Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
The Christmas season is a time when families gather together, and those who are no longer with us are painfully missed. As most of you know, we have just returned from welcoming our first Grandson into the world.
Jeremiah True Harrell was born November 17th with a bright spirit, but too little blood to sustain life. Heroic measures failed, and he passed from his earthly father's arms into his Heavenly Father's arms after just ninety minutes of life.
His parents, Jeremy and Elisha, have asked me to thank you for all your prayers, and I hope you will continue with that. They also request that anyone so inclined will donate blood in Jeremiah's memory. You may save another little one's life.
I sing this song in his honor, and in memory of all those whom we miss during this holiday season and beyond.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
The recording of me singing for Jeremiah is clearly visible and playable on the camera's monitor. However, when you attach it to the computer to download, it disappears. No amount of fussing and button pushing will make it appear for download. We've read the manual. We've tried the Mac and the PC. John sat up trying "just one more thing" until two a.m., even though we're leaving for California this morning and he's pulling a trailer. He's that kind of man. He was the one making the recording, so he blames himself.
I know it's my fault. I thought the camera was so easy I didn't think he needed to practice. Push one button, point and shoot. But there are a lot of buttons, and he doesn't hold the camera the same way I do, so "the one by your right thumb" isn't a very clear instruction. We should have practiced. What he did was turn on the long playing feature, which apparently stores the clip somewhere else or some way else. It also, unfortunately, makes the clip a very low resolution.
My feeling is that we should just wait until we're in California and have the beautiful little church we used to attend available and go down there to St. Matthews and set the camera up and let me play it again. He can record it again. It will be the same song, with the same feelings—how could I ever sing it and not feel what I do for Jeremiah?
Still, I think we'll end up at one of those photo transfer places where they might be able to help us. John thinks that's the way to go, and he's so very often right. Meanwhile, if you're waiting for this... sorry. I haven't been thinking too clearly lately.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.
Fading light, dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.
Thanks and praise, for our days,
'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky;
As we go, this we know, God is nigh.
While the light fades from sight,
And the stars gleaming rays softly send,
To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.
Today the family gathered to celebrate the short and blessed life of Jeremiah True Harrell, first child of our son Jeremy and his wife Elisha. He was born in joy, with no problems expected, only to be termed critical immediately and taken from them barely ninety minutes later. His service today was as beautiful as it was heart breaking.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Elisha's first day of maternity leave was yesterday, and we enjoyed it together while Jeremy was at work and John made his way through his "Daddy Do" list.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
We passed canon and craftsmen, including a man in costume making coins the old fashioned way: with a huge hammer from blanks in a very old machine that contained the reverse artwork that would be pounded into the blank with two or three strikes of the mallet. John collects that type of coin, as well as the souvenir pennies from various interesting spots we (or the kids) visit, so we had him make one for us.
Again, the statuary and buildings were beautiful and attention to detail is amazing. It was obvious that "We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto," as the saying goes. History, once again, was all around us. This is another one of those spots that we were getting to taste, when a full meal would have gone down really easily—maybe a week of full meals...
Monday, May 24, 2010
Still very light out, we were able to get some great photos of the ship in the harbor, the city as we approached, and the people wandering the small tourist shops along the waterfront. Then we disembarked and joined the throng. It was the slowest paced spot along our itinerary, and had a sweetness to it as night fell.
Most of the time we stuck together, walking and exploring, going into small churches and shops, chatting and just enjoying the evening together. As evening fell, however, we eventually split up. John and I wandered into a music store, finding some Greek music (you've been listening to it if you've been watching the slide shows) and a few presents for Ruth and the grandkids. I spent some time saying "thou shalt not covet" over lyres and lutes and Greek instruments I'd never seen before. It was a great stop.
We returned to the harbor and took the tender back to the ship just as full dark was falling. I loved the windmills along the shore, and the way the cruise ships looked resting out at sea. Still, I was aware that we had the next day at sea, then one stop at Dubrovnik, Croatia, followed by our return to Venice the following day. Our cruise was winding down. Reliving it by putting together the slide shows and blogs has been pure pleasure. Thanks for sharing these memories with me. Here is our Mykonos, as we saw it on May 5, 2010.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
We wandered and had a great time until it was time to get back on the bus and go to Thera or Fira, depending on who is spelling it, Greek or America, and had another fine time there, seeing so many beautiful sites I was instantly in love with Greece. I'm really happy with this slide show. I hope you don't think it's too long. (And I love the music!) The funny little man you'll see with John in one of the photos wanted me to take his photo with the "big man" and then, after I took the picture, he wanted me to give him money. I pretended not to understand him.
I think Benjamin and Ruth and I were passing the cameras back and forth quite a bit that day, taking photos of each other so that we'd all have pictures of each other on all the cameras with the beautiful scenery. The one above is one of my favorites, since it commemorates Kate learning to scream. She never did it for long, and seemed really proud of herself, even though it never got her anything. Still, I guess she was expressing herself. Ruth never screamed back, either. Neither did Ben, come to think of it. Grandma and Grandpa tried to hide their grins. I hope we succeeded. We really didn't want to encourage her, but it sure was funny.
I've never seen anything like Santorini. I didn't even think to wonder, while we were there, if they have earthquakes there or not. I found out that in 1956 they had a major earthquake along with a volcanic eruption (great combination) that caused such devastation that many of the villages on Santorini Island were deserted. Now, thanks to the tourism and wine industries, the island is once again prosperous.
I was so amazed at the beauty of this place, and how it all managed to cling to the cliffs like this. We stopped for photos so many times that I got a lot of rest stops, which made it a fairly easy day for me. At least that's how I remember it now. Still, by the end of the day, there was no way I was walking down all the steps like Ruth and Ben did. We stood in line and waited for the cable car. Now, that was a trip...
Friday, May 21, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
These buildings have been standing for almost 2500 years. That seems almost impossible. As I walked along, the preservation efforts are obviously determined and ongoing. Even with the crowd that was there that day, every effort was made, as is obvious in my slide show, to allow everyone to get some photos unobstructed by the masses. It was a well coordinated effort.
Again, I have to say that this was not a place I ever imagined I'd actually ever get to see in person. Like the Taj Majal or The Highlands of Scotland, the Pyramids of Egypt or the Great Barrier Reef, I dream big but expect my travels to be done from the passenger seat of a car in my own country. (I've been to all 50 States.)
So if you're sitting at home thinking that you'll never see a remote part of the world, remember that dreams come true. You never know when some unexpected blessing might pull you out of your normal daily life and give you a taste of the exotic. To Ruth and Ben, who made this possible for John and me, and to Kate and Ashley, who showered us with as much love as Grandparents could ever believe in receiving—thank you all so much.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Ben took a photo of John and me at the temple on the hill we climbed. I thought I'd put it here, as if there were no stairs at all, but we did have to do some climbing to get there. Still, it was an easier day than most for us. Ben climbed higher than any of the rest of us. In fact, he did it twice. At one point, while we were still all together, there was a tunnel. He reset his fancy camera, a digital SLR, for the lower light levels, and forgot to reset it to the regular light when he left the tunnel. Then he proceeded to climb up to the top of an additional hill that none of the rest of us had the energy to climb.
And yet we saw and enjoyed so much! I hope the tree gives perspective to the massive size of these buildings. If you think we didn't do any climbing, realize that I'm taking the photo looking down on it, and we did start at the bottom. But by now you'd probably prefer to just see the slide show, and if you need more information, there's Wikipedia, or you can ask questions in the comment area and I'll come back and answer them. I don't want to write a book here. (Not yet, anyway!)
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Maybe if I do a blog every other day, I can relate this magnificent trip of ours without overwhelming anyone—including me. I'm still very tired, and find myself wanting to be asleep at strange times, and wanting to be awake in the middle of the night. I'm slowly getting back to normal, though, and I pray I'll be able to stay awake during church tomorrow. Tonight I want to recount the many steps we climbed in Ancona, Italy. It was our first port after boarding the Costa Victoria, the cruise ship that was to be our home for the next week.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I wasn't really prepared for Venice. I had some pre-conceived notions about the bridges and waterways, but it was very different from what I'd pictured. It's hard, I think, for an American to really grasp the age of these buildings and streets. In fact, the streets are little more than cobbled alleys, and most of them could hardly be called streets here. Ben chose a hotel for us really close to the Piazza San Marco, which is pictured above, the heart of the city in many ways. A city of this size, over 270,000 people, with no cars is also inconceivable to us, even when we're expecting it. You walk for a couple of hours, and then realize that you have to get back the same way. We do spoil ourselves, driving everywhere.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
We're about an hour away from leaving for the airport for our trip to Venice, and two days after that we'll get on board the Costa Cruise ship for our trip down the Mediterranean to Athens, via many ports, and back through Croatia to Venice again. We'll be back in Amsterdam on the 10th, and I'm thinking that will be my next opportunity to post to the blog—but you just never know.