Thursday, August 28, 2008

Birthday, Beaches, and Beyond

Do we really have a one year old grandson? Wow-time continues to march on! Friends and family all had a grand time celebrating with Christian his first birthday, complete with Curious George decorations and a huge balloon loved by Christian!
Grandma and Grandpa's gift was a hit except he found eating the sand as much fun as playing in it!

Two days following the birthday event the family headed for the beaches of the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Sun and ocean breezes kept us outside and in the water. What fun it was to share Christian's very first experience with salt water and waves.

Over the week-end we introduced everyone to a Milk Can Supper. This Morgan family tradition was very important to my Dad, so much so, that he located three milk cans to pass on to his daughters so we could "carry the meal forward" to the next generations. Check out the photos and you will get a better understanding of what is involved. Originating in Wyoming, the "supper" is their answer to the New England Fish Boil.

On September 1st everyone left the Outer Banks except Hunter and I. We spent the next day climbing one of the five lighthouses, visiting a quaint book store, riding the tandem, and finally enjoying cold root beers. Yum! Our original idea was to spend the remaining month on the Banks-fishing, biking,hiking, etc. But two things caused us to take an early leave. The first one was three incoming hurricanes which, at this writing, threaten high winds and ocean swells. These could have played havoc with our motor home. The second reason we left was another needed maintenance issue on the motor home. We located a reputable service dealer on our way back to Fayetteville which is where we left the RV. Once more Branden and Brooke have us "under their table". What fun to have open doors to our kid's homes. Right now Hunter is helping Branden clean out his garage and I am getting ready to attend a Women's Conference with Rebecca. Life is good and full of unexpected surprises.

Hopefully, in another week or so, we will be heading to the coast again, possibly to the Georgia area. I'll keep you posted as we travel along.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"He's NOT just sitting around!"

Some of you may be wondering what Hunter has been doing since retiring from Deere. If you know him at all you realize he can't sit too long without some activity. He is NOT a TV "watcher" or golfer. A good game of tennis is of interest to him but he's not had one since leaving the Quad Cities. Part of what he has been doing, though, is certainly building muscle and producing a beautiful golden tan. As you can see from the photo below he is power washing; two houses and now two decks. Next he'll stain the two decks. In his "spare time" he has fixed electrical outlets, plumbing problems, lawn mower issues, and mowed and trimmed several lawns.
Retirement has not slowed him down! But he does take a few breaks for chocolate chip cookies and archery.






I don't mean to brag BUT my husband is very good with the bow! I might even trust him to shoot an apple off my head-just kidding!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sweet Corn

Oh, the joy, of biting into a hot, buttered and salted ear of summer sweet corn, one that was picked earlier that same day so its sugar content was still at its highest, is beyond proper words! How well I remember early August days on the farm when my Dad would walk his rows of corn discarding all but the biggest and blemish-free ears to bring in for lunch and then again for supper. I am not exaggerating when I say that Dad's ears of corn were so long one ear would extend beyond the edges of a dinner plate and so round that when you grasped one your fingers and thumb would not touch! Dad grew a large patch of corn for three reasons. The first and most logical reason was to have LOTS of corn for his family to eat and can, not one of my favorite chores growing up. How well I remember waking up on a summer morning smelling corn being blanched and knowing that day would be preoccupied with husking, blanching, cutting and canning corn. As a teenager this activity was low on my summer fun list.
The second reason Dad grew an abundance of corn was because his sweet corn "fame" was well known in the area so he provided many friends with bags of corn to eat and fill their cellars for winter. Finally, Dad knew he had to have many rows of this delicious vegetable because he would be sharing it with the "bandits"! Raccoons love sweet corn, as much or more than we do. For years Dad tried to battle with them using barbed wire, radio noise, flash lights, even late night stalking with BB guns. Nothing could deter these persistent pests. So in time he just gave up and planted more corn. From then on there was always enough to go around. Ha!
Each summer I continue to look for and purchase sweet corn wherever we are during the months of July and August. This year we bought and ate North Carolina corn. It does not measure up to Iowa corn and definitely does not meet my Dad's standards but its sweet corn. We ate it and enjoyed, remembering my Dad and a time when his corn was "King"!


Christian enjoying his first ear of sweet corn.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lessons continued

Lesson#2
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things." Philippians 4:8

In the motor home we have a TV/DVD player for the bedroom. Recently we decided to "try it out" and enjoy an evening movie while lounging in our kingsize bed. Is this really camping???? Ha! Anyway, I rented an action thriller and we watched it for two hours. As the credits scrolled on the screen we both came to the same realization-what did we just watch?! We had filled our thoughts with violence, obsentity, blood and gore. The Bible verse from Philippians came quickly to mind and we agreed that from now on we would filter our entertainment through the screen Paul gave to the Philippians. Are we watching what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy? Rebecca gave me the following website to help in this endeavor: www.screenit.com. You don't have to join to enjoy the benefits of the site. Visit it and become informed BEFORE you rent!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lessons

While traveling from Iowa to North Carolina the miles melted away as Hunter and I listened to Shadow Divers on 5 compact discs. The story chronicles the true adventure of two Americans who risked everything to solve one of the last mysteries of World War II. They accomplished this feat by scuba diving extreme depths in frigid water battling treacherous currents all while exploring a mystery submarine. Since Hunter and I understand the particulars of the sport this story was fascinating. Woven throughout the story the author details the backgrounds of each of the lives of the two men: John Chatterton and Richie Kohler. At one point we learn that Chatterton has spent time in Vietnam and during a 6 month field operation he learned some valuable lessons, which in his words: "gave him further insite into the right way to live and distilled certain principles or truths". I wrote these down because I thought them worthy of future reference.
1. If an undertaking was easy someone else already would have done it.
2. If you follow in someone else's footsteps you miss the problems worth solving.
3. Excellence is born of preparation, dedication, focus, and tenacity. Compromise on any of these and you become average.
4. Every so often life presents a great moment of decision-an intersection where a man must decide whether to stop or go. A person lives with these decisions forever.
5. Examine everything-not all is as it seems or as people tell you.
6. It is easiest to live with a decision if it is based on an earnest sense of right or wrong.
7. The worse possible decision is to give up.

After thinking about these life "lessons" and how they affected Chatterton's scuba experiences, I want to become more aware of the "lessons" I'm learning "On the Road".
LESSON #1 I Samuel 16:7b "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

In one of the first campgrounds we stayed with our motor home we were directed to a grassy site adjacent to a run down older trailer with a rusted pickup parked a few feet away. My immediate thoughts were ones of disappointment bordering on disgust. I envisioned late night drunken parties with offensive music and barking dogs. Needless to say I wasn't "neighborly" the two days we were located there and learning we would move to a cement slab in another part of the campground, I was happy. The day we prepared to drive the RV out of our spot was full sunshine in contrast to several previous days of rain. As Hunter started the motor I was anticipating dry cement with new neighbors. My balloon was quickly deflated as our back tires spun in the mud. With all of our technical gear in play as we rocked back and forth we didn't move. Suddenly excited voices began to come from the adjacent trailer. As I looked out the window I realized that a man and two small children (less than 7 years old) were grabbing buckets and filling them with gravel from the road. They motioned to Hunter to stop rocking long enough for them to empty their buckets and dump the contents under the back tires. They repeated this process several times and finally the tires grabbed the rock and we popped out of the giant hole we had just created. As Hunter drove the RV to the next spot I humbly walked over to the trailer expressing my gratitude and finally introducing myself. Our conversation lasted a considerable amount of time. As I walked to the new site I thanked God for the "slap in the face" and vowed to spend more time getting to know this lovely family, which we did in the month we were located in that campground. One night over a shared meal we discovered they were fellow believers! I am now trying to give up my "judging judy's robe" and instead promise God to "close my eyes" and open my heart at future campgrounds!

On a lighter note: watch Christian experience his first watermelon!
video