Category Archives: Grandparents

Thanksgiving 2018 – Everyone is Welcome at our Table

The house is full of wonderful smells emanating from the kitchen where Veloice has been busy preparing our Thanksgiving feast. Our almost-housebroken new puppy “Maggie” is waiting patiently for any morsel to fall from the counter – hesitant to leave the kitchen for any reason this morning. Smart dog (but Veloice might disagree as she tries to cook around the hopeful hound). The house is relatively quiet – for now. Soon it will be filled with two of our daughters, their amazing guys, and two of our four grandkids. Later we will all pass the phone around while we FaceTime with Emily and the rest of the Idaho branch of our family who can’t be at the table today.

Making a craftsy centerpiece has become a fun tradition over the years. Veloice gives us some odd household items and it’s up to the rest of us to come up with ideas that incorporate them (and anything else we want to add) to create something memorable for the table. The mess at the craft table rivals that in the kitchen as many hands grab for pipe cleaners, tongue depressors, glitter and glue guns. This year the theme is “Everyone Is Welcome At Our Table”. We are scouring our house for dolls, super heros, stuffed animals, Pretty Ponies, Barbie & Ken, Weeble figures, and whatever else we can find in dusty toy bins downstairs to help us celebrate around our dining room table.

The older I get, the more I realize, that Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year. At the top of the list is family. Veloice and I are so blessed with our 3 daughters and the wonderful young men they have brought into our family. And what they say about having grandkids is all true. Nothing better.

Add in a puppy to the chaos and life couldn’t get any better.

I also give thanks for friendships that have lasted and thrived through many decades. They have always been there.

Many of us identify with what we do for a living – our jobs and our careers. I am so grateful for always finding the best people to work with, making it a joy to go to work everyday and roll up my sleeves no matter what project was at hand.

So on this special morning my heart is full of gratitude and joy! From our humble home, filled with laughter and love, we send you best wishes on this Thanksgiving Day.

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Bubble Ministry

I will be meeting Megan and the kids at Minnehaha Falls later today. I stuck a bottle of bubbles in my backpack. When I went to Bolivia I was on a work project high in the Andean Altiplano. We worked side by side with some of the indigenous Amyran people. Their families would come watch. One day I saw this little girl watching me. She probably was confused by this sweaty, dirty white guy working with adobe blocks. She was very shy and always looked away when I waved at her. 


During a break I ran back to my bunk and grabbed a bottle of bubbles from my duffle bag. I sat down on a pile of dirt, not too far from the little girl, and opened up the bottle. I started blowing bubbles and watched as her eyes followed them floating on the gentle breeze. It took a few minutes before our eyes connected, but then I watched a tentative smile spread across her face. Some of my teammates slowed down their work and watched. They began “catching” the floating bubbles. She giggled. 

The little girl had one land on her and laughed when it popped at her touch. I waved her over and she turned away – but not for long. I offered her the bottle and wand. Her mom whispered in her ear. She got up slowly. Unsure. But curious. One step, then another. I held them out again. A smile grew bright and her eyes twinkled as she drew close and hesitantly sat next to me on the pile of dirt. The team slowly got back to their tasks on site, but the little Amyran girl and I blew bubbles in the Andes Mountains on a crystal clear day. That is a moment I will never forget, and I’m sure I will be telling Sawyer that story later today. Bubble Ministry at its best.

Candle Crumbs

Yesterday we watched our grandkids (Sawyer and Ruby) so their mom and dad could sneak out for a brew and some time away from the chaos of parenting two toddlers. Seeing the smiling faces of Nana and Papa come through the door is usually the promise of laps, hugs, stories, and assorted antics. 

The several hours passed quickly and the kids ran to the door when a refreshed mom and dad came in from the garage. Mike lit the grill for some awesome looking pork chops and Megan busied herself in the kitchen preparing the rest of the menu. The kids were munching on some fruit to tie them over until the “later than routine” dinner could be served. Sawyer kept an eye on Mike as he got the coals going. A gust of wind whipped across the deck and glowing embers swirled around for a moment. Sawyer watched intently as the sparks danced in the air before being blown away on the breeze. 

A moment later Mike came back into the kitchen to get the pork chops and saw Sawyer watching the grill. “It’s breezy out there” Mike said. Sawyer smiled and said “I know! I saw all the candle crumbs flying in the air!”

Candle crumbs. The perfect words to describe what he saw. A 3-1/2 year old who already knows how to use his words to tell a story.