My Quest for My New Best Friend

A testimonial as read at the First Presbyterian Church of Glen Ellyn’s Women’s Day Apart, on Friendship. Last Sunday afternoon I found myself staring out the window of a very slow moving car full of 4 other women, racing slowly, so slowly toward the Denver International Airport for flights home that at least one of us was certainly going to miss. We had left with plenty of time to get...


Yosemite: A Complete Ottventure

“Everybody needs beauty…places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.” ― John Muir “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” ― John Muir On our last vacation away from the kids we decided to check out the Grand Canyon. Neither of us had ever visited a National Park, so we weren’t...


Cottage Times: A Family Adventure at the Lake

We went to Wally’s family cottage this weekend. Wally’s Grandma Ott owns a cute little house in Sawyer, Michigan, just past the Michigan/Indiana border on Lake Michigan. The neighborhood is built in the middle of a gorgeous forest full of steep hills, creeks, and tall trees. The streets wind on and on.Read more


There they go, getting older: The annual Big Chair Picture

This week, I compiled our annual “chair” pictures from Silver Lake. Every year, we go to Wally’s crazy family reunion (that they don’t call a reunion) in Silver Lake, Michigan. We hang on hard to family traditions there (or at least I do—even though I’ve only been going for less than a decade, I feel we have to mind our traditions, pushing the rest of the people who...


Silver Lake: A Loony Tradition

We just returned from our annual getaway to Silver Lake, Michigan, a tradition set up by the “Loonies,” Wally IV’s mom’s side of our family. I don’t know the roots of the name Loony, but anyone who spends time with them can take a guess—after all, what family spends an entire week together every year for generations and does not call it a family reunion? Once a...


The best Silver Lake yet! By Wally Ben

My mom and dad said Silver Lake is an important trip, and that I have been there 2 times already and this would be my third, although the first time I was in my mom’s belly and I couldn’t see very well, but I do remember a long long long long walk across the dunes to Lake Michigan that was really long. So I was excited to go again, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed! I...


Why everyone must visit the Grand Canyon

If God were a soul, and he decided to place himself in one place, I could see him choosing the Grand Canyon. It is big and wide and deep beyond comprehension. Every glimpse, from every location, is overwhelming. But it doesn’t seem empty and cold like you might imagine a gigantic hole in rocks would be. Its vastness is warm and full. The same lookout point can take on a different, new beauty...