Fall Has Arrived

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Fall Has Arrived

The temperature is dropping and the leaves have begun changing color. Summer is now a memory. But it has been an eventful week.

I belong to the Bavarian Book Club at the Leavenworth Library. Once a month we get together to discuss a book we’ve read. The book we reviewed on Monday was by a Washington author and took place primarily in the San Juans on Orcas Island. It was interesting for me as I had spent some time in that area back in August so I could really relate to the places mentioned in the book.

Tuesday’s highlight was attending the memorial service at Spirit of America in Cashmere. One of the speakers recalled his 9/11 experience of boarding a flight at Pangborn in Wenatchee only to be directed off the plane moments later as the FAA had grounded all aircraft in response to the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. I was living in Canada back then and recall that tragic day vividly.

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In addition to my regular Wednesday afternoon bridge game, the weekly children’s ministry program at church had its first gathering. Snacks and a video were followed by bible study, games and crafts. It was wonderful to have such a great turnout the first week and I look forward to sharing more with the children until I head back to Mexico in a few weeks.

Thursday morning I taught a fitness class. I had missed Tuesday’s due to the 9/11 memorial service. In the afternoon I went down to the Lions Club Park for the Farmers Market. And in the evening Becky and I went to the first meeting of the season of a BFS (Bible Study Fellowship) group.

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Saturday morning found me at Central Washington Hospital at a meeting of the Wenatchee Valley Autoimmune Network. The guest speaker presented an interesting experiential workshop on the benefits of music and sound in reducing stress and inflammation. After this presentation I went upstairs and visited with a friend recuperating from surgery in the hospital. In the evening I was at the senior enter with several others enjoying some great music. Six musicians had turned out to jam together.

This morning after church Laurel and I went out to Sleeping Lady to look at the amazing glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly. Although it was cloudy, this is still a beautiful piece. It is even more beautiful in the dark when lit up. The rain began and we then went out to the Wild Huckleberry at the golf course for lunch.

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The leaves are changing color. I will have to go and visit my tree in Cashmere this week.

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Anything and Everything

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Anything and Everything

September means fall which means that it’s time to start thinking about returning to Mexico for the winter. But the last week has just been filled with so many interesting adventures and there is still so much on the horizon here in Leavenworth.

I went to my first ever county fair on Thursday in Chelan. Unfortunately I had no battery left in my phone for photos so you’ll have to use your imagination.

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In the first building the 4H kids were displaying all their animals. I have never seen so many different colored roosters, chickens and rabbits in my life! Some of the kids had them out of their cages and perched on their shoulders. We even saw goats vying for ribbons, some of whom would later be sold at auction.

Next we walked through a barn containing cages of pigs. They were all sound asleep except for one. These animals were much larger than I had ever contemplated.

Another building found the walls covered with quilts. There was such a variety of colors, designs and sizes. There were displays of prize-winning vegetables, jams and baking. A pumpkin weighing 611 pounds was prominently featured.

Other buildings housed children’s and adults’ artwork, as well as a display of model trains in a variety of different scenes. There was also a children’s building where kids could play. We skipped that one but did explore one of the tiny houses.

There was a midway for ride enthusiasts, entertainment on stages including a magician and a levitater. There were booths selling jewelry and clothing. The food vendors were out in full force with everything from corn dogs to curly fries to funnel cakes.

On Monday we drove out to Ellensburg. This is a quaint college town and I did snag some photos of the campus.

Next we headed out to Cle Elum and on the way back drove through Liberty.

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On Sunday we went to Snowy Owl for Elder Speak, a program sponsored by the Riddle Foundation. This event is aimed at bringing generations together and takes place on Grandparents Day. Interviews with seniors are filmed by high school students. The seniors then come on stage and engage in a panel discussion. Questions from children as well as the audience in general are answered and discussed.

On Friday I went to the Wenatchee Valley Museum. I had been there last summer and was eager to see the displays again. While I had taken photos and videos of the train on a previous visit, the area I find most interesting bans photography. The history of Clyde Pangborn, aka the upside-down pilot, is depicted here. There is also a country store, a doctor’s office and a few other displays in this area. Here are some of the photos I did take.

Tomorrow I’m looking forward to the 9/11 service at Spirit of America in Cashmere. I went last year and there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience. It was such a moving ceremony with an excellent keynote speaker.

Throw all of the above in with my usual routine of children’s ministry at church, volunteering at the senior center, teaching fitness classes and playing bridge and you can understand why the time passes so quickly here. Friendships have grown stronger and Leavenworth indeed feels like home to me. No wonder I haven’t given much thought yet to returning to Mexico.

Something’s Missing

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Something’s Missing

I’ve written quite a few blog posts over the years. Two topics I never write about are religion and politics. But today I’ve decided to touch on religion.

Last weekend I was at a webinar at church dealing with children’s ministry. I am an active volunteer in this field at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene. The highlight of the summer for me is reaching out to the children during Vacation Bible School. In the fall before I head back to Mexico I will also help out in the Wednesday evening children’s program. I also have volunteered with Light the Night, although this year my time here in the USA is up before the actual event takes place this year.

Back to the Webinar. In the presentations and subsequent discussions, they confirmed what had been missing in my own life, what I had missed out on in my childhood. And I now am more able to fully understand the newly found comfort that I have in my life today.

As a child, along with my family we attended Herzlia Adas-Yeshurun, an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Winnipeg. Weekdays I found myself at Hebrew School after regular public school classes let out. Friday nights and Saturdays were spent in synagogue. Sunday morning was at Hebrew School as well.

Families were separated and did not sit together. Because this was an Orthodox synagogue, the women sat on one side of the sanctuary and the men sat on the other with a tall barrier (a mechitzah) in between. This was to prevent distracting the men from prayer.  Women were not allowed up on the front platform (the Bimah) to conduct or participate in services. They were not allowed anywhere near a Torah.

I learned all the prayers in Hebrew and in English. At home we did keep kosher and observe holidays. But there was something missing. That something was that I never really had a relationship with God. I was merely going through the motions of being a Jew. If I ever did question anything I was learning in Hebrew School, my parents would admonish me and tell me that what I was learning was right and that it wasn’t to be challenged. For instance, I particularly found it hard to understand why my parents frowned upon my associating with a Catholic girl who lived nearby. After all, are we not to love others, no matter what religion they practice?

By some miracle I did marry a Jewish man. We didn’t keep kosher and holidays were merely endured for the sake of our parents. Practicing a religion did not exist for us until we had children, when it became somewhat of a dilemma.

We provided our children with a more Conservative-Reform type of background. When they were young, they attended a Jewish parochial school. My son had a Bar Mitzvah and my daughter had a Bat Mitzvah. They grew older and were no longer interested in the traditions. That was fine with me. And religion drifted out of our lives.

In 2009 I was baptized at Church of the Rock in Winnipeg. A few months later I went on a mission trip to Mexico with members of my church. Two things happened. I fell in love with the people and the country of Mexico. But more importantly I actually put into practice as a Christian what I had learned. I wasn’t merely talking the talk. I was now walking the walk.

Finding a Christian church in Mexico, a predominantly Catholic country, is quite a feat. Consequently I often find myself in a Cathedral where I contemplate my own meditation and prayers. I consider Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene as my home church, and am so thankful to have found this treasure two years ago when I first visited Leavenworth.

Pastor Becky Goodman is pastor of children and families here. She has become a good friend and we have often have stimulating conversations. We were out for dinner a couple of weeks ago and she asked me how I could have gone without religion for thirteen years given the upbringing I’d had. My reply was that you never miss what wasn’t there. How do you miss a relationship with God when there was never one to begin with?

Recently I visited a friend in hospital. Before we left, we gathered around and held hands and prayed. Prayer is powerful as is giving praise to God. These are two concepts that were also missing from my childhood. The words may have been spoken back then, but there was no meaning behind them.

I messed up with my own children. I was so quick to dismiss religion from our lives back then. I passed my non-relation down to my children. But a new opportunity has been provided for me. I have a new granddaughter. It is my fervent hope that Maddie will be here for Vacation Bible School in four years time when she is old enough. I so want her to experience a true, loving relationship with God. I do not want what was missing in my life to be missing in hers. 

 

Wenatchee Riverfront Railway

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Wenatchee Riverfront Railway

The Wenatchee Riverfront Railway is located in Wenatchee, Washington. It is a 10 in. gauge miniature railway and offers rides once a month weather permitting. It is also open to reservations for private events.

On Saturday mercifully the smoke had cleared for a few hours so I opted to go for a train ride. Link Transit was my chauffeur from Leavenworth to Wenatchee and then from Columbia Station to Riverfront Park. I alighted from the trolley and headed for the station.

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Along the way I came across this colorful caboose which was open to the public.

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Next I entered the station to purchase my ticket.

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Moments later I was aboard the train and we were off.

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Here are some shots I took during the ride.

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After the ride I strolled along the path admiring the garden.

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I caught a shot of the train as it came by.

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And then it was time to check out the bridge and see where it would lead me.

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Music and Movies

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Music and Movies

It’s the middle of August. Here in Washington it’s time to get ready to go back to school. In Mexico some of the students have already begun classes. But the temperature here still soars into the 90s and it’s hard to believe that summer is drawing to a close.

Leavenworth Summer Theater featured three amazing performances this season. At the Ampitheater up on Ski Hill Road, The Sound of Music delighted the audience from the time Maria sauntered through the woods in the opening scene until the final scene where the Von Trapp family stood in the hills above as the musical came to an end. What a setting!

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This was also the venue for Little Women, another outstanding performance. The third was My Fair Lady which was held at The Fish Hatchery. Don’t let the name of the location fool you as the outdoor stage was surrounded by the natural beauty of the mountains. 

We also attended a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Short Shakespeareans. This was held at The Riverside Playhouse in Wenatchee and all performers were between the ages of 1 to 16. What a fabulous way to introduce children to the magical world of Shakespeare!

This past week The Jubilant Bellringers from Des Moines, Washington were in Leavenworth. The musicians ranged in age from tenth graders to college freshmen. They also play a variety of instruments besides handbells and we were treated to a trumpet solo as well as a saxophone solo.

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Due to the heavy smoke that has invaded our town recently, the annual Village Voices picnic was moved indoors from The Lions Park. This is a nonprofit community choir that was founded in 1982. These people have a passion for singing and have the opportunity to perform in a professionally-directed chorus. Of course the Bavarian theme that Leavenworth is known for is also reflected in the music.  The Christmas season is synonymous with Village Voices.

The music continued with the movie Momma Mia Here We Go Again. While I do prefer live performances when it comes to musicals, the music was fabulous and I felt that the storyline was better than the one in the last movie.

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor brought many of us in the audience to tears. I recall watching the TV show with my children back in the 80s and some memories were brought back to life for me. In our crazy world, it would be most refreshing to have more children’s programming available that is similar to Mr. Rogers.

Another excellent movie was Christopher Robin. I believe that this movie is geared more towards adults than children. There were actually very few children in the audience when we saw it. The wisdom contained in the short phrases spoken by Pooh is both meaningful and memorable.

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It’s been quite the summer for music and movies in my life. Has it been for you?

Whidbey Island

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Whidbey Island

After a ferry ride that included a very brief stop at Shaw Island, we arrived back in Anacortes. A short drive brought us to Oak Harbor and the Auld Holland Inn, our home for the night.

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The following day we hit the road again. We arrived in Langley where we had coffee and then enjoyed a walk along the water. The accordionist serenaded us at Useless Bay Cafe. The view was beautiful although the clouds prevailed.

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Our next stop was Coupville where the skies had cleared. We had lunch out on the pier and then took a walk through the town.

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On the drive back to Leavenworth, we stopped in La Conner. This delightful town featured an interesting antique store and I adored the vintage signs on the side of the building. The old bucaneer also caught my eye as we drove down the main street.

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This was a whirlwind trip of the island and I realize now why this is such a popular tourist area. I have often heard friends talk of Whidbey and now I can say that I have been there too.