Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Big news!

So, I'm sure most of you have heard (because pretty sure only my family looks at this thing) but Alex and I have accepted the call of a church up in Kingsford, MI!  The name of the church is Immanuel Baptist, and it is in the U.P., eight hours away from "home."  So, needless to say this is going to be a big adjustment for me and I am going to need all of your prayers as I acclamate myself to being so far away from family for the first time.  We are very excited, though, to see the potential of this church and it's members and how God is going to do great things through us for his glory. 

We heard about this church this past summer when Alex was preaching out at Lake Ellen Bible camp in Crystal Falls, MI.  Someone mentioned that this church was looking to replace a retiring senior pastor and so Alex casually looked into it, not really expecting much of anything to happen.  But, lo and behold, he put in his resume, and talked a little bit with the current senior pastor and after answering the questions of the search committee we were asked to come up and candidate!  A few weeks before all this, though, we were up there hunting at a friend's property and met for a casual dinner with Pastor Ron and his wife, Joan (the current senior pastor).  It was an incredibly encouraging evening, spent just getting to know them, the church history a little, and where they stand on things.  Then, a few weeks later we went up to meet the church and also meet with the elder board and of course Alex preached that Sunday.  We felt pretty good after leaving that weekend, and kept praying for the Lord to give us clarity and discernment for this big decision.  Then, we got the call this past Sunday from Pastor Ron that it was a unanimous decision to have us come up and be a part of their church, if we so felt led.  And we said we'd love to! 

So, now, the craziness starts of trying to tie up ends here, as we will be moving some of our stuff up as early as the weekend of Dec. 17th, and the rest of it sometime between then and Jan. 1st!  It's all very exciting and a little sad at the same time, so please pray for us as we start in a new place, and that we would find a house to rent quickly!

In case you're curious, here is the church's website:  http://www.immanuelbc.org

Monday, November 14, 2011

WAR Jewelry Party

Recently I finally was able to throw a jewelry party for the Women at Risk organization that is based out of Grand Rapids.  I've been wanting to have one since last November, but little things kept getting in the way.  WAR International is a Christian based organization that helps women get out of at-risk situations such as forced prostitution, exploitation, marriage issues, domestic violence and much more.  They do this by teaching them a trade (such as jewelry making) and then helping them sell their product to support them and their families.  Ninety percent of the proceeds go right back to the ladies, and WAR uses the ten percent for business expenses, such as shipping the jewelry to whoever wants to throw the party, and the cost of shipment back.  Anyways, we had a ton of fun, they sent us soooo much beautiful high quality jewelry and I'm happy to say that we sold just under $2,000!  I wish I had taken pictures but I didn't....I encourage you to take a look at their website, though, and see what they're all about!  You can also shop the WAR Chest online, which has much more than just jewelry:  http://www.warinternational.org/

Saturday, October 15, 2011

U.P. eh??

As I'm writing this we are currently at a friends house in the U.P. for a weekend of hunting and relaxation.  It has been one of the most fun weekends that I've had in awhile.  I've gotten to meet Mick and Heidi (thats whose house we're staying at) who Alex met this past summer when he was up here preaching at summer camp at Lake Ellen.  It's been such a blast hanging out and getting to know Mick and Heidi, they are very funny and warm people.  It's also been some of the best food up here as Heidi has cooked up awesome scalloped potatoes with ham, chili and cornbread, chinese stir fry, chocolate chip cookie bars, warm apple crisp, and an epic breakfast this morning of blueberry pancakes, bacon, potatoes, and incredible venison tenderloin from the deer I shot Friday morning!

Speaking of that, I was able to shoot my first deer with a bow yesterday morning here on Mick's land.  It was so much fun!  We're going to cut the rest of it up tonight so we can bring some of it home on ice.  Thanks Mick and Heidi!
(I'll have to post a picture later, cause my phone won't let me do it for some reason)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New car!

So, some of you might know that we were on the hunt for a used Jeep Commander, but we just couldn't find the right one, in the right color, with the right mileage.  We even drove 5 hours down to Ohio to take a look at one that we thought was a great deal, and the man assured us that it was in good condition, just as he described it.  Well, yeah, to make a long story short, it was a turd and we wasted 10 hours of our lives driving down there.  But, the other night at work, Alex had to pick me up because we had a vehicle in the shop, and as he called me to ask what door to pick me up at the conversation went a little something like this:

"Where do you want me to pick you up at, babe?"
-"The same door you dropped me off at."
"Oh, ok, I'm here, but I don't see you..."
-"Hmm.....weird, because I'm sitting right here, but I don't see you either....but I do see a sweet Commander."
"Huh, strange, what's Bow doing in the Commander??"
-(as he pulls up in a black Jeep Commander) "What!?"

Well, if you couldn't follow that conversation Alex drove all the way to Detroit with our friend Miles, with cash in hand to buy this Commander that he had found.  He knew it was exactly what we wanted, so he set up the whole plan to have his truck in the shop (which it didn't really need to be) so that he could pick me up from work in the new car.  He loves his surprises. :)

But, as my old Sunday School teacher would say, the kicker of the story is that on our way home, less than 2 minutes into the ride we lose power, electricity, everything just shuts down!  I couldn't help but laugh, and when we opened the hood we discovered that Alex had driven all the way from Detroit with a bad positive cable for the battery....the connection was completely melted off because of a bad repair that the previous owner probably did.  Thank God that it didn't happen hundreds of miles away from home, and also that it was a pretty cheap fix.  But, all in all, we are very happy with our new vehicle now!  Thanks for the awesome surprise, Alex!

This isn't our actual Jeep--but you get the picture :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New addition and Brohman trip

Well, we have made a new addition to our family, we welcomed another little kitty from the pound a few weeks ago.  We got our first kitty, Birdie from there and we decided she needed a sister to play with while we were at work (Bow just wasn't into playing with the kitty).  So, here are a few pictures of Bea, she's about 2 months old and spunky as ever.  How we managed to get two incredibly spunky cats I don't know, but I guess it was bound to happen since we got the world's most well-behaved dog. :)

Bea's a lil sun worshiper :)

Bow tuckered out after a weekend up north with Diesel

So here is Macy, a kitty we found while up at the cabin this weekend.  Bow went chasing after her one night and she ran up a tree but we were able to get her out of it and she was so happy to be petted and fed.  Naturally we couldn't just leave her there, because she was so skinny she would not have lasted through the winter.  So, Matt and Jennie decided to make an addition to their growing family and get a sister for Bufous!  She is the most loving kitty and purrs nonstop!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bowfishing 2011

Here are just a few pictures documenting one night out of many with Miles and Alli going carp shooting, or in Alex's case, bass shooting. ;) I was usually the designated driver, and by driver I mean paddler, because we're too cheap to use a motor.  And when I would need a break Alli would stand in as the backup rower. :)

Stalking their prey

Isn't he cute??

I think this was the only fish of the night, but it was still fun being out there!

Friday, July 15, 2011

New Bike!

So big news with us lately is that Alex's Uncle Brock, who lives out in AZ and loaned him enough money to finish out his senior year at Bob Jones gave us a break on the last $5,000 that we owed him, which was just an amazing blessing and gesture on his part.....so now we have all of Alex's student loan paid off!!  To celebrate we decided to spend a little money! lol, I have been wanting a bike that I can cruise around town with, nothing fancy, just something comfortable and not too expensive.  So, we started looking on Ebay and Craigslist and probably within a day or two had found a pretty sweet bike up in Holland.  It is a 1972 Schwinn Breeze, which is a cruiser bike that this man had restored, so it's in pretty good shape.  Needless to say, I love it, the look, how comfortable it is, and that it's somewhat vintage.  So, anyways, here are a few pictures of it...oh, and I added the basket to the back.  (Thank you Diane Fisher, who gave us that basket for our wedding, it was filled with some goodies and it fit the bike perfectly!)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This means war

So I have been waging a war against fleas for the better part of this summer.  First it started with Bow getting them, then the kitty, and then our house. :(  After a fleeting attempt at just putting Frontline on the animals it only caused the fleas to become agitated and declare war on me.  So, I decided to fight back and doused our carpets with a spray that was supposed to kill them....well, we got back from the campout and let me just say that if Alex stood still for any length of time on the carpet he had about 5 fleas in his leg hair.  Yeah.....didn't work.  So, the next day (after a cozy night on the twin bed in our spare bedroom because our room was taken over by tiny pests) I bought a fogger to treat the whole house.  The jury is still out on this treatment, but it definitely seemed to work better than the spray because Bow hasn't been itching as much.  I still found a few fleas on him and the kitty, though, and my last ditch effort will be to just throw out the area rug in our living room.  Here are some pretty entertaining pictures of the kitty enjoying her flea bath.

Looking less-than-thrilled  :)
Oh, and on a completely different note, I came home from work yesterday to find a hearfelt letter from my loving husband with a gift certificate for a day spa!  For no particular reason, just to say that he loved me and appreciates all that I do!  I was blown away, and I'll admit I got a little misty-eyed :)  So, now I'm off to run some errands and push on in the raging battle of the fleas.

Youth Group Camping Trip 2011

So by now I'm sure you all know that this years camping trip wasn't as smooth as it was last year.  It managed to rain everyday and was rather cold at some points.  But I was so impressed with how all the kids handled it.  They never complained or lashed out at eachother, in fact I think they were forced to grow closer because we were not able to be spread out and running all over outside.  We also had one girl get saved, which was a HUGE answer to prayer, and was definitely the highlight of the trip.  Other highlights were our service project cleaning up the grounds of a local christian school, paintballing, Matthew breaking his hand paintballing, going to Sleeping Bear Dunes, Ryder smashing his head falling down the dune, many, many, many games of Nuke 'Em down at the beach, and lots of other memorable moments.  Here are a few of the highlights in pictures:

Bow trying to blend in as one of the girls and maintain his good seat
More paintball
Mr. Paintball Extraordinaire
Casualty #1 Matthew Kaufield breaks his hand after falling on it in paintball
Injury #2 Ryder gains too much speed going down the dune and has an epic wipeout that has his face and back taking the brunt of it.  Ryder's chief concern: "Am I gonna get to keep camping??"
8 wornout teenagers and 1 wornout Bowdog makes for a pretty quiet trip home :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Paint!

So, I recently gave our spare bedroom a lil facelift with some new paint and a little rearranging/decluttering.  Here are some pics of before and after:

Before #1

Before #2

After #1

After #2
 So, it doesn't look like much of a difference, but I'm really happy with it and it's a lot more roomy and inviting for when we have a few guests over, mainly Cora!  Also, Alex finally let me get a new set of knives that actually cut, and I'm sooooo happy with these Kitchen Aid ones!  And, I got a really good deal on them, so that always makes you feel good, too!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Random surprise

So this will just be a short post, but I came home one day to find a lovely surprise gift from Alex.  He had gone to a second hand/pawn shop and saw this old trunk and thought of me! I really love it, because our house is so small and there's not much storage (which he knows) so he got me this charming huge trunk to hold lots of our stuff!  I thought it was a very sweet gesture of him, so here it is in our living room.  Oh, and the kitty likes it too, cause she can plot attacks on the birds that come to the feeder in front of our window. :)
We also had our friends Declan and Cora over for a few days last weekend, and Declan gets a lot of joy out of terrorizing our cat, like we do, so this is what we discovered after he had thrown a coat over her while she laid on the floor:

She had gotten herself stuck in the sleeve! Sorry the picture's kinda blurry, but I was laughing so hard....
I'll hopefully be posting before and after pics of our spare bedroom as I'm going to be painting it!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Africa 2011

So I'm very sorry that I have not posted sooner about our trip to Africa.  I told you I would, so here are just some pictures of the highlights of the trip.  Pictures and words cannot describe all that we experienced over there, but this is just a little taste for you.

The culture over there is pretty different from here in the States.  In Kisumu, Kenya it seemed pretty crowded in the main part of the city, with people walking everywhere.  There were also people speeding by on Tuk-tuks (three-wheeled taxis), Piki-piki (motorbikes), Boda-bodas (big vans jerry-rigged with about 30 seats in them!), and my favorite the leisurely Biki-bikis (regular bicycles with a seat attached for a passenger in the back).  I don't think they know the term defensive driving, everyone drives on the offensive, taking opportunities whenever they can.  One of my favorite memories was when I was coming back from a hospital visit with Margaret and the Tuk-tuk drivers were on strike, so we had to take a biki-biki (bicycle).  It was the most surreal/enjoyable bike ride as I sat behind a Kenyan and felt the African breeze on my face...it was a whole new way to see Kenya.

This was Caroline and I in front of her home, with her kids
Rural Kenya
My second favorite trip was when I got to spend the entire afternoon with just Alex (and Desmond, our Irish native who heads up Care and Compassion) driving around in the Land Cruiser.  We went with Desmond to visit the patients who were in the Care and Compassion program and who lived a little further out from the city.  So, we got to see the picturesque-less crowded side of Kenya.  The people and families we met that day are what keep tugging me back to Africa.  For some reason I was very drawn to Caroline, and her son Newton, who we visited at her home which was basically made of sticks and mud.  I'll never forget how proud she was to have us visit her at her home, though, and it was a great joy to find out that the organization we were there with (Christ's Hope International) would be building her a new home in the coming days.  She lives alone with her infant son out in rural Africa with a few family members close by.  She is living with HIV/AIDS and I believe Newton is also HIV positive.  I pray that Caroline will remain faithful to the Lord and that one day little Newton will become a believer like his mother.
Little Newton (his nickname was Isaac Newton)

One of the ministries we did pretty regularly was going to local schools and telling the kids Bible stories, teaching them memory verses and singing with them.  Of course we also got to play alot with the kiddos, too.  Here are a bunch of pictures of the too-cute kids that we wanted to bring back home with us.

The children eating their daily snack of porridge
This was Esther, I really really really wanted to take her home. :)

We also would go to the schools and teach the older kids a program called Choose to Wait.  It teaches a program of abstinence through the Bible and God's plan for us to remain sexually abstinent until marriage.  A very special lady heads up that program, Mama Joski, who is Pastor Martin's wife.  (Pastor Martin is the director of Christ's Hope Kenya)

Getting back to the culture differences of Africans and Americans, you will not walk into a room without  going around and greeting everyone by shaking their hand and introducing yourself.  They are HUGE on introductions and are always very grateful and delighted to meet you.  I was always surprised by the way the locals can seem like they didn't want anything to do with you, but as soon as you smile and wave at them it was like they were dying to greet you, but were waiting for your signal and then they would smile and wave back.  I loved it.  One other main difference is that they did not do a whole lot of hugging when they would see one another, but when Al and I were out on our Care and Compassion visits we ran into one exception.  I don't think I got her name, because she didn't speak a lick of English, but all I know is that this lady loved to hug me!  It wasn't just a nice-to-meet-you hug, it was an all-encompassing hug and she wouldn't let me go!  It was a welcome change, though, because she was so full of joy and I just wish I could've spoken her language because I would have loved to get to know this bear-hugging woman.   Here's a picture of us and her family (she is on my right).

Oh, and the first man on the left there is Desmond, who hails from Ireland, but has been in Kenya for a few years working with Christ's Hope heading up the Care and Compassion ministry.  He is an extremely gifted man of God who we were very sad to leave.  Also, a very funny Irishman, seeing him and Rianna (who is a Dutch nurse serving for 6 mos. in Kenya) banter back and forth was priceless.

Now for some random pictures to wrap it up....
We got to visit Lake Victoria and scout for hippos with a local boatman

The worlds SMALLEST kitten :)  (Naturally I wanted to take her home, too)

We interrupted this little girl and her sister just after bath time---TOO cute!

This is another special boy, his name was Bahati (which in his language translated to 'bad luck')  He was one of the 'street boys' whom we got to know in Tanzania.  Him and about 17 other boys were rescued by Christ's Hope off the streets and given a house to live in, and taught about Jesus and what he did for them.  When we met them for the first time we were walking up to their house and all the boys (ranging from about 10-21) were all outside singing from their little hymn booklet.  It was so neat to hear all them singing together about this God that most all of them knew personally now because of a few people with a passion and heart for God and spreading his good news.  

I'll end by saying that even as I write this and all the memories become fresh again I find myself tearing up a little because I long to go back.  Al and I pray that one day God will put it in place for us to back again, possibly for a longer time.