#219: Grace! ‘Tis a Charming Sound


(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


Grace! ’tis a charming sound, Harmonious to the ear;

Heav’n with the echo shall resound, And all the earth shall hear.


Saved by grace alone! This is all my plea:

Jesus died for all mankind, And Jesus died for me.


‘Twas  grace that wrote my name In life’s eternal book;

‘Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb, Who all my sorrows took.



Grace taught my wand’ring feet To tread to heav’nly road;

And new supplies each hour I meet, While pressing on to God.



Grace taught my soul to pray, And made mine eyes o’erflow,

‘Twas grace which kept me to this day, And ill not let me go.



O let Thy grace inspire My soul with strength divine;

May all my pow’rs to Thee aspire, And all my days be Thine.


Cedar Fair Tour: Off Campus Motels


One other part of our tour of Cedar Fair parks was the nighttime accommodations. We did web searches for “inexpensive” motels, made reservations online, and then took our chances. Despite similar ratings, we had drastically mixed results in the places we selected.

Our first stop was actually for LibertyCon in Chattanooga, TN. We had originally booked a room at the Choo Choo Hotel, but they overbooked and we agreed to take a room at the Marriott Hotel Downtown in exchange for one free night out of our four nights there. We ended up with a room on the 14th floor of a 4-star hotel. It was a nice room, but we actually enjoyed several other rooms along the way better.

One of which was NOT the Days Inn we stayed at in Ruther Glen, VA. We booked 2 nights there for our visit to King’s Dominion. Breakfast was included. When we got to the room the air wasn’t on, so we turned it on, quickly unpacked, and went to the park. The room was barely cool by the time we got back.

The evening we checked in the door to the breakfast room was open, so we went in to look it over, and got told we weren’t supposed to go in except during breakfast.  And we got coupons each night for breakfast the next morning, to choose bacon or ham, eggs, etc.  It was so underwhelming that the second morning we preferred paying extra to eat a real meal at McDonalds.

Our third stop was the surprise find. The Holiday Inn Express in Selinsgrove, PA. Had these wonderful high ceilings that gave it a real “wow” factor that we missed in the 4-star Marriott in Chattanooga. We followed that with two nights at the Holiday Inn Express in Buffalo. Just as nice, but not as much of a wow factor as Selinsgrove.

Canada has a lot of wonderful places to stay. One of them is not the Pearson Hotel and Conference Centre. We booked the hotel as what looked like the best economy place. But we got there late, and the room wasn’t ready. Then they checked in a whole bunch of people ahead of us. This was also the place where we lost Nathan’s wallet. We discovered that after our arrival at the next place and called. When we finally got them to understand, they said they would check with housekeeping and call us back. We called three different times, got a new person each time, and no one ever contacted us back after checking  with housekeeping.

That original call was made from the Travelodge in Muskegon, MI. A definite improvement over the Pearson, but no wow like the Holiday Inn Expresses. An okay breakfast, temperature that regulated nicely.

The Budget Host Inn, Sandusky, was a nice enough room, but its touted free wifi just didn’t work very well unless you were on the side of the room near the office, which was in the other building of the two that made up the Inn.

So we started with a decent motel at the convention, disappointment in Virginia, wow in Pennsylvania and pleasant in Buffalo. Then we had disappointment in Toronto, slight relief in Michigan and modest frustration in Sandusky.

So it was nice to end the trip at the La Quinta in Mason, OH (outside Cincinnati. My understanding is that La Quinta is economy business travel style. But this one was another well done hotel. Roomy, comfy beds, high ceilings. We ended on a fairly decent note.

So Holiday Inn Express and La Quinta got on our list of preferred hotels.

Fitness Update: Lap swimming


So, this week has been another getting back up to speed. Not really. But some progress made again.

The sleep hours went back up, and I started feeling better, but still ended up tired. So over the weekend I did a little more physical activity, and that seems to balance things out. I need sleep, but I also need the physical activity.

I did some swimming at Worlds of Fun, kept the biking up. Somewhere in the schedule I need to get the motivation for the running again.  That is probably the primary physical activity that keeps my fitness/sleep cycle in sync.

Summer is great for relaxation, but it can also throw you a bit out of whack sometimes.

#218: Burdens are Lifted at Calvary


(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


Days are filled with sorrow and care, Hearts are lonely and drear;

Burdens are lifted at Calvary — Jesus is very near.


Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Calvary, Calvary;

Burdens are lifted at Calvary — Jesus is very near.


Cast your care on Jesus today, Leave your worry and fear;

Burdens are lifted at Calvary — Jesus is very near.



Troubled soul, the Savior can see Ev’ry heartache and tear;

Burdens are lifted at Calvary — Jesus is very near.


Million Dollar Quartet


Today was our first time at the New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park, KS. The show was a matinee of the show “Million Dollar Quartet”. This will be a review/reflection on the experience of the New Theatre Restaurant and the show.

We drove to the theater, expecting to be able to find it relatively easy from what we knew of its general location. I can around the end and saw the main entrance on the west side of the building, only to be unable to get through to get to the parking, because a bus was fully blocking the way and preventing us from getting to the parking lot.

So we backtracked our course and eventually parked on the east side of the building, in the strip mall that lets out to Metcalf. We saw a sign for the New Theatre Restaurant and parked there, then tried to follow the signs to the theater.

Our tickets instructed us to “please use the right entrance”. but all we could find was the back door, not the “right entrance”. So we were walking around the building through an alleyway to get to the front of the building, intending to find the “right entrance”. Someone from the theater came out a door and told us we had gone by the entrance. I mentioned the need to find the right entrance, and he told us we had gone by it.

So we eventually went back to the back door and went in, found the main lobby, realized there were two doors in there to the theater itself — a left and right — and got in the line for the “right entrance”. But that theater guy still didn’t understand what I was talking about when he sent me back. And the tickets certainly weren’t written to make sense to someone who hadn’t been to the theater before.

But once we were in line (long), we got seated in a reasonable timeframe (smooth moving line).

We had seats in the Dress Circle (nosebleed section),  which really weren’t that far back, though somewhat close to the ceiling. We really aren’t interested in sitting too close to the stage. We need a moderate amount of distance (perspective).

Our table for two was fine, and we had a nice waiter, who took our drink orders and explained to us the pattern for the buffet, and how dessert orders are taken near the end of dinner for intermission.

Buffet opened at 11:40. We started at that time, and being in the middle of the room, didn’t get to the buffet before a moderate line had formed. We took 20 minutes to get through the buffet and back to our table. That was plenty of time to enjoy the courses, and go back for a final plate of fruit before the show.

They were very attentive to refills of Betsy’s soda, a little less attentive on refreshing the hot water for my tea.

During intermission, they were very efficient about bringing the desserts, which were as delectable as they looked. They were also very pleasant about processing the check unobtrusively.

And so to analyze the show.

Million Dollar Quartet is a show about the origins of four Rock and Roll greats: Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. But what it really is about is the emotional journey of Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records and the one who discovered them all.  It is about a jam session between the four greats, the one time they were together, before they went on separate ways.

I enjoyed the show, especially the way they played Sam’s journey.  I believe people are supposed to key to the great songs of the period that they four sang during the session.  I enjoyed the music, but it isn’t my music, and so I didn’t get the buzz I think people are expected to get from the music of the show.

Even so the music was good. The plot wasn’t really very heavy, but it did carry the show. If you really enjoy the four artists of the quartet, you will probably have a really great time.

The experience was good enough for us to consider going back to another show sometime, possibly even do a season ticket.

A Blast of the Past #109: Houghton Reunion


Our next look into the past is our 20th reunion at Houghton College.  It took place in our 21st year after graduation.  We almost didn’t have this reunion. Initially we were part of something called “cluster reunions” where adjacent years were grouped together in reunions.

It was a good idea; a chance to meet friends from other nearby classes as well as those of one’s own. And so our 20th year went by, but when our 21th year, our cluster was to occur, the planners had suddenly changed and gone back to the regular type of reunions. If we hadn’t written in and asked, we never would have had a reunion at all.

And without that reunion, we never would have gotten our look at Houghton’s then-new president, Shirley Mullen. She impressed us, and though I have heard mixed reviews from various sources, overall I still find Houghton’s choice of president good.

So here are the reunion photos:

A Look Ahead: Million $ Quartet


This Thursday I am doing another quick “look ahead” post.

Snoopy’s Birthday

Image may contain: 2 people

The first item is today, Thursday, Aug. 10

Worlds of Fun

4545 Worlds of Fun Ave, Kansas City, Missouri 64161
Come help us celebrate Snoopy’s Birthday on Thursday after the 1:30 performance of Sally’s Rockin’ Dance Party! Cake will be served!

Million $ Quartet

The next item is July 6, 2017 – Sept. 24, 2017 at the New Theatre Restaurant.  I post it today, because we are going to the matinee this Saturday.

Million Dollar Quartet is the new smash-hit musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. On December 4, 1956, these 4 young musicians gathered at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions ever. Million Dollar Quartet brings the legendary night to life, featuring a score of rock hits including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “That’s All Right,” “16 Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Matchbox,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog,” and many more. This thrilling Broadway musical takes you inside the recording


Season Dining Update

And finally, we have the season dining plan update (which isn’t really a look ahead, but which I put here semi-regularly):

Total Price Paid $497.44
Total Number of Meals 417
Total Retail $4,364.36
Average Price Per Meal $1.19
Total Drink Price 29.64
Total number of drinks 406
Total Retail $452.50
Average Price Per Drink $0.07