Saturday, October 29, 2011

Project 365, October Recap, Part 3

Here we go with the final installment of Project 365 for this month. As I mentioned in the previous posts, we're in Colorado this week. WHERE WE HAD SNOW! Lots and lots of snow. IN OCTOBER. So silly to think we'd get through this furlough without any snow :)

We arrived in Denver Tuesday, where it was raining. But the rain soon changed to snow and by Wednesday morning when we looked out the window, we saw this:
Our nephew lives out in the country and snow-covered trees, fields and mountains filled the vista.

And it was still snowing! The forecast did not bode well for our plans to drive south to visit friends in CaƱon City, but we decided to go for it anyway. Like the unofficial postal worker's creed: "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds", we didn't want to let a little -- well, a lot -- of snow prevent us from visiting good friends.

And we're so glad we went! It's always fun to connect with friends where you can just pick up where you left off, isn't it? Our friendship goes back to our homeschool days, when their son and our son were practically inseparable. We had a lot of fun catching up and hanging out.
Before it got too late, Ivan helped Larry harvest this mound of basil and chard. The smell was heavenly!

The next morning when the sun came over the mountain, the landscape just sparkled:

As we prepared to leave, we realized the front of the car had been plastered with a thick coat of snow and ice from the trip the day before:

Back in Denver, we headed to Ivan's brother's house where we've been relaxing and enjoying time with the extended family. Including the newest member, Jadin, shown here with proud parents John and Amanda.

Ivan and his brother went to an aviation museum this morning...
They had a good time, and so did those of us who stayed home and relaxed. It was good to kick back and just visit with Alice. We used to live in the same town, back when Ivan and I first got married, and she was one of my best friends. They moved out here in '84 while we headed to Florida (then Michigan, Uganda and now Argentina) and we've only been able to get together a few times in the intervening years. So we treasure these few and far between visits!

This coming week is going to be C-R-A-Z-Y and I don't anticipate much computer time as we countdown to D-day (departure day): November 8th. However, I will be back with news of the biopsy results. It's been such an encouragement to hear from those of you who are praying! Thanks so much. How wonderful to be part of such a wonderful community of prayer warriors!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Project 365, October Recap, Part 2

The third week of October found us flying to Arizona for another missions conference. We flew out with friends who have a home not too far from the church, and we spent a few days hanging out with them before the conference started.

Here's the sight that greeted us at the airport...mountains in pretty much every direction we looked!

The first day we relaxed and took it easy. The club house overlooks the golf course so we enjoyed cold drinks while watching those braving the hot sun to knock tiny balls into small holes...

Then we headed up to Prescott and Sedona. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G scenery everywhere we looked! Just outside Prescott is Watson Lake, with some of the coolest rock formations:
Our friends gave us the Tilley hats which came in VERY handy in the hot Arizona sun.

We climbed over rocks and took dozens of photos. Ivan and Adrene were a bit more adventurous and went higher than I was comfortable with, but I still managed to take some decent photos.

That evening we ate dinner at The Grasshopper Grill in Cornville. Some of the BEST chicken tortilla soup I've ever had! And the barbequed ribs were absolutely delicious. I'd highly recommend this place if you're ever in the area. Had to have our photo taken in front of this sign -- now this is our kind of country club :)

The area around Sedona is spectacular! Impossible to pick just one photo from that day, so here are three:

See what I mean?!
Thoroughly enjoyed our little trip, as you can see...

We were too busy meeting people and sharing at the missions conference over the weekend to take photos. I managed to snap this one when the church wide picnic was over Sunday afternoon and most of the folks had already left.
It was SOOOOOO good to finally meet the folks at Desert Springs Community Church, who have faithfully supported and encouraged us for over three years.

Late Monday afternoon when rain threatened (an unusual occurrence from what we understand) the sky was this incredible mix of colors:
We actually did get a spattering of rain on the windshield of the car, but not enough to even clean the glass.

I'll be back this weekend with part 3, complete with photos from our time in Colorado.

Meanwhile, a prayer request...
We fly back to Michigan on Monday afternoon (October 31st) and I have an appointment Tuesday morning with the surgeon, who I'm praying will be able to get me right in for a biopsy (mammogram and ultrasound indicate there's a need for one). We're scheduled to fly back to Argentina on November 8th and I really, REALLY want to get the biopsy done here in the U.S. -- with enough time to get the results back. Appreciate your prayers!

Project 365, October Recap, Part 1

Long time, no see!
We've been on the road since October 8th, with no internet at most of the places we've stayed. This week we're in Colorado with family --- and they have wifi!
So while I have a chance, let's get caught up on Project 365...

The first week of October found us (mostly) in Jonesville. Gorgeous weather, beautiful fall colors every where you looked...
Not that I saw much of it, since a good portion of my week was spent inside. Not only inside, but in the basement. Where there was much gnashing of teeth as I tried to pack.
Remember we're not only packing the things we'll be taking back with us, but also suitcases that will be brought by groups coming next year. And it was hard to get 50# worth into some of the smaller suitcases. Wanting to get the most out of each suitcase, I resorted to buying and using Space Bags. Has anyone ever used one and had it shrink flat and square like the commercials? Because mine always come out in very bizarre shapes.

Y'all might recall the cottage in Ludington; here's the lovely couple who shared it with us:
We met for breakfast one morning and spent a couple hours catching up and laughing. They are one of the funniest couples we know!

Ivan was able to connect with an old friend and spent a day hanging out with him.
They go way back...having gone through flight training together back in the early 90s, and then flying together every chance they got.

Saturday, October 8th we headed to Indiana. Met up with our son in South Bend and while I did some shopping, Ivan and Jon toured the Studebaker Museum and then went by Jon's office:
That night we used a groupon to the Carriage House Dining Room & Gardens, which is housed in an old church. Beautiful building and very good food made for a memorable date night.

We were in Indiana for a missions conference at Pleasant View Bible Church. What a treat! They started with a parade of flags, carried by the junior high kids, and then arranged around the platform:

That Tuesday we had "off" with no activities associated with the conference so our kids and their spouses all took the day off so we could hang out. What a precious time!

The second week of October is a sort of anniversary for us; we started dating on October 13th. Knowing it was supposed to rain and be really windy that day, we decided to "celebrate" a day early and recreated our first date -- a walk around Winona Lake, Indiana. Along the way we saw this adorable turquoise bike:
 Out on the island is this house that looks like a castle:
It's where we had our second date, when we attended a Bible study there. Lots of memories!

Friday PVBC had scheduled a bonfire but just as they got the fires going, the rain started! Here are the last of the folks making a run for the barns:

I finally finished binding Kyle and Tina's double lap quilt that I'd promised them last year.
I gave it to them when we got together on Saturday evening and they posed for a photo.

The missions conference ended with an international banquet on Sunday the 15th. We sat with old friends from our college days. Here they are with two of their grandchildren:
It was really fun re-connecting with Gary and Patti. It was also really fun participating in the missions conference at PVBC and having the opportunity to get to know lots of different people in the church. Conferences are definitely the best for that!

Back soon with parts 2 and 3...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another Interesting Concept for Small Spaces

Apartment therapy is a fun site for both design and space saving tips. Today they had a post on multi-functional furniture from Italy. Very cool products! So I'm back to share this 6-1/2 minute video with you.

In other news, the packing continues. Along with a return trip to the dentist so he could finish the root canal. And a follow-up visit to the hospital for a secondary mammo and ultrasound. The traveling hasn't stopped either. Sunday we were in Addison and tonight we drove to Hickory Corners...via downtown Battle Creek because for some reason Mapquest thought that was a good idea. Seriously?! We're also taking advantage of as many hanging-with-our-buds opportunities as we can. Three of those lined up for tomorrow.

"I'm making a list and checking it twice." No, make that checking it repeatedly. I have multiple lists. There's the list for things to pack for Indiana. Another packing list for Arizona and Colorado. To say nothing of the ridiculously long packing-to-go-back-to-Argentina list. There's the list of things I need to sort through and find homes for...everything from a vase (remember that $6 Goodwill vase that I argued was a bargain at $1/per month enjoyment during our stay?) to books to clothes to...

You get the picture.

Ivan checked one thing off on the list today. He went to the DMV to find out what we should do about our Michigan driver's licenses, which are set to expire a few months before our next furlough. The last time we had them renewed (shortly after we arrived in Argentina), we were told we'd have to take the test next time around. But I guess we'll qualify for an extension and then renew them when we get back to the U.S. in May of 2013.

I like checking things off my list.

I just wish I'd quit adding things faster than I can check them off.

And I hope I'm not forgetting anything.

Or at least not anything really important.

One thing is for sure, if it's not on my list(s), it ain't gonna happen.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Interesting concept for small spaces has a really interesting article about a teeny, tiny house in France; previously an old garage in the historic district of Bordeaux. The video is rather long (13-1/2 minutes), in French with English subtitles, but worthwhile for anyone fascinated by architecture and the creative use of space. The architect used a box in the process of thinking outside the box :)  Watch the video and you'll see what I mean:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Project 365, September Edition, Part 2

This past week we enjoyed a few days in Ludington. Dear friends who own a cottage on Lake Michigan have let us use it numerous times over the years. We didn't think we'd be able to go up this time but they offered it at the perfect time, and we were able to get away. Yay!

We'd already planned to spend Monday and Tuesday with friends from Charlotte, and they were able to join us at Epworth for those two days. It's always fun sharing a special place with special people :)

First up are photos of a few of the rooms. I can't possibly do the place justice with mere photos, but this is the best I can do.

The living room (windows look out to Lake Michigan):
Dining area (mural painted by a former Hillsdale College student, depicting Epworth Heights and the surrounding coastline):
Long galley style kitchen (take note of the wood inlay of the S.S. Badger):
One of the bedrooms (window overlooks Lake Michigan):
Upstairs bath:
It rained a good deal of the time, but we did manage a couple of walks around Epworth.
There are 105 stairs leading down to the beach from this end of Epworth.
(I think there's only about 20 steps leading down to the beach at the other end of Epworth, where our friends' cottage is located.)

Adrene has a thing for rocks, both collecting and climbing on them. Can you see the lighthouse out behind her?

Ivan and Richard were checking to see if there were any salmon heading up the river, but the water was too murky.

Can you tell what this is?
That's the footprint of a Sand Hill crane! Those birds have HUGE feet! You can't tell from the photo, but that's about 7-8" long.

Ivan used the auto-timer on the camera to take this shot of all four of us:
After the walk we enjoyed relaxing out on the deck:

From the kitchen you can see the swing.
That's one of my favorite spots to sit and read -- when the weather cooperates, that is.

Tuesday evening we went into town to see the S. S. Badger coming in. It's the ferry that travels between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, which is straight across Lake Michigan.
It's a pretty big boat, as you can tell from this next shot showing the big rigs down below, parked so they're ready to drive off once they dock.

On Wednesday night Ivan took some stunning sunset photos. This one is my favorite:

We returned to Jonesville on Thursday, driving through lots of rain on the way. We're very grateful for the days in Ludington. Now you can understand why it's one of our favorite places!