Wednesday, July 25, 2007

From Here to There and Back Again

The past week and a half has been filled with many miles, lots of time in the car, and numerous special events! In fact, we've put more than 6,000 miles on our car since we left Louisville in mid-June! In case you are misled to think (since I have not updated my blog) that we are still hovering around Chicago somewhere, I thought I'd better give an update today.

From Platteville and Ethan and Heidi's we drove to Waterloo to see John's brother and family. Thanks to Robert (just call him the "chronicler") who took many pictures, here's some picture highlights of our visit! Here's Andy, Laurel, me and the girls enjoying nephew Julian's Little League game.
Laurel has a friend who just started her own dessert business, so Laurel thought she would support her business and celebrate my birthday by ordering this fabulous cake! It was vanilla cake layered with raspberry jam, raspberry buttercream frosting and fresh raspberries to garnish. It was as delicious as it was beautiful! (And went perfectly with a cup of Starbucks, of course!)
We spent an evening at the park and Chloe had a great time climbing up the slide!
We also had fun putting together an Asian feast. With Robert's indispensible help, we made four dishes: an eggplant, potato and pepper one, a stewed cabbage, pork and noodles one, a mushroom, egg and spinach one, and finally the one you see below, strips of pork in a tasty brown sauce (the sauce brought from Asia) with leeks, eaten by rolling up in very thin egg pancakes. It was great fun to make and I'm proud that it turned out so tasty! I couldn't have done it without Robert!
A fun family photo. Can you tell that John and Andy are brothers?! After leaving Waterloo, we spoke on a Sunday at a service nearby (we've logged more than 35 speaking engagements so far!) and then traveled back to my parent's home. Here's some photos of the homecoming!
Grandma and Clara Anne admire Grandma's pretty flowers. See Chloe crawling on the sidewalk? When will she learn to walk?!
No, Clara Anne, don't pick the flowers! The easel behind the flowers is a new garden decoration-Mom had one made for each of us kids with our names and a favorite verse. Dan's is behind Clara Anne--"Give thanks in all circumstances."
Grandpa and Grandma have a pretty deck and a prettier backyard. I appreciate the green in ways I never thought I would after being in Asia!

Clara Anne loves reading stories with Grandpa!And here's where the pictures will have to end, because I'm running out of time, and probably (if you've made it this far) you're running out of interest!

We had three days with my parents in Rock Valley, of which the third was my birthday. It was so special to celebrate here! My mom's birthday is the 21st, so we celebrated hers as well. What a fun, festive occasion! There were lots of balloons, a wonderful meal was shared, and there were even Dora paper plates and napkins to use for dessert!

On Thursday we got on the road again, to travel up to Fergus Falls MN and stay with John's mom. We enjoyed going to the county fair, where Clara Anne seemingly had no fear and rode all sorts of rides, some by herself! The next morning, after a traditional breakfast at the Viking Cafe downtown Fergus, we traveled down to the Twin Cities in order to see John's sister Sarah perform that night in "Oklahoma!" She did a fabulous job and it was a great time!

Saturday the morning was spent in nostalgic reminiscences as we took Robert around our alma mater, Northwestern College. So many memories . . . that is where John and I met, started dating, got engaged, etc. It was really neat to wander around campus again.

Saturday afternoon/evening we drove down to Cedar Rapids, IA, where we were the guests of the Schumacher's and spoke in their services both Sunday morning and Sunday evening. We enjoyed our time with them! Monday morning, however, was bittersweet: we brought Robert to the bus station where he would then travel back to Louisville. We will likely not see him again for three or four years, so it was sad to say goodbye even as we had had such a great time together.

Where in the world are we now? Back in Rock Valley again with my parents. I can't say that I was sorry to unpack and stay in the same place for a few weeks! Our next travels don't start until August 11, (except for a family reunion in a neighboring town next week), so we will gladly have just a bit of routine for the next little while. Whew!

In the meantime, Clara Anne and Chloe are loving being at Grandpa and Grandma's house. There's lots to do, including a $5 swimming pool on the back patio! And sweet corn to eat every night . . . life is good. We're thankful for safe travels and only two car repairs, both at times when they could be handled with a minimum of hassle. But it's great to be back, from here to there and back again!


Robert said...

Hi Rachel!Enjoying your Blog is becoming a new habit for me. Yes, it is hard to say 'good-bye'. Several days ago, i was among people, submerged by happy noise. Today, i am in the campus, quiet campus, reading for my class. I miss staying among other body parts, but i know i also need solitude, staying alone with God, which is a discipline for me. We will see each other, here or there.

By the way, several days ago i read some articles about John Stam, who died in Anhui. I was moved to tears by his story. And do you know his birthday is Jan, 18. His wife was born in our city!!!!!

mckanna said...


I am so glad that you are enjoying time with family. How refreshing!? I am sure Clara Anne and Chloe are enjoying time with grandparents. We continue to ask Father that you would be refreshed and encouraged before you get back to work.


Sandra said...

Wow! If only you could get frequent flier miles for all your driving! I'm glad you guys are staying put for a few weeks. Errr...could you express mail over some of that Raspberry cake? Divine!

jc said...

they had better well speak with an okie accent if they are going to perform "Oklahoma" up in north...none of that rounded O business or given you a "eeyy" without putting the "h" on the front. canada should just annex most of the north anyway...then what musical would they perform?