can drag my family photo off my blog. I will be 37 on July 24th! I think you have all of my other info:)

Mark and I are packing up our bags at the Homewood Suites in Seattle, and will be boarding the Oosterdam in just a few hours ~ YIPPEE!!!

Friday, July 6, 2007


What I have learned and observed:
* the 1st Starbucks opened here @ Pike Place Market in 1971 (who knew??? 1971!!!)
* MicroSoft began in 1975
* It rains less here than in Boston, New York or Miami
* Seattle-ites wear sunglasses...inside, outside, day, night...they wear sunglasses
* Every other person has earbuds in
* These are way friendly people
* There are nearly 300 Starbucks in western Washington
* There are alot more coffee shops than just Starbucks here in Seattle
* "Friends don't let friends drink Starbucks"
(OK, I did not learn that one here, but I still like it:)
* It is among the busiest container ports in the world
* Nordstroms began here as a shoe store
* Fish at the Pike Place Market are LARGE, I mean HUGE
* Seattle is already beckoning me back:)

What We Saw On the Seattle Downtown Bus

1) A busdriver who does not make change, and did not know what to do with an overpayment
(Great quote fromMark: "What else are we going to do? We need to get there.")
2) A woman (I think) who wants to be a man
3) A man who clearly wants to be a woman
4) A 13ish year old girl with hangers hanging off her beltloops
5) A 20 something with a DISKMAN ~ isn't that illegal in Seattle (home of MicroSoft and the iPod)????
6) Diskman dude with a the universal symbol for the womens bathroom tattooed on his forearm
Not Just An Urban Legend

Employee handbook

New employees are given a copy of the famous Nordstrom's Employee Handbook -- a single 5 x 8 inch gray card containing 75 words:[4]

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Des Moines

2 United flights and nearly 6 hours of travel, and we are still no further from Des Moines than we are living on Silverado Trail!
Who knew there was a Des Moines, WA???
Mark and I arrived in Seattle about 10 am Seattle time. We were tired when we got here, but still enjoyed a full day of sightseeing. Before we left home, I heard alot of "don't forget to come home" in regard to Alaska. Let me tell you, I could forget to come home from Seattle. This is an awesome city! Now, Mark would tell you that neither of us are much for another big city. And every place we have been today, we have heard that this is Seattle at its best (warm and sunny). But for right now, today, I am totally enjoying Seattle. It is relaxed, diverse, coastal, artistic and home to alot of friendly people.
Tomorrow we are starting our day at Pike Place Market.
I hope to be able to post pix of fish-throwing.
Then Mark is going to the Boeing factory/ tour.
I am going to Nordstroms:) Hey, this is home to their flagship store~ it's sight-seeing!