Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kairos Card Count, So Far

Friend "B" has used her time as a volunteer in the church office to put Kairos cards and envelopes together. As of this morning, there are 1,031 cards! Yay!

There will be some more to add to that group before the card-making is done. We may have to rent a U-Haul to get them all there! (just kidding, but they will fill a large box.)

Our minister is delighted with the results of our card-making efforts, and the ladies of the church who assisted feel the effort was well worth-while.

More, later.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Coming Up for Air

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, I've just been busy. Really, really busy!

Card-Making Activities

The card-making frenzy is over -- for a while, at least. In an earlier post, I mentioned the Kairos Prison Ministry. Last Friday evening, in our church's Parish Hall, nine other women and I produced almost 900 Christmas cards. That's nine hundred, folks!
All these cards will be taken to one of the state's prisons, Tucker Correctional Facility, where they will be made available to the inmates to send to their families during the holiday season.

We ran out of envelopes at 796 cards, so had a bit of shopping to do. One of the church office volunteers will finish putting envelopes with cards this week. I suspect that we'll have more than 900 cards when the final count is done.

My friend "B" and I furnished all the supplies and materials for this effort, so we had a LOT of paper cutting and folding to do, but it was worth it.

The volunteers who joined us in this effort said they had a great time, and are interested in making another huge batch of cards (Easter, birthday, all-occasion) in the spring of 2010. We'll make "stampers" out of them, yet!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thanksgiving Comes First

If you are dismayed, as I am, by the overwhelming displays of Christmas merchandise in the stores well in advance of even Hallowe'en, I recommend to you the following blog post by Jim Sullivan, a.k.a. "Suldog."

Thanksgiving Comes First

I wholeheartedly agree with Jim.

ALL holidays that have commercial potential are pushed far out of their intended time frame. One of our local super centers will have Valentine merchandise on the shelves when the store opens on December 26, having moved the left-over Christmas merchandise to the clearance department. Makes me disgusted, it does!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just Stuff

Back to Earth!

Hot Air Balloon Ride
Should you be wondering why I haven't posted again about my marvelous hot air balloon ride, it's coming, it's coming! Sorting through and choosing the best of several hundred photos is taking time, and I do want my tale to have some sort of order to it. My fellow passenger is sending me a CD of the photos she took, BalloonLR is sending a CD with photos taken from the ground by the Chaser and, with their permission, I may include some of those in my post.

 Greeting Cards
I'm not working on much of anything EXCEPT cards! Our World Card Making Day event was a success, with 16 ladies creating 240 cards. As I've stated in a previous post, half the cards are going to the Little Rock Ronald McDonald House, and half will be sent to Cards for Soldiers. Below are photos of two of the cards we created during this event.

As if that were not enough, one of my church friends and I have organized a project to create Christmas cards for the inmates of one of Arkansas' prisons. Several members of our church are actively engaged in the "Kairos Prison Ministry" there. Our priest told us of a need for cards for the inmates to send to their families and several ladies have risen to the challenge. We'll be making Christmas cards next week -- several hundred if we work it right.

Why Have All the Birds Gone? 

All summer long, my yard was filled with birds: four or five families of cardinals ; a plethora of squawking blue jays; grackles by the dozen; lots of sparrows of different sorts; some randomly visiting chickadees and nuthatches; a family of hummingbirds. I filled my feeders at least twice a day and spent hours watching them. On the first day of Autumn, except for the hummingbirds, the majority of them disappeared, leaving only a few stalwart hangers-on. I've seen only one blue jay in the last three weeks, and not a single grackle. Even the squirrels have deserted me. I suspected that the neighbor's cat, lurking under the trees, had scared them off. I shooed her out of the yard every time I saw her (Maggie's a nice cat, but I don't want her around my birds).

Maggie may be playing a part in their absence, but something else is scaring them off, and today I saw the culprit! A large hawk swooped through the yard and perched in the branches of one of my trees not far from the feeders. I've never before seen a hawk in this neighborhood, much less my own yard! Of course I ran to get my camera but was not quick enough. Just as I was focusing the telephoto lens, off it went!

I watched for quite some time, and finally a brave little nuthatch visited the feeder, soon followed by two cardinal pairs. The hawk must have been long gone for them to come out of hiding. Fortunately, all my trees are still fully leafed, so there are hiding places for them.

* * *

More, later.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Would You Like to Fly in My Beautiful Balloon?

That's ME up there!

It finally happened! This morning's weather was perfecto-mundo in every way, and I was airborne at sunrise. More details and more photos later (at least the fewest number I can limit myself to share -- I took 237 and Gardening Daughter, who drove me to this event, took 55.) I promise not to overwhelm you. The first two photos in this post were taken by Gardening Daughter, who assisted with balloon preparation, and followed the chase car all the way to landing. The sunrise photo below is mine.

Pilot David and me just before lift-off. Do I look happy? I was!

Sunrise over Lake Maumelle, west of Little Rock, Arkansas

It was marvelous!

I'm off and away now to participate in World Card Making Day activities.

More later.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Yesterday was a busy day. It started off somberly, and ended joyously, with blessings on both ends.

One of dear young (47) church members died in his sleep last week. He had been courageously battling cancer for some time, but his death was unexpected and a shock to us all.

Blessing #1: At church yesterday morning, we had a lovely and well-attended service to celebrate his life. Members of the Arkansas National Guard, of which he was a member, were present as the honor guard and conducted a military service -- twenty-one gun salute, Taps, and all -- after the church service. Afterward, the ladies of the church, and a gentleman or two, did us proud with delicious food brought in for a luncheon for the family and friends. About 50 folks stayed to share the meal and visit with the family.

Gardening Daughter had created a beautiful arrangement of glowing salmon pink roses for the altar. I regret that I do not have a photograph of the arrangement; as I knew I would be actively engaged in the service and then helping with the luncheon, I didn't take my camera to church at all.

As is our custom, we offered the altar flowers to the family, should they wish to have them; they graciously declined since none of them live in the local area. We decided to share these flowers in the same manner as we share our Sunday flowers. Each week, we take the altar flowers to shut-in parishioners, or to a local nursing home, or to someone in the hospital, etc. Upon this occasion, we decided to take the flowers to the Arkansas Veterans' Home in southwest Little Rock, even though it is about 25 miles away. We divided the arrangement into two large and two smaller arrangements, since the original altar piece was too large to transport easily.

Blessing #2: I am very glad that we decided to take them to the veterans' home. Not only was the staff delighted to receive them (I think the home gets very little attention from the public at large), we garnered very nice comments from nearly all the residents who were outside their rooms as we carried the arrangements into the building and down the hall to their "rec room." They seemed surprised and delighted that ladies were bringing them flowers. It was a real spirit-lifter for us, and I'm sure our departed friend would have been glad to know that the flowers were taken to that particular place.

As I said: blessings on both ends. Thank you, Lord.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Early Autumn Jaunt

Yesterday I took the day off from card-making activities and drove to Hot Springs Village, about 70 miles southwest of my home. It was an absolutely gorgeous day: sun shining brightly, a slight breeze and temperature just perfect! I opened the sun roof of my car and rolled down the side windows just to let the wonderful, crisp early Autumn air wash over and through me. I took big, deep breaths as I drove through the still-green countryside and became almost giddy during the drive. Must have been all the fresh air that made me feel that way.

My journey was made by traveling on one of Arkansas' lovely scenic by-ways, a sometimes narrow two-lane highway that winds its way over the gentle hills of central Arkansas with more than a few 25- 35 mph curves. We have several beautiful scenic drives in the state, but this is one of my favorites, perhaps because loved ones are waiting at the end of my drive.

The reason for the trip was to help celebrate the 86th birthday of my brother-in-law, who is an absolutely wonderful guy (even if he is a Yankee), and who is looking quite robust for a person who is even older than I (see photo below). In the interests of home safety, we didn't put 86 candles on his cake. I don't think the delicious chocolate cake (his favorite, of course) would have held them all, anyway, and the one we lit did quite nicely.

Happy Birthday, Dear Leon!

Before we arrived at birthday cake and present-opening time, we had driven a few miles outside the Village to a small home-style restaurant for a pleasant and most satisfactory lunch. In the restaurant's parking lot, we spied an interesting vehicle. When I questioned our waitress, I was told that it was the property of the restaurant owners. After our meal, I approached them to say how much I admired their unusual looking car. They told me it was a replica of a 1929 Mercedes Gazelle. Of course I had to get a couple of photos! I love the headlights and the trumpet- shaped horns on the front.

On such a lovely Autumn day, I certainly would have enjoyed jaunting about the countryside in this little beauty!

Yesterday's euphoria will have to last for a while. This morning brought a heavily overcast sky and the threat of rain -- which materialized this evening. Ah! How grateful I am for memories!