Thursday, July 12

Independence Day Celebrations!

What Fun We've Been Having
Hello!  It's been a little while since I've been on here.  We've had a lot going on over the past few weeks!  We were affected by the storm that moved across the eastern US on June 29, resulting in no access to the Internet or any news for several days.  Praise the Lord, though, that we didn't lose power during one of the hottest weeks of the year, though!  We watched the storm come through, and it was unlike anything we'd ever seen.  After the storm, we drove through town to see how everyone else fared, and it was an astonishing scene of destruction.  Massive trees were uprooted and homes damaged, windows were blown out and shattered, debris in the streets, and about 90% of the city was without power.  While everyone has their power back, there is still a lot of cleaning up being done.  I didn't have to go in to work last week--the town where I work didn't have power until last Wednesday night, and I'd requested Thursday off to go up to Michigan to visit family (more about that in a moment).  To sum it up, I ended up with a surprise week of vacation thanks to the storms!  I needed it, but it's been really hard to get the motivation to be back at work this week as a result.  I wish I had more pictures, but these will do for now:
Overturned shed in the yard next to my work.
Wide view of the house across from where I work.  The arrow on the left shows the bottom half of what's left of a pine tree that was about the same height as the one next to it; the arrow on the right shows half of a tree that was destroyed.
A closer picture of the destroyed tree.
Everything in town had pretty much come to a stand-still for the Fourth of July celebrations, and even though the fireworks happened as scheduled here, we opted to stay in and out of the intense heat.  Besides, we knew we were going to see the granddaddy of all fireworks shows up in Bay City, Michigan.  Every year, since before I was born, the city has held a three-day fireworks festival for Independence Day, and this year was the 50th anniversary of the festival.  They had promised that it would be the biggest show ever, and it truly was.  We left Thursday and stayed with my mom, as we always do.  I showed my mom how to make the scented gels, and we made a dozen together, creating new scents and having a good time.
The next day, my mom, stepdad, husband and I all traveled an hour and a half north to a beach on Lake Huron.  It had been years since I'd been up that way, and I had forgotten how beautiful of a drive it was.  We took food with us and once we arrived at the beach, we had ourselves a nice picnic, with grilled hot dogs, all kinds of chips, a delicious broccoli cole slaw, and fresh watermelon.  We spent several hours there, until the beach began to get too crowded for our liking and we began to get a little crispy.  We headed back to meet my sister and her husband for dinner at a favorite Mongolian barbecue restaurant, and we all had a good time together.
Saturday was the big day!  Lunch with my dad, a little shopping with my sister and brother-in-law, and the fireworks festival!!  My hubby and I left a little early to go to a few shops downtown (there are some really great little boutiques in Bay City), and several antiques stores, as well.  I have to credit my love of antiques and historic architecture to growing up in Bay City, because it has a good amount of both!  It's changed since I left almost fifteen years ago, but it still has some great gems.  I found a small cast iron cauldron at an antiques shop just before lunch, and plan to give it a new coat of paint and use it for a little flower pot on our table on the patio.  It's super-cute.  I'll post pictures later.  Then it was time to meet for lunch, and we ate at a little Italian restaurant and chatted.  Afterward, we went to St. Laurent Brothers, the chocolate/candy store that's been there since 1903.  I have always loved going there, and since I no longer live there, it's always a treat to be able to stop in.  I sampled an almond confection that was great--and I don't really even like almonds!--they had coated whole almonds in dark chocolate, then coated it in cocoa powder, and it was delicious!  We did some errands with my sis and b-i-l, and then had dinner.  Then, finally time for the fireworks!  We met my sister and b-i-l at the park downtown, and after waiting for a few hours, it was time for the fireworks to begin!  They shot off 50,000 shells in a fifty-minute show choreographed to music.  It was AWESOME!!  They usually have a great show every year, but this was above and beyond what we expected.  We were all impressed.  To see pro photos and a video of the entire show, click this link to the Bay City Times July 7.  You won't be sorry...unless you're sorry you missed it!  I took video, too, but the videos are way too big to load onto here and even YouTube, so I'll just post a few photos for your enjoyment:
Whew!  This is a long post!

And now...onto the Owl Corner!

Photo from
This week's little guy is called an Elf Owl.  He's called such because he's so tiny.  He's actually the smallest owl in North America, and one of the smallest in the world.  The size of a common sparrow, the elf owl has a call that sounds like a yapping poodle.  Its main habitat area is the southwestern US and parts of Mexico, and eats mostly bugs and beetles.  During breeding season, the male owl is known to sing throughout the night (what a way to woo!), and when the female lays eggs, they usually nest inside old woodpecker holes and saguaro cacti.  The female usually lays 2-4 eggs.  These owls are on the endangered species list.

Photo from, and information from and

And finally
...the next post will be post #100!  I'll have to come up with something good to talk about.  Until then, adios!

Today, Christians are under attack more than ever in this country.  While this is not the first time a nation has rebelled against the commandments of God, I think that we are approaching some really serious consequences for our rebellion.  I have to believe that we have been under the protection of God for a long time, but probably not much longer.  We as Christians are called to be modern-day prophets and evangelists in a world that doesn't want to hear a much-needed message of love and hope. The prophet Ezekiel experienced a world much like the one in which we live today: "He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against Me to this very day.  The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen —for they are a rebellious house —they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. You must speak My words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious." (Ezekiel 2:2-7)  Sounds an awful lot like what we are still called to do today!  

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