Friday, December 28, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Memories

Christmas week started with a marathon afternoon of cookie baking. Before the day was over, we had made sugar cookies, gingerbread boys, and candy cane cookies. Chris stopped by on his lunch break, donned my apron, and rolled the sugar cookie dough.
All Dugan children participated in the event.
I wonder why Katie's body is missing and her head is on the counter.

The sugar cookies turned out lovely, don't you think?
As did the gingerbread boys.
On Sunday evening we had our annual Kapala Christmas event at the Kapala's house this year. As always, I brought the Christmas crackers and everyone wore their crowns.
Even Ann, Greg, and Terry.
Here are the kids coming into the living room to see what Santa left for them under the tree. No lumps of coal this year, as they have been nice and not naughty.
Mark, Nikki, and Will joined us later in the morning to see what Santa had brought them. Please don't ask me about Mark and Will's stockings, they will be ready by New Years, I promise. I'll bet ya $100.
The Christmas cake I mentioned in a previous post.
It was Mark's mom's 60th birthday,
so Todd (Mark's brother) and the fam came up from Ames to surprise her.
She was surprised.

Christmas Day dinner. More Christmas crackers. Don't we look festive?
The birthday girl and her kids and grandkids.
In the evening, as always, the Honeybaked ham materialized at 6:00 and people arrived to pay games, mingle, and nibble on treats.
The game in the dining room was Apples to Apples.

Here are some people mingling and nibbling on treats.
A new game was being played in the living room. Sort of a telephone like game involving drawing and writing descriptions of what was drawn.
Very fun.

And that was our Christmas. Now, if you'll excuse me,
I think I'll take a nap.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tim Hawkins - A Homeschool Family

Awkward, but funny

After a busy day, Terry and I were setting the table for dinner and there was a knock on the front door. I had just gotten off the phone with my sister-in-law Diane who mentioned that her husband Steve was stopping by to drop off some packages. So, when the knock came, I assumed it was Steve and headed for the door yelling, "Come in!"

As I got to the door, I noted that it was unlocked so I yelled again, "Come in, it's even unlocked!"

No one came in, so I opened the door to find our former neighbors, Paul and Sheilah, standing there with the annual Christmas cake! I laughed, welcomed them in, and we got all caught up on the year.They moved a couple miles away in 1993, but every year since 1984 when we moved in, they have delivered a pineapple upside down cake in the shape of a Christmas tree that we faithfully have for breakfast on Christmas morning. Moving away didn't stop them and we always look forward to seeing them. I love traditions like that and faithful friends.

I explained that I was expecting my brother-in-law and we laughed about my yelling, "Come in," before I knew who it was (really kind of a dumb thing now that I think of it). A few minutes later, Steve did arrive. He knocked and was greeted by Sheilah who looked at him and said, "Where have you been?" Without missing a beat, Steve said, "I've brought these for you," and handed her the bags of gifts, which she readily took.

I guess you had to be there, but it was pretty funny and we can't wait to eat our Christmas cake.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Mansion

Back in the day when Chris was still in high school, his literature class at Heritage Academy (aka homeschool) was A Beka American Literature. We read many great plays, poems, and stories, but the one I always remember was written by a Princeton educated author and Presbyterian clergyman named Henry van Dyke.

Henry van Dyke wrote dozens of short stories and I have only read a few. When we
were in Chicago for Julia's wedding in 2001, I remember going into an antique store in St. Charles that had volumes of old van Dyke short stories. They were $25 each and at the time I thought that was way too much, especially since there were many volumes in the set. But, I digress.

I like short stories for two reasons. They are short. And, they are stories. Can't beat that.

The Other Wise Man, is a great story by van Dyke and is tied for my favorite with this one.

The Mansion.

So, if you have time for a short story this Christmas, might I recommend The Mansion.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Leader of the band

I always thought this was a beautiful song and was sorry to read that Dan Fogelberg passed away this weekend.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

New Links

My nieces Reesha and Michelle are blogging and I enjoy reading about what they are doing in Brazil and West Bloomington. Thought you would, also. I have been enjoying their mom Nedra's blog and sister-in-law Cari's blog for months. Welcome to the blogosphere, Reesha and Michelle, I'm glad your here!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Worth the read

Terry's brother Pat wrote this after a recent trip. It's well worth the read.

Saturday's Mail

Mr. D received two items in the mail on Saturday. One was an offer for membership in AARP and the other was the utility bill
from the City of Bloomington.

I only received one item in the mail.
It was postmarked Crawford, TX.
It was from the White House.
It was from George and Laura.
Here it is.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I'm Amazed

Christmas 1979 was my first Christmas as a mother.

So, what's a new mother to do in the weeks before Christmas. Sew Christmas stockings for her family, of course! I went to the fabric store and settled on a Vogue pattern that had lots of lovely Christmas projects. That year I made a stocking for Terry, me, and new baby Nicole. I also made one for my sister, my dad, and my mom. And, just because I was in the sewing mood, I believe I made one for my old "sinkmate" Teres.

The years went by and soon a stocking was made for precious little Christopher, followed by sweet baby Katherine, then darling Timothy, and the last stocking was sewn with care for adorable Beth just in time for Christmas 1994.

Mark and Nikki were married in 2005 and I had great hopes of having one ready for him, but the pattern was nowhere to be found, so I had to grab him a "stocking substitute" at Target. It was green velvet with an "M" on it and it hung the wrong way. In the 70's the style was for the stocking to hang with the toe facing left, but alas, the look of the new millennium is for the toe to hang to the right. So, Mark's stocking always hung facing the wrong direction. I was worried that he might feel that with the green velvet stocking hanging the wrong way that we were sending negative vibes his way and somehow feel unwelcome which certainly is not the case. We love Mark.

So, I kept looking for that pattern. And looking. And looking, but it was not to be found.

Then, baby Will arrived and I realized once again my dilemma. Where was that pattern?

Tonight, I was looking on e-Bay. Now, I don't normally look on e-Bay for things. And, while I have gone there looking for the G. I. Joe tank complete with turret that fits over a child's bed that Chris had seen in the Wishbook when he was little and we never purchased, I really never knew what else to look for on e-Bay. I'm still searching for the tank, Chris, but back to the stockings.

All of a sudden it came to me. Put the words "Vogue Christmas Stocking" in the search part. And, there it was. The very same pattern. All intact, only now listed as "vintage 70's pattern". It was $6.99 with $3.50 shipping. Terry helped me figure out Pay Pal and in a few days I will have in my hands the pattern I have been looking for. I will embroider Mark and Will (thankfully they have short names since I decided that it was important for the Christmas stocking to have full names, not nicknames).

And, now, may I introduce to you, all the way from the 70's, Vogue pattern 1312.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

Elf Yourself

It's the latest rage.

A little leaven has elfed Hillary, Obama, Rick Warren, and Brian McClaren.

But, it's hard to beat these elves (except maybe if Katie sends me the link to her, Chris, Tim, and Beth elfed.)

First Sunday of Advent

Yesterday was a snow day for us.

While we probably technically could have "gone" to church, the snow plow decided to dump a couple of feet of packed snow at the end of our driveway just about the time we would have had to leave. Of course we still were in our PJs when that happened, so we wouldn't have made it in time anyway.

Instead, I went back to bed and Mr. D did some online research for the service of the church that occasionally meets at the Dugan manse.

Since yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, he incorporated the lectionary readings for the First Sunday of Advent into our service, we sang some Christmas carols, and enjoyed a message from John Piper via the little red Joy booklet that Terry had picked up at Bethlehem a couple weeks ago.

Doing the lectionary readings and thinking about the church calendar got me thinking about how much evangelicals (of which I guess I am one, I haven't fully decided yet) tend to have a strong distaste for things "churchy". Things like lectionaries, and creeds, and church calendars. I suppose anything done by rote can become meaningless. But then, so can the average evangelical service. Sing the worship songs while you clap a certain way, give the announcements, take the collection, it's just a different sort of doing things by rote. Not so high churchy rote.

The lectionary, for example, gives you readings from the entire Bible. You get the whole picture and Christianity doesn't end up as just a "to-do" list from Paul's letters.

Anyway, I found this link on George Grant's blog about the church year and how it is all done to help us tell the Gospel story and wanted to share.

And, don't forget that December 6th is St. Nicholas Day.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Black Friday Impulse Purchase

On Thanksgiving morning, Mr. D and I headed over to the Galleria to Starbuck's to pick up the newspaper. It's the only time we ever purchase a Star Tribune. And, we didn't buy it for the articles, we bought it for the ads.

I passed on the Sears flyer, but Mr. D paged through it and pointed out that the pub table that we had stumbled upon in Sears a couple weeks earlier was one of their early bird specials on Black Friday. Instead of the $199 price tag it would be $99 until noon or so on Friday.

We got up bright and early and headed to Macy's and Penney's at Southdale. Then, since it was only 8:00 or so, we headed over to Sear's at the MOA to check out the table to see if it was as nice as we remembered. It was. So, in the long line we went to buy the table. I was remembering that the ad featured a $10 off a purchase of $50 coupon and was debating whether or not I really wanted to walk back to the car for $10 and just as I was thinking that it would be a good idea to walk back to the car and get the coupon, the nice lady behind us in line heard our conversation, was sure her purchases wouldn't total $50 and offered us her coupon.

We let her go ahead of us just to make sure she was under the $50 and, sure enough, the coupon was no good for her, so it was ours to use. Thank you nice lady in line at Sears on Black Friday. You made it possible for the Dugans to get this lovely pub table and 4 stools for $89. What a deal!

For those of you who know our basement,the "wall of guitars" will be replaced by black Billy bookshelves from Ikea and this lovely pub table will go between the couch and the bookshelves. It will be great for playing games, working puzzles, and holding the projector when Chris comes over so we can watch movies on his projection TV dealie.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Reagan on Bureaucracy

Beginning with the traumatic experience of the Great Depression, we the people have turned more and more to government for answers that government has neither the right nor the capacity to provide. Unfortunately, government as an institution always tends to increase in size and power, and so government attempted to provide the answers.

The result is a fourth branch of government added to the traditional three of executive, legislative, and judicial: a vast federal bureaucracy that's now being imitated in too many states and too many cities, a bureaucracy of enormous power which determines policy to a greater extent than any of us realize, very possibly to a greater extent than our own elected representatives. And it can't be removed from office by our votes.

To give you an illustration of how bureaucracy works in another country, England in 1803 created a new civil service position. It called for a man to stand on the cliffs of Dover with a spy glass and ring a bell if he saw Napoleon coming. They didn't eliminate that job until 1945. In our own country there are only two government programs that have been abolished. The government stopped making rum on the Virgin Islands, and we've stopped breeding horses for the cavalry. --Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Keep Praying for Paul and Reiko

Paul has updated his blog. Remember to pray for him and Reiko.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Enchanted - Happy Working Song (clip)

I loved this movie.

Can ya tell?

Enchanted - A Hollow Tree (clip)


Disney's Enchanted (trailer)

Go see this movie.

It has a 92% fresh rating on rotten tomatoes.

We saw it Saturday night (missed you Mark, but thanks for staying home with Will so Nikki could come) and it is the best picture winner of the Linda Dugan Academy Awards! (Keep in mind that it replaced "Night at the Museum" as best picture of the year!)

The story is sweet. And, it lets little girls be princesses if they want to be instead of telling them they have to make their mark in the world.

But, it's not really a message movie. It's just plain Disney fun. The songs are catchy, clever, and hysterical. The casting is perfect. I mean, Susan Sarandon as the wicked, evil stepmother. How perfect is that!

Go see Enchanted. And, if you want someone to go with you, give me a call cuz I want to see it again real soon.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My Thanksgiving

We had a nice Thanksgiving.
We ate yummy food. All the usual suspects.
Turkey, mashed potatoes,
sweet potatoes in the brown sugar butter sauce,
the green bean casserole with the fried onion rings,
stuffing, cranberry sauce,
and pumpkin pie.
Katie entertained Will with the singing sheep.Mark posed for a nice picture.Grandma got to hold Will.
Apparently Grandma likes to hold Will this way.
She seems to always talk into the top of his head.
But, he likes it, so she'll probably keep doing it.
The uncles had some bonding time.
Uncle Chris told Will a funny joke.
Auntie Beth fed Will his Thanksgiving dinner.
Great Auntie Carol held him for the first part
of his after dinner nap.
Great Grandma took her turn.
Finally, there was the trip down to Grandma's basement
to choose the retro game of the day.
The kids chose The Barbie Game.
Tim got Poindexter.
Chris got Bob.
Beth got Ken.
Katie got Tom.
Tim won.

And that's how we spent our Thanksgiving.
The end.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Message to Will

Hey Little Buddy.
Grandma here with a warning.
Grandma loves to hold you.
So does Grandpa.
So does Auntie Katie.
And, Auntie Beth.
But, seriously, watch out for your aunties.
They do this to you while you are sleeping.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pray for Paul

Here is a photo of Paul and Reiko Sunde (seated in the front). He has been a pastor in Japan for over 30 years and they are dear friends of ours. Paul's colon cancer has returned and spread. He is starting his chemo this week. If you are reading this, please take a minute to pray for Paul and Reiko.

Also pictured is Paul's brother Dave (standing behind Reiko) and Jon and Hiromi Dugan (missionaries in Japan for over 20 years) and their family (Michael, Lydia, and Rebekah). Pray for them all, as well.

Be sure and read Paul's blog for his updates.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007


By Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Isaiah 66:1,2

Thus says the Lord: Heaven is my throne,and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. Isaiah 66:1,2

Read This.

If you know Gary Miller (or even if you don't), you need to read this blog post.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Confidence is an interesting thing. It seems that lately I have been running into people who are bursting with it and it's deadly partner assertiveness. It happened again yesterday.

I'm not a really confident person and you know how when you were in school there were people who had talent. Some were gifted in sports, or music, or writing, or science, or acting. Well, I had no gifts. Really, seriously, all I could do was bake cookies and chat with people.
That's what I was good at.

Those were the gifts I brought into my marriage and family.
Cookies and conversation.
That evolved into loving to have people over to my house to eat and talk.
Because of that, I have set many a table in my 53 years.

So, it came as a surprise to me yesterday when I was setting the brunch table for a mom's brunch of 11 guests when one of the mom's who had arrived early began to help me. I had planned a lovely Fall tablescape (that's the word that Sandra Lee always uses on the Food Network). The tablecloth was down, the fall paper plates from Target were in place, and I had brought silverware from home
to add a touch of class and save on the budget.

My 40 year old helper grabbed the bag of silverware and napkins and began putting them by the plates. I looked at the place setting and noted that the napkin was to the right of the plate with the knife (blade out) and the fork next to it. The spoon was at the top of the plate, nothing was to the left of the plate. Plus, the silverware was slightly askew
so I figured she was just
throwing the pieces next to each place for me to arrange.

So, I began. Napkin to the left or on top of the plate with the fork on it. Knife to the right of the plate with the blade facing in and the spoon to the right of that. My friend looked over at me and said, "Oh, is that how you want to do it? I was doing it the proper way,
but if that's how you want it, that's fine."

Now, keep in mind, I was in charge of this brunch. So, I said, "Oh, I thought you were just putting the pieces by the plates for me to arrange. The way I always was taught was to put the knife to the right of the plate with the blade facing in and the little gimmick
I taught my kids was to think
that the knife protects the plate from the spoon."

She said, "No, I taught etiquette plus I worked for a caterer for 5 years.
The fork always goes to the right of the plate
because most people are right handed."

Now my dilemma. I'm 53. Never, have I seen the fork to the right and the spoon above the plate when only three pieces of silverware are being use. It looked really goofy, but I thought, she must know, she taught etiquette, after all. So, goofy as it looked and intimidated by her assertiveness, we set the table her way.
Plus, you choose your battles in life
and silverware is not the mountain I am going to die on.

Of course, what I did immediately upon arrival at home was google "How to set a table" and after that "How to set a formal table."
If you have a 5 course dinner in the making and are using a dessert spoon and a seafood fork, they go on the top, but if you are only using 3 pieces of silverware,
the napkin goes on the left, with the fork on top
and the knife goes blade in on the right with the spoon on the outside.

So, now you know how to set a proper table. The thought that I am pondering is the idea of confidence and lack of knowledge.
I have no doubt that this person thought I was in the wrong
and she in the know.
The only issue was that she was confident and wrong.

It's been a theme of my life lately.
People who are confident and wrong.
I have tended to defer to them.
Sometimes it's a good thing to defer
(like when your dealing with silverware).
Sometimes it's a sin
(like when you're dealing with truth).

I want to have confidence to stand up for the things that matter
and grace to tolerate the things that don't.

And, always remember the knife protects the plate from the spoon.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

City Church: Find God and a Hot Wife


The City Church Chicago You Tube video that was featured here has wisely been removed from You Tube.

It featured Carl telling us that most churches "suck", but not City Church where the pastor has a "hot wife".

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I'm not an apostle. Insofar as I open my mouth and am faithful to this [The Word], I speak God ordained truth. When I depart, I don't and your job is to be a Berean and to know the difference. When I'm off and when I'm on and God uses the Word.
John Piper says the obvious here. Perhaps this kind of leadership, God honoring leadership, explains why Bethlehem Baptist has grown from 1,234 in 1998 to 3,985 in 2007. Authoritarian leaders who demand devotion to themselves and not faithfulness to the Word frighten me. Believers always have the right and I might add the duty to challenge any teaching that is not consistent with The Word.

There are no apostles today (in the sense of NT apostles who were the guys who actually saw Jesus) and if anyone tells you they are, WATCH OUT!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Stop It!

This takes the Cake

Cakes are funny things.

You go to the bakery.
You tell them exactly what you want in a cake
and what you get is often interesting
and never quite what you want.

There was the time I ordered Terry a Telecaster cake
for his 40th birthday.
I even brought them a photo.
He said it looked more like a Les Paul.

But, then, they were cake decorators, not musicians.

The same bakery delivered Nikki and Mark's wedding cake.
There was a large divot in the bottom layer!
Vi, the florist worked wonders and hid the divot with roses.
So, it looked lovely when she got done with it and no one noticed.

Then, last July, the kids got us a lovely photo cake.
The bakery couldn't work with a disk, so Chris had a print made.
The print came two to a page and Chris didn't have any scissors with him.
He brought both photos and carefully explained that,
of course, he only wanted one photo on the cake.
He even wrote a note to make sure.
Well, you guessed it, there were two identical photos on the cake.
We enjoyed it all the more
and put it in the "What are people thinking?" category.

But, I have to say that what I found on the Girl Talk blog takes the cake!
The instructions were to
"Best Wishes Suzanne" and underneath that write "We will miss you."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Katie's Half Birthday is Coming Soon!

Aarghhh, Maytees, it's almost Katie's half birthday!
Let's celebrate because we love Katie!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Friday, November 02, 2007

Grandma's Little Punkin

Here's a photo of the cutest punkin in the entire punkin patch.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Down Memory Lane

I found this on Nikki's Facebook old photos page.
The Lilac Wedding.
Nikki was the bride (in the pink bathrobe?).
Erin was the groom (in the Newsies cap?).
Shannon, Ali, an Ashley were bridesmaids.
And, Chris was the cigar smoking priest, of course.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tim is Sweet 16

It's your birthday,
it's your birthday,
it's your birthday...

Happy Birthday, Tim!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Vote for Al Franken

When we went to the State Fair last August, Al Franken was everywhere. I was able to capture Al in a variety of places and poses and thought I would give you an opportunity to vote for Al. That's right, which is your favorite Al?

Do you like the kinder, more attentive Al?

Do you like Al leaning left? Well, come to think of it,
I guess Al always leans left.

Perhaps this is your choice for Al's best side.

Finally, who likes "Crop Art Al"?