Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ash's Birthday!

We celebrated my daughter Ash's birthday earlier this month, quietly but enjoyably, with lunch and a movie.  She seemed delighted with the gifts her sister and I bestowed upon her.  Don't you love this pretty green and purple paper?  I just happened to have a chartreuse ribbon that matched the background!  After stumbling upon a blog with some terrific gift wrapping ideas -- A Gift Wrapped Life -- I've been inspired to ramp up my wrapping skills.  It's fun to give gifts that are so lovely the recipient can barely bring herself to unwrap them!  I love all things PAPER, do you?  Once Ash managed to tug the ribbon and paper off this present, she discovered a hard cover copy of her favorite book of all time -- a book I just happened to find (or did it find me?) on the local library's sale rack just a few days before her birthday:  Dostoyevsky's "The Brother's Karamazov."

One of our thrills was discovering a game on a shelf at Game Stop with the copy material Ash provided for the packaging.  As a writer she has written manuals and marketing materials for gaming companies, among many other specialty niches.  So proud of her!  So glad she had a happy birthday!

Church and Women's Ministry

For the last couple of years I've been on a quest to find a new church to attend.  This has not been easy.  I was raised in one faith and attended that church into adulthood.  When my girls were little we went there as well, but in high school most of the kids at their school attended a different church.  So we started going there occasionally.  While I have attended quite often over the last few years, I always feel like a "visitor" there.  The pastor is a gifted speaker and his sermons are meaningful to every day life.  We always attend their marvelous Christmas programs.  But I've had two concerns -- the church is huge (three services and an overflow room) which makes it difficult to feel personally connected, and it's up by Santa Cruz which is a bit of a trek from my house.  So I've visited some other churches closer to home -- feeling uncomfortably like I was shopping for a pair of shoes that didn't pinch, weren't too big or too small, weren't too dressy or too casual.  I've been praying for guidance, wrestling with a bit of guilt about not turning back to the church of my youth, searching my soul, questioning my spiritual roots...   While such things must be taken seriously, it can also lend itself to over-thinking and paralysis by analysis. 

Then last year I decided to revisit a nondenominational church that is not too big, not too small.  Practical, Bible based sermons. Active congregation.  Simple mission:  Worship Jesus - Love One Another - Serve the World. Encouragement to get to know one another and be actively involved in church ministries.  In the meantime, my "old" church has contacted me.  So I do plan to go there again next month for a visit.  Maybe I will feel reconnected with those deep roots that were part of so many memories as I was growing up and raising my children when they were young.  Maybe it has changed and also encourages more involvement than just sitting in a pew and driving home afterward.  Or maybe it will confirm that I'm on the right path with this newly found church.  But I owe it to myself to at least go back and visit again.

Anyway, this lengthy introduction was really just a segue to tell you about the Women's Ministry Luncheon (sponsored by the "new" church) I attended yesterday at Corral De Tierra Country Club.  I have been to this venue for a couple of things before, but it's been awhile and I'm always awestruck by the beauty of this setting in the hills between Salinas and Monterey.  Had I not been driving, I would have taken pictures en route of the peaceful fields of blue wildflowers and cows resting beneath trees.

Besides talking with a couple of women with displays representing mission projects in Africa (I can always chat on and on about that!), I enjoyed getting to know some of the women seated at my table and was inspired by the guest speaker's presentation about faith and listening for God's guiding voice in life.  Lovely day!

For more photos of this lovely location, click here:  Corral de Tierra

Today is the Big Sur Marathon so since traffic snarls make driving around Monterey a bit daunting, I decided to stay home and catch up on projects, fling open the windows and give my house a good cleaning, and play with my doggies.  For more beautiful photos of the Big Sur Marathon course, click here:  Big Sur Marathon.  It's worth taking 5 minutes to click through the scenery and successes!  Of course, everyone is thinking about the victims, survivors and heroes of the Boston Marathon.  Goodness abounds, and it should make our hearts soar to know how many more people stand for good, help and hope in this world than for evil.   A friend of mine said that whenever something bad happens in the world, it is a sign to go out and do something good.  Let's make this a week of going out and doing GOOD!  


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Birthdays, Brithdays!

Spring birthdays abound in our family!  Lys celebrated her's in March.  We had a wonderful time -- she and Ash came home for the weekend to celebrate.  We went to Pacific Grove, took a walk on the beach and around Cannery Row.
We ended our evening at the Charthouse for dinner.  Fantastic food but one mishap -- poor Ash was not feeling well and really couldn't enjoy her meal.  By the time we got home she went to bed with the flu and stayed there for the next 24 hours. 

Ash insisted that Lys and I get out and enjoy Lys's birthday on Saturday so off we went to Del Monte Center for shopping, lunch and pedicures!  Spring was in the air--just look at those flowers!  It's enough to make you want to go home and work in the garden.

Now today is Ash's birthday and we are meeting in San Jose for lunch.  Let's see what the day has in store for us -- it's another beautiful spring day!