Monday, February 18, 2013

The Good Life.....

Nila App and I are on vacation. We left our husbands at home (where is the crying symbol?) and headed to Florida. Until today, Nila was anything but  on vacation! She was extraordinarily busy as the Education Leaders Gathering and Mennonite Health Assembly joined hundreds of peers in Orlando.

We arrived Monday night. Tuesday was a 'be sure everything is ready' kind of day. She ran here and there throughout the day knowing that there would be no resting from Wednesday through Saturday.

I took fewer pictures this year than when I accompanied Nila to San Antonio two years ago. Now that the Education Leaders attend this conference and groups are so spread throughout the conference center, I couldn't keep up with everyone. After a day of meetings on Wednesday, a few people began to gather in the hotel lobby to walk to the Lime Fresh Mexican Grill.

I was excited to reconnect with some people that I had met in San Antonio and meet some very nice new people. The best news was that my old friends, Jan Stair and Kathy Stiffney, were going to be coming to the conference to be with their spouses. (We all taught at Jefferson together for many years! Who woulda thought!)

Head Em' Up...Move Em Out!!!

Then it was Thursday, Nila's most exhausting day.
She was busy from 7:15 a.m. until late at night!

Nila (right) gets ready for 3 1/2 long days of meetings.

It was an added bonus for me that my dear friends Jan (right) and Kathy (tan jacket) came to the conference (since their husbands are here). We managed to find time to shop/eat/have fun get together a few times.

Alisa (new staff member -center) was greeted by Deloris and Emily (who work with Nila)
Registration began Wednesday morning.
Jim Alvarez and Kathy Stiffney
Incoming and outgoing Board Chairs of MHS Alliance
(Laurie Nafziger and Lee Snyder)

Rick Stiffney
President/CEO of Mennonite Health Services Alliance
Board Chair of Goshen College
(Nila's boss)
The keynote speaker was John Paul Lederach.
What inspiring messages he gave!

Nila and Alisa
We looked forward to Friday evening to attend Cirque Du Soleil.
It was a great show but had one interruption due to a near
disaster as a 'box' with a girl inside, fell from the
ceiling but was stopped by what looked like a chain in midair. We think the girl was injured but don't know for sure. At first we thought it was part of the show but soon it became obvious that it was not. The show continued after a few minutes.
 Here is our little group that went:
Jill, Tim, Jan, Nila, Kathy
When people are great at their job, they often mentor others. Nila is one such person. She had the opportunity to meet (they usually skype) one of her executive assistant mentees from Pennsylvania.

Nila finished working Saturday afternoon (that never happens!!!) so we  girls decided to go check out the gift shop.

Soon after our gift shop visit, Nila and I picked up Emily and we drove to nearby Universal City Walk. We walked for a while and decided on dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Nila and I spent Saturday night in Orlando to let Nila rest up. Sunday morning we headed to Melbourne Beach to have some R & R. We have a great suite at the DoubleTree Suites on the ocean. Wouldn't you know, the temps are the lowest they have had all year!!! But tomorrow is suppose to be much better and back to 80 by Tuesday.
Nila LOVES the ocean!!! I'm glad that she got the car stopped before she headed to the beach. This photo is taken of her from our 7th floor room.....
...and then with the telephoto. Can you see her goosebumps?
Gorgeous view from our balcony facing some direction (I am directionally challenged) and

then the other direction.

This is straight ahead.
(I know this direction.)

Bad news: people are now in the room next to us and the noise is terrible. Sounds like wild and crazy people. I'm now wondering how this night is going to be. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Someone's Got To Do It!

Nila App and I arrived in Orlando last night. Nila works for Mennonite Health Services Alliance with this year's Assembly held in Orlando. The Education Leaders Gathering and Mennonite Health Assembly will "join hundreds of peers as they gather information, network, reconnect with friends and revitalize" their souls. I come as a volunteer to help Nila (and anyone who needs me). Nila is always a very busy girl during the conference (I know these things due to attending the San Antonio Assembly with her two years ago). Today is a relatively calm day for her as she works off and on as needed in preparation for tomorrow's influx of leaders and learners.

It is 82 degrees outside; flowers are blooming; the birds are singing and there are no coats, boots, etc. in sight! Nila took this picture on her phone. How gorgeous is this???

Time to go for a walk and breathe in the warm air. Oh happy day!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013


When two people meet and soul-sharing begins, wonderful things happen. Sarah Nagy and Michael Fenstermacher met at Mark Fenstermacher's 60th birthday party. Michael was living in NY and Sarah was teaching Social Studies in Elkhart. Soon after meeting, Sarah began posting flower pictures that she kept receiving on fb. There were lots of flowers!  Sarah's students wondered who in the world would send so many extravagant bouquets to their teacher!!! Who was this man??? There was a lot of excitement in the air! There was a lot of messaging going on between Sharon (Michael's mom) and Mary (Sarah's mom). I became excited with all that was going on. When I would see Mary at church or on fb, she would catch me up on the 'latest'. The airwaves were hot!!!

Soon there was a proposal and then the wedding at Beck Chapel at Indiana University, Bloomington on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Sarah and Michael were married by Michael's dad and magnificent photos were taken on the grounds, in the Union and ON the logo in Assembly Hall!!! Talk about having connections!

Soon, the 'young' Fenstermachers were moved into their new home in Chicago.

On January 19th, Sarah and Michael returned to Elkhart to celebrate their marriage with a few neighbors and  Trinity UMC friends. Pat Coates, Barb Fougerousse, and Shirley Huffman were the hosts at the Coates' home.

Michael & Sarah Fenstermacher
Greeting guests are Mary Nagy (left) & Pat Coates
The hors d'oeurvres were nearly too pretty to eat!
And if that wasn't enough, the next room hosted the calories!!!
Trust me! The pictures can't begin to do the food justice!
Even the veggies were gorgeous! Who does that???
Sharon Fenstermacher greets Ruth Ann & Steve Berger

See the picture of Sarah & Michael?
"I don't believe a word you're saying."
 "Well...maybe a little."
And then people just talked together...
...and laughed...
...and told stories...
...and ate some more...
...until it was time for Mark to head back to Bloomington.
(A pastor's work is never done.)
Sharon has to say goodbye to her son and new daughter-in-love.
Sarah & Michael thank Shirley for being a wonderful hostess and friend.
What a wonderful mother/daughter bond these two have!
(Thanks for inviting me to your party!!!)
We were able to sit around and watch a DVD of Sarah & Michael's
courtship, travels and wedding. It was a perfect way to end the evening.
I realize now how few pictures I have of the bride and groom but I have no pictures of Jim, Sarah's dad!!! I should have taken photos of the Nagy family and the Fenstermacher family but alas...I never want to get in people's faces and make them pose more than necessary. Someday, I'll get a 'real' camera and get in people's faces for sure.
Happy wedded bliss to Sarah and Michael!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Wintry Walk...Again!

Isn't "wintry" a funny word? I had to check the spelling...wintery? wintry? Just thought I'd throw that in. Well, whatever it is, Tom and  I took one. It probably looks just like our last wintry walk but this time there was so much more water in the river. Last week was sub-zero and then we had a day of spring and we are once again sub-zero-ish. (Find that one in the dictionary!)


It was really quite beautiful and we weren't cold since we were well layered.





We followed the path beginning on the other side of our cul de sac and arrived
back at our house. It was really a beautiful day.


When I turned around, it was interesting to see how the ice was beginning to
form around the logs. This photo doesn't do it justice. It really was very pretty.


The paint lines on this tree are very important to Tom. There was a LOT of rain in
2008. It was the first time we really worried about a flood. Tom would go out every
couple of hours and measure how much higher the flood waters were. He had a
yardstick attached to this tree. I don't think I realized how nervous he was, as was
our neighbor who has come out of his garage in a rowboat in the past. The water
comes across the neighbor's yard before it gets to us. But this time, the water was
as high as it had ever been. It ended on the white line (between the two black lines).
 Luckily, we have never had as much as a drop of water in our basement and hope
we never do.


See the tree down there? It has lines painted on it.


Hmmm. What's this crossing our path? With all the rain lately, this tree fell
and one by the gate and one up the street. This one will have to wait for spring
and a chain saw.


This is our cul de sac. This is the best place in the world for grandkidlets to
bike, run, skateboard and be free to play without fear of traffic! Priceless!
(Notice how freely I use the word "our"? I only say that because it is used
by about 2 or 3 people and Tom uses it more than anyone.)


Now this is a very sad picture. This chair belongs to my
wonderful neighbor, Charlene Snelson, who lives up the
street. She would walk nearly every day down to the end of
the cul de sac, stopping along the way to breath, ending up
in this chair. It was seldom used last summer and, of course,
isn't used in the winter. I can't wait until Charlene is out and
about again. She is so much better now but her oxygen hose
won't reach this far. Her husband, Keith, walks the path every
day so maybe he calls it "his" path. I'll have to ask him.


So, it was another wintry walk and it looks nearly the same as the last walk but
it was quite different from our perspective. I can't wait until I can get rid of the
ugly ear muffs, the coat and boots and begin taking photos of the flowering trees!!!
Just 46 days until SPRING!!!!!!!!!!!!!