Thursday, January 26, 2012

We are going to Tijuana and we need your help!

Kevan and I will be going to Tijuana, Mexico June 6th-13th (pending manager approval) with our church here in Tennessee.  We will be hosting a Vacation Bible School for several days with the neighborhood children, having church at the drug rehab mission and also taking a group of orphans on a day trip so they can spend the day having fun and eating great food.  I'm sure it will be hard for me to not bring one of these little orphans home with me!  If you hear about a woman that tried to smuggle an orphan on a plane....just kidding.  lol!  During this time in Mexico we will show them and share with them the love of Christ.  We will love on them, laugh with them and teach them.  I have never been on a mission trip so I am very excited and I have heard so many times that it is a life changing experience for the volunteer.

Bible School Picture

Tijuana, Mexico is a city of 3 million people.  We will be going to an area that is mostly poor families who may not even have electricity in their homes and live in shacks.  The last picture below is from the town we will be having our VBS.  This area does not have a church and these children have never been to a VBS.  Most likely, they have never heard about Jesus.  I am praying that we have a huge impact in these children's lives and that it will even reach their parents, teachers and caregivers.

Children from the orphanage enjoying a day out:

During one of the mission trip meetings at church it came to our attention that there are a few couples and one teenager that really would like to go, but they do not have the funds to do so due to illness in the family (having to pay medical bills) or due to the loss of a job recently.  Our church is filled with families in need and I am scared that they will not be able to attend even with the donations from our church members.  Kevan and I are praying that this will not hinder them from going.  So, I thought it might be a good idea to ask our family and friends whether they would like to sponsor a couple, teenager or activity.  The activities still need to be funded.  If we do not have enough funds for the activities we may have to change our plans.  I pray that is not the case so we can make the most impact.  You could even just give $5 or $10 if that is all you are led to do.  We are not just reaching out to help these little children in Tijuana and teaching them about Christ, but we are forever changing the heart of the person that is volunteering.  Plus, the more people that go with us the bigger the impact we can have on these children, their local church and our church through those that are going.  Will you be a part of it?

Tijuana, area that we will be:

Kevan and I have all the funds we need so none of the contributions we receive will go to us.  I wish Kevan and I could sponsor a couple, but since we will be paying for ourselves we just can't do it.  I know that many of you wish you could go on a missions trip and for various reasons you can't at this time.  This would be the perfect opportunity for you to help.  I will try to take lots of pictures and document our trip as much as possible.  If you sponsor a couple, a teenager or activity I will try to share those with you too.  The airline tickets are going to be purchased on 2/16/2012 so if you will be giving we will need it by then.  I know it is very short notice.

Here is a verse that may help your decision, "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.  Do not say to your neighbor, Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow when you now have it with you." Proverbs 3:27-28.  If it is in your power to help a teenager or couple go on this mission trip and possible impact their lives or the lives of the precious children we will be ministering to I ask you to please give something...even if it is only $5.

If you are interested you can send a check to our church (email/ping me and I'll send you the address) or you can send it to Kevan and I via PayPal and we will make sure that your donation is given to the mission fund for this trip.  Just send me a note, email or text if you are interested in giving.  God Bless You all!  I'm excited to see how God is going to work in the lives of everyone involved in this trip.

Areas for giving:

Individual Costs:
Airfare:  $350.00
Meals:   $120.00
Lodging:  $30.00
Total:   $500.00

Sponsor an Activity:
Orphanage Visit - $200
Vacation Bible School - $250/day

Matthew 19:14 - Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

James 1:27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Psalm 10:14b - You have been the helper of the orphan.

Deuteronomy 24:21 - When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Couple, Some Elk, A Moose and A Priest

Some of you know that Kevan and I spent a week in Colorado recently.  He had to go there for work and I decided to tag along since I had never been to Colorado.  The first 4 days I was stuck in a hotel room with no rental car.  This was my view.

I got a lot of work done during those 4 days.  I didn't have to make dinner, clean the house, put wood in the woodstove or drive anywhere.  I just concentrated on putting in a little extra work.  I realized that there is NOTHING good on TV and that it is VERY hard to sit in the same little room for 4 days at a time.  I couldn't wait to leave.  I probably gained 5 pounds (at least) from sitting on my bum the whole time.

On Friday night Kevan and I drove up to Estes Park.  It was a very pretty drive.  I was surprised at how different the landscape was as we drove.  Some of the mountains had a forest of trees, but then it totally changed to be more desert-like.

We stayed at The Historic Crags Lodge and I loved it!  I loved that it was built in 1914 and that they have old pictures all over the hotel.  We had old pics in our room too and a book that explained the history of the lodge.  There is a main room where you can congregate with other visitors or sit by the fireplace and enjoy viewing a scrapbook of their history.  Also, if you venture downstairs there is an entire wall of the bottom floor that is an actual mountain.  The wall is rock.  Kevan and I thought it was pretty cool, but I forgot to take a picture.  Here is a picture of Estes Park.

The room we stayed in was VERY small, but I loved it.  We could barely fit our little suitcase through the path at the end of the bed, but we had our own kitchenette, TV room and view.  The bathroom was pretty cute too.

We got up the next day (very early) and went to The Rocky Mountain National Park.  Kevan and I love National Parks.  I was on a mission to see some Elk!  I was told by everyone that knew we were going that we would see Elk.  Well, we went the entire day (almost) driving to all the places they told us they would be and NOTHING.

We did see some Mule Deer (below).  Don't you love his mule ears?  But, we didn't see any Elk.

We decided to stop at the Visitor's Center.  We met a very nice man that worked there and he told us a lot of great facts about the park.  Then, he told us that a couple that just came in saw an Elk herd of bulls down the road.  I IMMEDIATELY walked out to the car and waved him goodbye...yelling to Kevan that we'd better hurry.  I was still on my mission!

We drove down the road and I noticed a woman taking some pictures.  THERE THEY WERE......resting.

I was a little disappointed that they were just laying there, but I have to say it was pretty unbelievable to see them out, in the wild and hanging out.  There were about 20 of them.  It seriously made my day!

Then, we decided it was getting late and we should grab some lunch and head to Winter Park.  It was supposed to snow and it would be about a 4 hour drive and I wanted to get there before dark.

I are waiting for me to tell you about the Moose.  It's coming!

Before we left for Winter Park Kevan spoke to a few friends about which way to go.  We could take this unscenic traffic filled way:

Or go this way through the mountains and we may see a few Moose or Sheep.  

Even though it was supposed to snow we figured we could handle it. We went the long scenic route!  It started out great.  We drove around the mountains.  Saw a few female Elk laying around in someone's yard.  Can you imagine seeing this in your front yard?  I WOULD LOVE IT!

Then, stopped to buy some "Cherry Cider" at a local Cherry Market.

But, once it started snowing....our excitement turned to scary-ness.  At least for me.  Kevan seemed to always be calm and under control.  I was the one that got quiet, nervous, emotional, etc.  The one from MICHIGAN was the one afraid of the snow.  Go figure.

It started like this.

Then, turned to this.

We both had to use the restroom and there were only a few places along the way that would help us with this, but the parking lots had too much snow to stop.  We thought we might get stuck.

I told Kevan, "The only thing that would make this drive worth it is if we see a Moose!  I've never seen a moose before!"  Then, we saw this.

God is so great.  It's my moose!  Ok, maybe not "my moose", but the moose I've been waiting for my whole life.  I've always wanted to see one in the wild.

He decided to stop right in front of our car.  Kevan didn't want to stop because he wasn't sure if we would get stuck.  But, the moose wasn't moving!  He sat there and looked at us.  I thought he might charge the car, but then he made his way past us and we start up again.  Sorry for the steering wheel in the picture.

The moose gave us a little excitement and filled us with hope that we would make it through this blizzard.  We just wanted to make it to Walden.  Once we got there we thought we would be fine.  Also, Walden claimes to be the "Moose Viewing Capital of Colorado".  Who wouldn't want to go there?

We made it to Walden and ran into a gas station to use the restroom.  We talked to the lady there.  She told us we would have to go over ANOTHER mountain before we would make it to Winter Park.  I almost died!  SERIOUSLY??  Would our marriage make it through this?  This is where the priest comes into the story.  Just kidding.  lol!

We decided to press on.  We grabbed some water and food in case we got stranded.  The drive was going great until we had to start driving up the mountain.  We had another car behind us that Kevan wanted to let pass us (since I was making him drive so slow...oops), but I begged him (literally) to let them stay behind us just in case we got stranded. I wanted someone there to save us!

So, we kept driving about another 1.5 hours....up and down these curvy roads.  Snow off/on....of course we argued...I asked him why he chose this route....he told me to stop worrying...he threatened to throw me out of the car.  Just kidding.  He was probably thinking that, but he didn't say it.

We were about 45 minutes from Winter Park when Kevan noticed the car behind us was flashing his lights (turning them off/on).  I got a little scared.  We pulled over and then the car came up beside us.  There was a man in the car that told us that he was running out of gas and he didnt think he was going to make it and could we follow him.  My heart dropped.  I didn't know this man.  What if he DID run out of gas.  So, Kevan prayed that the Lord would be with us and if this man did run out of gas that he would be a nice man who wouldn't harm us in any way.  We could not leave someone out there in the middle of no we would have to help him.  Then, about 10 minutes later...he ran out of gas!  I checked to see if we had cell coverage so I could text my MIL and let her know just in case this was an evil person that was going to steal from us.  lol!  Then, the man got out of his car, turned toward us and I saw....he was a PRIEST!  Yup, a priest.
We gave him a ride to the gas station and then Kevan offered to help him fill his car in the middle of the blizzard.  His name was Mijanko and he was from Croatia, but he was currently assigned to a church in the area.  There is a little more to the story, but I won't bore you with the details.  I was very happy that God blessed us with this special moment to help this man.  I can't imagine what would've happened to him if we weren't there to help him.  He would've had to walk through the freezing snow or hitched a ride with someone else and as far as I could see....there was no one else.

Here is a picture of what it looked liked then.  It was a lot better since we were off the mountain, but it was still cold and snowy.

We arrived at our Winter Park hotel shortly after and enjoyed a nice dinner before falling asleep.  I barely made it through dinner I was so exhausted.  The next day we only had a few hours before we had to drive back to Denver to fly home.  Kevan wanted me to experience Winter Park so he had me go up on one of the tallest lifts.  I had never been skiing or to a ski resort.

Anyone that knows me knows that I DO NOT like heights, but I did it for Kev.  All I can say was an I know...I will never ski.  I'm sorry babe....I know you are disappointed.  Here is the view at the top.

On the way to the airport, I saw these too.  They were ADORABLE.

Lastly, we saw some buffalo and elk.

That was my Colorado adventure.  IF I go back again....I am not going in the winter....I hope.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kitchen Appliance Closet

Kevan and I have a 2 page list of projects that we need to work on.  Projects like "redo the well house", "finish framing the bedroom windows", "fix chainsaw", and many other projects.  Well, we both had the day off yesterday for Martin Luther King Day and when Kevan woke up he asked me what we should work on.  Of course, we should work on the MANY projects we need to finish, but what fun is there in that?  ;o)  So, I told him we should redo our ugly "middle room".  Which isn't on our list at all.  lol!

The reason I wanted to do this was because I NEED COUNTER SPACE and my appliances take up way too much of it.  I wanted an appliance closet.  Here is what my counter looked like beforehand.

Our ugly middle room is a room that contains our water heater and a green/yellow shelf unit.  We believe this room was the back porch before they built on to the original home.  It has an "outside door" in the kitchen leading to it and then another "screen door" leading to the wood stove room (which also used to be a porch before they walled it in).  Here is a before picture.

Due to the ugliness of the water heater side of the room I have refrained from showing you for fear you will have nightmares.  We've only used this room to hold our recyclables and bird seed.  Side note - we do not have garbage pick up where we live (I'm not sure if we can...I've never asked) and we are supposed to take our garbage to a city dump, but Kevan and I HATE the idea of putting things into the landfill.  So, we recycle what we can, throw the food trash into the woods for the animals (one day we will compost it or give it to our pig/chickens) and then burn the rest in our outdoor burn bin.  Sometimes, we do have items that we can't burn or recycle and those do end up in the landfill, but that doesn't happen very often.

As you can see in the picture above, the room has paneled walls.  We have this paneling in a few places in the house (soon to be painted) and one room upstairs that is filled entirely by this paneling (one day maybe I will post pictures). I'm not really sure what the previous owners were thinking.  Maybe they thought it was paint by number.  

Anyway, the first thing we did was remove the shelf unit and I started to paint the paneling.  I had Lowe's tint a small can of Zinsser so it would cover better than regular paint and to ensure it would stick to the paneling.  It worked great and the color ended up matching the surround of the screen door perfectly.  Then, Kevan built the shelving out of a single 4x8 sheet of  plywood.  This was a LOT cheaper than buying individual shelving with the pretty laminate.  I wasn't really worried about prettiness.  I can paint or stain them one day.  Here is a picture after the paint and after Kevan installed the shelves.  Maybe we can do something to the floor one day...but that isn't a priority right now.

Here is a picture of Kevan sanding the sides a little bit for me.  He didn't want me to get a wood splinter.  He's so sweet.  (Also, the lines you see on the wall are the groove lines in the paint can fill those in).

I could barely wait for him to finish and pretty much kicked him out while he was still sanding because I was SO EXCITED to move all of my appliances in.  Don't they look great?  I also love that I have recycle bins now for metal, plastic and glass!

A picture of my counter now.

Much better.  My favorite part of this project wasn't actually the counter space.  It was something my husband said before we even started the project.  We were in the car on our way to Lowes and I asked him why he was so excited to do this project (because why would he care about my appliances.  lol).  He said, "Because I know it will make you happy."  Is that not the sweetest thing you've ever heard?  

But, just so you don't think he is "too" sweet...while we were at Lowes he asked me to hold this big piece of wood with my legs so it wouldn't flip when he stood on it (he was seeing if it could hold his weight since we will be building a bridge).....anyway, when he stood on it, it flipped and SMACKED me in the leg.  HARD!  I have a 4x4 inch bruise on my leg now.  He just laughed.  I was almost breaking out crying at Lowes.  So, he isn't all sweetness.  lol!

Below is a Before and After Pic.

Monday, January 02, 2012

2011 Reading List

Below are the books that I have read or listened to during 2011.  This is mostly for my records so that I know which year I read which book.  I did not read as many books this year due to my commitment to read the bible cover to cover.  Click the link to view 2010 and 2009.

The Holy Bible (NIV - The Bible in 90 Days) - It took me longer than 90 days, much longer, but I was able to read the bible through from cover to cover.  I covered this version in a past post.

The Apothecary's Daughter (Julie Klassen) - it was okay.  I liked the characters and the suspense, but the ending was way too rushed.  She should've wrote a 2nd book instead of rushing the ending.

Letters of a Woman Homesteader - I enjoyed this book.  It is a compilation of real letters that a woman wrote to her previous employer around 1914.  She was a single mother who gave up city life to go live as a homesteader in Wyoming.  I love how she describes the mountains, the people and the way of life then.

Mary at the Farm and Book of Recipes- this is a cute book, published in the 1920's (true story), about a young orphan girl that is getting married so she spends a short time with her aunt learning how to keep house and cook.  It is neat to read about how things were then and the different recipes she makes.

Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) - this was my favorite fiction book of the year.  It was published in 1847.  Once I finished the book I also watched all of the movies/television series that have been produced.

Agnes Grey (Anne Bronte) - it was okay.  Not as good as Jane Eyre.  I probably wouldn't recommend it or read it again.

The Woman in White (Wilkie Collins) - interesting mystery book published in 1860, but seemed very long.

Nourishing Traditions (Sally Fallon) - enjoyed reading this book.  I now will never buy margarine again and will try to drink only whole milk and eat more things with meat broths and fermented food.  I recommend this book.

The Accidental Farmers (Tim Young) - loved this book because it gave Kevan and I insight into what it will be like when we start accumulating animals for our farm.  A lot of heartache though when they lose their animals.

The Contrary Farmer (Gene Logsdon) - I enjoyed hearing the different farm stories and ideas on how to do certain things on the farm, but the writer was a little too liberal for me.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K Rowling) - I've read it previously, but wanted to reread it before the last movie came out.  Great series!

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - read this as a requirement for my American History class.  I did enjoy learning more about Ben Franklin, but it seemed long towards the end.

American Stories: A History of the United States, Volume 1 - this was a requirement for my American History class.  For a textbook, I really liked it.  If I ever have children and home school I would like to use this book.  

Currently reading:

Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative (Russ Ramsey) - Loving it.

You Can Farm (Joel Salatin) - it is okay, but I'm not really look to make money off farming so a lot of it doesn't really pertain to us.  We just want to eat better and produce as much of our own food as we can.

Phantom of the Opera - it's okay so far.

Audio Books via Audible:

Kevan and I read (listened to) the below series together and we loved it!  We couldn't wait to go for a drive just so we could listen to it in the car.

A Voice in the Wind (Francine Rivers) - favorite audio book this year. 
An Echo in the Darkness (Francine Rivers)
As Sure as the Dawn (Francine Rivers)

We also listened to the books below:

Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World (Joel Salatin) - Everyone who is interested in farming or eating better should read this.

Parenting Isn’t for Cowards (James Dobson) - we both enjoyed this book.  Which is saying a lot since we do not have children (yet!).

Redeeming Love (Francine Rivers) - I wanted Kevan to listen to it so he would know why I love the book so much.  We are still listening to it, but almost finished.