Tuesday, September 28, 2010

As of late.

Just thought I would do a quick update about what we have been up to lately.  Above, for Zach's birthday, we went to Lindy's Steakhouse and got dinner (conveniently located down the street from our new home on Bethel campus.  He thoroughly enjoyed his dinner!

                                              Here we are on his birthday also! The big 2-6!

This captures the essence of me being a food preserving maniac this year-- I canned salsa with my friend Hannah, as shown here.... and also have canned tomatoes, froze Broccoli, Zucchini, and Kale, and will also be freezing and canning more before the end of the season! What fun!

It was another wonderful labor day weekend at my family's cabin with friends. This year, we had quite a smaller crew,  but we still enjoyed our time there. A little chilly this year, but it didn't stop us from being outside for fires, playing bocce ball, and bean bag toss, riding the 4 wheeler, and playing LOTS of games as always. Nash enjoyed playing the keyboard too!

At the end of the summer, we had the chance to go stay at a cabin with Zach's family at Itasca State Park. It was fun to spend time with them, and also look at all of the beautiful scenery at Itasca. 

Last weekend we went to an apple orchard with our friends Hannah and Steffen. The place we went to wasn't as cool as they made themselves seem, but we still had fun anyway and got some apples out of the deal too. It was a beautiful day to spend with friends, so it made it all worth it!

Our favorite babies! The triplets are getting bigger and more fun ( one is crawling now!) We still also love to see Nash when we can. Isn't he handsome?

A couple weekends ago, Zach suprised me with a stay at a Bed and Breakfast in Hastings-- the Classic Rosewood Inn for our Anniversary! Our stay included a couples massage ( oh yes!) and we also visited a Vineyard there, and went to a car show. The leaves were already turning beautiful colors.

Now Zach has officially started school (as of Monday). I have two births that I am attending very soon. We are trying not to get too busy, and spend more time at home. We are still settling into our new place and looking for more furniture for our living room. We would LOVE visitors, so please give us a call and come on over : )

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Life Lately.

So-- haven't written a blog in a while. Just wanted to give everyone a short update about what we have been doing lately. Since getting back from our trip, we are still living in community with our close friends in Minneapolis. We still enjoy our tight quarters and the relationships we have here. This summer we are a part of a "Community Supported Agriculture" share, in which we will be getting produce from a local farm every week (two whole boxes of produce, to be specific!). And, to make it even better, we will be taking turns going up to the farm to harvest and box the produce for others in the co-op, and in exchange we will get our boxes for free! It should be a good bonding experience!

Zach has decided to start grad-school in the fall at Bethel Seminary. He will be studying to get his marriage and family therapy license-- which he will use to professionally council people someday and maybe even have a private practice. This summer he is back at Cornerstone, and hanging out with lots of kids for summer activities.  I have been helping a family with triplets who are 6 months old. It is a lot of fun, and a lot of work too. But mostly fun!! They are flexible so that I can also go to births for my doula certification. For those of you who do not know, a doula is someone who assists a woman in childbirth-- someone who serves her and gets her whatever she needs and advocates for her to have the kind of birth that she really wants. And no, I do not deliver the baby. That is the job of the doctor or midwife. So far, I have been to 3 births... the moms all did it naturally and they did a great job!

When Zach starts school this fall, we will be moving on campus at Bethel to the family housing. We think it will be fun to have an apartment to ourselves and also be in a new community of people.

We planted a garden this spring. We are growing beets, corn, kale, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, beans, and carrots. We hope that things will grow since this is the first time we have done something like this by ourselves. It helps that our roommate Lea is very garden savvy. Hopefully she will help us out!

I think that is the major stuff. Life is good. I am thankful for that!!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

a message from my wife..

Hope was kind enough (no surprise) to help me clean up my desk area at work one evening last year when I was swamped and working late. She put up this poster board in my cubicle that had a variety of different words that could be rearranged to make different phrases. I did not think at the time that the starting phrase was ultra-intentional or anything, I just thought that she threw it together.
I have, at times, glanced over at the board and thought about putting some new words up to make a new phrase, but the original one has really grown on me; so there it remains. In fact, it has been so long now, that the board itself has worn in the areas where there are not pieces of paper with words on them, and the words that she originally placed on the board have created an outline for themselves so as to never be replaced by any others. Here then, is the infamous phrase; and may it always remind me of my beloved wife and her kindness, as well as daily assist me in the work that I do:
"I find it
funny we laugh
and play when
some live hurt
try to bring
them help together"
thanks babe,

Friday, May 7, 2010

Help others. Help yourself.

I just read part of an article that discussed how studies show that helping others, or volunteering, can benefit your life. Isn't it funny that people concerned more about their own health and happiness are actually less healthy and less happy than those who work toward bringing health and happiness to others; with no intentions of personal gain. One particular study found that helping others can decrease chronic pain and depression, while giving you a greater sense of purpose and well-being. Man, what are we waiting for! Think about it: you help others; you feel better, and spreading the example around just might result in you being on the receiving end of the help one day.
What is there to lose? Here are some of my ideas about what you could possibly lose: your selfishness, your pride, your pain, your loneliness, your sadness, your depression, your hopelessness, and your feelings of worthlessness, among others. Just give it a try. And it works best if you expect nothing in return. It might feel as good to you as when someone else helps you expecting nothing in return.
I mainly wrote this blog as a reminder for myself.
peace and love,

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I came across this poem by C.S. Lewis last night, and I liked it!

"Iron will eat the world's old beauty up.
Girder and grid and gantry will arise,
Iron forest of engines will arise,
Criss-cross of iron crotchet. For your eyes
No green or growth. Over all, the skies
Scribbled from end to end with boasts and lies.
Clamour shall clean put out the voice of wisdom,
The printing-presses with their clapping wings,
Fouling your nourishment. Harpy wings,
Filling your minds all day with foolish things,
Will tame the eagle Thought: till she sings
Parrot-like in her cage to please dark kings.
The new age, the new art, the new ethic and thought,
And fools crying, Because it has begun,
It will continue as it has begun!
The wheel runs fast, therefore the wheel will run
Faster for ever. The old age is done,
We have new lights and see without the sun."


Thursday, April 1, 2010

one of those moments..

So I have been really stressed lately. I started remembering this week why we went on our trip to Hawaii; what we wanted a break from. I've been sick, working long hours, trying to get grad school applications in, visiting grad schools, spending countless hours trying to figure out how to not owe the IRS all of our savings, and the list goes on. So I wasn't in the mood to even read last night. I wasn't sure what I was in the mood for. I sort of felt like being some place else, but I picked up my little paperback dopy of "call of the wild" and laid down on my bed. Apparently the last time I read this was on the beaches of Kauai. I opened it up and began to page through it to find where I left off, and with every turn of the page more and more white sand began to fall on my face and into our bed. Then my wife began to rub my neck and I thought about how life really isn't so bad. Silly me for thinking this week's problems were too big for a little sand sprnkled on the face to fix.

Friday, March 5, 2010

New tatoos.

This week is our last week here, and on Wednesday, we helped with the food pantry for the last time. I decided it would be fun to do some face painting since I have connected with a lot of the kids over the weeks and thought it would be a fun addition to our art stuff. It turned out everyone had fun with the face painting (I even got to be the lucky one to color in an "Auntie's" tatoo), and even cooler was that it seemed like we had tons of people in general that contributed to our art this week. Below is my favorite family here. They were my most creative artists!! While I was painting other kids faces, I heard Zach yelling at me from across the courtyard. Apparently, the littlest boy in this family, Makila, had decided he did not want to wait to have his face painted, and that he would just do it himself. He picked up a brush while I wasn't looking and painted stripes all over his face! I felt bad that I hadn't been paying attention, but his mom wasn't upset; she thought it was sort of cute. I was lucky enough to have them leave me with their artistry on my body. They were so excited to be able to paint on me too. When I said goodbye, Nohea, the girl gave me a great big hug. It was sad to say goodbye.
Nohea and Makani create masterpieces on my arms.
Nohea, Makila (we washed his face, and then I painted him a fish scene on his cheek), and Makani.
The finished product!
On a happier note, Matt and Kayley arrived on Tuesday!! It has been a lot of fun to have them here and play tourists again. Yesterday we had to drive an hour to get good weather (it was rainy all day on the north shore), but we did manage to find the sun! We are hoping to have time to go kayaking, surfing, up the Napali coast, and to the canyon before we leave. Time is running out quickly. Last night the church had a "Goodbye Hope and Zach Party" and a "Welcome Matt and Kayley Party" at this lounge called the Tahiti Nui in Hanalei. It was fun, with a little drama. For another time......

Sunday, February 28, 2010

wierd day

there's nothing like getting a knock on your door at 5 in the morning, waking you up and hearing a voice firmly say "sorry to wake you up so early, but there's a tsunami that's going to hit the island". After frantically helping the boat club move some of their canioes and seeing the traffic starting to get bad on the only one lane bridge heading out of the valley I started to get worried about what this really might mean. There might be some situations where waiting in line at a packed gas station to fill up your tank might be smart in a crisis, but where is anyone going to drive to on a little island, especially when the bridges go out? I think it just shows how crazy people can get and where their priorities are. I tried to ask as many questions as I could about how bad this could really get and worst speculation I got was that all of the lower areas of the island could get covered and not only flooded, but everything wiped out. Everyone north of us had to evacuate and we thought our property would become a hotspot for the displaced, and I guess it is the designated disaster relief location on the north shore, so we began to mentally prepare for what that could entail. Many things went about as usual during the morning. We had a rummage sale at the church and them men had their weekly breakfast conversation. But my anxiety was rising and as soon as I could I went back to the house, filled up some jugs with water and sat, glued to the tv, watching intently for the first surge to hit the big island south of us.
Well nothing ever really happened. I actually stared at the tv until I fell asleep and when I woke up it seemed to all be over and the speculation was just an overestimate. I guess the big island to get about a 3 foot rise in sea level for a time and I don't know wha that entails. But overall it seems as though the islands caught a big break. Some people were pretty scared, and others seemed calm and even a little excited to see what was going to happen. Now that it's over I am wondering if that sort of a thing is like getting a tornado warning back home. Tornados are scary, but I feel like I'm more familiar with the idea and although I've never experienced one, I feel like when they do occur in the midwest there isn't this widespread panic of a huge catastrophy (I appologize for my ignorance and generalization if anyone has had more experience with tornados and disagrees with me). But what I felt here thinking that a wall of water was going to crash against the island at any moment and we might have a widespread disaster, was so different from the types of dangers that I am used to. But maybe a local resident would feel that way to be in MN when there's a tornado or thunderstorm warning.
It was a beautiful day today. It was hard to switch mindsets and get out of looming crisis mode and back into a normal state. I feel mentally exhausted. I thank God for sparing the islands and the people that could have been hurt, but I mourn and pray for those and their families who lost their lives in Chile and are still dealing with the aftermath. I feel as though I know nothing of real pain, fear and loss when I hear about such terrible events. I am so young; and I don't mean my age.

Monday, February 22, 2010

a couple of great experiences

This is just a picture I found online because I didn't take my camera with the other night. I couldn't have though. I went to a mens practice at the Hanalei boat club and was one of two "novices" out of 25 guys. I was the 5th seat in a 6 man outrigger canoe and I got my butt kicked in every way. I felt out of place among these tough guys who live to paddle. The other novice scored some "bad-ass" points with his tattoos, but I had nothing to elevate my status as the week link among this group of hardcores who were gearing up for their race on the west side that weekend. The first 10 minutes we paddled up and down the river a bit as I worked on my form and rythym and right as I was going to start internally complaining about my arms being tired already apparently someone yelled a command that I didn't understand and all 4 six man boatsbegan racing up and down the river and working on various sprints and start up routines that never gave me more than a moment to lower my shoulder for a rest. After two hours I think my arms were stiffer then the paddle and I couldn't beleive that I survived the practice. But splitting a nice tall dark beer with the other novice afterword made me feel like I accomplished something to be proud of and I started to look forward to a good night's rest and a relaxing day in the morning. Until I remembered what we were doing in the morning.
Our new friend, Dick, took us on a five hour kayak trip up the Wailua river to hike to secret falls. I thought the paddling would kill me after the previous night but the difference in technique and purpose of the kayak trip actually did end up being relxing and loosening up my shoulders a bit. We had a great time. A rope swing into ice cold water is one of those things that you just have to do if you get the chance; for me anyway.
we are very blessed to be here and to have people to take us to do such cool stuff. Check out other pictures at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2045852&id=110901060&l=8b159e0646

Monday, February 15, 2010

it used to be so simple

I miss the days when my brain was incapable of thinking about all of life's stressful complexities. Lately I've felt overwhelmed by all sorts of contradictions and seemingly impossible scenerios.
like learning first hand about a church denomination that is hostile to the one that I was raised in..
like discussing and debating where christians should stand on current issues likes gay marriage rights, economics and social justice..
like hearing someone say "that's a surfer hang out but you can't go there because you're white" and processing what that feels like..
like seeing what's left of a beautiful island and learning about it's culture/history and then thinking about what american business and government has done to it..
like hearing someone give opinions that I usually don't agree with but not knowing how to respond or deciding that I'd just rather hear them out and think it over instead of try to debate something that I probably know very little about..
like having a dream come true and living on a tropical island but only wanting to be with my friends back home..
like feeling like a take my wife for granted and being a boring jerk instead of a loving husband..
like finding out a meaningful worship song that I wanted to lead a congregation in was written as part of a big scandel..
like trying to overcome the dilemma of wanting to love or befriend someone even if my head is telling me there are so many practical reasons to keep my distance because they do or think or represent something that I think it wrong..
like having to think about all of my friends and family and craving to be with them, talk to them, or write to them but deciding that it's too much work and I can't tell them all everything that I want to..
like talking with someone who's studied 13 different languages and is fluent in 5 of them, but realizing at this point in my life such a wonderful feat is impossible..
like feeling that warm feeling inside every time my wife smiles when she sees a baby or a child and then sharp pain of having to ask her to wait longer because I think we should save more money or I should go back to school..
like working on houses with friends and realizing that I remember such a tiny fraction of what my dad taught me about construction and carpentry and wishing I had another chance to learn from him..
like trying to sing and write songs but my voices squeaking and straining and my mind drawing a blank..
like feeling that I could go on and on but not wanting to aggrivate whoever decided to read this and just leaving the rest unsaid..

what I miss..

can't wait to come home fellas

Friday, February 12, 2010

oooh I am not quite sleeping....

And so... We have not blogged for quite some time now. I guess lately it seems that everything has been "the same" to me-- The garden, the food pantry, church, music, Bible study, the beach.... Today we DID do something a little bit different. One of the pastor's from the UCC took us to a middle school in Waimea where he does a Bible study over the student's lunch hour. It was fun to see what the schools are like here compared with MN (the only part that was indoors was the actual classroom). Then we drove up to Kokee and saw Waimea Canyon (the grand canyon of the Pacific as they call it) and also drove to see Kalalau-- a beautiful enclosed valley that you can only get to by hike, boat or helicopter and where many of our friends from the food pantry call home. We also enjoyed the most delicious peice of coconut pie at the lodge at Kokee which was freshly made, with a thick layer of decadently melted chocolate at the bottom, and topped with crunchy mac nuts, still warm and topped with real whipped cream. MMMMmmm. I could go for another slice right now.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We had some okay weather today....

After a morning of hard work, Glenn and Mary offered us their car- so we headed to Hanalei Bay (Zach went for the waves, I went for the sun and a nap). I thought that Zach invented this, apparently they have something that they call a "skim board" that they use to do this-- but he just uses a boogie board. Either way, he is pretty good at it. He uses the board to sort of skate board across the water just as it washes up on the shore. Our friends Scott and Ruth ( my best friend's parents from back home) picked us up today and we ventured to a beach, which I later found out was called Lumahi- a beautiful, but potentially very dangerous beach. We had a blast hanging out with Scott and Ruth and seeing them while they are here. It was nice to see some familar faces from home. We also had lunch with them, and went to Hanalei Bay. Tonight we had dinner with Wayne and Dianna, their son Nick and his friend Tony who are our age. They are the couple who picked us up from the airport who are from Bagley (near where Zach is from). It was nice to have another taste of home talking with some MN folks :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Food Pantry

Every Wednesday morning we clean up after "breakfast conversations" and music practice and we set up tables to get ready for the food pantry. This week we went gleening for oranges, tangelos and lemons, plus we gad all the grapefruit that I picked from the day before. A truck from the Kauai Food Bank comes at 11:30, and anyone from the church or from wherever can jump in and help unload the truck and set out the food on the tables. People who show up early to help set up can take a box of food with them after setting up, so they don't have to wait until the program actually starts and they can get the good stuff. Anybody can get food here. You don't have to prove that you are starving or are unable to get a job. It's just a time where those who need food can come and get some. This week we needed a little food, so we got some too.
Our first Wednesday at food pantry we just observed and helped out wherever we could; restocking tables and handing out more boxes and bags to people. A couple of days later Hope had this idea, which she thought of as a vision, to bring people together more; opening up a way for people to be creative if they don't have resources or encouragement to do that elsewhere. She wanted to open up conversation more and have a way for people to get to know and enjoy each other better. The message at church the first Sunday we were here was about us all being parts of one body; discovering and sharing our gifts with each other. That first week at food pantry we, at least I, felt disconnected from the people who came for food, and Hope's idea was a good way of tearing down that wall. I layed down and she traced around my body on a big peice of canvas that used to be wall paper in a condo. She set the fabric out on a table before food pantry and set up art supplies for people to contribute to a collage called "one humanity". Everybody had a chance to add something to this outline of a body; to make it feel like we are all in this together. It was pretty cool. A lot of kids helped out and a few adults really liked it too. The end result, unless we add to it next week, really did look to me like a combination of all of the people there. A mixture of artsy style, ruggedness, nature, scrapes and bruises, spiky hair, tattoos, homemade jewelry, and animals. A lot of people just painted their own pictures on pieces of paper too, and I thought that was really cool. I found one lying on the ground after word that just said a person's name. I wondered if that person didn't know what else to paint or write other then their own name. Maybe that was a really creative and meaningful thing to paint. I wish that I could feel proud and creative if I just painted my name on a piece of paper. I heard some people say "when did they get all of this stuff here? (referring to the painting and ping pong games)" to which two girls replied "since it got cool", and the guy said "I was here two weeks ago and they didn't have anything cool like this. Another guy told Hope that usually they just sit around and stare at each other. Since then a lot of people have said how cool it was that we incorporated more of a creative, social and fun aspect to the food pantry. I think Hope had a great and successful idea.
We gave out food for about 200 people this week. It was a lot of fun meeting new people and hanging out together in this setting. There was a lady with two kids weaving baskets and she sold a couple of them to me. I can show you a picture of them later. There were a lot of kids this week, and then were running around like crazy. We almost had all of our ping pong balls and paddles destroyed and one boy lost his sandal; that's what happens when you have too much fun I guess.
The prayer circle at the beginning is my favorite part. John, the food pantry director, gives some ground rules with his usual tone of constant sarcastic humor; letting everyone know that there basically are no rules as long as everyone gets some food. Pastor Glenn gives thanks for everyone who is there, prayer for everyone and tells them to let him know if there is anyone else who needs food who cannot make it to the food pantry. We hold hands and prayer and listen to Glenn and John for a few minutes, and then everyone gets a number and lines up to get some of their food for the week. This week we also had a drawing for 4 frozen turkeys and 6 Micheal Jackson calendars; those things are going like hot cakes.
W're almost finished with week 2 of this amazing journey. We're sort of getting into a groove here and the time is starting to fly by like it didn't the first week. We wake up and are busy most of they day and before we know it it is bedtime again. Last night we made a calendar because we want to make sure we take time to do some important personal things that we set as goals when we came here; reading, writing, running etc. It's hard to do all that you want in a day, and when we have a chance it's nice to just rest too; because that is a big reason why we came here in the first place. But isn't rest just taking a break from your typical daily work? Most of this feels like rest to me. I'm content.