Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Eternal Gem

My Eternal Gem
written by Kristina Haines (my maiden name, I was 16 when I wrote this)

Someday I will leave this big world,
And all of its sin behind.
I'll walk upon the streets of gold,
with the Savior of Mankind.

So when I die, I want to know,
That I have fulfilled His plan.
I want to be completely sure,
That I've served the Son of Man.

I want to have peace in knowing,
That I've served Him faithfully,
That the seeds that I've been sowing,
Have prospered abundantly.

I want to leave no undone things,
Or possible could-have-beens,
I want to see the King of Kings,
And know I have lived for Him.

And when I walk through the gates of pearl,
And see the Lord of Hosts - -
Of the many things in this world...
Here is what I want the most:
To know my life was lived for Him,
That I served Him faithfully.
This simple peace will be my gem...
Throughout eternity.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Great Dates Around the World in KC!

Looking for something new this Valentine’s Day? An exotic vacation is not in the budget or on the schedule? Here are some ideas for a Valentine Vacation in Kansas City!
In each example, dinner and entertainment are within a ten-minute drive or less unless otherwise noted.

Step into Arabia with dinner at the Aladdin Café (3903 Wyoming, KCMO. 816-532-5982). Their menu features stuffed grape leaves, baba ganoush, hummus, falafel, lamb and other traditional Arabic dishes. Then, enjoy Arabian Nights showing at the Kansas City Repertory Theater (Spencer Theater 4949 Cherry St., KCMO, through Feb. 22nd.

Make a trip to Brazil at the Plaza’s newest restaurant, which is also one of the most fun! Fogo de Chao (222 W. 47th St, KCMO on the Plaza. 816-931-7700), features an authentic Brazilian churrascaria dining format, where patrons enjoy skewered fire-roasted meats served by Gaucho chefs throughout their meal. Enjoy a night on the Plaza with a movie at the Cinemark or cheese samples from around the world at Better Cheddar, window-shopping or a carriage ride.

This may be All-American, but it is also All Fun! ComedyCity (817 Westport Rd, KCMO, 816-842-2744, is home to Kansas City’s original improvisational comedy show; it is fast-paced and based entirely on suggestions from the audience. Every show is clean, funny, and one-of-a-kind. For dinner, go to Chili’s (554 Westport Rd., KCMO, 816-561-1220)… yes, it is a chain restaurant, but the food is good. It seemed fitting for a light and fun date!

Journey to Great Britain as you watch Murder By the Book, a light-hearted and inventive British thriller performed live at the American Heartland Theater (3rd floor of Crown Center,, 816-842-9999). Enjoy dinner at Pierpont’s (30 W. Pershing, KCMO at Union Station). This is not exactly British, but honestly, there isn’t much demand for British cuisine in KC. Pierpont’s features Steak and Seafood and as fish is a popular British meal, it’s our best choice near the Theater.

Embark on a trip to the Orient at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (4525 Oak St, KCMO, houses an extensive collection of Asian art and the best part is that it’s FREE and open until 9pm on Thursdays and Fridays! For dinner, there are two excellent choices nearby. For fun, enjoy a Japanese meal where the food is prepared before your eyes at Gojo Japanese Steakhouse (4163 Broadway St, KCMO, 816-561-2501). Or, enjoy Chinese food at PF Chang’s China Bistro (102 W. 47th St, KCMO, 816-931-9988).

Fancy Ireland? O’Dowd’s Little Dublin Restaurant (4742 Pennsylvania on the Plaza, 816-561-2700, feels Irish because it is. Nearly all of the woodwork was handcrafted and imported directly from Ireland! Bring a hearty appetite - because O'Dowd's Little Dublin has the BEST American Pub eats and Irish treats IN THE CITY! Live music is featured every night, including Irish musicians.

Visit the Czech Republic with a night of fine music as The Czech Symphony Orchestra performs Czech composer Dvorak’s No. 9 From the New World at the Carlsen Center of the Johnson County Community College (12345 College Blvd, OPKS,, 469-4445). To enjoy an authentic Czech meal, visit the Kolache Factory (7112 W. 135th St, OPK, 913-851-2253, They are only open for breakfast and lunch, but you can purchase bakery kolaches to serve at home.

Go to Germany as the KC Symphony performs pieces from Beethoven’s only opera (Fidelio, first known as Leonore), followed by Mendelssohn's stirring Symphony-Cantata Lobgesang (Hymn of Praise) on Valentine weekend at the Lyric Theatre (1029 Central, KCMO, 816-471-0400, For dinner, visit the Power and Light District (, which features a wide variety of good restaurants. Or plan ahead, and go to Werners (5736 Johnson Dr., Mission, KS, 913-362-5955, and buy dinner in advance to eat at home before your date. Werners sells handmade European style sausages.

Explore Russia! Union Station (30 W. Pershing Rd, KCMO, 816-460-2020, is featuring the exhibit, “The Tsar and the President” through April 19th. This historically focused traveling exhibit examines the lives of Lincoln and Russia’s Tsar Alexander II, using personal memorabilia like Lincoln’s presidential speeches and the opulent artifacts of Russia’s royalty to tell each man’s story. For this one, you’ll have to plan ahead and eat at home, or leave early as dinner and entertainment aren’t “nearby.” The International Grocery: Taste of Russia (7228 W. 79th St in Shawnee Mission, KS 913-385-5609), is tiny, but it includes a meat shop, cake shop, and Russian groceries. They also have a lunch and dinner spot fit with small table and chairs.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Creative Ways to say, "I Love You"

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, we're reminded to tell our loved ones how much we care. However, in our house we try to make it a habit to 'creatively' say, "I Love You" in unusual ways often.

Our favorites:

POST-ITS: We have some fun ways of doing that in our house. When we first married, I started randomly leaving post-it note "I love you's" where my husband would find them from time to time... on his lunch, on the mirror in the bathroom, his windshield, steering wheel, in his coat pocket, in his wallet, on his computer screen, in his sock drawer. He took up the same periodic habit and writes notes to me.

PANCAKES: Then, when we had kids it has become an "almost every weekend" ritual to make blueberry pancakes. I make the batter, clean up the kitchen, and get the girls ready for the day while he mans the stove. He loves to make heart pancakes, Mickey Mouse, and lately... letters. Last weekend he spelled out I (heart) each of our names!

OTHER FOOD: Use Bakery Safe markers (in the decorating section of the store) and use them to write on your children's sandwiches. Write on a banana with an ink pen. Leave notes on food containers. Write on napkins. It's fun to find notes where you least expect them.

WINDOW PAINT: Window Paint (of the washable variety) is great for leaving a note on screen doors, mirrors, windshields, etc. Be sure it is WASHABLE! :-)

"I love you this much": Many families love the book, "Guess How Much I love You"... we also stretch out arms and say, I love you this much as we come and go. Emily said that with outstretched arms IMMEDIATELY when she first met her baby sister! She then took the baby's arms and stretched them to say I love you!

Just Say It: The habit here is that an "I love you" is exchanged at the end of phone conversations, when someone leaves the house, before bed, first thing in the morning, and whenever we "just feel like it" - which is often. It is one thing you can't say enough.