Saturday, July 27, 2013

Beetle Picnic

Thursday was our anniversary. That evening was cool and perfect for coffee by the fire. Then Bryan suggested we go on a Beetle Picnic on Friday for supper. So I assembled the makings of BLT sandwiches, made some macaroni salad, grabbed some chips out of the pantry, put some iced tea in the cooler, made some little individual peach pies, some coffee, packed it all up in my picnic case and we headed to Pioneers Park. It was beautiful out. Temperatures in the 70's, very few people at the park, blue sky and sunshine. A perfect Beetle night. 
After supper we walked around and up to the statue.
So grateful for this man in my life and the years we have spent together. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Date night

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Playing catch up...

The week after Esprit I didn't have to go to work because Grieser's were on vacation. You may think I got a lot done...I'll just leave that there...
Bryan got a new toy while I was on Esprit.
He found it on Craig's list and went to a small town in Minnesota to pick it up. It is really fun but also very helpful with hauling all the stuff he hauls around this place.
On Thursday last week Mark, Diane, Sandra and Natalie Tindle, Ferne, Jon and Alicia, Navy and Satchel Reisinger and Jayme came out to dinner. It was a nice visit. Then on Friday night Bobbi, Ashley, Jayme, Travis, Jill and Jake, and Mindee all came to supper and we played badminton. I am sorry to say that poor Travis got teamed up with me...not good. 
I will use the age old excuse that it was getting too dark to see...or the excuse that it was old age...
Always a fun time when the girls and their friends are out here.
Jake took the opportunity to catch a little nap.
Bryan had spoken at a meeting for the HobbyTown stores and the CEO gave him a tiny remote control helicopter. So the other night he was trying it out finally and flying it around the living room.
On Saturday our long time friends, Greg and Jeanine Budig, celebrated their 30th anniversary and their daughter, Emily, surprised them by asking Bryan to renew their vows. It was really sweet. Bryan and Greg went to high school together. 
Most Sundays Bryan and Tom Christie fish in the afternoon. I was doing some stuff inside and then decided to get the hammock and go out by the pond and lay in the shade and read because it was my first free Sunday afternoon since April almost. Just as I started out I noticed a man fishing off our dock. Nothing kills the desire for some quiet time like a stranger on your dock. So I look to see who it is and am getting a bit annoyed because sometimes our land is a mecca of fishermen and I can't relax down by the pond because of it. I don't know the guy and Bryan is out fishing and hadn't said someone would be using the dock so I watch a bit and then see him catch a bass and put it on a stringer!! CRIME against bass. So I thought maybe I better so see who he was and what was going on. I walk up and say hi and he says hi and keeps fishing. So I said "Do you have permission to fish here?" and he says "yes, (I will change the name to protect against angry neighbors) Joe Smoe told me I could fish here." I said "Do you realize this is private property?" He says "Yeah, Joe Smoe told me I could fish here anytime I wanted." I said "NO, this is a private dock, it is our dock and this is our pond front and lawn." "YEAH I know, Joe told me I could fish here!" "JOE SMOE told you that you could fish off my private dock and my boat house and my lawn?" "HUH?" (not the brightest person I've encountered...) "Let me explain, THIS is a private dock and it belongs to my husband and myself, this is our boat house and our stuff, this is our lawn and retaining wall and we own all this pond front all along here. Joe Smoe owns his own dock and doesn't have permission to give you permission to use our dock. If you want to have permission you can go out there and ask my husband if you can fish here." "Hey man, I'm not trying to make anyone mad. I just have permission from Joe to fish here." "Again, Joe doesn't own the whole pond but if he said you can fish on it that is fine but this is my dock and he can't tell you, you can fish here and by the way...the bass are catch and release only." "OH, well, Joe never told me that." In my head "Yeah, well I'm telling you now..." Suffice it to say I lost all desire to go down and lay in the hammock. Joe Smoe is lucky I don't know his phone number...
Yesterday I was supposed to go in and take care of the kids but their parents both have strep throat and so I just went in and brought them out here to give their parents a day of rest. 
Badminton was still set up so we had a rousing game of that.
Boden just kept driving the tractor through the court...
This morning I went out to give the chickens water and feed and found this little guy in the hen house for some reason. Wasn't sure what to do with him but I saw a nest so I set him back in it. Not sure it was his but not much else I could do except maybe take him to Bobbi and Jayme's neighbor whose house is full of rescued birds...
Life after Esprit always has a few days where I think I am forgetting something but it is returning to normal. And I am getting the pre-Esprit disaster cleaned up.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

There...and back again...

I am home from Esprit Tour. Is it telling that I had to rest for a second after the exertion of typing that first sentence? hahaha but seriously...I am tired. I keep looking at the pile of stuff that I need to unpack and putting it off. But it was a great tour and having Jayme along just made it that much better.
This was the night before we left everything neatly stacked and ready to go...
And this is what it looks like today...
Anyway! We had a packed house at Firth Reformed Church on Sunday, July 7. It is always fun to see the whole thing come together. We left from Lincoln Berean Church on Tuesday, July 9. It is always so nice to finally sit down on the bus and be done, for just a little while, arranging, prepping and telling people what to do. The concert that night was at Camp High Hopes, Sioux City, IA. It was so fun. Those campers were so sweet. The staff was amazing and I would highly recommend that camp to any family with a special needs child or young adult in their life. Normally our on the road food that venues feed us is...well, sloppy joes or some such easy thing. But not this camp. They grilled 1" thick pork chops for all 74 of us, had roasted potatoes and applesauce. It was so good. 
Cynci ended up on crutches for the tour but she got along just fine. Those are our bus drivers, Al and Tim. The kids warming up before the concert.
The campers wanted to teach our kids a song.

We spent the night at Stoney Creek Inn in Sioux City, IA. One of the great things about booking rooms for 74 people is that hotels that are rather expensive will give me a huge break on room cost. So we can stay in a place that is really nice for not that much money. The Stoney Creek Inn's aren't that expensive to begin with but they are so fun and really nice.
On Wednesday, July 10, we loaded up the buses and headed for St. Paul, MN to our concert at Christ Lutheran Church. This church has a wall of photos of their pastors dating back to 1868...It's been there awhile. The sanctuary had amazing acoustics. Our rendition of "It Is Well" sounded amazing in there. 
Jayme, Keygan and Evan decided to go out and advertise the concert to the people passing by on the street.
Every night these 11 kids stood up and gave the cardboard testimonies. They are amazing kids who have made amazing decisions in their lives. Very brave. Then during the song "Power of the Cross" they dropped chains down at the foot of the cross. It was a very powerful moment in the program.
That night we spent the night in a hotel called Best Western Bandana Square. It was built in an old railroad engine repair station. The tracks ran through the foyer of the hotel and there was a little depot in the center that they used for their food court. It was really a cool hotel. Again, good prices for a large group. 
Thursday morning, July 11, we only had a 45 minute drive to Shakopee, MN. We sang at Valleyfair Amusement Park at 11 a.m. 

Then the kids were free to enjoy the park. Jayme, her friend Malia and I hung out all day. One of the first things we did was take in the new Dinosaurs Alive exhibit. We were glad we did. It was amazing. They came to life as you walked up to and past them. So fun. 

A little video of the dinosaur in action.

There are so many more Dinosaur photos but I would hate to bore you so...go there and see this!!
 Malia and Jayme on our train ride...very dangerous and adventurous.
Jayme rode on her very first big roller coaster (she is very afraid of heights). It's the one in the background with the cars up at the very top. She hated it.
 9 p.m. and time to get back on the buses. Tired and happy to be headed to the hotel. We stayed at Country Inn and Suites in Shakopee. Very nice place to stay.
We had a very relaxing Friday morning, July 12, in Shakopee because we were staying in the same hotel that night. I washed all 74 shirts at the hotel and got them back to the owners. Believe me after performing in them 3 times and one of those out in the hot sun...they needed washed!! At 2:00 p.m. we loaded up and headed for St. Paul and the Union Gospel Mission. I think this may have been my favorite venue. The men were not too thrilled to be required to go to the concert as a requirement for getting a meal and bed for the night but at the end of the concert they gave the kids a standing ovation and stayed and talked with the kids and hugged them. I reminded the kids beforehand that maybe some of these men haven't heard anyone use their name kindly in awhile, or haven't been hugged in a long time. It was very emotional for the kids because in one of the songs there is a line "this is not my home..." When you sing that to homeless men and hear them say "Amen" and see them weeping, it is very emotional and humbling. And it is a strong reminder of why we do this. The kids did an amazing job of looking past the outside to the person inside. 
While we were setting up and waiting for the concert to start, Jayme had to help Bus Driver Tim with something on his phone...
Some of the kids talking with Titus afterward.
It was a quiet ride back to the hotel. We had to get up and be on the road at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 13. We woke to a huge thunderstorm. The water running in the parking lot was 6" deep... pouring rain. And I had spent a sleepless night with chills and a fever and got up still in that same condition. I can tell you that an 8 hour bus ride with teenagers wasn't on my bucket list at that moment...but there was nothing else to do. They still needed to be herded and sheltered. So we headed out into the flash flood and were only 3 minutes behind schedule by the time we arrived in Beatrice, NE at Christ Community Church.
 This article appeared in the Beatrice Sun or whatever it is called. The girl who wrote it called me on Thursday for and interview and when she called I was standing under a roller coaster with screaming people on it...not conducive to an interview so she called back later. I see that she quoted me as saying we gave them "meditation time" what I actually said is "we have a Bible devotional that we do every day on the bus during a quiet time..."oh well...
 We had our concert Saturday night and then Sunday, July 14, we sang in their service.
 After that we headed over across the road to Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC) and sang for their chapel.
Ate some lunch and headed back to Lincoln Berean Church and our home concert.
Always nice to see this view and know we are almost home.
I will not include all the home concert photos but I will just include one video of a skit on how not to act as a Christian. So funny. The boys in it are Tanner Boesiger and Caleb Petersen.
It is always a full and fun week and I am always glad that I decided to do it another year.
 I love these kids.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

It's July already!

Got a notice from the state that we had thistles in the development so the night before he left for California Bryan had to go out and pull thistles. You see my part, documenting the event...such a helper. (I did offer to put on gloves and help and he said "No, just ride along and keep me company.) Hopefully the state weed control is happy. He and the girls left our house at 3 a.m. on Saturday to catch their very early flight out of Omaha. 
Lately I have been gathering 5-6 eggs a day from my 4 hens. They are very generous.
Ashley sent me a picture of the three of them at Hume Lake. They are having a great time.
The boys spent the night on Tuesday night because their sister had a ballgame, their dad was helping with it and their mom was at work. We went out to dinner. Then we roasted marshmallows.
He was content just eating a cracker until he noticed Hudson had marshmallow and chocolate on his...then he said "PatPat, moshmo, moshmo..."repeated many times until I got one toasted for him.
Hudson makes faces in pictures like Bobbi does. They could be related.
Last night we had very long rehearsal. 6-10:30 p.m. but the kids worked hard and we got some stuff ironed out. Friday is our dress rehearsal. Sunday we have a concert in Firth at the Reformed Church. Tuesday we leave on tour. Our first stop is Camp High Hopes in Sioux City, IA. Then Wednesday night we are at Christ Lutheran Church, St. Paul, MN. Thursday morning we sing at an amusement part, Valleyfair, then spend the day there enjoying the amusements and the waterpark. Friday we sing at Union Gospel Mission, St. Paul, MN for their evening chapel. Saturday we are in Beatrice, NE at Christ Community Church and then Sunday morning we sing in their services, at 11:00 we sing at Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC; I had to look up what that stood for because I alway just hear it called by the initials.) Then we head back to Lincoln Berean Church to give our final concert on Sunday night the 14th. I'm sure you will see pictures and hear about the places we go.
During rehearsal it sounded like we were in a war zone. So many fireworks going off and a neighborhood right by the church had a HUGE fireworks display. It ended just as I was walking to my car.
Today Jayme and I are taking a road trip to Fairbury, NE to a huge flea market/antique fair that they have in their park. I am looking forward to spending the day with her. We both need to just have a fun relaxing day.