I left Mazatlan on April 29th and it seems like yesterday. May was a blur of traveling and suitcases until I arrived in Leavenworth on May 16th. Then it was finally time to actually unpack a suitcase and settle down for more than 3 or 4 days in one place.
I’m still in awe of the beauty of the mountains and the rivers and streams around here. Spring is here. The pungent aroma of budding lilacs fills the air along with the scent of pine from the towering evergreens. I went to visit my tree in Cashmere the other day and it is completely green with no evidence of the crimson glory displayed last fall.
A friend and I were sipping Mack n Jacks at Igloo in Wenatchee the other day when I remarked that I felt like I was at home, as though I hadn’t been away for six months. Everything was so familiar and very little had changed. It’s comfortable and relaxing and it’s good to be back.
I haven’t even pulled out my laptop all week. I’ve been out and about and too busy to write. I’m back volunteering at the church again and it’s so nice to be back with my church family. Vacation Bible School is fast approaching next month, and as a co-director I am only too aware of all the planning and organizing that needs to be done this month.
I also joined the Leavenworth Senior Center. I’ve met some lovely people and enjoyed lunch and an afternoon of bridge the other day. Next week I start an exercise program and I plan on attending some of the daily lunches at the center. There are other activities offered as well including a monthly trip to a casino.
I took Link Transit into Wenatchee and rode around on the trolleys to the various shopping areas. And I got an ID card as I’m at that wonderful age where public transit is now half price for me.
I visited Spirit of America in Cashmere. This tribute to 9/11 is a must for any traveler.
I’ve also joined a bible study group in Cashmere and am only too delighted to have yet another excuse to visit my favorite town in Washington.
The public library system in this state is amazing and I have been at both the Leavenworth and the Cashmere branches this week. I have lots of reading material to catch up on as John Grisham and Danielle Steel are difficult to find in English in Mexico.
Also on the agenda this past week was a walk in Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee. The path is alongside the river, peaceful and tranquil. A few people were in the water on rafts or in boats as it was quite a warm day.
I start a course next week from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. The course is titled Emotions: A Philosophical Introduction. It’s wonderful to have the time to take courses that are of interest rather than courses that are compulsory in order to obtain a degree.
I’m also indulging in another favorite pastime while in Leavenworth. I love to cook and bake and both the kitchens and available ingredients are certainly lacking in Mexico. I am overwhelmed when I walk into grocery stores here but I eagerly make my purchases and return home to bask in the glow of an American kitchen.
No wonder it’s June already!
“Light the Night is an event that we do as a church to share the love of Jesus with our community.” Pastor Becky Goodman.
A highlight of the time I spent in Leavenworth was volunteering at Light The Night at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene, where approximately 265 people gather together to worship at Sunday services. Light The Night was spearheaded by Pastor Becky Goodman, pastor for children and families, and attracted some 1400 plus attendees. This annual event is eagerly anticipated by residents of Chelan County and I feel truly blessed that I was able to share with the community and participate this year.
I also enjoyed working with Becky in the planning stages. She was incredibly organized and we easily marked the number of chairs, tables and canopies on maps so that the volunteers could grab a map and know where the items were needed. Games and food areas were also mapped out. We laminated tags for the buckets of candy to be distributed at the games.
Some 70 volunteers were involved in setting up this event, including about 20 children and teachers from the school. The church parking lot was transformed into a mega carnival on two extremely rainy days. Inside the church activity was bustling. Volunteers sorted through thousands of candies and filled dozens of bags of popcorn. Backdrops and supplies for the games were hauled out of the basement, as were heavy canopies. Artwork and laminating attracted some of the more creative volunteers. On the night of the event approximately 90 volunteers ran the games, attended the gates, provided security and cleaned up afterwards. Generous donations from church members as well as the community at large included canopies, donuts, hot dogs, apple cider, firewood and decorations. A man brought in a miniature horse for the petting zoo and brought his own fencing and brushes. The children were delighted that they could brush the horse. Someone also brought in a bunny for the petting zoo.
A popular and important activity was Praise Party, where the music played had been used at Vacation Bible School events. Sixteen games were set up in two rows under canopies. There was a bouncy house with a slide, an Angry bird game and an obstacle course. There was also a campfire area where people could toast marshmallows and make s’mores. The food areas attracted crowds of people as well. The children were all excited to see the fire truck with the lights flashing, especially when they got to sit in the driver’s seat. Attendees were also encouraged to submit their own pictures in a photo contest.
Other than two children who temporarily lost sight of their families, there were no major security issues. I was at one of the gates and thoroughly enjoyed welcoming people, many of whom were dressed in elaborate costumes. As they exited, adults and children alike expressed their gratitude to the church and the volunteers for their efforts in reaching out to the community. Memories of this amazing event will be stored in my heart forever.
The above photos and several more can be viewed on the Facebook page of Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene.