“Taste and see that the LORD is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8
On our recent trip to Phoenix, Jon and I climbed Camelback Mountain.  We reached a vantage point where we could see both sides of the valley—the way we had come and the way ahead where we had not yet been... I thought about that today as I reflected on events this year.  Dear family members have 'crossed over to the other side'—sisters-in-laws Lois (Lou Gehrig's disease) and Jean (diabetes and cancer) and Uncle Cyrus in California.. We had visited him last Christmas in Ventura.  Craig and I were home in Iowa for Spring Break in March and were thankful to have had time with Lois and Jean then.

Jon continues his video production services with Keepsake Video, VideoComm Technologies and AVC Audio Visual.  Quinton, Drew, Jason and Wyndi keep things running smoothly.  Sharon will complete her thirtieth year of teaching in 2008.  She sings in the Grace choir and enjoys family activities and playing Scrabble.  Rachel will soon complete her business degree and keeps up with Kayla, Kara, Jeffrey (who knows lutefisk and has made lefse!) and his son Dallas (8). Rachel and Jeff were huge helpers in May when Sharon moved classrooms.  They sorted, packed, moved, organized and decorated.  The new room is very nice with flowers, frogs and bugs in the Kinder-'GARTEN.' Kayla (10) is a fifth grader and plans to go to Washington, DC in March with her school field trip.  Kara (5) started pre-k and is such a delight.  They love to go to church and the donut store with Grandma.  They'll be in Chicago for Christmas.

'Grandma Sharon' made the annual cross country drive to Iowa with Kayla, Kara, Ben and Tim.  The girls spent several weeks this summer in Illinois with their dad and his family.   Sharon enjoyed seeing long time friends at our 35th Waukon Senior High class reunion.  One of the most inspiring moments of the summer was the firefly 'light show' in Kevin and Judy's back yard! Sister Sandy treated us like royalty at the Stoney Creek Inn in Des Moines.  We took Philip (18) to see the campus at Iowa State and peeked in the windows at 157B University Village, our first home long ago... We enjoyed visiting aunts, uncles and cousins in Minnesota (who later experienced horrible flooding).

After his wonderful time living 'back home' for a few months, Aaron has bought a condo in Seabrook.  He and his girlfriend Laura both work at Sambuca's Restaurant in downtown Houston and go to college.  Philip is a senior, as tall as Aaron, working at Little Caesars Pizza and driving mom's old Suburban since February when she got a gently used silver Equinox.  Timothy (13) is an eighth grader and Ben (11) a sixth grader, (together again) at Creekside Intermediate School.  They are both in Leadership Development Class (LDC) and enjoy their friends, family and video games. Philip is taking a carload of boys through the drive-thru Bethlehem City tonight.  It's good to look back - and good to look ahead...

Listening to the swipe-swipe of the windshield wipers, looking our eyes out through the misty windows in the dark unfamiliar roads of Boerne, TX, we were tired and hungry, trying to find our hotel and supper.  Jon glanced at the adjacent strip mall and declared,
'RENAL CAFE! That does not sound very appealing!'
I looked back through the rear window to find, 'It doesn't say Renal Cafe'-
It says Renal CARE... but maybe they serve a good kidney pie!'

Well, the coffee was delicious.  Come again anytime! 
The mushroom soup is ready.... and smells great!  Know you are sooooooooo loved, appreciated and, of all God's GOOD gifts to us, we count YOU double.  :0)
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us,
an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:2
jon@vtigroup.net, sharon@vtigroup.net, Philip, Tim, Ben, 281-554-6365
303 Creek Bend  League City, TX 77573

Christmas 2007 is here with all the sights, sounds, tastes, and scents of the season -
sparkling lights, carols, Christmas cookies, evergreen and gingerbread!
 Right now I'm grinding special 'Hawaiian blend' coffee beans - inhaling the aroma,
anticipating the good rich flavor ahead...
Come and enjoy a cup with me!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
 faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control.   Galatians 5:22, 23

I've been considering “goodness” lately—Philippians 4:8  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things .... (the phone rings).... It's Rachel and her boyfriend Jeffrey (a physicist from Iowa who works on space station projects at NASA). They have been out Christmas shopping across town—an hour and a half away to Katy, TX—She'd had a Reuben sandwich that was 'sooooooooooooo good!' Then Aaron's call 'beeped in' --”I'm livin' the GOOD life:  31 days cigarette free and I just bought the plasma TV I've been researching for months!” 

Ever think about how food tastes good - but then you have a bite of something that tastes sooooooooo good?   Recently we experienced the melt-in-your-mouth mushroom soup at the Limestone Grill in Boerne, TX.  We even went back the next day for another bowl!  Jon could hardly wait to find recipes to try at home...  In fact, he's cookin' some right now!  I still remember the first time I tasted a crunchy Asian pear--the sweet  juice rolled down my chin as my eyes rolled back in my head.... it was so good!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 
He didn't just 'love,' He soooooooo loved!!!

Were you hunting all over for just 'the perfect gift' to give? On a recent shopping mission, Rachel stopped to check the fragrances before buying—“You can't give a gift that looks good but smells bad,” she insisted.  Have you seen the commercials with Santa building a fancy car or the husband surprising his wife with his-n-hers cars for Christmas? 

Relaxing in the sunshine in front of an 'Iron Chef' restaurant in Phoenix waiting for it to open, Jon and I observed a well dressed gentleman pull into the front parking place in his classy car.   He stepped out of his convertible. puffed out his chest and, with obvious pride, began discussing his car with a young man who had just exited the restaurant...  

Having noticed the horse emblems on the leather seats of his vehicle, I mentioned to Jon that my sister hopes to get a Mustang convertible someday.  After verifying his suspicions, Jon politely informed me, “Darling, it's not a mustang—It's a Ferrari.”  Thank goodness I did not tell that man I liked his Mustang!
He believed he owned a 'good and perfect' car - but I didn't even recognize it! 
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”  James 1:17 
Do we recognize we have no more good and perfect gift than Jesus??