Monthly Archives: November 2016

Light The Night

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Light The Night

“Light the Night is an event that we do as a church to share the love of Jesus with our community.” Pastor Becky Goodman.

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A highlight of the time I spent in Leavenworth was volunteering at Light The Night at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene, where approximately 265 people gather together to worship at Sunday services. Light The Night was spearheaded by Pastor Becky Goodman, pastor for children and families, and attracted some 1400 plus attendees. This annual event is eagerly anticipated by residents of Chelan County and I feel truly blessed that I was able to share with the community and participate this year.

I also enjoyed working with Becky in the planning stages. She was incredibly organized and we easily marked the number of chairs, tables and canopies on maps so that the volunteers could grab a map and know where the items were needed. Games and food areas were also mapped out. We laminated tags for the buckets of candy to be distributed at the games.

Some 70 volunteers were involved in setting up this event, including about 20 children and teachers from the school.  The church parking lot was transformed into a mega carnival on two extremely rainy days. Inside the church activity was bustling. Volunteers sorted through thousands of candies and filled dozens of bags of popcorn. Backdrops and supplies for the games were hauled out of the basement, as were heavy canopies. Artwork and laminating attracted some of the more creative volunteers. On the night of the event approximately 90 volunteers ran the games, attended the gates, provided security and cleaned up afterwards. Generous donations from church members as well as the community at large included canopies, donuts, hot dogs, apple cider, firewood and decorations. A man brought in a miniature horse for the petting zoo and brought his own fencing and brushes. The children were delighted that they could brush the horse. Someone also brought in a bunny for the petting zoo.

A popular and important activity was Praise Party,  where the music played had been used at Vacation Bible School events. Sixteen games were set up in two rows under canopies. There was a bouncy house with a slide, an Angry bird game and an obstacle course. There was also a campfire area where people could toast marshmallows and make s’mores. The food areas attracted crowds of people as well. The children were all excited to see the fire truck with the lights flashing, especially when they got to sit in the driver’s seat. Attendees were also encouraged to submit their own pictures in a photo contest.

Other than two children who temporarily lost sight of their families, there were no major security issues. I was at one of the gates and thoroughly enjoyed welcoming people, many of whom were dressed in elaborate costumes. As they exited, adults and children alike expressed their gratitude to the church and the volunteers for their efforts in reaching out to the community. Memories of this amazing event will be stored in my heart forever.

 

The above photos and several more can be viewed on the Facebook page of Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene.

 

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I’m Back!

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I’m Back!

Tuesday afternoon my friend Karen picked me up and we headed for Seattle. Leavenworth was overcast and definitely in sync with the tearful goodbyes to my friends. It rained off and on all the way into Seattle. Karen dropped me off at the hotel and shortly after it started to pour. I was debating ordering in a pizza when the skies cleared, so I headed over to Denny’s.

It was just starting to spit a little on the walk back to the hotel. At 4 in the morning I was aboard the airport shuttle. By 4:45 I was checked in, my luggage tagged and I had cleared security. I had about twenty minutes to spare before boarding my flight.

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We landed in Los Angeles early, but had to wait a while for a gate. I had time to grab some food before my next flight. I detest airline food. Even the brands of beer offered are iffy. Not that food at airports is the greatest although there was lots of variety in L.A.

We departed a few minutes late and landed in Mazatlan a little late. The lineups for security and immigration were long and slow as usual. There is never a hurry in Mexico. My bag was one of the first to show up and I walked into the terminal. I was delighted to see a driver with my name on a sign and I was eternally grateful for the Pacifico he offered me in the van.

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To say I was exhausted when I got to Sofia’s home is an understatement. Got the Wifi password into my phone, messaged back and forth a little, and then slept for twelve hours straight! This morning I headed to the ATM and to Soriana for some groceries. I came home drenched from the heat and humidity and took a refreshing shower. It’s hard to believe that last Thursday morning I went to Bible Study wearing a ski jacket.

Tomorrow is the weekend and it looks like I’m moving again on Sunday. Yes Kyle, your mother is a nomad. You’ll have to check my next post to find out more details.

Nomad On The Move

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Nomad On The Move

I was talking to my son the other day and once again he remarked that his mother is a nomad. And he’s right. In the past six years, with the exception of time spent in Guadalajara and Winnipeg, I’ve lived in Culiacan, Irapuato, Rosarito and Mazatlan in Mexico. I’ve been in Leavenworth, Washington for four months and this week it’s time to return to Mazatlan via Seattle and Los Angeles. 

Usually I’m chomping at the bit to get back to Mexico, but not this time. I’m looking forward to the warmth and sunshine down south, but I will miss the warmth and sunshine radiating from my new friends and church family here in Leavenworth. To say that the past four months have been a spectacular experience is an understatement. There are no words to adequately express how amazing my life has been here. And it is my fervent hope that I will be able to return next summer.

I was warned that I would find it difficult to leave here. I was warned that I would love the church here and not want to return to Mexico. But back in July that all seemed rather trivial. Until I arrived here. Until I acclimatized myself to living in a small town. After all, my original intent was to stay a few weeks to visit a friend and do research for my current work-in-progress. In my wildest dreams I never imagined the treasures I would find here.

That first night in July driving in to Leavenworth……………I was surrounded by majestic mountains on either side of the highway. Once we arrived in town, the twinkling lights transported me to a fairyland. To me it felt like Christmas, but as I was later to find out, this was nothing compared to what goes on in November.

Yesterday morning I was sitting in church and a swarm of emotion overcame me. I recall the first time I attended a service here and how strange it felt compared with other churches I had gone to in Canada and Mexico. Yesterday I looked around me and saw a sea of familiar faces and truly felt like I belonged here. And I am sad that I have to leave.

The holidays are fast approaching. I wish I could stay here for Thanksgiving and the tree lighting and the Living Nativity next month at church. I hear that the ice festival in January is awesome as well. This enchanting Bavarian town has grown on me.

Although it’s exciting to travel and have adventures, it also means always saying goodbye to people I’ve become close with. Yesterday at church there were lots of hugs. Last week’s Women’s Bible Study was my last and tonight  I will bid a fond farewell to my Life Group. I will always treasure the memories in my heart of my time here in Leavenworth. 

But now, unfortunately, it’s time to finish packing!

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Veterans Day In The USA

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Veterans Day In The USA

I am Canadian. Today is November 11th and is known as Remembrance Day in Canada. I have vivid childhood memories of going to school for services to commemorate those who fought so bravely for our freedom. By the time my children were in school these services no longer took place on the 11th as schools were closed that day. I usually attended a service at my children’s schools on an alternate day.

Today I am in Washington state where November 11th is synonymous with Veterans Day. I am totally overwhelmed by the manner in which this day is celebrated here. Special services are held. There are displays everywhere……….store windows, newspapers, television and more. Restaurants offer free meals to veterans. 

We decided to go for dinner to Applebees in Wenatchee. I snagged a photo of Steve with a veteran who greeted us outside at the front door. It turns out that this man had served in the Canadian Armed Forces.

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We were presented with poppies.

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The restaurant was festively decorated.

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Staff attentively offered their thanks to Steve and the other veterans who had come to have dinner. It turns out that our server was originally from Kamloops, B.C. in Canada.

At the table next to us a man in army fatigues was sitting by himself. We all struck up a conversation and it turns out that he had been a medic in the Army. Steve had been a medic in the Navy. They found a lot to talk about.

Thank you to Steve and all veterans for your service to our countries. You have my undying respect and admiration.

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Looking For Love

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Looking For Love

Internet dating sites. They are everywhere. We are bombarded by their advertisements when we watch TV or listen to the radio. They show up on Facebook and other social media. Statistics show that you are more likely to meet your soulmate on the Internet than you are to meet them at the gym, work, school or in your community. There are websites designed to help you create your perfect profile.

When I lived in Canada I had friends who constantly perused these sites. At the time I was very married and quite dismissive of their efforts to find the perfect partner on line. In actuality most of them met with disastrous results yet they were hooked on these sites.

A close friend of mine here has chosen to join not one but two of these sites, and he has graciously shared his experiences with me and has encouraged me to write a blog post about them. So here goes…………..

My friend is in his late fifties, a casualty of multiple divorces and has just recently ended a long distance relationship with a woman in another country. He readily admits that he is needy and craves attention. He is in search of an honest and sincere lady with minimal baggage and grown, independent children.

He signed up on Our Time, a site for people over the age of fifty. He described himself as toned and athletic build and stated his hobbies and favorite pastimes. He also included several photos on his profile, as he is searching for an attractive partner with a build similar to his own.

Within minutes he was deluged with women from all over the USA, as well as other countries. He was unprepared for the huge response from women in their thirties. What in the world were they doing on a site supposedly geared to people over the age of 50? They eagerly provided him with phone numbers for texting and email addresses. And he groaned loudly about all the photos of women who are a little on the heavy side and don’t meet his criteria for physical appearance.

Dismayed by the lack of proper matching by profile, he then chose to join Match. He is frustrated by all the women out there who want to text and message but not talk on the phone. Equally annoying are all the women who have messaged him with contact info, yet their profiles are empty of words as well as photos. I caution him to beware of scams.

My friend is very trusting. While he is open and honest, I highly doubt that everyone out there in cyberspace is. It will be interesting to see just how his new relationships unfold. I firmly believe that the best way to get to know someone is in person, face to face. Only then are we able to determine if the profile pics are realistic and if the words written are sincere and true.

I suppose there is a plus to all this. He is learning about Skype and Google Chat, as he has found a few women who want to actually talk. And he has found a couple of local ladies and has spent hours on the phone with them. One of them he has actually had two dates with, and he is meeting another woman over the weekend. These two women have divulged a great deal of information about themselves and their past relationships to him, much of which he has shared with me.

Last night he informed me that the latest woman of interest lives in Guyana and they are now trying to figure out a way to talk other than just messaging. And he is going home to the east coast for Thanksgiving and is contemplating looking up a couple of the ladies in that area. His search is indeed intense and filled with enthusiasm. Will it be another long distance relationship? Or will he decide to engage in a relationship with someone who lives closer by? I know he will continue to confide in me, but I think that this will be my one and only post on his adventures in the Internet dating world. 

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My Imaginary Friends

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My Imaginary Friends

It’s Thursday. I feel so lonely. I had all this time on my hands today and looked forward to doing some serious writing. Instead I wound up baking and cooking and going for a long walk to commune with nature. You see, my friends have deserted me today. Not all of my friends, it’s just my imaginary friends that aren’t talking to me today.  And I have been blessed with writer’s block instead.

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I love to write. I love to pour my feelings and emotions on paper using words. My characters have distinctive personalities and voices. But today they are silent. The drama is missing. And I am struggling to write anything meaningful today. I miss their lively chatter and wonder where my imaginary friends have been all day.

Living in Leavenworth has been very conducive to writing. The view from my window is greenery, and with the exception of the month of October, brilliant sunshine. It is peaceful and comfortable. Even all the rain in October was soothing as I sat at my keyboard. 

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It’s now Friday. This morning my imaginary friends were nowhere in sight. So off I went to Wenatchee to begin my last minute shopping before I head back to Mexico later this month. I then stopped in Cashmere for lunch. at my favorite Mexican restaurant. I also spent some time at the library before heading for home.

Inspired by a fairytale Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel, my imaginary friends have finally decided to rejoin me. Perhaps they too were feeling lonely. Maybe they just needed a break. But they are back and they are talking to me again!