Monday, September 27, 2010

Apple Pickin' Time

Sunday afternoon was a beautiful day to go to the orchard!

We were about two weeks too late for my favorite apple, HoneyCrisp. Oh well, the grocery stores still have plenty of them. We discovered some new varieties at Wilson's Orchard in Iowa City that were just as juicy.

For some reason, I feel like humming, "hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go..."

Case actually finished off that apple!

My peeps!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Gathering

September 16-19, 2010
San Diego, CA

As board members of the New Hope Foundation, we were invited by Mr. & Mrs. Dave Stanley to join them at the annual "The Gathering" conference. This conference focuses on Christian philanthropy.

I was explaining to a friend what the conference was all about, and she described it better than I could. We were in the midst of great ministries doing great works for people throughout the world, and rubbing shoulders with the affluent people who help make it all happen.

Among some of the ministries represented, we learned a lot about Building Tomorrow, because Dan sat next to George Srour at one of the dinners. (I sat next to Dallas Willard's wife.) This ministry is pretty cool because it starts at American college campuses, where students raise money doing wacky things. They also involve architecture students in getting their help to design school structures in Uganda. Building Tomorrow then finds communities in Uganda that need schools, and they train the people there to make bricks for the structure.

We heard from Dr. James Dobson at a luncheon. He explained again why he left Focus on the Family, and that he didn't retire. Rather, he started a new ministry, called Family Talk. This has been on the radio for more than 6 months now, and the reason I hadn't heard of it before is because it is not carried on any of our local radio stations. Most of the rest of Iowa and Illinois are covered, but not the Quad Cities area.

After hearing a talk by Louie Giglio, I joined Twitter! He tweets every Tuesday a short quote from AW Tozer. Louie Giglio is pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta.

Dallas Willard was the Bible teacher, and spoke way over my head. It was like being back in Philosophy 401.

Worship was awesome. Chris Tomlin led music for the first two days and sang some of his most recognized songs. It was just him and his keyboardist.

Jars of Clay led the music the last two days, and even though I only knew about two of their songs, they were so good! They spoke in between songs, gave background, and so on. They also founded a ministry called Blood: Water The lead singer, Dan Haseltine, spoke at one of the breakout sessions and came across authentic.

I also learned about a cruel man named Joesph Coney (go google him and you'll see what I mean), who forces children to fight in his resistance army in Africa. It's terrrible...but, another ministry has been born out of it to help the invisible children that no one seems to be helping.

One of the best speakers was Donald Miller. I hadn't heard of him before, and he was truly "real." He admits that he writes books for the money. :) Not for the love of Jesus. :) He is a great story teller, and I'm now reading one of the books he gave away. Apparently, he wrote a memoir a few years ago that got the attention of filmmakers, and so a screenplay was made of his life...sort of...after they "tweaked" his character and made him more interesting. I don't think a movie has been made yet. I think I'm going to follow his blog for a while and see what I can glean.

We also got to see "Snowmen," a family movie that is coming out this winter. We met the star, Bobby Coleman, who spoke about what is like to be a Christian actor in Hollywood. I talked with his sister, who is now 18 years old and also an actor, for about five minutes in the lobby. She said that more than half of the scripts that they get for review are just garbage, and that sometimes she feels like giving up on acting because there's no good films anymore. But usually within a few days of that kind of thinking, God provides something good and she has another acting job. It just goes to show that Hollywood is desperate for good writers.

Bobby Coleman

The link below is for the trailer to the movie, Snowmen.

I took a bunch of airplane pictures...c'mon! It had been 17 years since I last flew!

Clouds are so cool!

This is Dr. James Dobson.

This is the veranda where we ate breakfast each morning.

Here's another look at that veranda and part of the hotel we stayed at.
The Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad, CA.

We had a few free hours on Saturday afternoon, so headed to the beach!

Behind me is the restaurant we ate at. Good food - I had steak & shrimp. Mmmm. Right on the water!

The buildings of San Diego.

It was a fun trip. Dan had to do some work, especially on Friday, which was hard to do because of the two hour time change. We missed the kids. We are so grateful to our friends, the Ellers and the Kerrs, and Grandma & Grandpa Steele, for taking care of the kids!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm calm now. :)

So, today is Marijke's birthday!!! She turned 17! Hopefully she will have a good day in America, and have a memorable experience.

In 17 more years, she will still not be as old as I am right now.

That's sad.

Tonight we had our small group of friends come here for a birthday party, and to eat the yummy cake Marijke made after school.

I'm calm now, after yesterday's experience at the DMV.

Over lunch, I picked up Marijke from school and we went back fully armed with all the paperwork we could find.

She was actually issued a permit!!!

I didn't think it would ever happen after all the poor experiences we've had there lately.

So watch out Muscatine! There's another teen driver here!

Wait. Did I say I was calm?


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Government and the DMV

I want to rant.

I want to rave.


The government and all their "rules" and "regulations."

Curse those 9/11 terrorists!!

It used to be so easy to visit the USA.

We have been to the DMV 3 times now? Jeez, I have lost count. The first time we were told what we had to have documentation-wise, and so we did.

Next time, we had the "correct" documents, but Marijke didn't pass the test. :(

Today, she passed the test (yeah!!), but now we're told of yet another form we're supposed to provide.

And, may I add, that the TONE in which we were told was not very lady-like....think opposite of that...female dog range....

Well, that did not make Marijke feel loved.

In my attempt to find the correct form (which, by the way, DMV-lady, the I-20 form is for COLLEGE students, not high school exchange students), I happened upon this blog of a foreigner who has lived nearly 5 years in the US and is experiencing State Department woes. She gives great perspective on life in the US.

So, tomorrow, Marijke's 17th birthday, we will *hopefully* be fully armed with documents, passports, money.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

straight hair

I got my hair cut this morning. She scheduled extra time because I have a ton of hair. After 45 minutes of cutting, she asked if I have time to stay and have it straightened. Sure, why not? I've had several people tell me I should try it. So, about 40 more minutes's the look! What do you think?? I think I like it, but I know I don't have 40 minutes to straighten it every day. It's kinda fun, though!