Tuesday, June 28, 2005

3600 miles later........

We are back from our trip to the Northeast. We had a good time, despite the rain! We left home on Saturday, the 11th of June, and headed to Kalamazoo, MI to meet Anne, an Ooze friend, for breakfast. It was a lot of fun to meet Anne, and her son Carman in person. P6110004 Not long after we sat down to eat, a couple of guys came over to our table. It was Anne's pastor and Carman's youth leader from Threads in Kalamazoo. It was really cool to be able to meet them. My hubby, and Carman managed to keep each other entertained while we girls chatted. My girls loved Anne for her creativity,kindness, and gentle spirit. The time went way too fast, but we had to be on the road by noon so we would be able to get to Guelph, Ontario, Canada by 6:00 to meet Jewels - another Oozer. Jewels and Karen We had a great time at dinner with Jewels - good food, good conversation and lots of laughter. I was a little worried my girls would object to visiting people they didn't know, or be bored at both breakfast and dinner, but they loved it. They both really enjoyed Anne and Jewels. (They loved Jewels because she was animated, fun, hilarious and outgoing.) They actually were disappointed that there were no more Oozers to meet on the trip. They asked me why we got to do all the cool things on the first day - now what was there to look forward to! Wasn't there someone else they could meet? Thanks Anne and Julie for meeting us on the road!

Day two, we were at Niagara Falls. Believe it or not, Canada was the hottest portion of our trip. 90 degrees. Because of the heat the fog never lifted off the falls so you couldn't really see them. It was disappointing not to be able to see the magnificence and awesome beauty and power of the Falls. P6120018 We did manage to get pretty wet tho! We decided not to go on the Maid of the Mist because all we would have seen was MIST, but we did do the Journey Behind the Falls. We still didn't see much, but we sure tried! What amazed me about Niagara Falls is that in the years since I have been there (my dad grew up in the Buffalo NY area) it has become overly commercialized and touristy. Lots of cheesy shops, restaurants (any theme you could want, including super heroes, as well as Hard Rock's etc.) wax museums, Casinos, etc. Amazing what people will spend their money on! We opted to leave the falls proper, and go to Niagara Glen Nature Area and hike. Carissa's curiosity and insistence led us down a neat trail into the gorge. Unfortunately we couldn't spend a long time there because getting lost in the woods, in the gorge, in the dark just wouldn't have been cool!

Friday, June 10, 2005

We're Off

Well, we're off on our trip to New England. Should be fun! It's actually the same trip we did on our honeymoon 23 years ago, except we didn't go to New York City then. We leave tomorrow for Niagara Falls (Canadian side.) On our way we're stopping in Kalamazoo for breakfast with an Ooze friend - Anne Goodrich (AnneGogh) and her son Carman. Can't wait! Then we're off to the Guelph/Cambridge, Ontario area for dinner with another Oozer, Jewels! (a268chic) I'm getting pretty excited about meeting them! We are going to spend a day at Niagara falls, doing the "Maid of the Mist" and all that touristy stuff.
Monday will be our longest driving day as we head for Quebec city. Last time we were there we didn't get to visit the fort, so we made allowances for that this time, and we will spend Tuesday exploring that as well as the city.
On Wednesday we head through Vermont and into Maine. We will be visiting Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Last time we went on some pretty cool hikes, but I hurt my knee the other day, and it is really not looking like I will be able to do much climbing/hiking. Hopefully we can find some "Lobster in the Rough" up that way like we did before.
On Friday we head to Cape Ann - specifically Rockport, Massachusettes. We will be staying two nights in the same bed and breakfast we stayed in on our honeymoon, The Inn on Cove Hill. For some reason that creeps the kids out......
We plan to take the train in to Boston on Saturday, do the Freedom Trail, visit the park with the ducklings and the swan boats and just basically have fun exploring the city and eating good food. We hope to have seafood in Gloucester - YUM! On Sunday the 9th we'll head towards Cape Cod and spend Monday there - at the National Seashore, and possibly Martha's Vinyard. Not sure yet. Next (Tuesday) we'll head for New York City and spend Wednesday there with plans to visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Ground Zero. We decided not to do a Broadway Show - we didn't want to drag dress clothes along - so we have tickets when we get home to see "Wicked" in Chicago! Sweet! Thursday we'll head towards Ohio and Kim's parents house in Amish country. Friday we'll be there, unless we are just anxious to get home in which case we'll come home Friday night. Either way we'll be home by Saturday evening the 25th.
Okay - enough procrastinating - it's only 14 hours till we leave - I guess I should pack and do all that stuff you need to do to get ready for a trip!

Monday, June 06, 2005

changes, will they be accepted, will they last....

We had our first small group meeting last night. Faith Gatherings is what they are called. They have so much potential, but I'm not sure how I even feel about it. The purpose of the group is to create and build honest relationships within our church as a whole. To create community. We are using a book to get started called Lasting Legacy from Life Connections. It appears to be pretty good - the first week is designed to get people to think about and learn to share their spiritual story. OK, on the surface, sounds good. It was kind of a mechanical beginning tho, not easy or comfortable. The group is multigenerational, which is good, yet there is one couple I feel pretty uncomfortable with. I'm not sure I can open up there, truly, because I would still feel so judged, not only because of where I'm coming from, if I'm honest, but where I am. The point is to be authentic and let people know you, but really, no one else is where I am, and what will I be opening myself up to? It's ok to be where I am, and work through things on my own, but when this becomes public how will I be accepted? And I don't feel like I have the strength to go head to head with these people when they start questioning me.....
Next week they are covering Being Vulnerable. OK - I feel pretty vulnerable already. I'm obviously very anxious about making myself vulnerable to some of these people. I was pretty excited about these small groups, now I'm starting to be conflicted and very anxious.
I do like that we are working on the concepts of sharing your story without all the christianese, I like that the awareness is there that we need to become vulnerable (week 2) and authentic (week 3), and that the concept of living your life as a witness instead of using clubs and threats is being presented (tho I am not sure that concept is truly understood, based on the concepts I was hearing from our leader last night. - I fear it's pretty difficult to take a bunch of evangelicals and try to introduce a new way of living, of showing the world Jesus....)
We will be working on caring for others, affirming others, encouraging others, ministering to others, building relationships with unchurched friends (that ought to be interesting.....) and experiencing Authentic Christian Community.
So while I am excited, and encouraged in seeing our church thinking about these things, I'm not sure how much impact it will have in the long run. Maybe I am being overly pessemistic, or not trusting God that good things can happen. I just know there is alot of baggage there, and a lot of changes to be made. And I know I will probably hold a lot of things back - and that flies in the face of what we are trying to do....

I am also encouraged that our pastor is truly trying to think about these things, and even about the structure and purpose of various meetings at the church. Every one has a different purpose. Sunday morning - praise and worship. Sunday evening - Faith Gatherings - which I had talked about above. And he is starting a half hour prayer time on Wednseday evening to have a dedicated time of corporate prayer. He has truly thought this through, recognizing that many people are uncomfortable praying in a large group setting, or praying outloud in front of others at all. When he was talking about why people are hesitant to pray aloud, all his thoughts and reasons were so right on I have to wonder if this is how he has felt? So his challange is 50 people this week, those who pray aloud, and also those who will stand with them and pray silently. Just being there, with the community, praying in whatever capacity. I had to laugh - he is so serious about this that he said if he puts anyone on the spot, or embarrases them in any way he will pay them $50.00. :)
My daughter was so impressed with his thoughts on prayer, and how it is so neccessary, and so impressed with his thoughts and ideas for Wednesday prayer time she marched right up to him after church and proceeded to tell him so. (She is not shy)
She told him she enjoyed and agreed with that sermon, that people needed to hear it and she was in support of it. (She's 15....)

So we'll see where this all goes. It is exciting that our pastor sees the needs, and sees that we need to change many things. Yet when push comes to shove, when life becomes messy as it will, how people will feel? Will they accept or judge? Will they open up, or keep quiet? Will these changes be embraced or will people leave? Will this remain only on a surface level, or will it become deep and meaningful? Where are we truly headed?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Well, I thought I was. I have had so much to think about lately, so many new concepts and ideas running around in my head. It was getting pretty overwhelming. So, following the advice of a good friend, I took a self imposed book break. No more reading - well for a short while anyway. Instead of being stuffed with ideas, I need to digest them. And it seemed to be working, well at least until today. No, I didn't read a book. Or have any big discussion with anyone. Or try anything new. But out of the blue a concept I am struggling with came back full force. Like I never turned off the wheels, but had just temporarily jammed them somehow and the wedge dislodged and whir - off I go again. And I can't still the restless cycling, or silence the squeak and rattle of the wheels.....
Guess it's time to put on my helmet, relinquish control, and go along for the ride.