Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Seattle Monuments

We took advantage of the beautiful blue sky and Tom's vacation day on Monday to take pictures of some of the Seattle's monuments. We had several sculptures and other points of interest on our list.

Our first stop was the Honey Bear Bakery, one of the eateries inside Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. We wanted to see the carved honey bear, which used to be displayed at the original Honey Bear Bakery in the Greenlake Neighborhood. That's where Tom's sister Carol and I would meet for lunch years ago, and she'd tell me about her brother Tom. Hmmmm...

A modified bear hug at the Honey Bear Bakery
At 88th and Aurora we photographed the decorated elephant on top of the Aurora Rents building. For most of my life the business it promoted was a flower shop and each day the sign would inform the public of the far-away city or country where they had sent flowers that day.

The elephant at Aurora Rents
We found the troll under the Aurora Bridge, the sculpture in Fremont entitled Waiting for the Interurban, and JP Patches and Gertrude, the stars of a TV kids show for 23 years. In the meantime, we saw a few monuments we hadn't planned on seeing and came across several serendipities as well.

Where to find the troll
The Fremont Troll
At B.F. Day Elementary School in Fremont

At the Urban Earth Nursery in Fremont
Waiting for the Intururban in their St Patrick's outfits
Stopped by the Fremont Bridge as a sailboat goes under
Seattle PI's famous globe
Pacific Science Center's arches
Typewriter Eraser by Claes Olderburg
at the Olympic Sculpture Park 

Tom made friends with a pigeon who posed for him
with the Space Needle in the background
A Bufflehead Duck swimming in the Sound (Photo by Tom) 
Fountain at Pier 70 (Photo by Tom)
Statue of Lenin in Fremont. We came upon him
unexpectedly, and I snapped this photo. Sorry about his head!
JP Patches and Gertrude, dancing in Fremont

Monday, February 27, 2012

What Are You Doing For the Rest of Your Life?

I posted a video on Facebook on Saturday, a wonderful condensed version of Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, and Toots Thielemans playing What Are You Doing For the Rest of Your Life? One of my Facebook friends -- thanks, Tim -- requested that I post the video on my blog. And, as I seldom get requests (maybe you'd noticed), I thought I should certainly fulfill his request. I'm always happy to oblige my readers if at all possible.

Enjoy the video. And if you'd like to know the song's lyrics, you can read them here.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Why I Love My Man

Tomorrow is our 23rd wedding anniversary. Even though we were in college together, we didn't meet until 18 years later. Maybe it took that long for us to be ready for each other. In the past 23 years, we've never looked back. Here are just a few of the reasons I love him.

1. Before I really even knew him, he sat in the front row of the balcony at church and watched as I walked to the second row of the sanctuary to find a seat. He was spying on me! And then and there he began to fall in love with me.

2. He accepts me just as I am, he supports my dreams, and he lets me blabber on about whatever is in my head.

3. Tom is a renaissance man. In his youth he created his own recipes, designed his own hot air balloons and rockets, tried his hand at creating a cotton candy machine. Long before I knew him he grew his own organic vegetables, raised pigeons, nurtured bonsai, ground grain for bread, and dreamed of constructing a pole barn. Our house is full of his artwork -- paintings, pottery, wooden bowls, and the violin he made for me. He's a renaissance man.

4. Tom has a tender heart and an open mind to the things of God. Like the day early on, right in the middle of a conversation, when he began to pray. It was just like he realized Jesus was in the room with us and he wanted to be sure and include him in our dialog.

5. He is the left brain to my right. Logical and practical, he anchors me. Yet for all his left-ness, he himself has a good dose of right-ness too.

6. Anyway, who couldn't love a man who, when you tumble out of bed at 5:00 in the morning with your hair poking out 37 different ways, your eyes tight as a newborn kitten's, and bedspread lines all over your face, looks at you and tells you you're beautiful!

High school senior picture, long before we met

One of our first dates, at Rosario Beach

Carving our "family tree," 1988

Revisiting the "family tree," 2008

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Swan Sitings

Tom's sister Marilee came up for a visit and we went out with our cameras, in hopes of finding some snow geese. What we found was swans, beautiful, mammoth creatures feasting on nearby fields, but they were far from the road and a bit, tricky to photograph, in spite of our using telephoto lenses. (Even if we were avid enough photographers to actually get out of the car on a cold late afternoon, we still couldn't have gotten as close as we wanted.)

So, with a few enhancements from Pixelmater, our photo editing program, I offer you a few pictures of our swan sitings.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Off to Africa!

Even as a child I was captivated by world missions. I loved the missions stories Lucille Robinson told each month at CYC. I loved reading the Missionary Tidings, our denominational magazine, and getting to know who was serving where. Even more, I loved to meet the missionaries when they were home on furlough and visited our church or family camp. Early on I began to dream of far away places where I might one day go to tell people about Jesus.

Africa was the first place I dreamed about. 

Once Dr Marguerite Palmer, medical missionary to Mozambique, was the guest speaker at our midweek service. The CYCers were invited to join the adults in the sanctuary. After her slides and comments, Dr Palmer asked if there were any questions. A girl raised her hand and asked, "Do you have any black widows in Africa?" (I do believe she was thinking of spiders, but it really threw Dr Palmer for a loop!) 

It turns out there are many, many widows in Africa. In Burundi, especially. During a twelve-year (1993-2005) ethnic conflict in this central African country, nearly a million people were killed -- mostly men -- and thousands of women were left widowed.

Sister Connection was created to provide monthly support for Burundi's widows and offer them healing, dignity, and hope. Through Sister Connection, women are provided the resources they need to feed and clothe their children and find meaningful work. These women, once despised and victimized, are now getting their lives back. Sister Connection also builds homes for women with inadequate housing. This is all done through the help of sponsors, much like programs for child sponsorship that you have seen advertised on TV.

Each summer, Sister Connection provides a retreat for the sponsored widows and camps for their children. Three hundred widows and nearly 1500 children and youth will attend Sister Connection events this July!

And I am planning to be there!! 

Here's what happened:  
At 1:30 last Monday I was folding clothes upstairs when a very clear thought passed through my mind. Denise Patch (US director of SC) told me she'd take me to Africa with her some day. The thought passed and I finished up my task. When I went back to the computer, I saw that I had an e-mail from Denise, asking me to join the team that is going to Burundi for the widow's retreat. She said she felt the Lord prompt her to invite me. Shad posted her e-mail at 1:30!

There are many details to be worked out, but I believe it was the Lord who spoke to my heart and to Denise's. I am so looking forward to watch how He brings the details together to make this trip a reality.

And now I invite you to pray with me that I will depend fully upon the Lord and that He will work out the details to make this trip happen.

At long last, my dream to go to Africa is being fulfilled.

(You can read more about Sister Connection here and here. And you can meet Denise Patch as she explains this wonderful ministry here.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hymn of the Month -- And Can it Be?

Charles Wesley
When I open my hymnal, I discover that it includes 53 hymns written by Charles Wesley, just a few of his approximately 8000 that he penned!

Howard Snyder's Great Church Earthquake!, which I posted a couple of days ago, prompted me to use a Wesley's hymns this month, even though one of his was included last month as well. I chose a video that puts us in the pew, singing along with a women's quartet as they lead the congregation in And Can it Be?

I think you'll enjoy John's directions for singing, which also were brought to my attention by Howard Snyder.

John Wesley’s Directions for Singing (1761)

John Wesley
I. Learn these tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.

II. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.

III. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a single degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.

IV. Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, then when you sung the songs of Satan.

V. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.

VI. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend close to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can; and take care not to sing to slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.

VII. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.

From John Wesley’s Select Hymns, 1761

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Great Church Earthquake!

Cashel, Ireland
(Photo by H. Snyder)
Guest post by Dr. Howard Snyder

It happened in 1947. A great earthquake demolished a large church building that had been used for centuries by a devout Christian congregation.

The building was completely destroyed internally. The roof had collapsed, covering the basement with debris. But the stately stone walls remained, little damaged.

The ruins stood abandoned for nearly a century. But then a new and growing congregation called Lifesong, looking for facilities, discovered this wreck of a building and saw possibilities.

Lifesong bought the property, re-roofed it, repaired and modernized the interior, and made it their church home. Of course the sanctuary area was totally redone. Folding chairs in a semicircular formation, rather than pews; a large, low platform to accommodate musical ensembles and drama presentations; two large video screens at the front; a coffee station at the rear.

In remodeling the building the new congregation had installed a new floor, sealing off the old basement area. A few years later, however, a staff member named Merlin found a small doorway in the stone wall that opened onto a stairway leading to a storage room below ground—an area the church wasn’t aware of.
There was no light, so Merlin went to the church office, grabbed a flashlight, and went down to explore this subterranean storage room.

The first thing Merlin noticed was a large bookcase filled with dozens of books. They all looked the same; fairly large, dark blue, clothbound. What were these? He pulled one from the shelf and blew off the dust. He opened it and found it was full of words and musical notations. A strange book. Some of the words seemed to rhyme. And there were a hundred or more such books.

“What is this?!” Merlin wondered out loud.

He took the book back to his office and began leafing through it. It was quite fascinating. He saw by the cover that it was called a “Hymnal.” He had never seen one before.

He began reading some of the hymns. He was surprised how many there were—nearly a thousand! He noticed that they were written at different times and in different places over many centuries. The hymnwriters were men and women from varying church traditions, and he noticed that many hymns had been translated from other languages—Latin, Greek, German, French, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Chinese. Quite amazing!

As Merlin examined the hymnbook further, he noticed it had been published many years ago by a Methodist publishing house, and that many of the hymns were by Charles Wesley. Also near the front was a page entitled “Directions for Singing,” written by John Wesley. Merlin thought he recognized that name; perhaps he heard it once when he took a church history course.

“I wonder what Pastor Sherry will think of this,” Merlin thought.

The next day Merlin met with Pastor Sherry and they examined the hymnal together. “My grandmother used to have a book something like this,” Sherry said. “I remember that it was kind of falling apart.”

“What is the book for?” Merlin asked.

“I think churches used to use them in worship,” Pastor Sherry said.

“Maybe that’s why there’s so many of them downstairs,” Merlin reflected.

“Probably so,” Sherry said. “In the olden days, people didn’t have video screens and such.”

Pastor Sherry arranged a meeting with Josiah, the church’s music coordinator. Josiah picked through some of the hymns on his keyboard while Merlin and Pastor Sherry followed along.

“Some of the tunes are kind of catchy,” Merlin said.

“Yes,” said Josiah; “some are fast and some slow; some are peppy and some more majestic. And most of them have four or more verses!”

“Look at this one!” Pastor Sherry said. “I kind of like the rhymes. And the doctrine is pretty deep.”

Merlin came across the hymn, “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.” Once he figured out what “wilt” meant, he was fascinated with the hymn. “‘I lay in dust life’s glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red life that shall endless be.’ Wow!” Merlin said.

Well, that’s really how the revolution started. Josiah gradually introduced the hymns to his music team, and then to the congregation. It took awhile for the congregation to learn how to sing four-part harmony. Once the people learned, however, the music swelled marvelously. Sometimes Pastor Sherry could see tears in people’s eyes as this brand-new music, “hymns,” touched deep places in the hearts of persons who themselves had passed through deep waters.

Word got around. A buzz lit up Facebook and Twitter. “Have you heard about the new music at Lifesong?” a teenager posted. “Is this re-retro, or what?” someone from California asked. “This is the ‘new contemporary,’” someone else tweeted.

Lifesong gradually discovered the depth and breadth of the church’s long hymnic tradition. The full range of doctrine and experience; the flow of the church year; the depths of Trinitarian theology; the resonances of profound poetry. The God-focus that then enriches and clarifies the me-focus and the us-focus.

“No reason why good hymns can't be flashed on our video screens,” Josiah said.

With time, Lifesong learned how to blend the best of the church’s long singing, hymning tradition with a range of good new tunes and lyrics. Just as the church at its best has always done.

The Great Church Earthquake. That's how it happened. The result was a singing, celebrating, doctrine-learning, happy, deepening, mutually-encouraging, outreaching, world-conscious, missional church.

* * * * *

Howard A. Snyder is the author (with Joel Scandrett) of Salvation Means Creation Healed: The Ecology of Sin and Grace – Overcoming the Divorce between Earth and Heaven (Cascade, 2011) and other books, including The Problem of Wineskins. Website:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Our Children's Heritage

Our boys come from a line of long lovers! Between their two sets of grandparents and Tom and me, we have, to date, been married for 155 years. In just eleven days we will add another year to the mix, as Tom and I celebrate our 23rd anniversary. I am humbled and grateful that the Lord has allowed us to be a part of this heritage and to pass it on to our boys.

Should the day come that you, our sons, marry, we pray that the example of your elders will inspire and encourage you to stand together through the difficulties -- and the joys -- of marriage, and that you will trust the Lord through your years.

Harold and Lynda Kauffman, married in 1938
With Gramma and Grampa at Letchworth State Park
Ken and Helen Fosket, married in 1949
With Gram and Gramps on the Olympic Penninsula
Tom and Ginger, married in 1989
Our family, 1995

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Right Brain Person's Budgeting Solution

Perhaps you have seen this image on Facebook, a visual description of the left and right sides of the brain.  I am a very, very right brain and can easily get lost in the clearly-laid-out pathways of the logical left side.

Take bookkeeping, for example. More specifically, take budgeting. A straight forward matter of adding up what you take in, and what you spend -- it seems simple enough. But I've never found a system that works for me. It is too rigid for me, too black and white. No wiggle room. Way too complicated for me to know where I stand at this very moment.

But now I have discovered PearBudget.

Having read about the husband/wife team who developed this really simple budget, I'm guessing they are also right brain folks. According to their website, "Five years ago, we created PearBudget as a spreadsheet to help us track our spending. On a whim, we posted it online, in case other people might find it helpful. It was downloaded over 100,000 times, and was written up in the Wall Street Journal, Popular Science, and dozens of popular websites and blogs. We decided to make a good thing better, so we turned PearBudget into a web-based application. It’s now even friendlier and easier than it had been before. As best we can tell, it’s the simplest budgeting and expense tracking tool on the internet."

They are now helping lots of people (both right and left brained folks, I'm guessing) keep track of their finances.

So here's how this three-step program works. Step 1 -- develop your plan, putting in amounts for monthly income and expenses, knowing that the numbers are not set in stone. You don't even have to know all the exact amounts; you can come back later and change your information. Step 2 -- enter your receipts, both income and expenses. Step 3 -- review your spending. With the click of a mouse, you can see how much you've spent in each category and how much you have left to get you through the month.

You can also print out an up-to-date card which you can carry with you while you shop or pay bills.

I need a hands-on, real-time visual to take with me into the financial arena. PearBudget has filled that need. Check it out; you may also find that it's just what you've been looking for. Maybe you don't need it yourself, but look around at your right brain family and friends. Make their day; tell them about PearBudget!

* * * * * 
If you'd like to see a larger view of the left brain/right brain picture, and read the accompanying text, click here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Yes You Can -- Eli Menaker's Universe

"Even though the sky is accessible to everyone, few people look up to appreciate it. I believe I can change this..." ~Eli Menaker

With a deep love for astronomy and a great idea, Eli Menaker gave the people of Anchorage, Alaska a chance to see the sun all day long, every single day of the year. With the help of the Rotary Club, he designed the Anchorage Lightspeed Planet Walk. It was 2003, and he was a senior in high school.

It was a trip to the Carl Sagen Memorial Planet Walk in Ithica, New York, that planted the dream in his mind. Having organized an annual Astronomy Day event for several years, this was a way to share his passion in an even broader way.

According to the Planet Walk's website, "the Anchorage Light Speed Planet Walk is a scale model of our solar system. Taking the walk, you experience the relative size of the planets and their distance from the Sun. The scale was chosen so that a leisurely walking pace mimics the speed of light. On this scale, each step equals the distance light travels in one second (300,000 kilometers or 186,000 miles).

"It should take you about 8 minutes to walk from the Sun station at 5th and G to the Earth station at 5th and K, just as it takes 8 minutes for a light beam to travel from the real Sun to the real Earth. Similarly, it takes you and a light beam 5 1/2 hours to reach Pluto at Kincaid Park."

Now, I've seen models of the solar system that are designed as mobiles to hang from the ceiling with different sized balls representing the planets. But even with these visuals I cannot fathom the distance between the planets or their size in comparison to the sun. I think my boys could visualize it, but I just could never get it to work for me.

But this -- yes, this would do the trick! 

Have you got a love for something that you want to share with others? Use Eli Menaker for a role model, and go for it. Think you can't? Yes You Can!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Great Exchange

This is the Great Exchange. 
I give all that I am to God 
and He gives all that He is to me. 
The amazing thing is that 
He does not feel shortchanged in the bargain. 
He is just as thrilled as I am 
with this breathtaking transaction.

Ginger Kauffman

Friday, February 3, 2012

Twelve Trivial Tidbits

With thanks to Mental Floss, which posted a list of trivia on January 4, National Trivia Day, I present you with some stunning facts. With thanks to me, I give you only 12 of Mental Floss' 119!

1.The string on boxes of animal crackers was originally placed there so the container could be hung from a Christmas tree.

2. When the computer mouse was invented, it was called the "X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System."

3. Only one McDonald's in the world has turquoise arches. Government officials in Sedona, Arizona, thought the yellow would look bad with the natural red rock of the city.

4. The term "lawn mullet" refers to a neatly manicured front yard with an unmowed mess in the back.

5. There was a long-lost fourth member of the Snap/Crackle/Pop gang. "Pow" represented Rice Krispies' explosive nutritional value.

6. In Peanuts in 1968, Snoopy trained to become a champion arm-wrestler. In the end, he was disqualified for not having thumbs.

7. For $45, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing will sell you a 5-lb bag with $10,000 worth of shredded U.S currency.

8. At an NOAA conference in 1972, Roxcy Bolton proposed naming hurricanes after Senators instead of women, She also preferred "him-i-canes."

9. For one day in 1998, Topeka, Kansas, renamed itself "ToPikachu" to mark Pokemon's U.S. debut.

10. Andy's evil neighbor Sid from Toy Story returns briefly as the garbage man in Toy Story 3.

11. During a 2004 episode of Sesame Street, Cookie Monster said that before he started eating cookies, his name was Sid.

12. The Corduroy Appreciation Club celebrated 11-11-11 as the Day That Most Resembles Corduroy.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Three-Way Thai

We were meeting friends for dinner last night, and Everett was the mid-point for us. We wanted Thai food but didn't know of a restaurant in town. A quick Google search led us to Jasmine Thai Cuisine at 2725 Colby in downtown Everett. It was tastefully decorated and we were served promptly by welcoming staff.

Ordering took a while, as there were so many dishes that sounded delicious. We settled on Pad Thai, Rad Nah, Swimming Rama and Oyster Beef. Each one was tasty and satisfying. I was surprised that the Pad Thai had a thin crust of egg around it, something like an omelet, making it different than I have had before but really good. The Rad Nah had noodles that were at least two inches wide, and was served in a "special yellow bean gravy sauce." It was a two star dish, but quite mild. The Swimming Rama and the Oyster Beef came with brown rice. It was no trouble for the four of us to finish off the dinner; we were satisfied but not stuffed.

Next time I'm in Everett and feeling the urge for Thai food, I know where I'll go!

I have a little more trouble deciding where to go when I'm looking for a Thai restaurant in Stanwood. That's because we have two shops that serve fine Thai food.

Stanwood's own Jasmine Thai Cuisine (as far as I can tell, it's not related to the one in Everett) is in the granary building downtown. I've never been disappointed with the food and the decor is quite authentic with many Asian art pieces on the walls. As well as a full list of Thai dishes, the menu offers nearly two dozen sushi items. Jasmine is a popular eatery for folks in the area.

One evening last fall several of my friends attended a clothing exchange at Stanwood's Jasmine. The restaurant was providing a wonderful venue for women to recycle clothes and accessories they no longer needed and find a few to take home. From what I hear, the event was well attended and was a great success.

The Chatter Box Restaurant is located at 9819 270th NW in Stanwood, just west of the library. It is "a unique Asian restaurant in your neighborhood," and features food from Thailand, Malaysia, and India, as well as some western style sandwiches and burgers. The food and service here are also excellent, and the bright, sunny rooms invite you in. When I eat here I usually order the Nutty Monkey fried rice and always enjoy it.

On my first trip to the Chatter Box I asked how the restaurant got its name. I was told that the owner used to have a restaurant in Boston a  tall and narrow building, like a box, and she wanted people to chat over their meals, so she called it the Chatter Box. When she opened in Stanwood she kept the name.

I like all three of these three restaurants. The prices at Everett's Jasmine are the most reasonable, but parking could be a problem during the day. (There are free 90-minute head-in parking spaces along Colby, but that doesn't guarantee you will find an empty space.) The Chatter Box is the most expensive of the three restaurants with the price of some dinner items as much as $2-3 higher than you will find at Jasmine in Everett. The prices of menu items at Stanwood's Jasmine are right in the middle.

Here's my recommendation: try them all out for yourself. Chances are you will also find that you end up with a three-way Thai.