Monthly Archives: September 2006

Balloon Classic

This past weekend the 30th Annual Colorado Springs Balloon Classic was held.  Due to weather the balloons were unable to lift off on Saturday (my cousin Julie and I drove down to Memorial Park where it’s held only to have to turn around immediately after arriving), they were unable to lift off on Sunday (again because of weather), but on Labor Day the balloons lifted off as hoped and as planned.

I’ve never seen anything like it!  The balloons started to lift into the air just before 7:00.  They were rolled out and filled and made airborne in waves.  In total approximately 90 balloons participated!  It is still dawn as this wave of balloons begins to float into the air…


Did you know that balloons have to register as aircraft?  I didn’t, until I started to notice these registration numbers on all of them!  I came home and googled this number, and sure enough, it’s an FAA registration number, for a balloon.  (Don’t you just love the internet?)


These four balloons lifted off one right after the other in perfect alignment.  It was an amazing sight. 


There are similar balloon classics held all over America.  If you live near one, go see it.  We were able to walk right up to the balloons and watch the whole process, from unrolling them, to the final blast of fire that made the air inside the balloon just that much lighter than the air outside the balloon. 


The classic had a very festive and fair-like atmosphere.  There was a booth selling funnel cake.  We tried it.  Goooood stuff!  Riding in a hot air balloon is (as you could probably imagine) on my List of Fifty.  After seeing these quietly beautiful skycraft up close, I want to ride even more! 




My newest Round Robin Challenge entry.  When I read the roots of the word nostalgia, and it brought to mind a longing for something of the past, there was only one thing I could think of that spoke nostalgia to me.  I’m sure people are tiring of reading my writings about the loss of my dearest friend and sister-in-law, Connie.  But here I go again.

On my last visit to California to visit my family (and get my braces off), I took the opportunity to catch “on film” what my brother (only half jokingly) calls, “The Shrine”.  It has been over a year since she died.  It seems like I haven’t seen her in decades, not months.  And yet my heart is often just as raw today as it was in the first moments after her death. 

As part of his grieving process, my brother amassed a collection of photos and items of sentimental worth in and on the built-in in his dining room.  As I prepared these pictures to post, I took the opportunity to zoom in and take a good look at the things that are collected there.

Here is a list of some of the “things” that found their way into “The Shrine”:

  • A lime green GPS device she used for Geo-Caching
  • A mug that weirdly broke through the cup part but the handle was left intact
  • Water bottles filled with dirt from the locales of various adventures
  • The license plate from her motorcycle
  • An empty bottle of Dom Perignon (her and my brother’s favorite)
  • A vase that my father had given her
  • Her tape dispenser (which reminds me that I need to ask my brother why that’s in there)
  • A Rubik’s cube (solved)
  • Her grandmother’s Sweets jar
  • A small container of Carmex
  • Her favorite (and only) tube of lipstick
  • A black lighter (she always carried one, who knows why)
  • Various geodes and other interesting (or not so interesting) rocks
  • Patches, pins, buttons, and key chains
  • An American flag
  • A wooden cross and a plastic and yarn cross
  • The box containing her ashes
  • Well, you get the idea

And the pictures span her lifetime.  All of them evoking memories and many of them laughter as well as tears.  My brother was out to see me in August after I got back from Africa.  He told me that he was making the choice to stop actively grieving.  I wonder if “The Shrine” will still be there when I visit him next week.  I am going to California to celebrate (for the second year in a row) Connie’s and Phil’s anniversary, without her.  Phil and I having a standing date for the next forever to be together on that day, September 17th.

So, this nostalgia is about Connie, whom I miss horribly, and long for…





Please visit the other Round Robin Challengers’ postings to see their takes on “Nostalgia”

Through The Eyes Of The Beholder – POSTED!

Outpost Mâvarin- POSTED!

It’s All About Me…I Think! – POSTED!

Ellipsis…Suddenly CarlyPOSTED!

Every Picture Tells a Story

Nancy Luvs Pix – POSTED!

Julie’s Web JournalPOSTED!

Percolation – POSTED!

AscenderRisesAbove Studio Updates – POSTED!

Suzanne R
New Suzanne R’s Life- POSTED!

(sometimes)photoblog – POSTED!

Gina’s Space- POSTED!
Valorie – POSTED!
Retrospect USA

Photographs and Memories Too – POSTED!

Fond of photography POSTED!

Where Life Takes You… – POSTED!

First Digital Photos – POSTED!


Good on ya, Steve.  You will be missed.


“What Did You DO in Africa?”

Okay, based on some conversations I have had and e-mails I have received, I can see that I need to provide you all with some very basic information on how I spent my summer.  Many of you I now I realize have absolutely no idea.  So, in order for you to better understand future postings, I will give a very basic “picture” of what my summer entailed. 

First stop was Boot Camp in Merritt Island, Florida.  Boot Camp is the U.S. headquarters for Teen Missions, Int’l (TMI).  You spend two weeks getting to know your “team”, taking all kinds of classes (concrete, evangelism, steel tying, puppets, singing, drama, truss building, block laying, etc.) in order to equip you for your “project” (whatever it is you will be doing on the field), you start your verse memorization, run an obstacle course every day, learn how to do laundry and bathe out of a bucket, get accustomed to living in tent, etc.  I was the head female leader.  Besides me, there were three other leaders.  And 23 kids.

After Boot Camp it is off to the field where you begin your project.  Over the years teams I have been on have:  built apartments, built a church, put in clean water systems, dug latrines, made furniture, painted, poured concrete floors, poured concrete ceilings/roofs, built a barn, repaired fences, built schools, built water cisterns and rain collection systems, staffed telephone crisis lines, taught Daily Vacation Bible Schools, built a septic tank, to name a few.  Other Teen Missions teams have carved out airstrips on the tops of mountains, built orphanges, dug wells, biked around various countries sharing the gospel, you name it.  Teen Missions teams have done just about everything.

My team this summer was called Zambia Foot Washing.  In an act of service and humility, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet.  My team spent time at four different rescue units.  At each one, the orphans registered there were all invited to come and receive new shoes.  Their feet were washed, and then a new pair of socks and a new pair of shoes were put on each of them.  For many, this was their very first pair of shoes.  Imagine the faces!  As part of foot washing days (generally two at each unit), there was a day long program of singing, puppets, sharing the gospel, playing games (Red Rover and a local variation of Duck Duck Goose were the favorites of the kids), coloring, making balloon animals, and the like.  The orphans got lots of time to sit on laps, be held, and be played with.  Though the walk to the Rescue Unit was far for some, many of the kids came back day after day, even after the official program for them had ended.  These children just soaked up the attention that was given to them by the team.  On the days when there wasn’t a “program”, my team would do construction/maintenance work.  They were do whatever jobs were needed at each unit.  That meant they dug very deep holes for squatty potties, shallower holes for garbage pits, they cleared brush back from the compounds to discourage snakes from coming in too close, they poured concrete floors for a new granary and for a new chicken coop, they cleared ground for a volleyball court, they demolished no longer used foundations, and they watered banana groves.  And, as you’ll read about in a future posting, at one location they put out a raging fire!

So, what did I do in Africa?  My primary responsibility was to keep my team of 27 “fed and watered“.  My secondary jobs included being their nurse, and their teacher, and their friend.  My tertiary job was to provide whatever medical aid I could to those who came seeking care and to those who were identified as needing my care.  My day was spent cooking and baking and boiling water.  And I evaluated complaints of sickness and gave meds for those complaints, and I made sure everyone who had malaria meds were taking their malaria meds as ordered.  And I taught classes and listened to the recitation of memory verses, and I was the mail lady and I was the bank.  For those Zambians who came seeking medical help I did what I could.  I often spent time each day cleaning, debriding and dressing various non-healing wounds (I will be expounding on this also in a future posting).  My days were crammed full and I loved (nearly!) every minute of it. 

In the future I will be sharing more on my experiences in the kitchen,which is where I spent most of my time and where God worked miracles just about evey day!  In fact, I will be sharing many stories.  Stories of how God worked, things I learned, things I saw my kids learn, some sad things, some joyful things.  It was a very full and beautiful summer.  I have only begun to process it, so stayed tuned!

My friend, John, has a blog of letters I wrote over the summer.  You can learn much about the minutae of my day by going there and reading!  Click here to go there!

And, please, if you have questions, ask!  I’d love to answer them!!

Update:  The letters blog has been removed.  Too bad.  Lots of great stories in there.  Sure wish I had a copy of all those letters I wrote!  I used John as a journal and never got copies of the letters as I had planned.  John “cut his losses” with me before I had the chance to get my hands on them.  Sigh.

Happy Anniversary!

A year ago today, I pulled into the driveway of my new condo, in my new city, in my new state.  It was a condo I bought over the phone.  The city and state?  I picked those out especially for me after seeing them in real life. 

I pulled up very deep roots in Southern California and packed up all my belongings and drove out to Colorado.  And I have never looked back.  As I was driving up I-25 I saw a sign on the side of the freeway.  I was less than 5 miles from my new life.  It was about 5:00 and the sun was starting to set over the Front Range.  It was beautiful.  My cat, Mew Ling, was in her kennel in the passenger seat.  The sign was for a building company, maybe Laing Homes, and it simply said “Welcome Home”.  I looked at Mew and she looked at me and I told her, “Well, here we are.  Home.  The sign even said so.”

The move was made at the most difficult time of my life.  The decision to move had been made before my life got so difficult and complicated.  But I stuck with the plan, because it’s what I felt God wanted me to do.  And He has blessed me and blessed me and blessed me a thousand times over since then.

It’s difficult for me to believe that it has been a whole year.  It has been a great year.  A full year.  I almost can’t wait to see what year number two holds in its hands for me.

Welcome Home, indeed.

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