The Good News & The Bad News – Aug 21, 2013

The Good News: Had an enjoyable dinner & fellowship with girlfriends tonight!

The Bad News: After having returned over $100 worth of items to IKEA that I had bought for Brady’s apartment (since we found other things he liked better elsewhere) I turned right around and spent $73 of it before I even left the store! (TV stand & four canvas boxes to fit inside the cubes.) :-/


The Good News & The Bad News – Aug 19, 2013

The Good News:  Today I finished reading a book written by one of my favorite authors:  Maeve Binchy.  The book was titled “A Week in Winter”.  I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters, some new and some familiar from other novels that she has written.

The Bad News: This is the last new Maeve Binchy book I’ll ever read! Sadly she passed away in July 2012 soon after finishing this book, so there will be no more new books written by this talented and cherished author.

Denver First Church of the Nazarene (Englewood, CO)

Aug 11, 2013 – Denver First Church of the Nazarene

Denver First Church of the Nazarene is located at 3800 E. Hampden Ave in Englewood Colorado, 80113 one block west of Colorado Blvd. The church’s mission is to LOVE God with our whole heart and life, to GROW in personal faith and understanding of God’s Word, then GO to serve in Christ’s name at home, work and our community.

There are two opportunities for worship on Sunday mornings:

  • 9 am – Music is contemporary & led by a guitar driven band. The atmosphere for this service is casual. The Lead Pastor delivers a relevant Bible-based message.
  • 10:30 am – This service blends music preferences with a variety of praise choruses, hymns, and special music from the Celebration Choir and Orchestra. The Lead Pastor delivers the same Bible-based message that he shared during the earlier service. The atmosphere for this service is casual or semi-formal (with the emphasis on the comfort of the person attending.)

There is Youth & Children’s programming provided at the same times as the services. A nursery is available for babies through toddlers.

Ft. Collins, CO

Aug 10, 2013 – Ft. Collins/Lincoln Center

Ft. Collins is a great midsize college town located along the Colorado Front Range 65 miles north of Denver and is home to Colorado State University. The elevation of Ft. Collins is 5003 feet above sea level.

Ft. Collins has a local music circuit influenced by its college town atmosphere. There are a number of well known microbreweries. The city hosts a number of large Festivals each year in the historic downtown district.

The Lincoln Center (where we saw the Brian Regan concert) is the principal venue for the performing arts in Ft. Collins. It is located at 417 W. Magnolia St.

(Credit given to,_Colorado#Culture .)

Coors Field (Denver, CO)

Aug 9, 2013 – Coors Field

Coors Field

Coors Field (the home of the Colorado Rockies Ball Club) is located at 20th & Blake Streets in Denver’s “lower downtown” (or “LoDo”). The first official game held at Coors Field was played on April 26, 1995 (Colorado 11, New York Mets 9). Coors Field covers 76 acres of prime downtown real estate.

Getting to Coors Field is pretty easy…You can drive & park in one of the nearby lots paying anywhere from $7 on game day (Arapahoe Lot) to $13 on game day (Lot B). If you plan ahead you can purchase a ticket for Lot B for $12 at the Coors Field Ticket Office, Colorado Rockies Dugout Store, by phone at 303-ROCKIES (762-5437) or online at when purchasing tickets. There are also some offsite parking lots available along the 16th Street Mall or the Broadway/Lincoln Center. If you park in one of these you can take a shuttle to the ball park.

Public Transportation (RTD) is another option for getting to Coors Field. Use RockiesRide, Light Rail, the Broadway Shuttle or other regional or local routes. Call (303) 299-6000, or visit Coors Field is located two blocks from Union Station.

Coors Field has 63 luxury suites and 4,526 club seats. The center field bleacher section is called “The Rockpile”. Rockpile seating area consists of 2300 bleacher seats added after the construction of the stadium as a way to increase capacity for popular games. Because these seats are the furthest in the stadium from home plate, they are the least expensive tickets available. Originally seats in the Rockpile cost $1 each….the current price is $4 each.

The Good News & The Bad News (Aug 8 – 18, 2013)

August 18, 2013


The Good News: My honey made the most perfect s’more I have ever seen!
The Bad News: I ate the whole thing!!

August 15, 2013

The Good News: I worked out in the BBH gym with Lynn & Jeanie today!
The Bad News: I could not keep up with them! I was the first one to quit my workout. But next time I’ll try to last a little bit longer!

August 13, 2013

The Good News: Chef Shannon cooking in the BBH kitchen today! Enjoyed hanging out with her in the kitchen while she cooked and am looking forward to having “Coconut Crusted Salmon” with coconut curry sauce & brown rice for dinner!
The Bad News: We didn’t win any Dave Matthews tickets on KBCO 97.3 today, despite several feverish attempts. 😦

August 12, 2013

The Good News: Sleeping in till 7:30 am & not getting out of bed till 8:00 am!
The Bad News: Redgie had to leave for a business trip & won’t be home till Friday. 😦

August 11, 2013

The Good News: I got to worship & praise the Lord in the early service at Denver First Church today! We usually go to the second service so this was a treat!
The Bad News: No Sunday afternoon nap!

August 10, 2013

The Good News: Brooks called us from Bahrain this morning! I almost didn’t answer because the CallerID said “Unknown”….so I’m glad I did! We were able to get on Skype and have a video call with Brooks for about 15 minutes. It was so great to see & talk with him! 🙂

More Good News: We went to Ft. Collins with our friends to see Brian Regan at the Lincoln Center. He is so funny and he uses NO profanity in his act! What a novel experience! Fun!
The Bad News: I learned that I should NEVER buy tickets for an event from a third-party vendor…..OUCH!

August 9, 2013

Coors Field

The Good News: Today we went to the Rockies vs Pirates game at Coors Field with a group of friends. Everyone in the group was supporting the Rockies except Redgie & I (who are Pirates fans.) We ate Rockies Dogs (brats with sautéed peppers & onions) and had a great time catching up and visiting with our friends.
The Bad News: The Pirates played miserably and lost the game 10-1! 😦

August 8, 2013

The Good News: Redgie was traveling home from his business trip today. His flight was overbooked so he volunteered to give up his seat. As a result he received a $425 travel voucher from USAIR, got on a United flight that arrived home sooner than his original flight and was upgraded to First Class! Wow!
The Bad News: We didn’t win the lottery! 😦

How our Intentional Community began

In December 2010 our friends Dave & Lynn made a proposal that changed our lives.

The occasion was the monthly “Africa Movie Night”.  This was a gathering of four couples who were all part of a group from our church that went on a three-week mission trip to the Congo in Africa during the summer of 2008. Since that trip, the four couples (Dave & Lynn, Steve & Jeanie, Randy & Elise and Redgie & myself) had gotten together once per month to share a meal and watch a movie, usually held at one of our homes. The evening usually had a “theme” based upon the movie and the movie was never announced in advance. (We took turns choosing the movie each month.) It was always a lot of fun to try to guess the movie based upon the food chosen for the menu and any other hints that might have been dropped. In the year and a half since the mission trip, the four couples had grown close and really enjoyed the times that we spent together.

On this particular evening, we had finished our dinner when Dave said he’d like to make a proposal before we went downstairs to watch the movie. He reminded us that he & Lynn had been considering buying a new home and that they had been looking at properties off & on for the past few months. Dave told us that they had found a unique property that was on the market. The “story” was that this house was built for a Denver Nuggets player that had never taken possession and was now bank-owned. It had been on the market for several years without a buyer and the bank was dropping the price dramatically each month in order to sell it and get it off their hands.

Dave & Lynn said they liked the house except for one thing… was TOO LARGE for just one couple! (The house was over 25,000 square feet!!)  Dave said that he had always thought how great it would be to have a living situation where they could grow old with their friends around them, and was proposing that we consider the possibility of living in the house with them.  We could rent our own homes and move into the new house all together, forming an “intentional community”.  Our commitment would be for one year initially, and then we would re-evaluate to see how everyone felt about the living arrangements.

Dave made an appointment with his realtor to show the property to the rest of us a few days later.

When we arrived, I realized that Redgie & I had seen this house before.  A few years earlier we were on our way to visit some friends who had built a new house in Parker, CO and happened to drive past this house on our way there.  it stood out because it was so big we thought it might have been a hotel!  We took a detour into the community to take a look and realized it was not a hotel but a (very large)  house that was unoccupied.  We drove into the driveway and peeked into the windows, marveling at the size and beauty of the rooms that we could see.  Now we were going to have an opportunity to see the inside of this amazing house!

From the front of the house we could see three large garage doors which we later learned led into a 6-car garage complete with built-in cabinets all across the back of the garage.  There are also two covered patios visible from the front of the house and across the back of the house was another large covered patio (see photo above.)  Inside the tall front door was a gorgeous entry with two curved staircases that led to the upstairs level.  The house has eight bedrooms, each with its own ensuite bathroom.  There are an additional three powder bathrooms (two on the main level and one in the basement.)  There are nine fireplaces!

There is a large kitchen & hearth room on the main level, along with a formal living room, formal dining room and great room. (The square footage of the great room alone is larger than the house that we lived in when we lived on the Retreat in Winchester!) In the basement is the “rec” room with wet bar (with all appliances of a full kitchen except for a cooktop.) There is a theater that seats eighteen people, and a small “cigar” room that we decided would make a good a craft room.

In addition to all that I have already described, there is a gymnasium and a “spa” on the ground level! In the gym there is a basketball court and an area that could be set up as an exercise area with equipment and weight systems. In the “spa” there is a sauna, steam shower & bathroom.

Needless to say we were all awed by the size of the property! It was so much fun to explore because around every corner was another surprise! “This is our room!” was heard each time a new bedroom was discovered!  We all agreed the most appropriate name for this property was the “Big Big House” (sung to the tune of the same name by the group Audio Adrenaline) or “BBH” for short.

The thought of joining this intentional community and living in the house together was a very intriguing proposition! For Redgie and I the timing was perfect!  Our youngest child was going to be graduating from high school the next May and then going off to college in the fall.   Since I have had children at home since I was 20 years old I was dreading the “empty nest” after he left and especially since Redgie traveled so much for his job.  Being part of this intentional community would help me through that transition.

After much prayer and consideration, Redgie and I decided to join the adventure for at least one year and gave our commitment to Dave & Lynn.  They purchased the BBH in January 2011 and plans were made to move in the following May.  (Since the property had sat empty for 5 years since it was built, there was some finishing work that needed to be done as well as some repairs for water leaks that were discovered after the water was turned on.  Additionally, the very long driveway had disintegrated over the years and was going to be replaced with a beautiful brick paver driveway.)

Unfortunately, for their own specific reasons the other two couples decided they could not join the community at this particular time.  So the initial community consisted of just the two couples:  Dave & Lynn and Redgie & Val.

This is the first chapter of our story:  How our intentional community came to be.  Stay tuned for more posts about Life in the BBH!

Below is a video of some photos of the BBH before we moved in:

An Open Letter to My Son

One of the things I’ve enjoyed since creating this blog on WordPress is seeing the daily writing challenges offered for the bloggers who use this site.  For example, there are the “Weekly Challenge” or “Daily Prompt”.

Today there is a “Daily Prompt” about the “Art of the Open Letter”:

As I was reading the article, I realized that I have already written an open letter on my original blog (Nov 2010).  It was called “Letter to My Son”.  So I am reposting it here in the spirit of participation.



I’ve waffled back and forth whether to post the letter that I recently wrote to my son Brooks upon the occasion of receiving his wings as a Naval Aviator. On the one hand, it WAS a letter written to my son…not necessarily to the world. But, on the other hand, this IS my blog, where I write about my life and my view of the world. So, although it seems a private thing, I decided my message to my son was an appropriate entry in my blog. It conveys my state of mind, emotions and view of the journey that Brooks has been on for these past several years…..

November 3, 2010


I sit on this small airplane, as it takes off from Dallas and heads east to Pensacola, FL. We arc into the sky and I think about how happy I will be to see you at the end of this particular journey. It has been a while since you and I have had time for ourselves, to be together and enjoy each other’s company.

I don’t believe I’ve ever been a guest at your house, before!

Because of whom I am (or rather should I say how I am), I know the message I want to give you at this momentous time of your life would be better delivered in the written form than the spoken word. I wouldn’t be able to speak these words to you without becoming emotional. So, I write….

I remember the Sunday before you left home to enlist in the US Navy. You were only 17 years old, and I will admit that at the time I felt cheated out of your last year at home. You decided to finish high school during the summer between your Junior and Senior years, and convinced us to allow you to enlist in the military. I was not very happy about not only having you leave home too soon, but also embarking on this journey that I was afraid was too impulsively begun.

At the end of the service that morning at church, you, your father and I went to the altar to pray. We prayed for the Lord’s protection upon you as you left home to begin your adult life. I remember telling the Lord that we understood that you were never ours to keep and that you belonged to Him always. We thanked Him for giving us the privilege and often challenging responsibility of your life, and hoped that you would never abandon the life lessons that we tried to teach you while you were in our care.

And then, you were gone.

It has been ten years since that day, and I hardly can believe that is the case. When I look at the man that you have become, I can truthfully say that our prayers that day have been honored. You have become a young man of honor, kindness and determination. Your strength of character has been honed by difficulty and trial. You have developed a moral code that has become the axis of your heart and mind. You are considerate of others and have learned the value of grace.

You have learned so many lessons beyond what we could have taught you during your childhood years. You have learned what it means to dream of possibilities, and to choose a destiny. You have learned that you really can accomplish anything that you put your mind to. You have learned the value of a determined work ethic, and enjoyed the rewards of pressing on and not allowing anything to turn you from your path. You have experienced the truth that a life is built one decision at a time, and that every choice has a consequence.

And while I am thinking about life lessons learned, I believe that you have recently learned this lesson: We don’t know the scope of our influence during this life, and we must take every opportunity to shine the light for others who may not have had the opportunity to experience that light. The most important message we can live is that there is always Hope, that we are never completely alone, and that there is One who loves us more than we can ever understand. I believe if we can live this message, then our lives will have fulfillment and purpose and we will never experience regret at the end of our time here on this earth.

On Friday, November 5, 2010 you will receive your “wings” as a US Naval Aviator. This ceremony is not simply the culmination of 18 months of flight school. The significance of this event has been around 6.5 or 7 years in the making. It is the arrival at the end of this journey (and the beginning of a new journey) that we will celebrate with you on that day.

Your journey began when you realized (once enlisted) that it would be better to be an officer in the Navy than an enlisted sailor. So you decided to research the options available to you to become an officer. You pursued the option of obtaining an appointment to the US Naval Academy, beginning with setting up interviews with the necessary officials in Washington and beginning the process. You ended up not receiving just one nomination, but three, and were awarded an appointment to the US Naval Academy.

Because you had been out of school by then for a few years, your journey to the Academy began at the US Naval Academy Prep school in Newport, Rhode Island. You spent one year there, preparing for the rigorous course ahead. You learned what life at the Academy would be like both academically and in discipline.

Then, you arrived in Annapolis, MD and took the pledge as a “plebe” to declare your purpose for the next four years. It was during these years that most of the life lessons mentioned before were learned. Even when the outcome was not sure, you made the commitment to continue your course, hoping that in the end you would earn your first choice selection as a pilot in the US Navy.

Graduation day in May 2008 was a highlight of your life, and most certainly of ours. I know that you know how proud we were of you and your accomplishment, but I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am to have experienced that day. Added to our pride was our knowledge of the sacrifice of years and of self in military service that you (and your fellow graduates) were giving to us and to our country.

Your journey continued after graduation as you waited months and months for flight school to begin. And finally, you have completed that training and are poised to begin your service as a US Naval aviator, flying your beloved helicopters and serving your country in any way through which you are called.

So, Brooks, I hope that this letter can give you some insight on all of the love and pride and gratefulness I am feeling when I regard you and your life and the person that you have become. I hope that some day you will have the great honor of regarding your own son with such emotions and knowledge that his life has been directed by a Hand that was surer than the human example of his own parents.

I love you and I wish you joy and fulfillment as you begin the next chapter, and pray for safety and mercy for you and all of your comrades-in-arms (so to speak.)


Too much fun!

Coors Field

This past weekend was so action-packed that I am grateful that I have today to recover from it instead of having to jump right back into the work week!  Just being able to say that gives me a little burst of joy….I wish everyone could be in this same place in their lives!

We had so much fun this past weekend, it was almost fun-overload!  Here is a rundown of our weekend…


We had tickets to the Rockies vs Pittsburg Pirates baseball game at Coors Field.  We chose this particular game because Redgie & I are Pirates fans.  Redgie & I rode the light rail system to Union Station downtown and walked over to the ball park.  There we met our friends (Clouses, Benefields, Giannatalas & Lairds) who all happen to be Colorado Rockies fans.

We ate Rockies Dogs for dinner (bratwursts with sautéed peppers & onions) and during the game snacked on peanuts & popcorn.  It rained a little bit but not enough to interrupt the game or make it too uncomfortable in the stands.

Despite the rather rude & rabid Rockies fan who sat behind us & found great fun in heckling Redgie (who was wearing the Pirates colors)  we had a great time watching the game and  visiting with our friends.  I especially enjoyed hearing from Jan about the birth of their darling new grandson (while trying not to be too jealous as this is their 10th grandchild while we have none!)  🙂

Unfortunately the Pirates played miserably and lost the game 10 – 1!  What a disappointment!


Saturday morning began with a fun breakfast at the BBH hosted by Dave & Lynn for their former Sunday School class.  About 40 people attended.  Since the original class no longer exists and many of these people now attend other churches, it was a rare treat for them to reunite and spend time fellowshipping and catching up on each other’s lives.

Everyone brought a pot luck item to share, and what a feast it was!  Dave made his famous banana/walnut buckwheat cakes, and others contributed egg casseroles, potato casseroles, bagels, danish, cinnamon rolls, fruit, yogurt and juices.

After eating and some fellowship time, Mark Stout shared a little of what God has been teaching him about the promises of God.  It was so great to hear Mark’s teaching again, and to enjoy it with all (or most of) the original members of the Upper Room Class.

That afternoon Redgie & I picked up Jan & Vini and drove to Ft. Collins where we met the Benefield family at Red Robin for dinner.  We were attending the Brian Regan concert that evening at the Lincoln Center in Ft. Collins.

This is the second time we have traveled to Ft. Collins to hear Brian Regan.  We really enjoy his comedy!  He has such a funny way of looking at ordinary every-day occurrences.   The funniest bit (in my opinion) was the one about checking into a hotel & when the agent cannot find your reservation they ask if perhaps the reservation was made under another name!  hahaha!  I found a clip on YouTube that contains this bit….this was the appearance that Brian Regan made on the David Letterman Show last summer:

After the show Jan, Vini, Redgie & I enjoyed some delicious ice cream at the Walrus Ice Cream shop located at 125 W. Mountain Ave in Ft. Collins.


We decided to go to the early service at Denver First Church of the Nazarene on Sunday.  We usually go to the later service, but since Redgie had to be back at the church at 4 pm on Sunday afternoon we thought an earlier service would be better to give us more time at home before coming back to the church.

I enjoyed the different experience of worshipping in the early service.  It is not as heavily attended as the second service and I could tell the early service was more popular with the younger crowd.  The music was more edgy/contemporary than we normally hear in the second service.  But I enjoyed the music led by the Alpha Band and Shawn McClellan (our church’s worship leader.)  It was a nice change of pace, and I definitely enjoyed getting home sooner than we usually do on Sunday after church and lunch.

Then at 4 pm we were back at DFC because Redgie was playing the saxaphone in the Jerry Nelson “Hymns & Gospel Sing” Concert that evening.  While Jerry & the choir & orchestra rehearsed Jan & I were helping Rachel set up media sales tables and learning what we needed to know in order to help at those tables before & after the concert.

The concert started at 6 pm, and the house was packed!  Jerry is an amazing talent both on the keyboard and also in arranging music for all instruments.  His selection & performance old and new hymn favorites was certainly enjoyed by everyone present.  The added talents of Shawn McClellan and the Rocky Mountain Singers choir created a memorable experience.

As you can see our weekend was unusually busy and action packed.  This is why I am saying today “TGIM!” (“Thank God it’s Monday!”)  🙂

(For more information about the places mentioned in this post please click on “The ‘Where’ is here” page.)


This evening I’ve had an enjoyable time re-reading some of the earlier posts in my original blog , and I wonder why I haven’t been more active in writing in it. I enjoy writing and recording my thoughts about my life and my experiences (even if no one else ever reads them!) But I think this (just like everything else) requires a commitment of time and energy and I have let other things take priority. Not tonight though…..

The subject of this post is “Changes”, and there have been quite a few.

The biggest change in my life lately is that in July 2013 I finally “retired” from my position as the US Manager of Email Support at Homeaway/VRBO. This was such a bittersweet decision for me. I have loved this job & company so much over the past 11+ years that I have worked for VRBO (first) then Homeaway. I have learned so much & gained valuable experience in Customer Service Management during my tenure with this company.

But I finally came to the point of realization that I was having a more and more difficult time managing my team from my location in Denver when the majority of them lived in Austin TX & worked at the Corporate Headquarters there. Being a Manager but not located in Austin was difficult because I was isolated from so much that was happening and not able to participate in many of the projects and collaborate with other teams as others on the leadership team were able to do. There were some additional pressures and stresses that helped me come to this decision but I’ve been able to put those to rest and have peace about the outcome.

The very best part of this journey has been the friends and relationships that I have built throughout these past 11+ years as a result of my employment at VRBO/Homeaway. I know that these relationships will continue even though I am no longer with the company. I am so grateful for the whole experience and the friendships that I have gained as a result.


(This is a photo of me in the “Family Truckster” located in the Homeaway Penn Field office.)

It has been one month since my last day and I wonder “What have I done with myself since then?”

I have enjoyed the freedom of suddenly having all of my time to myself!

    • I have re-dedicated myself to daily devotions in the morning when drinking my coffee (which was another practice that I so often pushed aside, giving priority to other things; most often, work.)
    • I have enjoyed much more reading time than I was able to have before.
    • I have decided that I need to create some kind of structure to my days or week in order to feel productive….it is really easy to get to the end of the day and realize that while I spent my time doing a lot of things, not a lot of it was what I consider as “productive”.
    • I have taken up a long-neglected knitting project (an afghan kit given to me by my kids some 5? 6? Christmases ago.)
    • I organized my closet! 🙂
    • I’ve been able to go to some yard sales on FRIDAY instead of on Saturday….I really enjoy going to yard sales and have already scored a couple of great finds!

I have found that I am lonely without the daily interaction with my team. I think this has taken me by surprise because I worked from home and was usually alone for most of my work day, working away in my office in the basement of the BBH. So I am used to the isolation. But I guess I didn’t realize how often we communicated with each other by phone or skype.

I’ve been considering some volunteer opportunities, and I also plan on taking a writing course this fall. But for now, I’m happy to just enjoy each day as it comes (even if I do take a little longer getting out of bed in the morning!) 🙂

Another change in our family is that after two years of attending Augustana College in Rock Island IL, Brady has decided to transfer to Colorado State University. While this means that Brady will only be 1.5 hours from home instead of 13 hours, it also means that (for this year at least) he will not be playing college football. I’m sad about that. But Brady made the decision after a lot of thought and wants to spend his last college years at a large university campus. Additionally CSU has a good College of Business and Brady wants to earn a Business Administration degree there. His first day of classes at the CSU campus in Ft. Collins is August 26, 2013 and I am praying that his experience there is all that he hopes it will be.

One thing I’ve learned through this life is that change is inevitable and nothing will ever stay the same. Another thing that I’ve learned is that it is my attitude that determines how these changes will affect me. So I choose to embrace the change and am excited to see how my new “normal” life turns out!