Tag Archives: Sarah

July Fun at the Lake

Wendy and I got to spend some time at the lake in late June and early July. We were joined by our friends Kev & Beck and their kids for the weekend before the 4th of July. We enjoyed all of the normal summer fun with trips to Bear Bottom and the Red Head. We also enjoyed visiting friends David and Lola who have a place on the lake, as well. Kev, Beck and the kids had to take off on the afternoon of the 4th, but we were able to enjoy fireworks from Captain Ron’s together on the evening of the 3rd. Always lots of fun with that crew.

Wendy and I worked remotely from the lake that week and then enjoyed a weekend visit from Matthew and Sarah. We packed our two days together with dinner at Captain Ron’s, laying out on the chill raft, steaks on the grill, a trip to Bear Bottom, lots of conversation, and a movie night watching The Shack.

 

The Latest 09-13-2015

Wendy and I have spent less time at the lake this summer than ever since buying my folks’ place back in 2008. There are a number of reasons for the reduction in lake-time including our increased involvement in Tulip Time, our trip to Scotland to see Taylor, Taylor’s move back home, a new house that still requires a  number of projects to get settled and finished, my parents transitioning into a retirement community, three weddings in August, and Suzanna’s final summer home and launch to college. As summer wanes, we figured we’d better get in some time down south before it’s too late.

We headed to Missouri on Tuesday, Sep 1st. Wendy and I worked from the lake and did some much needed cleaning up before our friends Matthew and Sarah joined us for Labor Day weekend. Matthew and Sarah were celebrating their three week anniversary (one of the weddings in August) and since they didn’t take a honeymoon after the ceremony this provided them with a much needed getaway for the two of them.

As soon as Matthew and Sarah arrived we jumped in the boat and headed to Bear Bottom for an afternoon of sun and fun in the pool. It was a gorgeous weekend and Saturday was also spent in the sun, this time off the dock. We had a fabulous grilled steak dinner on Saturday evening followed by watching the movie A Little Chaos (highly recommend). Sunday morning was spent in some amazing conversation before our friends headed home.

Wendy and I stayed behind and enjoyed some time to ourselves, though we continued to work while we were there. We were hoping for more sun on Labor Day, but the weather didn’t cooperate. We laid out on the dock with our books under overcast skies until it finally began to rain. Later that day we both had an “Awww” moment when we got a text from Taylor saying, “You can come home now!”

The lake gets so amazingly quiet after Labor Day when all the summer revelers have left for the season and only the residents are left. We enjoyed breakfast at local greasy spoon, Chances R, on Tuesday morning. On Wednesday morning we took a nice cruise on the lake (we were the only boat out there) before grabbing pizza at Captain Ron’s for lunch and heading home where we found new sidewalks out front of Vander Well Manor thanks to G&B Concrete.

We got settled back in at home, and Wednesday evening was spent doing handyman duty as we had a couple of nightstands and a desk for Wendy’s office for which there was “some assembly required.” The nightstands were a cinch, but the term “some assembly required” was a bit of an understatement for Wendy’s desk which game in about a half-million pieces. Got ‘er done, however.

Suzanna came home from college for the first time on Friday. It was great to see her. She’s enjoying her freshman year at Hawkeye CC while living on the UNI campus. One of her friends from USP had a birthday party on Friday night and Suzanna came home to surprise her. Wendy and I enjoyed a date night at Kaldera with our friends Dan and Anna on Friday. As always, good food, good friends, and good conversation were a winning combination. We were among the first to arrive and the last to leave our favorite Pella eatery.

Taylor and Tom Coffee on the Patio

Taylor has been house-sitting again this weekend but came home for our routine family breakfast on Saturday morning. Wendy wasn’t up yet so Taylor and I sat out on the patio in the gorgeous early fall sunshine for coffee and conversation. So excited that Taylor has an interview for a job on Wednesday. More on that at a later date.

Dumping dirt for lawnThe one last major project at VW Manor is our lawn. We missed the window for planting grass in the spring. The result has been a muddy, weed infested, wasteland of a yard which I’ve told people was landscaped by the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  We’re finally getting that remedied and on Saturday morning Hackert’s had the black dirt delivered and grading began for what will eventually be an actual yard. Seeding should take place early next week.

Saturday morning was clean-up day as Wendy and I prepared to host the VLs and JPs for an Iowa-Iowa State football extravaganza with dinner following. The crew arrived around game time and we set up in the V-Dub Pub downstairs. Wendy and I, Cyclone fans, were outnumbered by black and gold but it was a good natured crowd 😉 At least it was a good tight ball game which kept everyone interested until the final couple of minutes when the Hawkeyes took the lead and the Cyclones imploded. Ahhhh, as a long-time Cubs fan I’m reminded that there’s always next year.

We ordered take out from George’s for dinner and enjoyed ourselves late into the evening.

Speaking of the Chicago Cubs, Wendy and are still excited about baseball in mid-September for the first time in years as our beloved boys of summer make a run towards the post season. Go Cubs, go!

The Playhouse Opens for the Summer!

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Summers mean sun and fun on the water for Wendy and me. This is the time of year that we’re chomping at the bit for summer and the beginning of regular migration of family and friends to join us for time at the Playhouse on Lake of the Ozarks. Wendy and I have already made a couple of trips to get things out of storage, do spring cleaning, and prepare for the season. The weather in March and April was too cool and wet for our liking. And, while Memorial Day weekend is the official start to the summer season at the lake, we got an early start on the festivities when our friends Matthew and Sarah joined us last weekend.

Friday was overcast and drizzly with a cold north wind, but we still found our way down to the dock for snacks and chat while huddling in jackets and blankets. We headed to Cap’n Ron’s for pizza in the evening and then returned to watch Midnight in Paris. More conversation followed while Matthew melted into the couch. This is not surprising. We call it the “Lake Effect” when guests (as Grandma Jeanne puts it) melt into little puddles. I had to give Matthew a hard time because he’d been talking about looking forward to an early morning cup of coffee on the dock, but he slept far later than anticipated!

The sun came out Saturday. While there was a stiff, cold north wind the temps were in the low 70s and the sun was hot. We went out for a long, slow boat ride down to Bare Bottom and back, then ate lunch on the deck and chatted the afternoon away while getting nice and sunburned. We stoked the grill, opened a nice bottle of wine and had surf and turf for dinner: Prime Rib and smoked salmon. While we had discussed watching another movie, the dinner conversation kept us at the table until almost 11:00 p.m.!

As always, time flew too fast and the time to come home came too quickly. We got the place cleaned up and headed home on Mother’s Day. Wendy got calls from the girls and we arrived at home to find a nice card from Madison in the mail and gifts left at the house from Taylor and Clayton.

Let summer begin! The Playhouse is open!! 🙂

We Could All Do With a Little More Laughter

Chapter-a-Day Genesis 21

And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me. Genesis 21:6 (NLT)

Laughter is contagious, as the saying goes, and it is good medicine.

The other night at rehearsal we were doing the first run through of the entire show from top to bottom. The first run through is always rough and it can be a difficult rehearsal to get through. The show’s designer, who had not been around for rehearsal, came in to watch the entire rehearsal and immediately began to laugh. It was amazing to me to watch how an audience of one changed the dynamic of the whole rehearsal. Actors began to come alive and to take their performances to another level. The laughter of one person changed the attitude and aptitude of so many.

This isn’t unusual. In our community we have individuals who have loud, contagious laughs. Though the veteran actors in our community theatre can’t see the audience when the house lights are out, they immediately know when one of our “big laugh” people are in the house. When it happens, everyone rejoices back stage. Laughter is contagious and when one person is obviously having a good time it warms the rest of the audience up and gives silent permission for them to enjoy it as well. If one of the big laugh audience members are in the house, it’s going to be a good show.

I love that Isaac’s name means “he laughs” and that Sarah memorialized her joy and laughter with her son’s name. We could all do with a little more laughter.  It’s good medicine for the everyday heartaches of life.

 

Faith, Fear, and Flaws

Abimelech rebuking Abraham by Wenceslas Hollar...
Abimelech rebuking Abraham by Wenceslas Hollar. Abimelech asks Abraham, “What has thou done unto us?” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abraham replied, “I thought, ‘This is a godless place. They will want my wife and will kill me to get her.’ And she really is my sister, for we both have the same father, but different mothers. And I married her. Genesis 20:11 (NLT)

Today’s chapter is the second time we see Abraham pass his wife off as his sister. His actions are rooted in fear. If the king who is hosting them decides he wants to take Sarah for his own he would have to kill Abraham to do it. Abraham’s household was undoubtedly large, but Abraham was not a warrior king and could do little against an attack which would kill him and take all that he had.

What makes this second instance different is that Abraham is pressed more directly by King Abimelech than he was by Pharaoh. Abimelech puts Abraham under cross-examination and we find Abraham revealing that Sarah really is his half-sister (it does feel like a soap opera moment, doesn’t it….“No way!”). Nonetheless, his half-truth is not the full truth and his actions jeopardized his host in order to safe his own neck. It was selfish and deceptive and was motivated by fear and a lack of faith.

The great patriarchs were human just like you and me. God’s Message not only reveals Abraham’s faith, but also reveals his flaws and fear. I find it common for people to think “God would/could never use me because [insert tragic flaw or heinous mistake here].” Abraham believed God and had enough faith to leave his home, but he clearly did not have faith enough to tell the truth and believe that God would protect he and Sarah from Pharaoh and Abimelech.

Today, I’m taking solace in the reality that God uses flawed human beings to do His will.

 

Tic, Tic, Tic, Tic, Tic, Tic, Tic…

Chapter-a-Day Genesis 18

So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?” Genesis 18:12 (NLT)

In our culture we talk of a woman’s “biological clock” in reference to the natural desire our Creator designed within women to conceive and bear children. Of course, there are exceptions as with almost any physiological generality, but the biological clock is very real. Since I’m starting with a generality, let me continue with another as I submit that most guys remain largely ignorant of the works of the female biological clock in same way they’d glance at the hands of a watch to check the time but have no desire to pry the back off the watch and understand what all those cogs, wheels and little spinning things do. Which means most of the males completely miss a layer of understanding in the story of Sarah.

I’ve come to learn along the journey that a woman’s biological clock is like those vintage Timex commercials with John Cameron Swayze. It keeps on ticking and ticking and ticking. If you see a gaggle of females gathered around a newborn baby the crescendo of combined biological clocks working in overdrive makes the ticking nearly audible to the human ear. Some women still feel the ticking after they’ve had their tubes tied, after they have a  hysterectomy, and after they can physically have children.

How interesting that Sarah, childless into her nineties, hears the suggestion that she will get pregnant and bear a son and considers that she would “enjoy such pleasure.” The idea that you would consider the sheer physical trauma of pregnancy a “pleasure” when you’re ninety years old is almost insane. Such is the power of the biological clock. When you add to it the fact that we as humans tend to desire most greatly the very thing we do not or cannot have, it makes Sarah’s story even more fascinating and compelling.

 

Strong Through the Home Stretch

English: 2007 Dublin City Marathon (Ireland) 中...
English: 2007 Dublin City Marathon (Ireland) 中文: 2007年爱尔兰都柏林城马拉松 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chapter-a-Day Genesis 17

Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” Genesis 17:17 (NIV)

When I was a young man, I memorized and clung to this line from Paul’s letter to his young protege Timothy:

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

I figured that if God had given me spiritual gifts like everyone else, then I was totally going to use those gifts and be of service. I wanted to make a difference. I tried to instill that same spirit in my daughters in their youth, and continue to get jazzed when I see young people with a passion for God actively living out their faith.

Today, I’m at a different place in the journey. If averages and genetics hold sway, you could say that I’m still in mid-life. Nevertheless, I can’t deny the fact that I’m likely on the downhill side. Instead of not letting others think less of me because I’m young, I sometimes feel the need not to let others think less of me because I’m old. As technology advances at breakneck speeds, I wonder if the gulf between generations is expanding and making it easier for in the back stretch and making the final turn to feel irrelevant and lost.

I think that it’s awesome that God made such a huge play in Abram’s life right when Abram was turning 100 and Sarai was in her nineties. God willing, I want the last half of my life to be more productive than the first. I want to live with purpose and witness God doing big things in and through my life when I’m old. I don’t want to stagger and limp to the finish. God grant that I finish strong. I want to be kicking it in to a full sprint when I hit the home stretch and find myself heading for the tape.

You go, Abe.