Dusty Penguin

Child of God and in love with my Lord. Wife of a wonderful man. Mother of a young adult, two teens, and a miscellaneous menagerie of furry and finned creatures. Work full-time outside of home and as little as possible at home:)

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Location: Cedarville, Ohio

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


There's nothing I'd rather do on a beautiful summer evening than fly. We have a patient at the office where I work who is a pilot (his wife is also), and they own three (yep, count 'em, 3) airplanes. Upon hearing that he is a pilot, my boss and myself expressed how much we like to fly. So, Monday afternoon he asked us if we wanted to go up after work. We did a little rearranging of schedules, and said yes, we would love to go! They had a friend who is also a pilot that needed to fly his plane to Dunkirk and leave it there, so they were going to fly over and give him a ride back. That left plenty of seat space, so I called Jeremiah and told him to meet me at work (but I didn't tell him why). He was pretty surprised when he found out we were flying. (Erika and Duane weren't available). The pilot "friend" turned out to be a neighbor of ours from 5 houses down the road! He owns a Cessna Skyhawk, and he took Jeremiah with him to Dunkirk. I rode in the Beechcraft with the lady pilot (wife of the patient). And the patient (pilot) took my boss for a ride in the Scout. In my airplane, when we got to Dunkirk, we flew out over Lake Erie and up towards Buffalo, then turned back south and flew down past Westfield and Barcelona, then back to Dunkirk. The sky was clear and the flying absolutely smooth. It was a beautiful, beautiful afternoon/evening. Because there was no wind, the water along the edges of Lake Erie was so still that you could see the rock layer on the bottom. Jeremiah took a little turn at the controls of his airplane. When we landed in Dunkirk, we picked up Jeremiah and his pilot and the 4 of us flew back to Great Valley. Each direction we flew over our house, and on the return trip Duane was outside, so we waved our wings at him.
It was really fantastic fun, and I'm so thankful that we were invited to go along.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Westpoint Sunday

The wedding was Saturday morning, followed by the dinner, and ending with sending off the bride and groom in a white Jaguar with a cloud of bubbles being blown at them! After saying goodbye to everyone, we spent the late afternoon and evening relaxing in our room, reading, watching TV, and sleeping (again)! (I forgot to mention that after the Cadet for a Day on Friday we thought about taking the pay-for tour of Westpoint, but decided we'd already seen most of it. So we went to the museum instead and were there until it closed). Late Saturday evening when we started getting hungry after the delicious and filling wedding dinner, we discovered that the eating places on base had all closed, so it was back to the Highland McDs.

Sunday a.m. the father of the bride, Harry, invited everyone who had stayed overnight to get together for an informal worship service at the Thayer Hotel. Far more guests attended than he had expected, and the hotel staff kept bringing in more chairs. I have to admit that I spend the entire service with tears flowing down my face. The moment the service began, I was transported back to our first days, weeks, and years in The Gambia, when Sunday church was held in his living room, and we were seated then on wooden benches and living room furniture. This service was informal, as were those, with prayer, scripture, singing, and close fellowship. He told me after the service, that wave after wave of memories from The Gambia were washing over him as well. It was a very special time, and we were reminded from the word of verse after verse that mentions His steadfast love and faithfulness. Harry did a bit of a word study on steadfast love.
After the service we decided to drive/walk back around the Military Academy to take pictures, since we hadn't taken any on the other days. We had a good time remembering several of the events of the Cadet for a day. We also discovered a nice trail that runs along the Hudson and hiked it. After that we drove back home, unpacked, and went to bed! I'm not going to post too many pictures, because we have over 100, and I won't try to label them all, as I can't remember what all the places are. But this will give you an idea of how beautiful all the old stone buildings are.
This is the sign for the engineering building.

Finding myself at the wrong end of the cannon....
This is called Roman Battery and is a Revolutionary War battery located on Constitution Island just across from Westpoint. This island was the home of the sisters who wrote Jesus Loves Me. They were taken over by boat to the military academy to teach Bible classes to the cadets.

Called the "Million Dollar View", this photo is taken from Trophy Point. All around the point are plaques narrating the history of the Revolutionary War and other wars.

These strange green objects surrounded the memorial for the Civil War. They are cannons placed with the muzzle in the ground to remind all who see them that Americans should never again fire upon American. Very poignant.
This is a portion of the chain that was forged during the Revolutionary War to go from Westpoint to Constitution Island to keep ships from passing up the Hudson.

Jeremiah tells us that this statue of MacArthur is of him looking for the library (he learned that on his previous visit to Westpoint). Apparently it took MacArthur 5 years to get through Westpoint because he couldn't find the library. It serves as a reminder to cadets to never give up.

Westpoint Chapel seen above the buildings and courtyard where we did much of our Cadet for a Day practice.

The well-known Cadet Oath is engraved into marble here and is surrounded by a large number of engraved plaques with famous quotes about honor and integrity. This was one of our favorite spots.

Amazing architecture is everywhere to
be seen. We felt a bit like we were at the
Tower of London, especially when we saw
the view to the left.

Westpoint Wedding

The wedding of one of our Gambia M.K.s was the real reason we went to Westpoint. This beautiful girl was the oldest MK on our station, and a real example to all the younger children. While she must have been lonely, she never ignored the kids who were younger. She is beautiful, intelligent, talented, and in love with the Lord. She married an army major who graduated from Westpoint; hence, their wedding was at the Westpoint Chapel. Her mother told me she'd always dreamed of a cathedral wedding.

We did not get any photos of the wedding because flash photography was not allowed inside the Chapel, and we couldn't get any pictures to turn out. The wedding was Christ-honoring, and beautiful in every way. Here is everyone waiting for Anna to come out of the Chapel after the ceremony.

The Saber Arch was probably everyone's favorite part of the wedding! Although I think my favorite part was when asked, "Who gives this woman...?", the father of the bride answered: "With great joy and contentment, her mother and I do." I thought that was a really special way to do it.

Most of the pictures are from the reception, which was held in the beautiful Thayer Hotel at Westpoint. There were hor d'oeurves in the garden while the wedding party was off doing their photos, followed by a several course dinner in one of the dining rooms with a view of the Hudson River. The pictures are all of old friends from the Gambia, many of whom we haven't seen in quite a few years. At the right is our matriarch, Aunt Ruth. Next to her is Elise, MK. Next to her is her sister Shawna, MK. Next to Shawna is her husband, Greg. Jeremiah is next to Greg, Duane's chair is empty (taking the picture), then me, and Erika. In the empty seats were Aunt Jayne (short-term to the Gambia) and her daughter, Sarah.

I was most surprised to see this lady! Aunt Diane also came short-term to The Gambia to teach our children. I had completely lost track of her. What a joy to see her again. She did a reading during the wedding ceremony. She is as vivacious, energetic, and bubbly as ever! I don't think she's changed one bit.

Since the bride, Anna, has several sisters, it was quite a large wedding party. ( She also had one cousin in the wedding who is not pictured here). Here are her sisters, all of whom I taught in school in The Gambia. These are not in order of age. This is the second youngest, Clara, who was a freshman at Cedarville this year, just a couple of doors down from Erika. She is so outgoing and loving.

This is the youngest (Jeremiah's age), Emma (Ems). She has certainly changed the most, as she was the littlest when we last saw them. I probably had her the most years in school.

This is Grace, second oldest (Gracie). In our family the famous saying always was "Because Gracie said so." (Usually in answer to how you knew something to be true). Smart, fun, and a very strong leader. She was married last summer to a great guy named Lamar. We regret that we missed their wedding.

This is Julia, 3rd from top or bottom. She and Alesha were in the same grade, and those 2 with Grace were usually in the same classroom. The 3 girls were fast friends and did so many creative things together. I still think of her as "Julsie Bug." She just graduated from Cedarville as a nurse and is starting her first job this week. She was incredibly focused while in the nursing program, but now has a boy friend who is a friend of Grace's husband.

And, finally, we come to Anna and Erik, the beautiful bride and groom. The whole day resounded with their testimonies and their love. They have a wonderful story of how they met.

Here are the parents of the bride, Harry and Jan. Both are medical doctors. During the years we shared overseas, they were outstanding leaders, encouragers, and passionate for the Lord. I have really missed them, and it was a blessing to share this special day with them.

The wedding was elegant and yet there was a simplicity to it which melded so beautifully with the military formality. Every moment was Christ-honoring. If there was a single hitch anywhere, it wasn't noticed by anyone attending! The table decoration was lovely--the card on top read "For our Guests... Every good and perfect gift is from above... Our relationship has been a gift from God and you are too! Lovingly, Anna and Erik." The oldest woman at each table received the centerpiece to take home. An older lady that was flying gave me hers to enjoy. This was the first wedding for my children to attend (other than an African wedding!), and it certainly set the bar high! They enjoyed it as much as we did.

Westpoint Weekend

This past weekend we had an incredibly amazing weekend at the United States Military Academy at Westpoint. We left our home at 3:00 a.m. on Friday and arrived at Westpoint at 9:30, just in time for the Cadet for a Day program. We were 4 of 270 volunteers who went through the new cadet induction process as a sort of dress rehearsal for the upper classmen who would be inducting the real new cadets on Monday (R-Day/Reception Day). They want it to go flawlessly, so they go through the entire routine on Friday with volunteers. If you ever have the opportunity to do it, it is an unforgettable experience. For one thing, you see parts of Westpoint where tourists are not allowed to go. For another thing, if you know anyone who has ever gone to a military academy or into the service, it gives you a glimpse into what they go through on their first day. It really helped me to identify just a little bit with what Alesha went through at USAFA, although I'm sure we didn't get yelled at nearly as much. (One cadet told us at the end that it was very difficult to yell at people his parents/grandparent's ages!). But we did get yelled at! "If you can't keep up at a walk, what are you going to do when we run?" "I said ON MY LINE, new cadet!" And so on. It was fun. It was hard. I thought more than once that I'd have to drop out, and I pushed myself to my limits to keep up. But I made it! I can't imagine how far we walked during the day. They had several water stations set up which was good. We didn't bother to take a camera with us for this event, so all Westpoint pictures were taken later. I can't even begin here to tell you all the details. At the end of the event, we all gathered in our companies and were given certificates of appreciation.
That was over about 1:30 or 2:00 p.m. We were starving, so we went into the town of Highland (?) and ate some late lunch at McDs. Then we went to our housing on base (thanks to hubby's status in NYGuard) and slept/watched TV/read. In the evening we went to the base bowling alley and bowled and had some pizza. Normally I don't sleep too well in a hotel room, but that night I certainly slept soundly!