Friday, August 31, 2012

The Countdown is Over!

When my dad turned 64 he began a countdown to his first social security check.  Seriously, he would call me up and say  something like, "249 days, Christina".  I think it was that old Beatles song that started it all...

"Send me a postcard, drop me a line stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say, yours sincerely wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form, mine forever more
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm sixty-four?"

Then recently, he was offered early retirement from HP and the countdown changed to that.  If you know my dad, he is a numbers kind of guy.  So, we would have a good chuckle at his countdown endeavor. 

Today is my dad's official day of retirement!  Whoo HOO!  And after all he has been through these past three months....well he deserves a break a nice looooooonnnnnggg break. 

Yesterday, we celebrated retirement eve!  HP had a wonderful party for all their employees that took early retirement.  My dad was really happy to be a part of the festivities.  They really honored the people that made HP the company that it is.  Thank you HP for doing that!

Then our family all went out for a Happy Retirement dinner at Logans.  See we will still feed you!  What a great time to be together as a family.  We are blessed!  God is doing some really amazing things in all of us.  I am looking forward to what He is going to do on this new journey.  I think we will all be amazed at God's goodness.  I think my dad is peacefully accepting this new path. 

Now don't get me wrong,  he loved his work.  He loves his fellow co-workers and he misses them (Special thanks to his bosses and friends at HP who sent cards, prayers, visited, and said words of encouragement after his stroke.  Your concern and care really meant so much to him and to us).  Hey, he loves being the computer smarty pants.  I don't think that will ever change.  In his heart I know he is going to miss his old life.  But God's ways are not our ways...are they?  God has him on a new path...a new life...and He has something so much better for him just around the corner!

Today, we honor you dad and all your hard work.  Your dedication to your job provided for us in so many countless ways.  Thank you and we are so proud of all your accomplishments.  We love you!  And we still need you when your 64!

Congratulations DAD!
Update:  He is doing well.  His speech has improved so much.  If you want to give him a call...he would love it.  In therapy they are starting to have him practice walking with a cane.  We are thrilled about this,  we didn't think that is what he would be able to use.  We are so impressed with what intensive therapy can accomplish.  He is determined to walk and we are cheering him on!  We have some plans in the works for a friends & family retirement party for him in the future...I will keep you posted!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

What a day in Grand Marais!

 Why I love Michigan....along the shore of Lake Superior is the little town of Grand Marias.  It may be smaller than most; but is lives up to its name, GRAND!  We happened to stay there quite by accident.  We were planning to stay in Munising; but it didn't work out.  Thank goodness!  We were blessed to spend two nights in this wonderful place.  It is such a quaint town, perfect for really getting away for some real peace.

 They have this really quirky historical site and it is this pickle barrel cabin. I was so excited to go in and buy some pickles...sadly no pickles.  However, it is a great story about a cartoonist and his love for his characters.  If you can believe it, they stayed in this fun place.  There is a living area, upstairs bedroom and kitchen off the back.  They have a fun game for kids to play.  It is open from noon to 4pm.  I told the lady that they should sell pickles on the side....they would probably make a killing.  LOL  F.Y.I most of the stores do not open until noon....I love that.  These people know how to live!

 We checked out Sable Falls just up the awesome!  It is a little bit of hike; but not too bad.  There are like 168 steps down to the base of the falls; however it is soooo worth it.  Here is a fun site I found that shows these falls and other great Michigan waterfalls. 

 My sister rented a paddle board from Grand Marais Outfitters. They had a bunch of toys to rent, LOL. The girls tried it for the first time in the very calm bay.  If you want they will even take the heavy paddle board down to the beach for you.  She rented it for 2hrs for only $15.00.  What a great deal and a fun activity.

 You can then go look for the very cool agate at Agate Beach.  If you are lucky you will find this precious rock.  If you don't know what an agate is check it out here
I think we found one. I was so excited.  Please, wear water shoes!  It is a rocky beach and it will hurt your feet and flip flops don't cut it.  Trust me we learned the hard way!  Do stop at the Agate Museum...very cool.  And if you don't find an agate on the beach you can buy one there.

There are three places to eat and we ate at the Lake Superior Brewing Co.  They brew their own homemade Root Beer and Cream Soda.  Oh, my goodness there are no words to describe this yummy goodness as it washes down there fantastic pizza.  I think there will be rivers of this stuff in heaven...hey, let me dream please. 
 After our tummies were deliciously full, we went back to agate beach to look for more rocks and to watch the sun sink into Lake Superior.  We took some really great silhouette photos!
When we were done at the beach we stayed at this great Bed & Breakfast, Agate Cross B&B.  It is owned by the nicest couple, Jamey and Lois.  It was clean, inviting, and peaceful.  They have three rooms available and they all have their own bathroom.  I love that in a B&B, your own bathroom.  Our room was the Superior Room, we loved, loved, loved staying there.  If you get a chance to stay, tell them I sent you! 
Oh, and did I mention the hot tub with fun lights!  Heaven on earth!
We had such a fabulous time in Grand Marais.  Make it a stop on your next trip to the Upper Peninsula!
Lois and Jamey served us a most wonderful home cooked breakfast each morning.  Thank you for a wonderful stay at Agate Cross B&B!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Yes Please, Tahquamenon Falls!

Why I love Michigan.... Tahquamenon Falls!
Last week on our road trip to the upper peninsula, we saw some pretty, beautiful waterfalls.  Did you know Michigan could be so awesome?   Parents, this would be a great family trip.  The falls are located in the state park.  It is a great state park!  I am not a camper and even I would consider camping at this park...and that is saying a lot! 

Check out these sites for further information.

Paradise Chamber of Commerce

There are two sections of waterfalls.  These are the breathtaking upper falls!

 At the upper falls there is a great restaurant, gift shop and snack bar.  There are plenty of places to have a great picnic as well. 
 These are the fun lower falls.  I have heard that people like each falls for different reasons.  I could not pick a favorite.  The upper falls are just beautiful and the lower falls you can get up close and inner act with them.  Both are just fabulous.  If you have ever been, what are your favorite falls? 
 Mom and Dad, keep in mind there is some walking involved.  If you have babies or toddlers don't forget the stroller.  Grandma and Grandpa there is some walking involved so wear your good walking shoes.  The upper falls is a good 5min walk at least and there are three great viewing spots.  The last is 94 steps down to get up close and personal with the falls.  Don't forget you have to walk back up those 94 steps.  Bring some water along if it is hot.  And there is a very clean bathroom at the beginning of the path. 
 At the lower falls, you can rent boats to row to an island that is surrounded by the falls.  It is pretty inexpensive.  I think it was $15.00 for our family.  Just to let you know, that if you have a lot of kids you may need to have enough adult rowers.  If you don't want to take a boat over there still is a great path to see the falls.
We took the boat over.  We also brought a picnic lunch, which was a great idea.  We sat right along the falls and ate our lunch.  I do not think I have ever eaten my lunch in such a beautiful spot in my life.  Take a potty break before you go to the island; because there are no bathrooms over there.   Well, there is the river I guess.  LOL
 We got some AMAZING photos over at the lower falls.  It was so much fun.  We all had wished we had planned more time to stay there.  It really was a perfect day!
There are picnic tables at the beginning of the path to the lower falls.  You can also go into the nice gift and snack shop there as well.
 Tahquamenon Falls is definitely a new family favorite for sure.  We hope to go back someday and bring the boys along with us next time.  This was such a great family getaway and it is in our own backyard of this great state!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Amazing Pictured Rocks!

Why I love Michigan, Pictured Rocks!
Have you ever been to Pictured Rocks along the coast of the Upper Peninsula?  Please, plan to take a trip there it is worth every mile you have to drive to see it.  Once there, then you can cruise on over to these beautiful rocky cliffs from Munising, MI.  My sister, my girls and I took a trip there this week.  I will stop writing now...the pictures say it all.

And once you are done viewing the sights, walk on over to Johnny Dogs for a bite to eat.  Their hot dogs were fantastic.  Bring your appetite because these bad boys are wonderfully filling!

 This was my hot dog with potato skins, cheese, onion, sour cream and bacon on top....SAY WHAT!  Are you kidding me!  We died and went to hot dog heaven!
 My girls got a hot dog with pulled pork on top. 
 My sister got the summer special, a hot dog with a corn salsa and bacon.  It was fabulous!
Girl getaways to Pictured Rocks are too much fun!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My 500th Post! Wowza!

I realized my 500th post was coming up for awhile now.  I find it crazy that I have written this many blogs; because I use to hate writing...I mean really hated it. I guess this means I don't hate it as much as I thought. LOL

 I have been pondering what to write.  My life has gone in a much different direction the last few months and that is why I have very few posts.  I decided that this post would be about God's plan.  

I always like to know where I am going on a trip before we leave.  I have a great photographic memory in regards to maps.  All I have to do is study the map and we are good to go. I like to have the directions all laid out before me and then I can go to my destination in confidence. That is how I like my life as well.  I like for God to tell me where I am going, how long it will take to get there, and what I will like for the journey.  

My life has been pretty simple like that.  I knew God wanted me at Bible College.  I knew that I would marry John.  I knew that God called us to each and every ministry we have been involved with thus far.  My life has been very plainly mapped out....and I liked it that way!  Predictable. Safe. Easy to Trust. Dependable.

Recently, we had our map all figured out.  We were going to plant a new church.  Our GPS was set and we were on our way.  We saw the path clearly in front of us.  

In May, God decided to show us a different path He immediately wanted us to walk down.  I did not like that path.  I could not see the directions.  I did not have a map.  The path looked really scary.  The path looked rough, hard, and not easy to manage.  I did not want to go down that path at all.  It meant stepping away from ministry for awhile...a long while.  It meant putting church planting on hold...that was not on my itinerary. 

But, since when do I get to decide what is God's best for my life.  Who am I to question what He wants to do?  Who am I that I should say, "Don't you think my way is better?"  Who am I to say that God cannot help me go down that rough road?  Who am I?

Romans 8:28

New International Version (NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

All I know that I am God's child, and if I am His then He is going to take care of me.  God never promised that our lives would be easy, He only promised that He would never leave us or forsake us.  He promised that He would provide all our needs according to His riches in glory.  He promised that what was meant for evil, He can make it for His good. I will trust in His promises.

Isaiah 55:8-13

New Living Translation (NLT)
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

So, with this new journey God has us on I have to trust God in a whole new way.  You know what?  That is okay; because it means God is going to teach John and I things we did not know.  It means we are going in the direction He really wants us to go.  It means that I will have to let go and truly let God manage my life.  It means that ultimately God will be glorified in us; because of our obedience.  It means that we will walk in true victory and freedom!  So, we will drop everything, our old ways, our old thoughts, our old ideas, our old plans, our old securities, and just follow Jesus. 

Matthew 4:20
New Living Translation (NLT)
And they left their nets at once and followed him.

 I will drop it all to follow You, Jesus!  And when I do I will....