I’m still alive – Here’s what I’ve been doing.

O.k., so I know that the last few months have been pretty sketchy as far as my blog posting.  You wouldn’t believe the back up of fun things that I have to post about though.  Here are a few of the activities that I have piling up in my photo files.  I can almost bet that I won’t get to all of them, but if you see something that sounds particularly interesting, let me know and I’ll work on those ASAP. Besides the busy schedule, I also have been having some technical problems with my laptop AND just hit the wall with the message that my external drive (where I store all my photos) is full.  Looks like I’ll be shopping for a new external drive.  Hopefully we won’t need to get a new laptop, but I’m a little concerned that it might breakdown on our trip in August.  Hopefully it will be resolved one way or the other before then.

Here’s a little sneak peak for one of the events.  This is Steve Larson and Bob Ryan performing in The Dubious Brothers Radio (Stage) Show for the Open Door to the World Annual Fundraiser last weekend.  Sorry, I don’t have the exact name of it.  Click to enlarge.  Lots more photos on that to come.

Steve Larson and Bob Ryan - The Dubious Brothers

Here’s the list of my latest activities that are waiting to post…any preferences?

  1. My sister’s new branch (it’s decorated and hanging on her wall)
  2. Dinner at the Mozingo’s with the reunion team – can you say AMAZING!
  3. Moving my mom to a new apartment
  4. Dinner at the Daily Dose Bar & Grill, then Fiddler on the Roof at Grady Gammage with Terry and his mom
  5. Greater Reach Ministries Fund-raiser Brunch at the…
  6. Historic Squaw Peak Inn – mini tour
  7. Open Door to the World – Dubious Brothers Show, Dinner and Fundraiser
  8. Glory Road band mini-reunion
  9. Putting in the patio at the Mozingos
  10. I’m growing orchids and they’re still alive!  Photos and everything
  11. Spring Training Dbacks game with the Truefaced Team
  12. Carefree Art Festival
  13. Grocery Shopping with my mom – just for posterity
  14. Uncle Al’s Hot Dogs
  15. Check Please Arizona” – New Phoenix metro restaurant review show on PBS
  16. Cantina Laredo Mexican Restaurant

Hand in Hand beginnings…

My friend Barb has recently created a group on Facebook for those who were involved or interested in the Christian ministry called Hand in Hand from back in the 70’s and 80’s. She asked those that were involved there to post a bit about their story and I decided to write mine.

Unfortunately, FB doesn’t have the capacity to post this much info at once so I decided to do it here then just link to it from FB. If you have an interest and some time, go and look at some of the old photos from those hippie days. They are quite entertaining.

Hmmm…where do I start? My family moved to Phoenix from a little town in Ohio just a few short weeks before I turned 16. That would have been around June of 1974. After I was here a few months, I learned about Hand in Hand from a connection I had in Ohio that published a “Jesus Freak” Newspaper. The guy’s name was Craig Yoe (Google him sometime-he’s a crazy man even now). I had been going to a west Phoenix Assembly of God church and wasn’t thrilled with the youth group. They were all very lukewarm for Christ, having been raised in the church (not that it’s always the case). I had only been a Christian for a year, so this was NOT the place for me. Once I started coming to Hand in Hand I felt like I was home. I was thrilled to also find out that there was a church meeting there on Sunday mornings that I could attend. So sometime in the fall, I started going to Open Door and getting to know the gang.

I was one of the few single girls in the group of “regulars” and once I settled in, I became the resident kid sister to all the guys. They all seemed to be comfortable telling me about their girl problems. (What was I, chopped liver?) Really it was great. I developed some very precious friendships during that time that I still enjoy today.

Sometime in the next year or so, I really don’t remember when, Bernie decided that he wanted to start a folk band and he asked me to be a vocalist. Shira consisted of Sharon (Chesnut) Haugen (vocals), Jay Haugen (vocals & guitar), Lee Chesnut (vocals & guitar), John McDonald (vocal & drums), Apryl (Mott) Ballard (vocals), Dan Malmgren (banjo) and me (vocals).

Most of the members had a lot more musical training than I did, but I loved to sing. Problem was that I sang all the time in my car with no music, so when the notes in the song were out of my range, I’d just change the key that I was singing in, and never even realized it. I also never learned how to find a harmony in a song except in choir when there was always a group around me that I could listen to. So I’m sure that my contribution to the group was quite challenging for Bernie. I loved the experience though and am so thankful to Bernie for taking the time to work with those of us who were novices. What a patient saint he was!

God, of course, thru Hand in Hand was also key in me marrying my husband, Terry (the one with the blond hair & beard in the photo). I won’t go into the whole story, but suffice it to say that I was in a season of life when I was trying to “keep busy”. Because of that, Bernie invited me to come down and hang out at the HiH building to watch a new band practice. They were brand new and mostly a bunch of guys that I didn’t really know that well. Toni (Skiles) Brunner and I would go down and make coffee for the guys during practice and just enjoy Glory Road’s music. As you’ve probably guessed, Terry was one of those guys. Our friendship started there and was deepened in the times that I gave him rides home from practice. He didn’t have a license at the time (long story) and I lived closest to him, so I’d give him a ride home and we’d sit out in front of his apartment (that he shared with Dennis Martin) and just talk about all kinds of things…including other girls that liked him, for hours and hours. Long story short, that friendship turned into romance and here we are still together 31 years later. He’s still playing beautiful music and I’m still making coffee for him.

O.k. sometimes he makes his own coffee. It is the 21st century after all.

Worship Team Breakfast
Saturday morning Terry and I went to a worship team breakfast meeting and I decided to take a few pictures just for historical purposes.

The worship team at Open Door Fellowship is a wonderful bunch. There are musicians, vocalists, sound technicians, A/V technicians (that set up & run the slides for the worship songs) and others.
This morning was a low-key meeting and a great breakfast. Lori is working on helping Randy with the logistics on Sunday mornings to try to free him up from the details. Her husband, EJ generously agreed to make us all fresh waffles that morning as well as sausage, OJ, coffee, etc. What a prince!

Randy & Lori led the meeting. We are so blessed to have someone like Randy who works so diligently to coordinate all the details of every Sunday morning…beginning with choosing musicians, selecting songs, then music and tech rehearsals on Wednesday nights all the way to praying, leading, singing, playing and troubleshooting everything that goes on for 3 services on Sunday.

What an amazing man! And right now, that’s just a small part of his weekly responsibilities. I’m not sure how he does it all, but I’m thankful that God has given him the strength to do it. I pray that he’ll be able to continue to focus on the things that God has so wonderfully gifted him in and find help and support for the things that are a drain on him.

Sweetheart Dinner

Last night Terry and I went to a Sweetheart Dinner and Dance at Open Door. It was a fund raiser for our Marriage Ministry to help defray the costs of the ODF marriage retreats so that all couples can afford to attend. This is such an important ministry that has impacted so many people. Terry and I attended just in the last few years and would have loved to have gone many years earlier because the teaching is so helpful in all areas of life, but especially in that most important one.

I would love to find a way for Amy and Andrew to be able to attend these retreats. The principles taught there are so foundational to a great marriage, that it would be a worthwhile investment in their lives. Now we just need to figure out a way to get them here from So Cal for those weekends, which is tough because Amy works on Friday nights and Andrew works on Saturdays. Well, maybe someday we’ll be able to figure out a way.

The team that leads the ministry is the same team that served us last night, along with other amazing cooks in the kitchen.

We had a wonderful relaxing time, eating delicious food and chatting with great friends. I took my camera, but didn’t take too many photos since I wanted to enjoy the evening.

Here are just a few to give you a feel for the evening. As mentioned before, the food was delicious and this dessert was so tasty. I can’t remember what it was called, but it was basically a chocolate coated, cream filled eclair with raspberry sauce. Mmmmm…

In memory of our dear brother Gordon Barr…

Today Terry and I attended the memorial service of our friend and fellow musician, Gordon Barr. He was diagnosed a few short months ago with an inoperable brain tumor and went home to be with his Lord last Sunday morning.

What a tribute it was to his quiet, gentle, caring spirit when the church sanctuary was filled with people. Gordon was not one to draw attention to himself or even want to be up front or in big crowds, but you could tell by the stories shared by family and friends that he had his own private way of touching peoples lives thru a shared meal or witty bit of humor. You could see and hear that those who knew him best loved him dearly and cherished their time with him. What a testimony to God’s work through him.

He was an excellent keyboard player and bass player. He wrote much of his own music and loved to tinker on the keyboards. We’ll miss seeing him up on stage playing for worship on Sunday mornings.

You can read more about his life and legacy, see photos and even add your own comments here.

Open Door Fellowship Ladies’ Sneak Away

I think I mentioned before that I was in charge of coordinating all the food and refreshments for our ladies’ (in town) retreat last weekend. We met on Friday night and much of the day Saturday, so we served dessert and snacks Friday, lunch and dessert Saturday, plus beverages thru-out, of course.

Everything went very well, from my perspective. Since it’s been years since I’ve done an event for 120+ people that wasn’t at a hotel or somewhere that had serving staff, I didn’t plan for quite enough help for the physical labor. So unfortunately a few people (Wende – Thank you!) had to jump in and do things when they should have been able to just relax and enjoy. But otherwise the food and refreshments were well received. My friend, Michelle Mozingo was the chef and made AMAZING food. Here’s a peek at the menu on Saturday. Yes, she made everything from scratch, except the breads! She really needs to start a catering business, which she kind of already does with her friend Beckie Ellis, but they just don’t call it that yet.

French Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup
with Grilled Gruyere Cheese, Tomato and Fresh Basil Croissant

Jewish Grandmother’s Chicken Noodle Soup
with Grilled open-faced Baguette of Jack, Gorgonzola Cheeses, Pancetta and Apple

Irish Beef and Toasted Barley Soup
with Grilled Pumpernickel, Smoked Gouda Cheese and Parsley Tarragon Mustard Sandwich

Spicy Asian Shrimp Soup
with Fried Crab, Ginger and Cream Cheese Wontons

On Friday night she made some amazing dips with chips for snacking. Her Artichoke Lemon Basil Dip makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I have the recipe and am going to try making it for Super Bowl Sunday. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

And for dessert on Saturday, Michelle, her husband Rand and the rest of the kitchen crew made a delicious puff pastry with rich chocolate ganache topped with a touch of mint sauce. Wow! It was good!

Plus my dear friends, Linda and Beckie Ellis, and 7 other ladies of all ages and seasons of life shared for about a half hour each at the event. The theme was Jeremiah 29;11 and you can see more about that on Linda’s post here. I also got a similar necklace to the one shown on her post.
I was in and out of the room a lot during the speaking times because of my tasks, but from what I heard, there was laughter, tears and huge amounts of real life stories with vulnerability shared in that room. I heard the messages were awesome. I can’t wait to download them all and listen to what the Lord had to say thru these ladies. You can find them all here to download. I would highly recommend them!

Unfortunately, since I was busy with the food, I didn’t have time to take any pictures. The room looked gorgeous though with a black, silver, white and seafoam green color scheme. Very modern and clean. All in all it appeared to be a success all the way around and now they’re planning a retreat at Lost Canyon Camp in Williams, Arizona this Fall. It looks like a great location and should be a blast.

But now that our ladies event is successfully finished I need to move on to some much needed projects at home…you’ll see a little of what’s on my list on my next post. Right now, I need to ignore everything else and work on the book that I’m giving as a thank you gift. Can’t say much about it now, but will show it later. It’s coming along well.

Note: Last night we went to a Suns game and had a tour of the arena with Alvin Adams! Ginny, dad will be excited about this one. I got his autograph and a picture taken standing with him. That will be coming soon. Have a great weekend everyone, if I can’t get back to this before that.



Open Door Fellowship 24/7 Prayer

A month late, but I finally posted the pictures from the Open Door Fellowship 24/7 Prayer time. See slide show on the right side of this page. Our home group visited one evening and had an amazing time there. The stations that were set up were very thought-provoking and meditative. There was a map set up with push pins to represent the military troops that people knew both in the US and overseas, so we could be praying for them, as well as all the other troops serving our country.

They also had a station with prayer requests written by inmates in the Phoenix jails and prisons. We had a chance to write a personal letter to one or more letting them know that we were praying for them. Many of them asked for protection for family members that were left behind or healing from drug or alcohol abuse.

Another station helped us understand the correlation in how our relationship with our earthly father impacts our perception of our Heavenly Father in both positive and negative ways.

Unfortunately, I spent much of my time taking pictures, and not as much time as I wanted to pray. It was a beautiful place though and I really appreciate all the work that went into it for us to enjoy.