Last weekend, while I visited my friend Nita up in Washington, Mauri was visited by Scott, our own personal tablemaker. Of course that meant he missed out on my fun and I missed out on his. Isn’t that how it goes sometimes?

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He missed going to Nita’s friends farm, where she sells funky relics.

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He missed this drive around the area of Longview and not seeing anything because of the smoke caused by nearby fires.

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He missed the garage sale that offered this gem for $5. Nita couldn’t resist it.

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I was especially sorry he missed The Cruise. He and Lee could have had a car/year-naming contest.

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He missed witnessing the baptism of 10 followers of Jesus at a special combined service of the Duncans’ church.

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He missed hearing lots of fascinating stories.

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And he missed being shown the door when it was time to leave.

What did I miss? you wonder.

While there wasn’t a picture to show me what I missed, I heard there was coffee and conversation——and something left behind that was specially made for us as a gift to go with our table and benches.

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Here’s a hint.

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And now you know what we had for dinner tonight.

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Several weeks ago I was surprised to find an envelope in our mail from George Fox University—addressed to me—not Mauri and Sherry Macy, which has been the case for the past 21 years. My only connection to George Fox is through him.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

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Now and then I think of it when I pass this spot on campus. See the X? It marks the spot where, back in the mid-1960s, Paul Carlson sought a conversation with Mauri Macy, who was a student at Fox. Paul had traveled to Newberg from Wheaton, Illinois, on business, selling college advertising for Campus Life Magazine. The topic of conversation was me. Paul wanted to know if Mauri had any “designs” on me. I guess Paul had heard me talk about Mauri in the couple of dates we had before this business trip, and he liked me well enough to want to assess his competition, if there was any. Mauri assured Paul we were only friends, nothing more.

So, I do have a connection to George Fox University. But that was hardly enough cause to be sent mail to me alone. But then I saw that it was a personal invitation to the dedication of the new student resident hall being named for my friend Melva Brandt and her husband and former GFU president David Brandt.

Now don’t go and get all impressed that I was friends with a college president’s wife.

Well, OK, if you must.

I took off work and went to that building dedication and sat in the close-up chairs so I could take this picture,


and this picture,


of the ribbon cutting, then later saw this picture on Facebook,

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taken by that phone/camera in front of me (credit: Marilyn Lahue-McCully) whose shutter timing was exquisite.

Formalities complete, we were invited to walk the halls and admire the new dorm we’ve been observing in various stages of development from the foundation up, not knowing it would eventually be named Brandt Hall. I bumped into church friends who saw me without the man whose name is usually on the envelope, and their wondering eyes asked, What are you doing here? “I was invited!” I shouted. No, I didn’t shout; I didn’t say a word. But I wanted to because after all, I am friends with a former college president’s wife and that’s why I received a special invitation to this grand event that served chocolate cupcakes with poofy frosting and infused iced teas.


Only a half hour earlier, the newly constructed canyon bridge had been opened for walkers, so of course I had to take advantage of being one of the elite who got invited to test it out first.

My nose was still raised high in the air when I got home to look through the local paper and see

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that “…the public is invited to attend.” That loud boom you heard around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 26, was my ego bursting. It’s a good thing ’cause I’m unbearable to live with in that state.


The next day I went to lunch with Melva and some other friends, and we talked about life and real stuff in the manner of real people who don’t put each other on pedestals or think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think.

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declan has arrived

On Sunday, they looked like this:

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Barely a bump, right?

But today, Tuesday, they look like this:


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This was my first look at our new grandson, Declan Montgomery Carlson, born about 5:30 this afternoon weighing 6lb 7oz. Declan is an Irish name (the Ambrose clan is Irish) and Montgomery is Taylor’s middle name.

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Beth’s mom, Trish, was part of the welcoming party and the Anderson family arrived shortly after. I’m actually making up this part because I don’t really know the timing. I just know that I have pictures of each Anderson holding and admiring their new nephew/cousin as they steadily filled my e-mail with baby pictures—because that’s how much they love me.

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Who wants to guess how long I’ve stared at these two pictures?

I’m sure I’ll have plenty of mommy pictures to share in the days to come. You can see how good she looked in the Facebook-approved family photo above.

Posted in family matters | 4 Comments


Taylor and I weathered some bumps during his infancy, childhood, adolescence, youth, and young adulthood. We’ve worked through those bumps, and I’ve stopped rubbing in the extent of the emotional investment it took to be his mother. I’ve forgiven him at least enough to not wish himself on the child about to be born. After all, that would be cruel and unusual punishment for the baby’s mother, whose only crime was to fall in love and marry my dear son, despite my warnings that she could potentially birth Dennis the Menace.


Of course I have many pictures, so I’ll exercise a little restraint and just share this one of the little cherub. Does he look a little like Dennis?

I’m sure you think I’m exaggerating for the sake of storytelling, that no good mother would expose her kid’s shenanigans. Well, let’s just say it could have been a lot worse! And he straightened up soon enough and well enough to make a real good life for and with his bride (in no small part due to her influence, certainly not mine).

All these years and today I got my payoff in the form of two pictures (shared by Beth).

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Paid in full!

Posted in family matters | 4 Comments

rachel’s memorial celebration


Sadly, through no one’s fault in particular, we don’t have the actual audio of Rachel’s memorial celebration to share with you. So Mauri took the pieces of what we do have — Debbie’s script, JohnW’s playlist, some of the personal stories shared, and the voices of family and one friend (who read the story that was about him) — and recreated it so that you could still “attend” the celebration. Think of it as a “reasonable facsimile.” He doesn’t identify himself, but it’s Rachel’s beloved pop you hear as narrator.

If you missed the video slide presentation I posted earlier, you can see it here.

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You’d think by the time a person reaches the age of 70 she wouldn’t have very many new experiences. Turns out that on Sunday morning, both Mauri and I had the exact same life “first.”

A sense a hush settling around you as you wait in awe-filled anticipation of what that was.

Well, hold on a second. I have to show you this first:

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Our friend Deborah invited us to join her at Salem Alliance Church with a bit of warning that August is Family Gathers month; they veer off of their normal template on those Sundays. As we took a bench toward the front prior to the start of the service, we watched two kids playing Jenga, cheered on by the senior pastor.

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The platform was decorated, as you can see,

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in the theme of family games—Jenga being Sunday’s theme and used to illustrate the sermon points.

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You can see on the back of the handout a word find with Jenga-themed words.

While this was something we’ve never experienced before, it isn’t the cool “first” for us.


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Down each row the ushers passed large baskets of these, and we were to each take a packet, open it, and chew them, one at a time, right there in church! Well, I never!

I would love to have been part of the brainstorming session with those service planners who came up with that idea! Brilliant!

At brunch Deborah told us about the time her pastor dad was in the pulpit, preaching his sermon, when he noticed young Deborah chewing gum, which was clearly forbidden. She had forgotten to dispose of it before church and was trying so hard to keep her jaw still. He caught her eye, and with two exaggerated chewing movements got his point across. She took quick action to relieve her mouth of that chewing temptation. We had a good laugh at the way times have changed in our lifetime.

Posted in in the neighborhood | 1 Comment


This summer Quinn took her kids on a nostalgic return to Michigan, the land where she collected the most childhood memories and considers “home.” She showed them where she attended junior high, high school, and college. She drove them through Grace Youth Camp (now Grace Adventures), estimated the spot where she worked one summer on kitchen staff,


and stopped at Whippy Dip in Silver Lake for cones. She connected with as many high school friends who still live in the vicinity as she could and let her kids hear the stories of her youth. Brave! They attended Jamie’s wedding and spent time with brother/uncle Ben.

But wait! I skipped over one of best parts!

Cedar Point

A bucket-list entry, now fulfilled——Cedar Point! Quinn booked a room in a (a-hem) less than desirable motel to allow them first entry into the park (that’s how they got this picture sans the summer crowd). They had a blast, and the kids continued to talk about the rides for days and weeks.

While I don’t usually blog about other people’s vacations, there’s purpose here. It’s that 21 years ago Mauri and I got married——and took our kids on a honeymoon to Cedar Point. Quinn got to reminisce with her kids about her favorite rides (she’d been there many times with her buds), but when they walked toward this

Cedar Point-old-timey photographer

she could tell them about going on a honeymoon with Gus and Gum and posing for this masterpiece:

1994-Macy-Carlson family wedding photo at Cedar Point Sandusky OH copy

Surely that was worth the price of the admission!

Posted in family matters, nostalgia | 3 Comments