Sunday, August 30, 2009

Week Two of an Eight Week Trip

This has been a very busy and fun week! Last Sunday we spent the night with my aunt in Mishawaka, IN. The next day we drove to the Indiana Dunes along the shore of Lake Michigan. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. I always thought of Lake Michigan as grey and dreary (sorry to anybody from there!) but I don't know if I've ever seen water that looked any bluer than it did that day. We hiked up some dunes. One trail we climbed was marked "challenging". It was pretty hard...the challenge being sand on the hills rather than the hills themselves. Although I told John that "challenging" was a bit of an exageration...people like me shouldn't be able to do "challenging"! I'll have to admit my legs were pretty sore the next day!

We have been staying with friends in the Chicago area all this week. The first day we drove to Wheaton and met with Ben Stam, who had taught at Sahel and then with Bryce Brown who is an m.k. from Niger. He told us where his parents are staying until they return to Niger in early November, so we got to visit them, too.

The next day we went downtown Chicago to MBI and met up with Jeremy Slager and his fiancee, Juliannaand then with Daniel Meade and his fiancee, Victoria. We plan on attending both Jeremy's and Daniel's weddings in 2010! Can't wait!

On Thursday, we took the train into Chicago and spent the day sight-seeing.
We walked the Magnificent Mile down Michigan Avenue, ending up in Millenium Park. We enjoyed taking pictures of our reflection in "The Bean".

From there we went to the Sears Tower, now called the Willis tower. We went up into the skywalk, where you are in a glass box, over 100 stories up, hanging over the street. I thought it would really freak me out, but because it is totally in a box and there is not an open-air feeling it didn't really scare me.

On Friday we ate lunch with Tim and Katie Barker whom we had met in a church in VA. We had a great time with them as they share a love for books, history, theology, and languages. They told us about a bookstore around the corner from them and gave us a 15% off coupon. We went there and found some great books!

Saturday we had lunch with Ryan Einfelt and his wife Rachel. It was great to see them again. Then in the evening we went to have supper with some friends, Wayne and Lynne LaForge. This morning we went to church with Lloyd and Sue. Tomorrow we head off to Minnesota and on through more of the midwest.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The First Week of an Eight-week Trip

August 13 we left our home in PA in the good hands of a mouse that was still on the loose and that refused to be caught before we left. I just hope he has brought his wife and 10 kids in by the time we get back!

We had a great weekend with Suzanne during her Getting Started weekend. They have a lot of good sessions for both students and parents....some sessions together and some separate. We kept busy all day on both Friday and Saturday and walked what felt like miles around campus. Suzanne has a nice room. It's not huge, by any means, but it's not bad. How do you like the Songhai blanket she has on her bed (top bunk)? She wisely didn't take everything she owns...it would have been hard to find a place for everthing.

Cedarville has a beautiful campus. This is the Dixon Ministry Center where daily chapel sessions are held.
This is the Stevens Student Center which houses the cafeteria, the post office, the theatre where they do plays, and numerous offices. It is pretty much the place where everybody hangs out.
One of the newest buildings is the Bible building (can't remember what it's called). It is really beautiful.
It's really nice to know that Daniel is also there with Suzanne. He can show her all the ropes, plus it's a lot less lonely with your brother or sister around! It's hard to say good-bye to them, but we know they are at a good school and that they will do well there. It's also nice that my sister is working at Cedarville.

From Cedarville, we drove through the cornfields and soybean fields surrounding Cedarville. We stopped in northern Ohio and stayed with friends....and saw more cornfields and soybean fields. Then up into Michigan and more fields....Michigan is obviously hurting financially.
We visited my aunt and cousin and her family in Grand Rapids, which looks a lot better than southern MI. Then we stayed a night with missionary friends near Lansing. We had been in French study with them back in 1986. Then we went to visit other friends who live near Lansing. And then down to Indiana where we visited another aunt. We've had a good time so far!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Our 23rd Anniversary

Today we drove up to Conklin, NY, which is only about an hour north of here. It was a drizzly, foggy morning, but the scenery is beautiful under any weather conditions. We visited Little White Church and John spoke briefly during the missionary moments. This is the "new" church. I was baptized in the "old" church in 1972 and John and I were married in this church in 1986 on August 16. So today was just one week short of our anniversary. Here we are today and here we are 23 years ago. I thank God for the good and godly man he has given me. My friend, Christine, recently made a remark about a cake she and her daughter had made. She said it didn't turn out like they had expected, but it was still good...rather like marriage. Isn't that true??? No, it hasn't been a fairy tale and sometimes we've hurt each other and not understood each other. But we've worked through things and though maybe not exactly what we expected, it has still been very good!

We leave Thursday for a two-month long road trip. I will post blogs when I can, but it may not be weekly.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Cars


Whenever we leave Niger and come back to the USA, one of the first things we have to do is get a car. There are several criteria for getting a car. First of all, it has to be affordable! Secondly, it needs to be in good working order and preferably low mileage because of the amount of driving we do.

This time we sold our Toyota HiLux pick-up truck in Niger. Since we will be gone for two years, we decided to go ahead and sell it rather than try to store it or let somebody drive it. When we go back we probably will just get a smaller car. So, we were able to use the money from the HiLux to buy this 2005 Chevy Impala. It is a really nice car! After the rough ride of the HiLux, this seems like real luxury!

Many police departments use Impalas for their cruisers so we've been told that at night when people look in their rear-view mirrors and see the shape of the headlights and the vehicle, they'll slow right down! Ahhhhh! Such power. We're just really glad that God provided us such a nice car for a good price.

Two weeks from now John and I will celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary! We've owned a lot of cars during that time! Right after we were married in 1986, we got a 1978 Chevy Nova that had belonged to my parents. It was a pretty good car, but had a habit of stalling in intersections. It scared the living daylights out of me more than once. Here I am in Daytona Beach with our Nova.....back in my skinny days! LOL!

When we went to Niger as newlyweds, we got a Peugeot 504. I have no idea what year it was, but we bought it used. We also weren't real into taking pictures of our cars. This is the only I could find that shows the entire car! There is a missionary lady in Maradi who still drives that car! It's got to be over 25 years old now.

We sold it when we came back to the USA when Daniel was 18 months and bought a Ford Taurus. I have no idea what year it was, either. Here's my dad and Daniel giving it a wash after we bought it. It did have some problem with the brakes.....again, kind of a scary thing to have your brakes seize up on you!

When we returned to Niger, we bought our first Toyota HiLux. The day after we got it, a guy ran a red light and slammed into us. Daniel put a band-aid on the truck's boo-boo. We used this truck for two terms, so we had it for over eight years. We sold it because it was starting to have a lot of trouble and since John doesn't have extensive mechanical skills, we were worried about being stuck out in the bush broken down with the nearest mechanical help a hundred and fifty miles away.

From 1995-1997 we drove a Chevy Lumina. We drove it literally from coast to coast! When we returned to Niger, we sold it to John's brother and they got a lot of good use out of it, too. Kind of hard to tell what it looks like under all that snow!

The next home assignment we had a Ford Escort station wagon. I got this picture off the internet, but our car looked just like this. It was a good car, but was almost too small for our family for long trips.

After that home assignment, when we returned to Niger, we got a new Toyota HiLux. The HiLux drives like a truck, but I like being high up where you can really see the road. I also prefer driving a stick-shift to an automatic!

The last time we were on home assignment, we had a Dodge Caravan. That was probably my favorite vehicle of them all. I just loved the way it drove. We loved having enough room for each of the kids to have their own seat. On the long trips, they could lay down, spread out, and have their own space. This picture is also off the internet, but ours looked just like this, same color and everything. We have pictures of our Caravan somewhere......but not sure where to start looking.

That home assignment was the first time we had two cars (one other home assignment somebody gave us a clunker so we did have two cars for a short period of time). We bought a used Chevy Cavalier which we then gave to Daniel when he went to Cedarville. It has served him well. Thankfully it has only needed minimal repairs and we hope it works well for at least another two years! Again, this is an internet picture, but Daniel's car looks just like this.
So what cars have you owned and which were your favorites?