Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Blessed Christmas

The Reason for the Season

Christmas was a time to again travel to Michigan to visit with Kitty's sister and her family for a few days, and to spend Christmas day with Greg's family. We hoped to see more of Kitty's family at their annual get-together, but the flu bug got to Kitty and took care of that. Maybe this summer?

Besides the food and the time to catch up, there was also plenty to do including a Pistons game for several of the guys in the family ...
... and Wii Sports boxing ... which may have all been a bit too much!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


In the midst of another busy holiday season as we consider and give thanks for the many amazing blessings of God we have received, one that we always cherish and enjoy is time spent with our growing clan.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Riding the Rails

To spend time with the kids and grandkids this holiday week while still getting in necessary work days, Greg rode the Amtrak train between St. Louis and Kansas City every other day. Years ago we rode the CN railroad between Windsor and Toronto, and Greg's enjoyed the train systems in Europe and Asia during business trips, but this was the first time either of us has tried Amtrak. It was surprisingly nice - comfortable, clean, and fairly smooth.

All aboard at the Kirkwood, Missouri, station to the end of the line at KC's downtown Union Station is only about an hour longer than driving and is just about 20 minutes from Kim and Doug's house. In three trips the train was only delayed about 15 minutes total - but we're told that's not always the case! Still, we'll probably take the train more and more to enjoy the ride, save wear and tear on the cars, and avoid driving in bad weather.

Monday, November 24, 2008

KC Skate

So we're all together in KC for the holiday, and someone decided it would be fun to go ice skating downtown. Well, all of us braved the cold (it wasn't that bad) and some of us braved the ice. Ruth and Will took a turn on skates with some help from the dads, and even with her cold Ella took a spin in Doug's arms. You'll notice that Grandma and Grandpa were content to babysit. The topper on this "cool" afternoon was a picnic on the plaza under a giant Christmas tree!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A New Home!

No, not for us - Greg traveled to Mexico again this year as part of the Amor Ministry to build homes for families in need. Sadly, his camera was lost in the sand somewhere in the Mexican desert, so photos will have to wait until we get copies of pics from some of the other mission team members.

What an opportunity to meet this family, to share something of our lives and faith, and to work with them to build a new home. Manuel and Karla helped with every phase of the construction. Their three young kids were so excited to see us each day, to play games with us, and to share a noon meal.

This year nine of us from two churches in St. Louis teamed up with churches from Liberty and Kearney, MO, to build a double-sized house. We also experienced an evening in the town of Puerto Penasco and a "sandstorm" for a few hours that made life more difficult at the worksite and campsite.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

One More Weekend

The weather has remained unseasonably warm into the first of November, but a 2-day cold snap last week brought out the Fall colors. So we were blessed to get in one more weekend drive along the rivers and across the ferry boats. And this time we remembered to take along a camera!

The Golden Eagle Ferry crossing just outside St. Charles at
Kinder's Restaurant ... "On and Sometimes in the Mississippi"

Beautiful Fall colors along the riverside

Crossing the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers in Grafton and at
Brussels to get to another of our favorites - The Loading Dock

Renovation, Rejuvination, Renewal

Sunday, October 19, was a time of celebration at our church. Community Covenant Church in Kirkwood, MO, underwent over a year of remodeling in the sanctuary, entryway, offices, and more. Much of it was done with sweat equity by members of the church. Our purpose was to create a space that would glorify God and promote worship, teaching, and service. What we found was new intimacy as we overcame the obstacles of mission and ministry in a building constantly being reconstructed. Sunday worship services were moved downstairs to the Fellowship Hall. Meetings and classes and office work took place wherever there was a "clean" space. And along the way we found something of ourselves being reconstructed - our faith, our commitment, and our desire for God through Jesus Christ. As beautiful as the building improvements turned out, what we celebrate now is what God has done in and through us in this journey. Pastor Steve shared the vision and the goal at the start in his sermon series "Renovate, Rejuvenate, Renew Your Life in Christ." Looking around, we see God's handiwork in the building changes - and the work that remains. More importantly, we are appreciating the transformation that continues to take place in us as this local church and in everyone who has committed their life to Jesus Christ.

Kitty and I are so thankful that this is where God has called us to worship and to work, to lead and to encourage, to sacrifice and to be blessed. For our family and friends who have visited our church, we hope you enjoy these pictures that show just some of the changes to the building. For everyone, we pray that you experience the wonder and joy and freedom of this wonderful life in Christ as we have in this church family that exhibits so many of the wonderful characteristics of our Lord and Savior.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Time With the WEE Kids

That would be Will, Ella, and Emma!

We hustled over to KC last weekend to see the kids, spending a Fall afternoon playing in the park. Emily is getting sooo big already! William and Gabriella just seem to be growing up much too fast! They keep us busy when we visit, and we love every minute of it. Also the evenings when it quiets down and slows down a bit so we can catch up with Kim and Doug. We are indeed so blessed and so thankful.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

End of Summer

The past two weekends we've enjoyed just amazing weather as Summer fades and Fall approaches. We made it to the last Cardinals baseball game of the year - another win! - and now it's "wait 'til next year!" In the evenings we drove along the rivers just for fun. One weekend we ended up in Grafton for a light dinner along the river and to peruse the offerings at a flea market. We picked up a few baubles and a couple of books to read when there's time. Greg's made it through one of them already, enjoying the first non-schoolbook he's read in years!

Friends joined us for the second weekend as we journeyed across the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers to a wonderful farmer's market and another dinner along the river near the Golden Eagle Ferry landing. What a wonderful time of relaxing and catching up with stories of families, grandkids, travels - and of course some laughs. The sunset was beautiful as we crossed the river on the ferry, and it caught us off guard how quickly it cools off now in the evenings.

Should be just a couple of more weeks until the color comes out in the trees, then we'll get try to remember to take some pictures.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Traveling Between the Storms

Kitty flew to Florida just before Tropical Storm Fay arrived, Greg traveled there just as Hurricane Gustav was churning past, and then since we were already in Florida we decided to take a short Caribbean cruise - right alongside Tropical Storm Hanna!

Actually, we didn't know about Hanna when we booked this cruise. The captain and crew of the Sovereign of the Seas did a wonderful job of keeping us away from the storm and in beautiful weather - until the last night. Headed back towards Port Canaveral we caught up with the southwest edge of Hanna and "enjoyed" a rollicking night aboard a wet and windy ship. We watched from the observation deck as the water sloshed out of the pools, a ride down in the elevator was a bit like a roller coaster, and a few things were tossed around in our stateroom - including Kitty being turned over in bed by one wave! We and the ship were fine. It was quite an experience, but one we'll try not to repeat anytime soon.

We are just so thankful for a safe voyage and for the wonderful people we met on board - both passengers and crew.

This was one of the last cruises for Sovereign of the Seas before being retired by Royal Caribbean. Our first stop was a half day at Nassau in the Bahamas, where we caught up with the sister ship Majesty of the Seas that we sailed on a couple of years ago.

We spent the time touring Atlantis on Paradise Island,
especially enjoying the huge aquariums. Greg was
fascinated by the 14-foot Manta Rays!

Next it was off to Key West for an evening. It was a bit cloudy
to enjoy the sunset, but the social gathering at Mallory Square
and the entertainment onboard were so much fun!
Finally, a wonderful day relaxing at sea before heading back
to Port Canaveral - oh, and our night with Hanna!