Friday, October 23, 2009

My Life in Limerick

This woman named Bren has come home,
Across this great country, she's flown.
Great memories made,
She wished to have stayed,
Her next adventure is...unknown!

DC - Day 6

And now to a space of reflection,
To anchor one's faithful direction.
The structure of stone,
Our sins we atone,
And witness God's grace and protection.

Washington National Cathedral

Thursday, October 22, 2009

DC - Day 5

The archives of our history,
Are on display for all to see.
The vast exhibitions,
Outlining traditions,
A chronicled text potpourri!

National Museum of American History
National Archives and Records
Smithsonian Castle

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

DC - Day 4

In these times of woe and recession,
I'm hoping to hear of progression.
With Senator Kohl,
We'll share a quick roll,
Then it's off to the Senate in Session!

US Capitol

Going now to the Smithsonian,
My interest, quite genuine,
We'll tour Air and Space,
A most riveting place,
And learn about flight origin.

National Air & Space Museum

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

DC - Day 3

We're off to the President's home,
(I will try very hard not to roam.)

Obama and friends,

I cannot pretend...
My smile outshines that of bright chrome!

The White House

They fought for our freedom and laws,
And now we must come to a pause,
Remembering those gone,
With every new dawn,
Because they believed in their cause.

Arlington Cemetery
Iwo Jima Memorial

Monday, October 19, 2009

DC - Day 2

The Presidents begin our day,
A most Monumental display.
Whether sitting alone,
Or towering in stone,
They make an impressive array.

Ford Theater & Peterson House
Washington Monument
Lincoln Memorial

And now, to hold all dear ones fast,
The victims and soldiers who've passed.

The names on the Wall,

For us, they did fall,

The sheer numbers leave me aghast.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial
World War II Memorial
Korean War Veterans Memorial
Holocaust Memorial Museum

Sunday, October 18, 2009

DC - Day 1

There once was a girl named BG,
Who headed due east to DC.
She hopped on a plane,
(Pray that she stays sane),
To spend some time with family!

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

A history of the Marines,
Of bravery behind the scenes,

This Center preserves,

The brave ones who served,

Reminding us what courage means.

My Life in Limerick

Alas, it is finally Sunday, October 18th. I am off to Washington, DC to meet up with my family (Mom, Dad, Brad) for what can only be considered an action-packed, Griswold Family Vacation, whirlwind tour of our nation's capital.

I've included the links to our daily locations underneath my daily posts. A wealth of history and information!

Enjoy our daily adventures
through rhythm and rhyme!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Well, that was fun. Just got back from Safeway. Being the ever-graceful swan that I am, I slipped on some water in the front entrance, slid sideways on my heels (still wearing them from church), and doubled over backwards ONLY to catch myself just in time, re-gain my balance, twist myself upwards, and congratulate myself on avoiding yet another ER visit.

This would have been a lovely miracle of gravity just between me and the shopping cart to my right had it not been for the open-mouthed elderly woman standing right behind me, having witnessed the nearly-avoided catastrophe.

LADY: "That could have been a SERIOUS fall, sweetie."
ME: "Why, yes, it could have been quite bad. I'm rather lucky, aren't I?"
LADY: "You bet you are, sweetie. You turned that into a SERIOUS recovery. Nicely done."

Thank you.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Miles and Smiles

The beauty of the Catskills in Upper New York - the scene of yet another one of Brad and Dad's grandioso motorcycle journeys around the United States.

The evil weather/radar - I think I'm going to start charging Dad and Brad for those late night "turn on the computer right now, find us the nearest available hotel, what does the radar look like" phone calls. Honestly. They rode from WI to NY in 22 hours of rain so Brad could have "Iron Butt" bragging rights (riding 1,000 miles in less than 24 hours). Pretty sure I've earned "Iron Brenda" status for all the computer/tech support on my end, thank you very much. :)

October 4th was a busy day for movement! The Bethany Team
reached their goal for the "Race for the Cure"! Hooray!

Pumpkin Man! Here's Pastor Ron Glusenkamp, crossing the finish line at the Maine Marathon. 26.2 miles! Woohoo! Many of us were busy tweeting him during the race - you can read more about his adventures on his blog, REVUP-RTG.

I spent the afternoon and evening of October 4th running
after two little people myself, Abby and AJ. DARLINGS.
Their family adventures are chronicled here!

Who knew that watching little capsules dissolve into Halloween characters could reveal such GLEE! We were going to watch just a few of them erupt, but ended up dissolving the entire package of 12! Happy boy! I bet AJ wishes he had his very own Grow-A-Flamingo, too...

Check out Nicola's Bronco boy, John! Game on!

Faith Formation bulletin board BEFORE... loose vision of what I was thinking....

...and here's how it turned out!
This is where scrapbooking intersects with Faith!
(I love a good challenge - thanks, RAL!)

Autumn in Castle Rock!

Miss Emma Isabella is 3 months old now!
Happy Baby, Happy Brenda!

To Russia by Car

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Kid: I've been to Russia.
Me: No, honey, you probably haven't made it to Russia just yet.
Kid: I have!
Me: It's on the other side of the world...
Kid: Man, I THOUGHT that was a really long drive!
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Earrings by Emily - how about my new caterpillars!?
My kind student now has her own website, too!

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
"Ms. G! Your leg just fell off!!"
(My pedometer had flown across the room.
Saddest part? I actually looked down to check on my leg!)

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

(Note: many fun photos removed from original post...)

This crazy panoramic is of our CHOIR the
other morning! I think I counted a million kids,
give or take a few! What happy singers!
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Me: Let's name all the animals that are gathered in herds.
Kid: Goats.
Me: Cows.
Kid: Sheep.
Me: Horses.
Kid: Parakeets.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

"Hi-ho the Rattlin' Bog... Now in this bog there was an egg..." I was hoping for more of the in-one-piece, not-split-open, lovely-round-type of Egg, but alas, this was the carnage the kids came up with! Lovely.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Kid: Oh, I forgot to tell you, I got my wart shaved this week!
Me: better?
Kid: Well, a part of me will be missing forever.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Me: Tell me about your clown.
Kid: Well, it's a clown with one eye.
Me: Just one?
Kid: Yeah! Just like you!
Me: Are you saying I'm a clown?
Kid: Well, I wasn't going to say that part out loud...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Believe, Be Light, Be Love

Be Etc." by Peter Mayer

This past month has taught me more about how to Believe, Be Light, and Be Love - much deeper than this blog could truly relay, and more concretely than I ever knew possible.

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~
Believe, be light, be love just because
All along you've belonged
in this love song.
This now, befriend,
Come what may, with your heart begin
Believe, be light, be love.
~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Believe. I believe in signs that God is always near.

Believe. I believe that my Disciple Bible Study group has helped me grow in my faith, has helped me figure out how to go about reading the Bible (I've only begun!), and has allowed me to ask questions I've been wanting to ask for years. Seeing as how faith formation is a life-long challenge, I'm looking forward to what classes and studies await me!

I also believe that our small group provides the best snacks possible, as witnessed here by Dena's fantabulous display of gingerbread cupcakes, complete with not one, but TWO whipped cream cans.

~ • ~ •
~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~
Every dream that becomes is a star or a sun

Far too far to be real, sometimes falling.

But it calls you night and day,
Longing to be more than behave,
Believe, be light, be love.

~ • ~ •
~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Be Light. I happened to be volunteering in the office this April when Bob Heistand had dropped by, just joyful at the recent progress of his beloved wife, Loretta (pictured above). She was recovering from a stroke, and he shared pictures and stories of her recovery, just beaming with the pride and love of a spouse. He WAS light.

Loretta passed away in the middle of September, and her memorial service at Bethany was one filled with family and love, and was another reminder to me how the power of believing can change a person's life. She clearly was the light of her family.

"And with your final heartbeat, kiss the world goodbye,
Then go in peace and laugh on Glory's side, and fly to Jesus."

Be Light. I recently sat down in my den, ready to complete my daily study for Disciple, and I'm reading up on the city of Corinth. Reading all about how it's the Vegas of its day, how they worshipped money and other horrible things, how crazy cults and new religions were springing up everywhere. A real hot bed of corruption. An unlikely place for Paul to try and plant a church, much less get these folks under control!

So, I look out my den window, and see this big, neon flashing sign on the other side of the street! Yikes! I was only READING about the Corinthians...didn't actually want to BE one! I'll obey! I'll obey!

Be Light. A moon-lit view from Bethany.

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~
Then comes a morning when

You wake up crashed and burning,
Can't see the road is turning to

Beyond the bend, begin again.

We tangle in why, dress up in because

When below and above heaven's beside us

There for you, night and day
Longing to be more than behave

Believe, Believe, be light, be love.

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Be Love. The last word could be benign, as that was the final word from the test results. Recent medical worries turned out to be a wandering lymph node (who knew). My doctor was intrigued by my recent weight loss (just hit the 40 lb mark in a little over 6 months), so we did blood work (stone-cold normal) and fit in a quick visit to the Sally Jobe Clinic (think I'll wait until I'm 40 to do THAT again). I do have to say, whomever thought to physically warm-up the gowns at the clinic was brilliant. A needed touch in such an environment. Same with the flowers above - fake or not, it's the little things when you are terrified and half-clothed and alone.

Didn't tell many people (really only two others in addition to my mom), but those who knew were love personified. I couldn't have asked for better support, better shoulders to literally cry on, or a better outpouring of love. My angels. I am truly blessed, and am thankful once again to resume a healthy life.

Be Love. Who could this be? Why Pastor Ruth Ann and Homer, of course! Where, oh where, were THESE two when I was taking confirmation/church-prep classes as a kid? The energy surge and genuine interest my pastors create and nurture is amazing, and watching them cultivate a love of learning about God is inspiring.

Be Love. Ruth Ann and I recently attended a John Michael Talbot concert - he's a Catholic monk (who looks like a cross between Santa, Jesus, and Charles Manson) who travels the country, singing and playing Christian music while accompanying himself on the guitar. Reflective, amusing, full of the Spirit, moments of worship. An evening we both totally needed - what a night!

Pastor Ron (left), Kent and Kathy
Eggleston (center), Pastor Ruth Ann (right)

Be Love. We held a service of thanks and gratitude for our retiring organist of 25 years, Kathy Eggleston, on September 27th. It really was a service to make a musician happy! The readings, lessons, sermons, hymns - everything was tailored/accented to honor this musician. Just grand. The entire Chancel Choir participated - the Denver Brass came to the worship service, too! Kathy was a key partner within that group, and they use Bethany as their primary performance venue. She also helped form the Festival of Faith and the Arts, a thriving community-based arts festival that celebrates local arts of all forms.

There was a reception afterward, and the receiving line took an entire hour to file in! I played background music with another retired pastor, Pastor Carl. Speakers from the American Organist Guild and Denver Brass and the Chancel Choir spoke for three minutes each - perfectly timed. The food was delicious and the weather so beautiful, we could spill out into the courtyard.

One of the more poignant moments was when Kathy's husband joined her in the front of the sanctuary (he struggles with Alzheimers). He was able to walk up there with some assistance and he went right to Kathy, wrapping his arms completely around her, briefly placing his head on her shoulder. Oh, the love between those two! It was amazing. Add to that a professional Brass quintet playing "Lift High the Cross" on a beautiful, sunny day in Colorado, and you have a most wonderful, musical day.

Believe. Be Light. Be Love.

Peter Mayer's Main Website
Listen to "Be Etc."
Peter Mayer and Pastor Ron's Proverbs Study
Festival of Faith and the Arts

Flowers and Flamingos

Wasn't really trying to make this picture artistic -
the flash did crazy things to the colors. I'll take it!

LOVE having beautiful flowers in the house!

I don't care how old you are: care packages from your parents are fun at any age! Here are the contents of a recent package from Sheboygan: a fun NYC card, ridiculous cow napkins from Texas, a calendar quote about teaching, my very own pink flamingo lawn ornament, and enough gum to get me to be quiet (chewing instead of talking) during meetings! AWESOME!

Here's my Grow-a-Flamingo.
I'm so lucky. It's so freaky.
You know you want one of your own.

Mum on her birthday. See, she likes flowers, too!
$10 to the person who can accurately count the number of
Halloween/Fall decorations
in her kitchen.
The next photo has even more. :o)

The Cowboys Nuts. I mean Brad and Dad.
How many ghosts and pumpkins and
leaves and skeletons can YOU find?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Carnita Burrito

One of my favorite Fall lessons is to introduce Orff's "Carmina Burana" to my 6th graders. They are usually in need of some bombastic music - something loud with crazy text, and lots of gongs and percussion. This totally fits the bill. They eat up the history, love saying the word ORFF, and I have a blast teaching it. This particular batch of 6th graders has been extra amusing.

Kid: Hey, I think I've ordered that at Taco Bell.


Kid: Carnita Burrito.
Me: Carmina Burana!

Kid: That's what I said. Mmmm, yummy.

Me: If the men are called MONKS, what are the women called?
Kid: Monkettes.
Kid: Monkees.
Me: No. They're called Nuns.
Kid: Nones? There aren't any? Then why are we naming them!?

"Are nuns balds, too?"

"I always thought monks were ninjas."