Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Stage Was Set

 We spent days setting up and prepping for Thanksgiving. There were more than 500 volunteers this year! That's a record.
 Our reception area - with coffee, tea and snacks. 
Plus a few areas with games and puzzles for the kids.

Our clothing bank. 
Everything throughout the entire day was free.


 Preparing the 'dining room' and the server stations

Then the stage was set and the guests were brought in.

This was taken at one of our outreaches before covid

The servers resetting the tables for the second seating
With all three seatings we served more than 1100 guests

Can you guess which one was the entertainer?

He's phenomenal! He goes by Chagy, (Shaggy) He's bilingual and does the show in both Spanish and English. At once! A sentence in one and then the other. And he doesn't skip a beat. He absolutely captivates the audience - they laugh and clap and cheer. I peeked in one time and every one was captivated! Every face looking at the stage. And best of all? He explains the gospel so well. More than 80 people gave their lives to the Lord!
We had our family Thanksgiving on Friday (forgot to take pictures) so I was up, put the turkey in the oven and got the house ready for Sharaya and Ally. After dinner we played Mexican Train and had lemon meringue pie for dessert. Then I was back at work on Saturday to help the custodians get the building ready for Sunday. Sunday of course was church and I taught my Sunday school class.

On Monday we got the day off so I was able to just relax. Stayed in my bathrobe the entire day. Took a shower... and put on clean pajamas. 😊 And watched one of my favorite movies of all time: The Little Drummer Boy. The old stop-motion version that came out in the 1960s. Every time I see it I'm taken back to my seven year old self sitting cross-legged on the living room floor completely mesmerized. 

When Aaron admits to the king that he doesn't have anything worthy to give the Baby Jesus, I can't help but feel the same way, and the tears come. Then he humbly chooses to give the only thing he knows, he plays his drum. As small and insignificant as Aaron thinks it is, that little baby, the Lord Jesus accepts it, and accepts Aaron.  ♫"And then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum..." Brings me to tears even now. We're all His children. He still accepts us today, still wants us to come to Him, still smiles at us. He is such a good and Holy God. 

We have so much to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Countdowwn, Turkey Toss, One of Her Favorite Things

Five days before Thanksgiving. For us the holiday is focused on our church outreach. We feed about 1200 from our community: the homeless, first responders who are on duty, immigrants, and entire families. They come to have their photos taken, enjoy a complete Thanksgiving meal, access to our clothing bank, and a fun show that includes the gospel. Plus there are more than 400 volunteers.
We've been prepping for months and tomorrow begins room set ups. It's a grueling week but by the weekend, I'm so grateful to have been a part of such an amazing outreach. Something our family has been a part of for more than 25 years. These are from last year...
 We have Translators

 We'll have our family Thanksgiving on Friday. Sharaya and Ally will come over, we'll watch our traditional after-dinner movie and play games. And we'll probably video chat with Diana and Peter. Then on Saturday...
 This is what I plan to do all day! 😊

 Beth and I got our hair cut this week. Same styles, just shorter. I suggested we take a selfie together but she didn't seem excited about that idea. So I just took one of her, then took mine when I got home. She'll talk for days about everyone who will see how different she looks, "I can show my friends on Tuesday!" "My sisters will be surprised!" She loves getting her hair cut!

 We had our Third Annual Turkey Toss at work last week. The Executive Assistant comes up with the most fun and crazy events for us - the goal is to see who can throw a frozen, wrapped-in-duct-tape turkey the farthest. This year there was a Lightweight division, for those of us over 55 (and there are a lot actually!) I think ours was a game hen. Anyway, there was hot chocolate... and lots of laughter!

 See the blue dot at the top of the yellow tree? That's the turkey!
Some of them threw 29 feet, 31 feet! It was crazy far!
I don't know if you can make out the blue chalk inside the circle. They put our initials where our throws landed. And you see the traffic cone? Right there at the starting line? That's my throw. Yep, 4 feet. I thought I would try to toss it like I was bowling but it slipped out of my hand! There were no actual prizes, just the honor of titles like Highest Toss, Farthest Toss, and mine? I got Biggest Oops! 😂 I absolutely love where I work! We have the most fun!

 I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving. I pray no one is alone this weekend and that you get to share a meal with others. Whether it's with family, or friends or if you come to an outreach like ours, maybe with friends you haven't met yet. I'm thankful for you. You bless me more than you'll ever know. May the Lord bless you too!

Sunday, November 12, 2023

It's Official, Same Place but Different, "There's So Many!"

I hope you've had a fun, relaxing weekend.
Beth and I ran errands the other day. First we went to Hobby Lobby! All their Christmas stuff is out! I bought two very different stars to go over my Nativity set. One is white and sparkly, the other is wooden - not sure which one will look best. And Beth bought a star to go on top of her Christmas tree. We also looked at ALL the ornaments, we could have spent all day in that one aisle!
But we also had to get to Target, that was our main reason for going out. We started in women's clothing, then I headed to bins and baskets while she went to electronics, then we met in stationary. We were all over that store! Then off to the grocery store. It's crazy, by the time we finished all that we were ready to go home!
I took another day and went back to the waterfront. This time it was on the other side of the marina, over by the dog park. We've had some gorgeous weather lately!

This is the dog park, looking south

Then I turned around and took a picture looking north
We have about a mile of accessible shoreline 
The marina is just north of this, then the pier and ferry dock are beyond that

I was able to get out and do some yard work this week - cleaned up the hostas and calla lilies - and put my red lanterns out on the front porch. I will confess, I've started decorating for Christmas. I found this picture in with my Christmas cards and recently bought two trees at the Dollar Tree. So I put them on the mantel. It's official! 😂

 Well, Beth needs some things at the drug store so we're headed out again. All this shopping is certainly adding to her step count!
Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Cotton Candy, Jelly Fish, and Civic Duty

Chuck and I went down to the waterfront the other day. It's been cold here but we've had so much sunshine,we just had to get out in it!
Saw what looked like jelly fish all along the shore, this was one of about eight that we saw. I gently touched it with a stick and it seemed like jelly, we've just never seen any like this.

  We walked along the pier and saw a lot of crabs, fish... it was a busy place under that water! And we took a shadow selfie.

See the little crab? Chuck said it was a lot bigger than it looked.

 And it was pretty busy above the water too!

 Mt. Baker is about 70 miles north of us (the opposite direction of Mt Rainier) and was so beautiful. Just pops right out of the landscape.

When we got home Chuck asked Beth if she wanted to go for a walk. We're planning a trip over Christmas and they're trying to build up their stamina. 

 Chuck had suggested to her to walk the next day too. I hadn't been home for too long when I heard the key in the door. In she comes, had her head phones on, was bopping to the music, and when she saw me she said, "I went again!" Woohoo! Proud of her. Proud of both of them! 
We filled out our local ballots and they're ready to be dropped off.

 We had our Harvest Party last night: popcorn, cotton candy, face painting, inflatables, cake walk, and more than 20 carnival games in classrooms all throughout the building. There were a lot of people and everyone had a good time. Especially the child that went missing. Found him sitting in the middle of the giant maze. (lots of refrigerator boxes!) The volunteer told us that he'd get to the end, yell "Nope, don't want it to end!" and head back the other direction! One of his parents actually had to crawl in to get him. 😂
I was working so Chuck and Beth stayed home. We're not allowed to take pictures of all the people - so here's the Commons with one of the inflatables - before everyone arrived. The pink and yellow baskets on the left are filled with bags of cotton candy.


That's about it from here. Welcome to November. I'm very tempted to put some white lights outside. And inside for that matter.