Sunday, August 31, 2008

Attitude of Gratitude

Let the peace of Christ rule
in your hearts. . . And be thankful
Colossians 3:15 NIV

Thankfulness isn't our usual response when something goes wrong. We may have a hundred good things for which to be thankful - but let one bad thing happen, and it's all we think about!

But the Bible says, 'in everything give thanks' (I Thessalonians 5:18). No matter what happens, we are to give thanks. Cultivate a spirit of thanksgiving in your life. Thank God for every blessing He gives you. Thank Him for Christ and what He has done for you. Even when things go wrong. thank Him that they aren't worse, and you are still in His hands.

Having an attitude of thankfulness in all of life's circumstances will help you react as old Matthew Henry did when he was mugged. He wrote in his diary, 'Let me be thankful first because I was never robbed before; second, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.'

I wonder if I could be that thankful!

from 'Hope For The Heart' by Billy Graham

Friday, August 29, 2008

On The Road Again

My sweetheart and I will soon be on the road again with our little trailer and boat. We are heading for the mountains where we will meet his brothers and their wives and one of his sisters and her husband for a weekend together. And fishing. And talking. And laughing. And sharing precious memories together. And making a few more. We will come home on Tuesday. When I return I will catch up with you and return many overdue emails. And I have a bit more of our trip to and from Seattle to share with you soon.

As I write this, an updated forecast warns of possible light snow in the mountains. Where we are going. Brrrr! I'm off to pack a few more warm clothes. Just in case the forecast is right.

I wish you a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend. Enjoy this last weekend of summer. It has gone so fast. Fall is in the air!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

On The Water And In The Air

Seattle is a beautiful city located on the shores of Puget Sound. There is much to see and do. Both on land and in the air. Last weekend we tried to see a bit of each. The weather was perfect for a stroll along the waterfront. Right away we walked to the end of a public pier where restaurants served wonderful food under umbrellas beside the water.I could have stayed there all day to enjoy the sights and sounds. And the people. Lots of people. Near the water. A trademark of the Seattle area is the ferry system that transports passengers, both on foot and by vehicle, back and forth to nearby islands and peninsulas. We didn't have to wait long before a ferry came into view.Not far from the ferry landing tour boats were filled with folks eager to be part of a harbor tour.Almost as soon as one tour left, another began.Boats of all kinds were afloat that day. Sailboats. . .And little boats.Not all the activity was on the water. Some were enjoying the day in the air. What a gorgeous day to go parasailing. . .Or flying a seaplane. . .Or resting quietly while the rest of the world rushes by.After a long drive along the waterfront, through neighborhoods filled with beautiful homes and a brief stop for lunch we came to a place I had hoped to find. Gasworks Park on the banks of Lake Union is the site of the old Seattle Gasworks that provided power for the city many years ago. Now its a park with relics from the past.And a view. Oh, what a view!
And a lot of activity. Boats. . .
And planes. Coming. . .And going!Lake Union is famous for its houseboats. Somewhere along the far side is the 'Sleepless In Seattle' houseboat.After a nice stroll through the park - and many photos later! - we drove back toward the center of the city. We were on a mission and we knew where we were going. Seattle Center. Home of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. And home of the famous Space Needle. Designed for the look of the future - a spire with a flying saucer on top.The Space Needle stands six hundred and five feet tall.Elevators quickly scoot up and down throughout the day, carrying passengers to the top.At the top you can dine in a revolving restaurant with an ever-changing view. Our friends told of a lady who left her table to visit the ladies' room. Before leaving she placed her purse somewhere out of sight. When she returned to her table her purse was not where she left it. She had securely hidden her purse on a part of the structure that doesn't move as the restaurant revolves! Her table had moved - her purse had not. But all ended well - her purse was located. Right where she left it! The observation deck is the most popular destination at the top. It offers three hundred and sixty degree views of Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains and the City of Seattle below.Seattle Center is always buzzing with activity. Rides for the children, cultural displays and shops, places to eat, places to meet. A pink carousel and a pink ferris wheel.And vendors. Lots of vendors. As we passed by we had to stop to watch this demonstration. Hula hoops! (I can't even do one!)Interested children could try them out. To find just the right one.Soon it was time to go. Time to return to the home of our dear friends to enjoy dinner out and the evening together. We passed near the beautiful arches of the Pacific Science Center. Part of the World's Fair.Near our car one last look back to see the heritage left from an event years ago. Now such a part of the city. Well-known and loved. The Space Needle - a tribute that looked forward to the future. So long ago. When I was young. I never dreamed then that it would endure or how quickly time would pass. Or that one day I would be there with my sweetheart and think of my grandchildren. Grandchildren? They were part of the future back then. They are part of now. My, how time flies!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

An Old Romance, A City and Roots

Our weekend in Seattle was such a treat. It was everything I had hoped for. And there is so much more we didn't have time to do so we know we will go back again. And again. I'm a very sentimental person and it seems the older I get, the more precious things are to me. The first place I wanted to visit was the old Union Train Station. It has been there for years. Many years. This place has a special part in my life. You see, it's where my dear mother and father met! The exact place they first saw each other and spoke. The story is humorous and sweet. My mother's father was not real thrilled when his young daughter decided to travel from Southern California to Seattle by train to attend a small Bible Institute there. Especially not during World War II. He urged her to stay close to home but when he saw how committed she was to attend school in Seattle he knew that was were she would go. She was a short, tiny girl. He lovingly nicknamed her 'Shorty'. One day my grandpa jokingly said, 'Shorty, the only reason you're going to a Bible Institute is to find yourself a preacher!' Not to be outdone she immediately responded, 'You're right - I'm going to marry the first one I see.' After many long hours on the train she arrived at Union Station in Seattle. Her belongings were packed in a steamer trunk and she needed assistance with them. Following the instructions given to her by the school she called the school office, told them of her arrival and requested that someone be sent to transport her and her luggage to the school. She was told someone would be there soon. A certain tall, young man who was a second year student worked for the school to help pay his tuition. He drove for the school and was sent all over the Seattle area to do school errands and to pick up and deliver people when needed. So that day long ago the tall, young man arrived at Union Station in the school vehicle. His assignment? To pick up a newly arrived first year student - a certain short, tiny young lady with a steamer trunk. He was a very outgoing, joyful person. The young lady looked at him and noticed how confident and self-assured he appeared to be. Now remember, she had declared that she would marry the first young man from the school that she saw. Could it be that through the next year or two a friendship developed? Could it be that one June day just over two years later they became husband and wife? Could it be that he became a preacher? Could it be that they lived happily ever after? Yes. Yes. Yes. It's true. The short, tiny young lady was my mother. The tall, young man was my father. They spent nearly sixty wonderful years together. Not because he was the first young man she met from the school. But because God had planned all along that they would meet, fall in love and spend the rest of their lives together. And have a daughter who loved them deeply. A daughter who last weekend wanted so much to see the place again where romance began and where her roots were planted. Union Station. My sweetheart knew exactly how to get there.Last time I was there the station was no longer used for train passengers. It had been leased and and turned into an antique mall! How appropriate. And exciting. What would I find there now? Surrounded by Amtrak trains and signs it didn't take long to find out. It is once again used as a train depot. With a new name.Now part of the Seattle Amtrak community, the building is a bit 'used'. I was disappointed to see how run-down it looked. But enchanted to see that it still stood. Many of the wonderful old buildings that once served Seattle well are gone. This one still stood. High above, the old clock tower stood as a sentinel. Tall and straight. And proud.Since I couldn't go inside the building and stand where my mother and father may have stood I savored every bit of design detail I saw. High overhead.And over the doors. As I wandered around the old building with my camera - shooting many photos - I was approached by a man who asked if I had photographed the old clock tower. Yes, I replied. And much more. He told me that plans are in the works to restore the old building. Oh, it did my heart good! Restoration to its original condition would be wonderful! Good news as I walked down memory lane a bit. Not my memories but those of my precious mother and father. So long ago. Such a fairy tale story that I loved to hear as a child. And even now!

The old train station is surrounded by other old buildings with such character. Some are in a bit of disrepair.
Others have been lovingly cared for. And one nearby building even has flowers on the fire escape!Nearby, another old building captured my attention. I loved the sign on the big pillar. Seattle Hardware Company. So definitive. No doubt what they do there.The amazing thing about cities today is that the old is mixed with the new. And so it is in Seattle. Just across from the old train station sits a new sports arena - the home of the Seattle Seahawks. Quest Field replaced the Kingdome not long ago.The front entrance was impressive. But when I walked around the corner I could see inside. Wow! Two new Seattle stadiums were designed with retractable roofs. To be closed on rainy days. And opened on sunny days. No games at Quest Field today but it was open. It was an amazing sight. If you look beyond the center left in the photo below, just back of Quest Field, you can see the roofline of Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. They were scheduled to play that day - at home - in Seattle. Before we left the old town area we turned onto a quaint-looking, tree-lined street just below the skyscrapers that give the Seattle skyline such distinct character.As I stood in the street beside our car to get the best photo my sweetheart told me to look to the right just beyond the car parked in front of ours (in the lower right corner of the photo above). What I saw there was. . .a wedding party. Being photographed. Surrounded by the character of old Seattle.A new romance. Just around the corner from the place where a dear, old romance began so long ago. So right to add to the memories of our day in this special place. A place where I could recall and imagine the beginning of a wonderful story. Part of my story now. Precious. And dear to my heart.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Day To See The Dentist

Last Monday I had a dentist appointment. A scheduled checkup. A good one. I like my dentist and his staff but I have to drive a ways. It's a long story! He once had an office near where I worked. Then he bought another practice and moved a bit farther away. I like him and his work so much that I choose to drive a ways to have my checkups and any work that needs to be done. He's the best! As a result of driving a ways I always plan to stop along the way home. There is a little, tiny thrift shop just blocks from his office that is a favorite. It isn't anything to feature in a magazine or to brag about but the staff is friendly and it's for a good cause. The little shop is run by the church across the street and the proceeds go toward their elementary school. I always find wonderful things in this shop. Their prices are ridiculously low. As planned, I stopped after my dental appointment. With clean teeth and a big smile on my face I walked into the shop and immediately found a few things I knew were meant for me. This white egg with yellow and blue dots was mine! It is filled with a gently used yellow candle inside.Nearby I found this wonderful linen towel with precise embroidery. The bullion roses are so sweet.And there was another that I couldn't resist.When I walked toward the counter two new pieces were waiting to be priced. I asked about them and was told I could have them at a special price that day. I knew they would be a great addition to my table some day.While I found some new treasures - that wasn't the best part. I stood and talked to the manager for a bit. She was alone there and the store was quiet. She asked where I lived. When I told her she got a 'funny' smile on her face and asked more specifics. She said she knew my hometown well. Then I told her exactly where I live and she said, 'Well, I live exactly two blocks down the same street!' Neighbors. Who would have thought? I had to drive to a nearby community to meet my neighbor. She and I have agreed that we will honk and wave or stop and say hi when we pass each other's home and find that we are in our yards. What a wonderful discovery. A new friend.

On Friday, here, I gave you a sneek peek at my BIG bargain on the day I went to the dentist. Now it's time to share it with you and tell you the story. After leaving the little thrift shop I headed toward home determined to stop at one or two Goodwill stores along the way. I have a Goodwill Club card - if you don't, you should check with your local Goodwill and see if they are part of the plan. I earn points for each purchase. When I accumulate two hundred points I get a ten dollar store credit toward my next purchase. I've had fun with it and I'm always amazed how quickly they add up! I had a store credit in my purse, plus I knew I would get a twenty five percent discount off of one purchase during my birthday month. August. I wanted to find something special and combine the two for a real good deal. The minute I walked in the first Goodwill Store along my way I saw it in the glass case near the front counter! There is was. That was it. A look at the price and I knew this was the big deal of the month. Nineteen dollars, ninety nine cents - minus twenty five percent (Five dollars) minus my ten dollar credit equals FIVE DOLLARS!!!Would you believe it was made by Hall. The bottom of the pot says 'Tricolator Product'. If you enlarge the picture you can see it better. Hall USA. A collectible for sure.I smile each time I look at it. It's my birthday gift and reward from the folks at Goodwill. For being such a great customer. And getting older!

Home From The North Country

We are home from the north country! Our weekend away was wonderful - just what we needed! Friday afternoon we headed toward the Seattle area.Our first destination was Tacoma. The Tacoma Dome, to be exact. We had tickets for the Gaither Praise Gathering Friday evening. The traffic was heavy most of the way but our anticipation kept us moving along.After a brief dinner stop at the south end of Tacoma we found our way to the Tacoma Dome. We were early. Very early. The weather was perfect. The view from the parking lot was wonderful. My sweetheart suggested that I take some pictures of what had captured my eye. No need to hurry inside.From our place in the parking lot there was much to see. I'm sure people arriving from nearby thought the lady from the car with Oregon license plates must have lost her perspective. We were there for a concert. Not for a photo shoot!A few minutes later we walked toward the entrance of the Tacoma Dome. Can you see how it got its name?The flag display nearby made me proud to be here. A special evening. In my homeland. With freedom to travel and worship as I choose.I didn't take my camera inside the Dome. Cameras are not allowed at events in the new Portland arena so mine stayed in the car. Once inside I wished - oh, how I wished - for my camera. Cameras were not on the list of items not allowed inside. The Dome has a 'No Re-entry' policy so it wasn't possible to go back to the car to get a camera. Cameras were evident throughout the evening. My new telephoto lens would have gotten us very close to the stage! And made for some great pictures of our evening. Our seats were in a good place and we quickly settled in and enjoyed the music and talk. A number of Gospel artists shared through the evening that was sprinkled throughout with good, clean humor. And music. Oh, what music! The concert went very long and was worth the trip. Late in the night we arrived at the home of our friends and tiptoed in to get some sleep before our adventures continued on Saturday.

Later today I will post again. The treasure that only 'peeked' at you on Friday will be back. I'll share all of it - and others - that have something in common with my recent trip to the dentist! More about our weekend will come in the next few days. Until then I'm catching up with you, dear friends. I'll be back soon.