PSALM 104:34

May my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the Lord.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Beast

"The Beast" formerly known as "Big Rotten"
video

End of Summer


School started yesterday....
These are the remnants of a beautiful wonderful summer.  

Here's to the coming fall!








Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mammoth

I have got to finish the writing about the rest of this summer because it is almost gone!

On our second day in Kentucky, mom, Rachel, John, Nate, and I got up early because we wanted to visit Abraham Lincoln's birthplace before going to Mammoth Cave.
Abraham Lincoln's birthplace is really interesting and very beautiful.  The Kentucky grass and trees must have been an oasis of beauty and wonder to live in.  But in the summer, Kentucky is HOT!!  We made it to the tiny town of Hodgenville by 9 AM, but it already felt like we were inside an oven.  
This little recreation of the cabin where the famous man spent the first couple years of his life was inside an air conditioned room.  Thank goodness.  The other nice place in the park, as far as the temperature and humidity were concerned...
...was this spring.  Every step down brought a change in air temperature of full degrees.  It felt wonderful.  So, as we considered the fact that this was probably where one of our greatest President's took his first drinks from, we also thought if we lived back in the 1800's we would just spend our entire summers down at the spring, thank you very much!
___________________________________________

Mammoth Cave was also hot.  

We arrived at what we thought was noon and enjoyed a fabulous lunch in the Crystal Lake Coffee shop.  

Home made blueberry cobbler!
The food was really good, so we wondered why the restaurant was not very busy. After all, it was noon.  ...
Or so we thought.  Actually it was 11.  We had crossed a time zone without knowing it.
SO...we had an hour to kill before venturing into our cool cave destination.

We tried to explore.  But about a quarter of a mile found us sweating and miserable in the heat and humidity.



This is what happens in 100% humidity when you go from inside to outside. :)

Eventually, it was TIME for the cave tour.  Mom had gone all out and reserved us a place on the three mile
VIOLET CITY LANTERN TOUR
And by lantern they really meant lantern.  Every group of five was given real gas burning lanterns.  Everyone who didn't have a lantern was told to make sure and stay with the group because there was NO OTHER LIGHT!

The cave history is a long one.  It has been attracting paying tourists since the 1830's and boasts such famous sightseers as General George Custer.  It's passages are known to be 390 miles long, but our guide told us that if we come back in a few more years, it might be up to 400!

Our little tour group explored 3 miles of the underground terrain.  I was amazed by the size of the passages.  I have been in a lot of caves before, but this cave, you could drive a car easily through most of the three miles we walked.  Its huge!

It was also very nice and cool in the cave.  We actually brought jackets and wore them.  Then when we reached the end of our three mile journey, our guide told us it was raining outside.  And it really was!!!  It was pouring cats and dogs and even though it had been so sticky and uncomfortable on our previous encounter with Kentucky outdoors, we actually kept our jackets on as we raced to the bus that would shuttle us back to the visitor center.  Its funny how the weather can change that quickly.  



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Family

The week of July 11th I spent with my family.  After leaving the Mission Team in Indy they headed south to Bloomington and camped out in our living room.  Again, I WISH I HAD TAKEN PICTURES (I'm going to have to get better about that).  Mom and dad had a full size blow up bed in the living room floor, Nathan slept on the couch, John slept on a twin blow up with his feet in the kitchen and head in our tiny dining area, and poor Rache got wedged on a blow up twin in the hallway.  Actually, I think everyone was pretty comfortable.  But, there was absolutely nowhere to walk!  Pepsi loved it and leaped from bed to bed, I'm sure she just wanted to make sure that our visitors were enjoying their stay.  ;)


On Saturday we took a day trip to Edinburgh, IN.  Camp Atterbury has a public gun range and Allen wanted to take the boys target shooting.  Historically, I've been a little hesitant on the whole gun issue/question.  But, during this past year, Allen has introduced me to target shooting and maybe its just some competitive nature in me?  I really like the challenge of hitting that bull's eye.  





After shooting, we all shopped to our heart's content at the Exit 76 Antique Mall.
This is one of mine and Allen's favorite things to do and having my family there just made it more fun.
Allen even found one of the more rare pieces of a set of cast iron pans that we are collecting!

This is not our set.  It is what we are aspiring to collect. :)  We currently own the number 8 and 3 of this collection.
We were all tired and ready to rest when we got home Saturday night and on Sunday we went to church and my wonderful real family met my wonderful Bloomington church family.  Then we just rested.  Its nice to rest after you have traveled non-stop for 2 weeks.

---------------------------------------------------
But, we didn't rest long!  Unfortunately, dad had to fly out of Indianapolis and into Florida on Monday morning.  Up until this week actually, he has been flying to Florida every Monday morning for the past 2 years.  But, last week he did finally get a job transfer!!  Hurray!  My mom has been praying for him to be able to stay home for the entire 2 years.  Thank the Lord that He does listen and He works everything out with His perfect timing.

"I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry."  Psalm 40:1

Anyway, so we had to take my dad to the airport Monday morning, and did I mention that he had to leave Indy at 5 AM?  Ugh!  Poor dad.  We missed him the rest of the week.  But it didn't stop us from having adventures on our own. :)

Monday afternoon Mom, John, Nate, Rache, and I drove south to Kentucky.  We had to leave Allen and Pepsi.  Allen had vacation the two weeks previous so he couldn't come either.  

Just shy of the Kentucky border, we stopped at the "Falls of the Ohio State Park."  The river bed here is full of fossils and there is a small museum explaining all the geology and history of the area.  The park was great, but it was H. O. T. HOT!  The two boys walked further than the girls.  They reported that because of the heat, the rocks were better to look at than to walk on.  






 The girls did explore though.  We enjoyed the extremely green plant life that seemed so unlike the rest of the plant life we had seen driving that day.  The heat and lack of rain had made most plants go dormant by this time in the summer, but we postulated that the river must keep these plants alive and green.












We also speculated about how high the river might have been during the flood season earlier this spring.  Notice all the debris high up on the bank.  There was actually debris almost all the way up to the parking lot and we decided that during the April and May floods, the park was probably quite a different place.  





That night we drove to Elizabethtown, Kentucky so that we could get up the next morning to explore Mammoth Cave.  (Which I will write about next...)

I miss them everyday.

"Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply"
-Jane Austen

To the outside world we all grow old.  But not to brothers and sisters.  We know each other as we always were.  We know each other's hearts.  We share private family jokes.  We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.  We live outside the touch of time. 
 ~Clara Ortega

Monday, August 15, 2011

Children of Indy

Upon arriving back in Bloomington, I took a short, 24 hour break and then flew off again on another adventure.  

My family, mom, dad, John, Nate, and Rach, had been in Indianapolis for several days already.  They were with First Baptist Rogers, Arkansas holding Vacation Bible Schools for two different low-income apartment complexes in Indy.  Allen drove me to meet them Wednesday night late, and I was greeted by smiles and hugs.  The next day I rode with them and helped with the VBS at one neighborhood and I was really impressed by the First Baptist kids hard work.  And it was paying off!!  All in all, somewhere around 12 kids in the 2 neighborhoods understood the plan of salvation and accepted Jesus to be their Savior!  It was great to be just a small part of something that made such a difference.
Please join with me in continuing to pray for these kids.  Unfortunately, a lot of them do not have parents who are very involved in their lives and most of them don't have the privilege of being taken to church.  But, our God knows what He is doing and He knows the "very hairs" on those children's "head."  He can lead them in His way and protect them.

I was very happy that my brothers and sister were a part of this ministry and learning to serve the Lord with their talents.  
Rachel was on the Bible Lesson team and was actually in charge of teaching the lesson one day while I was there.  Here she is helping with check-in and just spending time getting to know the kids.

Nathan helped run every kid's favorite - the REC TIME!  The first day I was there was water day.  It was hilarious to see how happy it made those kids to douse each other.

John was in charge of the music.  This part of VBS was especially neat because the songs that were chosen laid out the plan of salvation so well and adults walking around the complex could hear them.  Each age group sang the songs over and over throughout the morning so it was like a continuous testimony in the middle of an Indianapolis apartment complex.

I wish I had video taped some of the action at VBS.  Its hard to describe the excitement of the kids and the love that was shown by FBC Rogers.  


I pray that the children who were affected by this ministry effort will continue to grow in faith and learn more about their Savior.  And that seeds that were planted in adults hearts will not be ignored, but will take root and grow into eternal fruit.

"For God love the world in THIS WAY, He GAVE His one and only son, so THAT any one, who believes in HIM should not PERISH by have ETERNAL LIFE!  Connecting with Faith, with love, with trust, with others with L. I. F. E!  Connecting with Faith, with love, with trust, with others with L. I. F. E!" -"Why Don't You?" song learned and hopefully remembered by at least 30 children.




Somewhere in the Middle

It is strange to live in a place that you consider home, but another place, 536 miles away is also home.  It always will be.  Every time Allen and I drive West, toward Arkansas, we "go home."  But, when I get to the turn off on highway 37, that is just a couple miles from my apartment in Bloomington, that's home too.

In the middle of our traveling summer, we reached "home."  The place where we will always be the daughter of Anita and Jeff, and the son of Terry and Laura.  It seems we never have enough time in this home any more.  We frantically run from house to house, trying to catch up on friendships stretched by time and distance.

My niece and nephew, Josh and Annabeth are always on the top of the list.  They love visits from their "Bubba and Mary," and we love their attention just as much as they love ours.

|
 Who wouldn't love the attention of a princess and a superboy?
|
 

The night of the 3rd, we were in Rogers.  Back from our trip and trying to enjoy our last 2 days before driving north to Bloomington.  We spent the evening with the Josh and Annabeth as well as Anna and Ben.  Anna came from Oklahoma City to see us, and Ben had the night off from work.  Everyone else in my family was in Indianapolis on a Mission trip (which I will talk about later).  We watched the Rogers fireworks and laughed as Josh quickly made fast friends with Anna.  He invited her to his house and everything.  He's really quite the charmer.

 Eurie (Anna's dog) also had fun romping and playing with the kids.

After spending the evening watching the fireworks, we watched a movie with Anna and Ben and planned to drive to Berryville the next day to see more family and to watch another fireworks show.  But first, that morning, we had to see our best friends, John and Laura and their new addition: Norah
She is a beautiful baby and she liked me :)  
Allen did also did an excellent job of holding such a tiny little thing.  I can't wait till we get to the point in our lives where he can hold our own baby. :)

The evening of the 4th had a steak feast with my grandparents and watched the fireworks in Berryville.  It was a fun night and we were sad to leave, but the next morning, we set off.  Again, towards "home" and our continuing path of adventure.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

wheatberry

I promise I am still going to finish the rest of my summer adventures SOON!!! (Don't think they are less exciting, because that would just be WRONG!)

I just want to do them justice.  Short blogs take 10 minutes.  Summer adventures take 2 hours.

Meanwhile: 

New favorite quirky dish-wheat berry salad!

Picture of Wheat Berry Salad Recipe

Yummy, yummy, chewy, deliciousness!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups hard wheat berries
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tart dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
I actually used lime instead of lemon juice and I didn't salt or pepper it.  Not sure I convinced Allen (although he did eat it, he didn't ask for seconds)...normally this would discourage me from a new recipe.  But this one, I loved so much I'll probably make it again just for myself!  Excellent!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Design


Sometimes something miraculous happens right in front of your eyes and you can only watch with amazement at God's attention to detail in His design.

  -Photo by Allen Sullivan on the Indiana University Campus

Black and White

I'm going to finish posting about the rest of my summer soon.  Our adventures have most definitely not stopped with the end of the trip to Arizona.  However, I feel like taking a short break in vacation memoirs at this point and posting about something more recent, and yet something much older, that Allen and I have been working on.  Today, we brought the 2 hours worth of tapes, full of action and adventure in Italy on our 2006 adventure, to the IU Library.  We've been trying for the past 3 hours to convert them into digital info so they can be edited and make their world premier.  We are both slowly figuring out how to use Final Cut Pro (the Macintosh video editing software), but the going is slow with only YouTube video tutorials.  


We also pulled out our photos from that trip and we have been reveling in the warm Mediterranean, black and white, memories...

This guy is mostly rubbed away because thousands have touched him expecting a blessing


Italians and their Ferraris...


La strada...

Sometimes its nice to go back to fond, old, memories, even when you are frustrated with the technology that would allow you to enjoy those memories more...


"Chi la dura la vince."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Upward Juxtapositions

Leaving our beautiful campground in Colorado found us again heading eastward along Highway 160 and through the Rio Grande National Forest.  We had to cross Wolf Pass which is 10,857 foot mountain that sits on the Continental Divide. The mountain is steep and slow-going up the side, then fast if you're not careful going down the other. Remember we were pulling a trailer:


The Pass is legendary: CW McCall sang about it.

I'm glad they didn't have to pick US up with a "stick and a spoon!" ;)

We did stop at the very top and enjoyed the view and the snow.




As fate would have it, all three girl's morning coffee caught up with them around the summit and we all had to find a restroom!!!

Hurry Terry!  Hurry!  Just don't fall off the edge of the cliff OK?
_________________________________
After finding a bathroom in Pagosa Springs, we turned northward, still following highway 160 toward the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  Allen kept describing it as we drove because he had been there as a child.  But no description really does it justice.  Sometime, you all just have to go see it for yourself.  

It looks like the Sahara got picked up, blown across the world, and dumped in the middle of the Colorado Mountains.  

Allen is pointing to the peak that he, Jenae, and I climbed.  We REALLY did make it to the summit!  And what did we see after 2 hours of trudging through the sand, you might ask?  
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
MORE SAND!!!!!

The dunes go on for what looks like forever!!  And they are a crazy juxtaposition to the snow we had just played in a couple hours above at Wolf Creek Pass.

The dunes actually cover 30 square miles, which would seem like forever if you were caught in the middle of them.  

Luckily, while the dunes look like the barren Sahara desert, they are not quite as hot.  At the end of June, the park is somewhere around a comfortable 80 degrees.  The sand itself was hot, I wouldn't have wanted to climb it barefoot, or with just sandals.  But, with tennis shoes, it wasn't bad.  We took a LOT of breaks and carried 2 water bottles a piece.  The hardest parts of the trek were climbing up the very steep areas.  A 55-60 degree incline is hard enough when the ground under your feet is solid.  But when it gives with every step, you have to take about 3 steps for every one on normal footing.

 Sand with snow peaked mountains in the distance

The tree line, where the sand ends, is our starting point.  And even though the walk looks flat, it is NOT.  Its an illusion.  In fact, on top, everything below us looked flat.  But, we can tell you, every hill was about a 30 foot change in elevation.  And in total, the summit we reached was 300 feet above where we started.

Terry and Laura opted to stay below and watch us with binoculars and a camera.  They got some awesome shots:

We are the tiny dots at the top.

Climbing up.

Coming down was easier than going up.  Basically, you could run flat out down a 60 degree hill and not fall.  You just sink in the sand with each leap and it "catches" you.  

We were pretty proud of ourselves for defeating the dunes.

_________________________________

Then: they always say what goes up, must come down.  After our great and inspiring hike...it was about 1 more hour of driving until we made the worst mistake of the trip. 
:<


The first rating when you look up Corine's Mexican food in Walsenberg, CO is mine.  Yes, we got food poisoning.  Actually, the girls got through the experience fairly unscathed.  Allen and Terry did not fair so well though.  :/  We shouldn't have eaten it.  We know.  We'll know better next time.  It was nasty.  That's all I have to say.

After eating, we drove through the flat, barren part of Eastern Colorado along tiny highway 10 to La Junta and our campground for the night.  The campground was fine, but we were back in mosquito country and Jenae and I tried swimming, but had trouble enjoying it because of the mosquito infestation.  That night, we were tired after our journeys and enjoyed our night's sleep.
______________________________________________
The next day, the food poisoning really hit the guys.  It was bad, but we still had to travel home. Plus, there wasn't much going on in La Junta.  We did stop by an old western fort on our way out of Colorado which was neat.  But the boys felt so bad...we felt sorry for them.  
Allen did rally to pet a very tame long horn that was loose near the fort.  They actually allow them to rome free, even into the parking lot.  

After the fort we drove to Dodge City, Kansas.  209 miles with two food poisoned passengers is far enough!  We stopped earlier than we had ever stopped before on the trip and Jenae and I (feeling fine) enjoyed watching two movies while everyone else slept and recovered from the Walsenberg debacle.  

The next morning we took the time to pack everything from the camper and into the truck.  Dodge City had been our last campground and we planned not to open the camper again until after we arrived in Arkansas.  Our trip home took us through Wichita and Tulsa and the sight of Rogers was good for our eyes.  Allen and I still had to make our 500 miles way back to Bloomington, but Rogers feels like home and like they say..."no matter how far you wander, there's no place like home."

We were glad and yet sad to have made the trip and to have made it back.
____________________________________

It is a strange thing to come home. While yet on the journey, you cannot at all realize how strange it will be.” – Selma Lager

___________________________________

Next up on the blog: my journeys to Indianapolis and Kentucky with my family!  Stay tuned!