Sunday, March 30, 2008

Heart Friends March 2008

Just who are the Heart Friends? A collection of remarkable women who connected during their years at West Point. Over time they have stayed in touch thru phone calls, e-mail and yearly gatherings (now twice a year gatherings). We just enjoyed a fabulous time on the beach in Wilmington, North Carolina. It was a grand time of laughing, sharing, praying, eating, being...and it is precious to each of us.

Right now I am reading John Ortberg's book, EVERYBODY'S NORMAL TILL YOU GET TO KNOW THEM. In the first chapter he makes it clear that we are all weird, slightly irregular, damaged goods...all we like sheep have gone astray.

One of the great marks of maturity is to accept the fact that everybody comes 'as is.' We have been able to do that, and actually enjoy it. Our yearning to attach and connect, to love and be loved, makes that possible. John describes it as the fiercest longing of the soul.

He talks about a research project on relationships called the Alameda County Study that discovered the most isolated people were three times more likely to die than those with strong relational connections.

"People who had bad health habits (such as smoking, poor eating habits, obesity, or alcohol use) but strong social ties lived significantly longer than people who had great health habits but were isolated. In other words, IT IS BETTER TO EAT TWINKIES WITH GOOD FRIENDS THAN TO EAT BROCCOLI ALONE."

So, the Heart Friends gather and hope to live significantly long lives together!

Heart Friends in Wilmington

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

We have enjoyed a Winter Wonderland here in Wisconsin since the first part of December. On a bright, crisp, sunny day with blue skies it is really quite pretty. On a gray cloudy bitter cold day, not so much. I walk 3-4 miles (an hour) just about every day ~ until it gets down to zero. I draw the line when it gets below zero!

I started walking soon after Aimee was born at Fort Hood, Texas in 1976. Some of you might remember that when Aimee was 6 weeks old, Andy left for a 6 month tour of duty in Germany. He went again when Aimee was 18 months old. I had ample opportunity to develop a life long habit of walking every day during those two tours. Aimee loved being outside and was comfortable in the little umbroller stroller (I went thru two of them with each of the girls - ran the wheels right off of them).

The chapel above is on the campus of St. John's Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield (junion/senior high prep school). It is a beautful old campus dating back to 1884.The little white chapel below is on the main street in Delafield and is now a Lang Store. You can get a feel for how much snow we have had from the pile in the picture.

Walking with my new camera...

I enjoy walking around Nashotah House, a theological seminary of the Episcopal Church. It is just about half a mile from Cedarly. The seminary dates back to 1842 and I understand it was an outreach to the Native Americans in this area at one time as well.
This farm is on their property, too

These are shots of Cedarly... the one above is the Carriage House, dating back to the 1880's and the one below is the home at Cedarly which was built in 1910, taken from the lake side. Winter is a fabulous time to be at Cedarly for a week of retreat with the Lord.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Titles and Authors

Today I drove down to Miller Park to purchase baseball tickets for a Hagen Family Reunion this summer. On the way I listened to a Wisconsin Public Radio talk show. The guest said that statistics show young adults under 35, on average, read one book a year. That's pretty sad ~ and would indicate that most don't read any. Our two daughters and sons in law read a lot, so they would make up for the one book dozens of others are not reading. Me, I read at least a book a week...I enjoy it, generally have the time, and don't always sleep well. You will see in this post, I am not a very creative critic. But, I will offer you a variety of books I have enjoyed so far this year.

One of my goals in 2008 is to read more biographies or at least stories about real people and their experiences, challenges, and how they overcame hardship. I sort of wondered how I would find good ones. Our library here in Delafield is very small and crowded so I generally put books on hold over the Internet so I can just stop by and pick them up. I have been pleasantly surprised at how interesting biographies have come my way ~ recommendations from guests, references to them in blogs, and even a in a Christmas letter. Then, of course, there are my 11 Heart Friends around the country ~ they always have great suggestions. The more I read them, the more I seem to boook leads to another.

THREE CUPS OF TEA (Greg Mortensen)

These are the ones I have read so far ~ each one unique and quite different. Each individual facing a wide variety of hard things in their lives and each one with a different sphere of influence. I'm just about to start a 500+ page book called ABUNDANCE ~ a novel of Marie Antoinette. Care to join me?

I can't seem to stay away from novels tho, and have been introduced to three new authors in the new year. Angela Hunt helped Deanna Favre write her story and I decided to read one of Angela's novels. I'm hooked. So far I've read THE NOTE, THE NOVELEST, THE ELEVATOR, and UNCHARTERED. Hunt is very creative ~ there is nothing predicitable, there is no pattern, each one is completely different. I like her ~ can you tell?

Then I read HIDDEN IN TIME and A RIFT IN TIME by Michael Philllips. Wow, they were great. What's the impact on the world in finding Noah's Ark or the Garden of Eden? You, too, can find out. Philllips also wrote a series of books about two young girls, one white and one black, who survive the Civil War all alone ~ with a plantation to run, bills to pay, and maurauders to worry about.

And finally I got around to reading THE KITE RUNNER and A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS by Khaled Hosseini. Oh, my...what a learning experience! Sections were hard to read ~ my life is so protected and so comfortable.

Andy's 40th MBI Reunion

God bless the school that D. L. Moody founded;
Firm may she stand, tho' by foes of truth surrounded!
Riches of grace bestowed may she never squander,
keeping true to God and man her record over yonder.

Glory over yonder, over yonder,
when Jesus comes in glory we shall part no more.
Glory over yonder, over yonder,k
when Jesus comes in glory we shall part no more.

There it is ~ the closest thing we had to a fight song, and sure enough, we sang it multiple times in early February when we went down to Moody for
Founder's Week 2008 AND Andy's 40th Reunion.

We are glad we was fun to see what is happening on the campus at Moody ~ so very different from the way it looked in the late 60's. Students look so young and I'm sure we look so old. Of course, it is always the coldest week of the winter, complete with wind howling and snow falling. There was a very nice gathering and dinner Monday night in the Commons. About 25 were there and it was great to reconnect and remember days together long ago. Tuesday noon is the larger gathering of classes from all times, and then in the afternoon we had a few hours to meet and catch up on each one by going around the circle with each one giving a short (or not so short) summary of 40 years.

The small gathering Andy's class has caused some of us in the Class of '69
to start contacting classmates in order to create interest and energy for
a great gathering next year for our reunion, February 2-3, 2009.

Body Worlds

What is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
Psalm 8:4-5

A few weeks ago I went to the Body Worlds exhibition at the Milwaukee Public Museum and found it absolutely amazing. These verses from Psalm 8 were displayed on a large banner in the first exhibit room. I'm not sure I can put into words all that I saw and felt during the 3 hours I was there, but God was on my mind most of the time. Seeing the various parts and systems of the body displayed artfully, purposefully, creatively, and tastefully kept drawing me back to the Creator Himself.
Andy spent the day attending the NO REGRETS men's conference at Elmbrook that day and was surprised at my enthusiasm when I described it to him. I would highly recommend attending if the display comes to your corner of the world.