Wednesday, January 16, 2008

E-session in Wisconsin

While we were in Wisconsin, Sam and I had the opportunity to take some formal engagement photos in the snow. Lukas, Sam's brother, is a photographer, and he very graciously got cold and wet so that he could create some beautiful photos of us. We had a lot of fun, walking around in the snow, avoiding small streams, throwing snowballs, and even walking across a frozen lake. To see the rest of the pictures, click here.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Winter Camp...

Today, we are heading off to the Oneighty Ministries Winter Camp. Oneighty is the High-school ministry that Sam and I are involved with at our church. We are going to PineCrest Christian Conference Center which is up in the mountains above Los Angeles. We will be there for three days of teaching, games, and life challenging conversations.

Rob and Dawn Iverson are coming to be the guest speakers this weekend. Rob Iverson is an Elder at our church. The Theme for this weekend is RESONATE. The topics that will be taught on are Resonating in Your Circumstances, Resonating with Reality, and Resonating with Your Reputation.

I would ask that you keep us in your prayers this weekend. Here are a few things that you could be praying for:
  • That God be glorifyed this weekend in all that He has planned for us
  • Safe travels to and from the Campsite
  • Protection from life-threating injuries
  • Soul searching conversations with the high-schoolers
  • Profitable and challenging small group times
  • Wisdom and Clarity of speech for the Rob Iverson

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mall of America

On Tuesday, we were scheduled to leave Wisconsin. Collin and Kara joined us for breakfast, which we promptly ate before leaving Daniel and Naomi's house around 9am. Dan was flying out to China the same day as us, only a couple of hours before, so we left early to take him to the airport. After dropping Dan at the airport, we went to the Mall of America. It is the 2nd largest mall in America. And it was huge. Here are a few facts about it that I found...

Number of stores - More than 520

Food Stores and Resturants - 86

Employees - 11,000 year-round, 13,000 during summers and holidays

Walking distance around one level - .57 miles

If a shopper spent 10 minutes browsing at every store, it would take them more than 86 hours to complete their visit to Mall of America

Sia, Sam and I went into the Mall while Lukas stayed in the car for a nap. We strolled around one level of the mall and visited a few stores. It took us an hour. In the middle of the Mall is a theme park. There is a roller-coaster and a ferris wheel and lots of other fun rides. After looking around the Mall, we headed off to the airport.

New Years Eve in Wisconsin...

Monday was such a fun day. I think it was my favorite day of our whole trip. It started out with an amazing breakfast at the house of the Hobbs, Daniel and Collins parents place. They made sausages and eggs, and smoolosh, a potatoe dish with all kinds of goodies in it. There were scones and waffles, berry smoothies and orange juice. Collin and Kara were there, and so was Daniels sister, Lindsay and her two little girls. We spent the morning eating, and playing with the cats, and reading and napping.

In the early afternoon, Lukas, Sia, Daniel, Sam and I drove out to Half Moon Lake, which was mostly frozen over. There, and in the surrounding park, we did an e-session, where Lukas took our engagement pictures. It was all snowy, and cold, but I have no doubt that he got some very cool pictures. I will post some of them when I get them. It was a lot of fun, walking around in the snow, being with Sam and just playing together. As we were finishing up, Nomi, Lindsey, and Kathy arrived and we all walked across the frozen lake to the other side. On the way back (across the frozen lake) Lukas took a few more pictures, even some of us jumping on the lake. I had never walked across a frozen lake before, and it was a little frightning to think of all the movies I have seen where people have fallen through the ice, or where it has cracked around them. But I was so excited to be out there, that I soon stopped thinking about those scenes. Besides I knew it had to be somewhat safe since there were ice-fishermen out on the ice, and there were a couple other people walking around out there. Although on the way back, we ran through a section that was a little squishy and soft. It was kind of like running along the grass, and then hitting a muddy spot. All in all, it was a fun experience, and I loved it.

Later that evening, we went to the home of Julie Schippers for a New Years Party. Some people came and went, but that was where we rang in the New Year. We played all kinds of games together, ate a lot of snackage, and hung out and talked. Most of the people that were there were friends of the Van Dykes when they had lived in Eau Claire.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wisconsin (continued)...

Later on Saturday, we drove across to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. There we stayed with Daniel and Naomi. Naomi is Sam's sister, and they have a precious little son with a huge name. We all got to meet Lindsay Edward Alexander Hobbs, aka Eddy, for the first time since he was born in November.

On Sunday afternoon, we went out to see Sam's dad. He is still living in the house that Sam lived in as a teenager. Sam really wanted to split some wood, so all four of stayed outside for a couple hours splitting wood and stacking it up in the house. We also went up to the well to get some fresh water to drink. Sam and I climbed the tower to see the view of the valley. It was beautiful up there and the view was a perfect picture of a small farm house, with smoke coming from the chimney, nestled in a valley with forests and fields surrounding it. The only thing missing from the view was a barn, which had burnt down earlier in the year.

As it got dark, we came inside to thaw out our toes and dry out our socks and shoes. Naomi and Kathy brought some soup over for dinner which helped in the warming process. Later that night, Dan and Nomi, Sia and Lukas, Sam and I went to the Acoustic cafe to catch up with Daniel's brother Collin and his girlfriend Kara. Collin and Kara live in Indiana, and they were up visiting for the weekend.


Sam and I spent New Year's Weekend in Wisconsin. We arrived in Minneapolis, Minnesota early on Saturday morning. We were picked up by Sam's brother Lukas and his sister Sia who had arrived there the night before from LA. We went straight to Kathy's house, who is Sam's Mom, and slept for a few hours.

Wisconsin was covered in a blanket of snow. It was (quite literally) freezing. The highs for the time that we were there were between 10F and 20F (-12C and -6C). But it was beautiful. I had never seen anything so pretty and clean. After waking up, I needed to go for a walk to stretch out all the aches and pains from sleeping in odd positions. Kathy, Sia, Sam and I walked down the street to the Hudson River, and walked out on the jetty. The jetty used to be a bridge that spanned the Hudson River and connected Wisconsin and Minnesota, but they have since taken away a section of the bridge so it now just a jetty. It was snowing lightly while we walked and I loved it. I had never seen snow fall before. Most of the river was frozen, but there were sections that werent, and we got to see some tundra swans and ducks.

Sia, Sam and I

Kathy, Sam and I