Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Favorite "Kids"....

Top picture is of my granddaughters, 2011.

Middle pictures is of my Shih tzu, Kefli, 2012.

Bottom picture is of Tuxedo, our Pekingese, whom we had to put to sleep a month ago.  He was going on 15, and lived a long good life.  The little growth on his lip became a huge cyst which could not not be taken care of.  We had it removed once, and it came back, and the vet said surgery a second time would not take care of it.  So between old age and its complications, and the histamine cyst, we ended his suffering, even though it broke our hearts to say goodbye.

Tux was born one year before our oldest granddaughter, so they more or less grew up together.  They were good buddies.  He loved having her come to visit, as she gave him lots of attention.  He was such an obedient dog, and very disciplined.  He did not like to eat dog chewies or junk food.  He loved taking walks, and being outside.  He survived many obstacles in his stepping on him when he was a few weeks old; a German Shepherd picking him up and shaking him like a rag doll; me running over him with our golf cart (he went between the wheels, not under).  Each of those incidents had me sure he was a goner, yet he survived, shook it off, and went on with life.  He taught me much.

Kefli and Tux were buddies, and she has been very sad since he has been gone.  We took her to see Santa at a pet shop recently, after attending the Vicksburg Christmas Parade...her first parade.  She's been going almost everywhere with us, including work, as we hate to leave her alone.  But she just doesn't have her sparkle and pep she used to have.  I don't want to get another dog, or we'll go through the same thing with that dog when Kefli must leave us.  I hope time will help her come around.  She's 11 years old, so I don't know how much longer we will have her, but she's always looked and acted like a puppy...until now.

So this is my post on Tuxedo...still sort of sad to talk about.  His life represented 15 years of our lives.  Lots happened during those 15 years...lots of memories.  And he is in the midst of them.

Looking forward to Christmas...we get to see our granddaughters once again for a few short days, but still a treat for us!!  I'm done shopping, done sending cards, done decorating.  Just passing the days, enjoying the season.  I love the lights and music.  But most of all, I love Jesus.  He is my reason for living, my reason for giving, my reason for pressing on.  In all my ways I will acknowledge Him, and I know He will direct my paths!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2012 Fall Break - Route 66 in Illinois

2012 Fall Break – Route 66 in Illinois 

In October our granddaughters had a fall break from school, so we drove down to pick them up and bring them back to visit us in Michigan for a week.  We had done the Route 66 trip going south from Missouri to New Mexico in the spring time, and on this trip we decided to do Route 66 in Illinois.  Hubby and I and our two dogs, Tuxedo and Kefli, loaded up Miss Holly and headed south. 

Our first stop was in Wilmington…as we decided to by-pass Chicago for now, and we just drove through Joliet.  The Gemini Giant Space Age Muffler Man was the reason for our first stop.  We had hoped to eat at the Launching Pad Drive-in, but it has been closed.

The picture below shows the old Route 66 alignment, no longer traveled, right next to the new road.  We saw the original alignment frequently through Illinois, very narrow, patchy, pavement ends abruptly.  You will note the railroad tracks left of the new road…always a tell tale sign of Route 66 alignment, as it followed the tracks as much as possible.  (This was our last road trip with Tuxedo…here he is with me standing out on the original Route 66.)

Of course, what’s a Route 66 road trip without the original gas stations?  On the left is a restored Texaco station in Dwight, Illinois, and on the right is a restored Standard station in Odell.  Remember full service days…fill it up and check the oil for you?
We had to do this pull out along Route 66 and get a picture of the advertisement for Meramec Caverns down in Missouri…another Route 66 icon, and they had their own advertising gimmicks…painting on barns and placing bumper stickers on the vehicles of their visitors. 

I had done my research so we would know what “hot spots” to hit as we traveled Route 66 through Illinois.  Some we found, some we by-passed (not enough time), and some just weren't there…at least not where we could find them.  I can tell you, though, DO NOT skip over Pontiac, Illinois.  It has more stuff to offer than you can see in a day, if you want to do it right.  And for the shoppers in the crowd (ahem, granddaughters!!) there is a terrific resale shop in the middle of town.  One of the nicest I've been in. 

This is Lincoln country, you know…the state of Illinois, the Land of Lincoln.  Well, what caught my eye first were statues of him in front of the county courthouse (being restored), where he used to practice as a lawyer.  That is an impressive court house, and I will go back some day when it is completed and take a tour.  Besides, there are many things we did not have time to see on this trip.  I think Pontiac deserves a weekend getaway trip.

The town is known for all of its murals, and it seems on every corner there is a small (kid-size) car or truck, painted in all types of themes.  Let’s start with the main mural:

Here’s Miss Holly parked alongside a row of PT Cruisers.  Their club was having a meet in town that day, I guess.  But get a load of that downtown street…takes you back a few years, doesn't it?

There’s an excellent museum in Pontiac…has several levels, includes some quaint stores, and gives a nice overview of all of Route 66, using old jail cells (it’s housed in the former city hall and jail) to depict each of the states along Route 66.  (We still have to do Arizona and California some day…time and money permitting.)  Anyway, parked outside the museum is an old school bus that one Route 66 artist turned into a “travel trailer/bus” as he traveled the Mother Road and sold his art work along the way.  The bus had a bathroom with shower and everything you could need for comfort as you travel.  Here are three views of it:


Inside the museum is an old VW van that was popular for traveling in back when it was cool to travel the open road.  This room is jam packed full of Route 66 memoirs, and it’s only one room of one level.  Very interesting place!!

The above picture was taken specifically for the teenager…who loves pandas!  She even dressed up as a panda for Halloween this year…made her own costume and did a terrific job!!  She’s VERY creative!!


Just don’t forget to stop in Pontiac, Illinois to get some kicks on Route 66!!

Well, time for food.  We chose to stop at the historic Polk-a-Dot drive-in for authentic drive-in food:  hot dogs, corn dogs, chili fries, and malts.  This place even had the juke box on the table where you could put in a quarter and play your favorite hit.  My apologies, I don’t remember the town.  (Uh, the food wasn't that great…)  Our younger granddaughter’s favorite color is purple, so I chose “Purple People Eater”, a 1958 hit by ShebWooley (okay…so I had to Google that).


Driving through a town we found the old dinosaur icon of the Sinclair gas stations.

Supposedly there are six Gemini Giants along Route 66 in Illinois.  We found our second one in Atlanta.  Here he is known as Paul Bunyan with his giant hot dog.  He’s located right across the street from Palms Grill CafĂ©, which was closed that day.  It was a Sunday, and I guess they aren't open on Sundays.  Looked like a nice place. 

 There was also an eight-sided library/museum and a 1908 Seth Thomas Clock, which I took pictures of, but did not stop to tour.

AtlantaIllinois, is another town worth going back to spend more time.  There are murals and a working grain elevator museum.

One of our last stops was in Joliet, where we lived in the early 1980’s.  We had a house built in front of a new park down near Channahon.  We called it “The Chocolate House” because we painted it dark brown.  Today it is a beige house…actually looks much nicer!!  They have also added a park sign to our side yard (it wasn't actually our yard, but we used it like it was).  There’s a huge playground in the park now, and so we stopped and our youngest one used some of her energy climbing, sliding, and such.

This trip was made in a day going south and a day coming back north. I have just combined the two days, and selected some of my favorite pictures.  I’m not much into driving the Interstate anymore now that we have traveled Route 66.  It’s nice to take a trip back through time and think about how things used to be…to be able to share with our young ladies a little history of their nation.  If you are planning a trip, going west, be sure and take the highway that’s the best!!  ROUTE 66.  Here’s map to get you started, if you are leaving from Chicago!  Be sure to include stops we did not have time for:  Staunton, McLean, Springfield, Funks Grove, LincolnLexingtonNormal, Shirley….lots to see and do in Illinois!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall...almost gone

The picture I have chosen for the top of my blog, and will also insert here for when I change pictures at the top, is  a fall scene from the campground.  Hubby and Granddaughter are out on mowers, mulching leaves...that's the dust you see in the air.  Mulching is our most desired way to clean up leaves.  We've been out there a lot lately, but we are almost to the end of it...which only means it's time for the next season, ready or not.  Snow.  Winter.  Ice.  Black Ice.  Slippery roads.  Well....let's not go there yet, it will come soon enough!!

You can get a feel for the campground setting with the cabins in the background.  We have close to 200 buildings on the grounds to mow around, so it makes for an interesting chore.  Many are private residents, and they take care of their own yards.  Our granddaughters were here for a week on their fall break from school, so we put the oldest one to work mulching and helping us winterize our cabin next door.  She wants to inherit it some day, so she might as well know how to take care of it!

I want to do a blog on our fall vacation with the girls, as we did some Route 66 in Illinois.  Just haven't been in the mood.  But it is forthcoming.  Also, yesterday we had to put our oldest dog to sleep, Tuxedo, at almost 15 years of age.  Tough, tough thing to do.  Still crying.  Will write about his life another blog.  For now, I have some errands to run...gotta go!!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Guidelines To Live By

I read an article in a local Senior Living magazine, called "Spark", about "Rules".  The author listed some of his rules that he lives by and asked us to send him some of our "pearls of wisdom".  I decided not only would I send them, I would also make it a blog.  (I know, it's been quite a while since I wrote a blog.)  So, here are my Guidelines To Live By:

1.  Above all else, be honest.  Be honest with your feelings  your words, and your actions.  The conscience rests much easier when you know you have been honest, for deceit is destructive.

2.  Give everything over to God:  the hurts, the anger, the frustration, the confusion, the "whys?".  The only safe and sane place for it is in God's control.  Otherwise IT begins to control You, and guess who loses!

3.  Always part leaving the best impression you can, for it may be the last impression you leave.  Life is so uncertain.

4.  Remember life is a moment by moment commitment.  Determine to whom and to what you are committed, and live it moment by moment.  God's will for you is not "here" or "there" or "this" or "that", but it is simply that you be totally submitted, totally obedient to Him in each situation, each moment that comes your way.

For anyone reading this blog, I would love some comments back from you as to what your guidelines are.  In these days, it's easy to wonder if anyone has encourage me...let me know there are still some people who believe in absolutes.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012 may have noticed I haven't posted for a while, and even my Devotional Tidbits were short.  I was busy having the time of my life.  Our granddaughters were here for a month, and my life revolved around them.  What a privilege to have them here for a whole month...the longest I've ever had them at one time.  And what a great month it was!!  They left a week ago to go back home, and I have been "adjusting" to not having them here this past week. Even the dogs wonder where their playmates went.  Kefli heads downstairs every now and then to see why they don't come up (their bedroom is in the basement).

I still have my daily devotional reading, but I'm not sure I'm going to post it for now.  I may just make periodic posts that sort of update what I've been up to.  It was fun posting the Route 66 trip, but that is behind us, and it's time to move on.

The girls were delivered to our door by their father back mid-June, in time for our annual Middle School Camp.  Our oldest one attended that camp while the youngest had G'ma Camp (which ended up lasting two weeks).  During High School Camp, following Middle School Camp, our oldest worked in the craft barn helping with ceramics.

This is the third year I have done G'ma Camp for the youngest...who is still too young to attend regular camp (but next year she will be old enough).  This year our theme was "Fruit of the Spirit".  There are nine fruits (Gal 5:22-23), and we focused on one each day.  We had a story about it, a DVD movie, a lesson activity book, and then we did some fun things to go along with each fruit.  

A regular fruit was attached to each fruit of the Spirit...such as love was represented by  So each day we painted our nails a different color to go along with the color of the fruit for that day.  By the end of the two weeks, we had colorful finger nails and toe nails...and when we were asked about it, or commented on how pretty it was...we then told them how we were learning about the fruit of the Spirit and how our character is being shaped into the character of Christ.

After lunch each day, #2 would help Miss Norma clean tables and chairs in the dining hall, and then they would go to our cottage porch (where we had G'ma Camp) and make play dough fruit to match the fruit of the day.  They made excellent, very realistic looking, fruits.  I would take this time to work at the office (plus I worked early morning hours while #2 slept).

After supper each night, #2 would help Miss Wanda water flowers around the campground and then go to the playground or work on a craft...such as ceramics at the craft barn, or coaster tiles at the cottage.  Again, this was a time I could go to the office to catch up on my work.  It was nice to have G'ma Camp "helpers" that are also #2's good friends, whom she could spend time doing projects with while G'ma kept on top of her office work.  Schedule worked out great...even if I did go to the office at 4 a.m. a time or two.

Both girls have many friends, young and old, here on the campgrounds.  They feel at home here.  #1 had her bike to ride around, and friends to visit, and painting projects.  She helped paint the wishing well at our new Adams Park.  She also helped with the watering at night some times.  

The girls planted several pots of flowers around the house and cottage.

It was over 100 degrees a couple of days, so we made those inside days.  With the help of Miss Wanda, #1 painted her bedroom downstairs.  We arranged all the furniture and hung some sheets so it actually looks like two rooms...each granddaughter having her separate space.  This was something I had told them before they came to visit...this year they could paint their room any color they chose (green), and could rearrange the furniture however they wanted to.  I never thought about it turning into two bedrooms...but how nice it turned out to be!!

One night #1 had a sleep over with three friends at the cottage.  So #2 had a sleep over in her tent with the dogs...only they ended up not staying.  When Daddy came back to pick the girls up at the end of their month, #2 also slept in her tent while Daddy slept in her bed.

We had our annual Family Festival and parade (celebrating July 4th), and the girls rode on the golf cart with Miss Wanda, pulling the new canoe paddles and life vests trailer, which Wanda and Evelyn had painted.  The trailer was made by Wanda's husband, Dave.  This couple are super volunteers here at ILNC.  This is their fourth summer, and we have benefited greatly by their contribution of labor!!  

Here's #2 on one of the activities at the Family Festival: 

We played games together, watched videos and movies and went to the beach a lot...sometimes at 9 a.m. to beat the heat of the day and the crowds from camp.  

One of the hot days we went to the mall to just browse and eat at the food court and ride the carousel.  Another day we had a Girls' Day out with Miss Wanda and went to Three Rivers to shop.  The girls had their own money to spend, so they could choose how they wanted to spend it.  We ate at Arby's.

The last week they were here was Family Camp, and there were activities geared toward each of their ages.  The children sang for us one night in the tabernacle, and #2 did an excellent job with the words and the motions!!  Her sister worked in the infant nursery each night...rocking babies or playing with toddlers.  She had friends in there doing the same, so it was a good place for her.  

We did go fishing one day on the pontoon boat, and #1 and Dad went out on a wave runner their last day here, with Miss Sherry from the office.  They also did some tubing.  What a great way to end a month long stay in Michigan on Indian Lake.  

It was hard to say goodbye, but I told them we had to be thankful for having had a whole month together.  Hopefully we will see them again this fall.  The last night they were here, we had our first real rainfall this summer, and it was a torrential downpour.  The girls decided to go out and dance in the rain with Miss Norma.  Even Dad joined in the fun!

My life is so full when they are around...I love it!!  God is so good to me, He has blessed me with wonderful granddaughters!!

So...that's why I haven't blogged much this past month.  Now we are busy getting ready for the rest of the camps this summer.  This week is Chicago Central District Children's Camp, followed by Girls' Camp (MI District), and then a Free Will Baptist Camp and a football camp, plus a ladies soccer camp.  Still a busy summer ahead.  I like to be busy!!

Time to head to the snack bar!!   There are privileges living on a campground!!