Saturday, December 4, 2010

This month marks the halfway point for the jubilee year. So far, we both agree that the journey has taken us beyond our expectations. The opportunities we have had to reconnect with family and old friends has been priceless. We have also got to see many different ways Christ is using His church. We have been tremendously blessed throughout this journey of jubilee, and look forward to the second half.

We have been in Nashville for the past 5 weeks, save a weekend excursion to Memphis. Before leaving for NC for a Haas Christmas, here are some Nashville highlights.

Our garage in McFerrin Park has been moaning the decades of neglect it suffered prior to our ownership beginning 4 years ago. Revisit the blog to see a pic of the completed renovation.

One of our favorite hiking places nearby is Radnor Lake about 15 minutes away. We almost always see deer. Lately we've also seen geese, turtles, and a variety of beautiful birds.

While at home, board games and card games become one of the favored pastimes. SkipBo burst on the scene after being found at a thrift store jungle for 75 cents.

Papa 4lines - cheating at SkipBo with a Cubby up his sleave.

One of the main attractions on our Memphis trip was a house concert with the Pates Family Singers (not their official name). We also enjoyed a raucous Christmas party, hours of visiting friends, and an urbane Sunday brunch atop one of Memphis' tallest buildings.

Back in Nashville, Mom and Dad 4lines have been quite accommodating, allowing us to nourish the Christmas spirit through twinkly lights staple-gunned to the kitchen cabinets.

I think they complement nicely with the always-elegent Christmas tree. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Husband, the Author

I just wanted to brag a little bit!

Dane is now a published author. His book is called the Commune-ist Manifesto (as in community, not communism)! Just in case anyone is interested...

The cover was done by our friend, Susan, partly in India and partly in Memphis.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Final Leg

We visited Dane's cousin, John, his wife, Janet and their twin sons, Robert and Jack in Washington D.C. They live in a really nice area of the city and have a beautiful home. All of our belongings were stowed safely in their garage for the night.

The next day we visited Susanna in the morning. She and Dane taught together in Russia and she is also taking a sabbatical. You would normally find her teaching in Seattle. It was another of those short and sweet visits.

Susanna and us

We were ready to leave D.C. only to discover our bikes were no longer in the back of our truck. Whoever decided to help themselves was kind enough to leave the front tire of Dane's bike dangling from the chain. So we filed a police report and left D.C. and our bikes behind.

We like The Andy Griffith Show (aka TAGS), especially Dane. So a natural place to stop on our way home was Mount Airy, the town Mayberry was based on. We were planning on camping, but rain dampened those plans and we found the cheapest motel that we could. The Blu Vue Motel was the seediest motel I've ever stayed at. There were spiders and spider webs and when Dane tried turning the shower on it wouldn't work, but rather water started streaming out from behind the bathtub onto the floor. We left ASAP the next morning. The place was redeemed in our minds a little bit when we discovered that it had been featured in the Andy Griffith show.

Dane with Andy and Opie!

The Jailhouse

While visiting the Andy Griffith Museum, we met the owner and friend of Andy Griffith, Emmitt Forrest. There was a character based on him on the Andy Griffith show. He owned Emmit's Fix-it Shop in the show. I asked him about Leon, the little boy in TAGS that randomly shows up dressed up in western clothes and eating a peanut butter sandwich. Mr. Forrest informed me that it was Opie's real life brother, Clint Howard.

One more interesting fact about Mount Arie. The world renown conjoined twins, Chang and Eng Bunker from Siam, lived there. They are where we get the term Siamese twins.

Thank you Miriam and Adam for letting us spend the night with you. Now we're back in Nashville!

New England City Tour

We visited three of the big cities. But the lure was mostly people, not the city. (Dane might not agree)

Before heading into the big cities, we experienced the hospitality of the sister of a friend of a friend in Brunswick Maine. I love it! Thank you Paul and Elsbeth. We also got a glimpse of (it was a bit foggy) and picked up some shells from the Maine coast. It's beautiful in a tough kind of beautiful way.

We stopped in Boston to visit Patrick and Jill in their new home (the hospital). They are setting up house there until Jill delivers their son, Theo. I'm sure hospital life gets trying on them, but joy was present with them still.
Jill and Patrick

Then on to NYC. After several drive by glances of our hotel near the airport, we finally figured out how to actually get there. Dane likened the roads around Newark airport to spaghetti.

We visited Hollie, friend and previous roommate, at Hephzibah House. It's a really unique ministry including prison ministry, English language teaching, and a hospitality house for people in ministry. Hollie's worked there for a couple of years and loves it.

Michelle and Hollie

One day Dane left Hollie and I to our own devises while he went exploring the city on his own. I had such a good time following Hollie around the city and both of us talking our heads off. The next day James Daniel and I explored the city together.

some sort of art that I didn't understand

Sunday, October 31st was Dane's birthday. We went to church with Hollie that morning and then drove to Philadelphia. Jared and Maryanne are in Philly. We went out to a local pizza joint for Dane's birthday.

Jared is studying philosophy. We definitely got our fill of deep conversations while in Philly! But of course loved it. I wished we lived closer to them. Dane and Jared could talk and Maryanne and I could mostly listen and work on projects. (Maryanne is a beautiful artist)

A secret mosaic in Philly

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Maine and New Brunswick

Returning to a place of the past that's full of memories is always a bit odd for me (Michelle). I find myself constantly looking around expecting to see this person or that person that I went to high school or church with or worked with. In actuallity the only people that I saw are people that I intentionally planned to see. Memories do flood back like crazy though.

In Maine we stayed with a family that I (Michelle) went to church with in high school. They were dear friends then and we have continued to stay in touch (which is a rarity for me). I started teaching sunday school with Josh and Jayde when they were about 4 and 6 years old. Now Jayde is in 10th grade and Josh is graduating high school this year! (And it really blesses me to see how they've grown in their faith through the years) We played an abundance of Farkle, rode 4-wheelers, and competed on the Wii. They let us stay in Josh and Jordan's camp behind their house and enjoy some wood heat (the best kind in my opinion).

Dane and Josh after their 4-wheeler ride. The bright orange helped them not get shot!

Jayde and me warm and orange

Bye Josh, Jordan, Teresa, Jayde and Richard!

I forced Dane to explore old memories with me. The old house, the church, the potato stand, the high school, etc.

Nancy's place, where I used to sell potatoes.
Nancy and Garth sent us away with plenty of potatoes!

Logan, Frank, Reanna and Karen

Reanna, one of my best old friends from Maine and her son, Logan

I also visited a couple of other friends from high school, Emily and Sam. I haven't seen much of them since high school, so it was good to catch up in real life.

It's been quite a while since I lived in New Brunswick, Canada. 17 years when I add it all up! Dane and I have visited within the past 4 years when my parents lived there again.

We stayed with Keith, Mary and Leon, wonderful friends of my family. We enjoyed time spent with them AND enjoyed the work they put us to.

One evening Keith picked up his guitar and he and Leon started to sing.
Soon Mary joined in and we enjoyed some good singing.

The church put us to work, painting some Bible verses in a newly finished addition

The wood

Putting the wood in for the winter

After about a week in Maine and Canada, we started heading back to Nashville the long way.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Back to my birthplace

Although it's been 27 years, and I have no recollection of the place it was a treat to return to my birthplace, Littleton, NH. Littleton is situated near the White Mountains and unfortunately it was cloudy and rainy the day we were there and we didn't get to see their majesty. We still had fun roaming around the town. The evening before we ate at the "Littleton Diner" and went to the small movie theater both located on main street. Lots of fun shops. An old Carnegie library. We also learned that Littleton was home to the creator of Pollyana.

The hospital where I was born

The church where my Dad preached when he was only 22 years old! It was his first church. The pastor was there and let us come in the church and look around. Amazingly he is only the second pastor that's been there since my Dad.

Since the pictures are a little dreary here is a colorful one from the candy store in Littleton that has the longest candy counter in the world. You name the's probably there.

I think this is the house where we used to live

This is where my Dad used to work. The famous Mount Washington Hotel. It's ritzy. We went in to explore and it's absolutely beautiful. I really wish it had been a clear day when we were there. I think the view would have amazing.

After Littleton we began our journey to Maine and had a few surprises along the way.

We drove by the Appalachian Trail....maybe one day we'll hike it

We saw the most amazing rainbow. The picture doesn't do it justice. The sky was still dark with rainclouds but as the sun was setting it shone across a valley and hit the hilltop and bam! there was the most beautiful rainbow. It was a double rainbow and you can faintly see the second rainbow to the left of the brighter one.

And last but not least Dane saw his first moose. I know the picture is blurry but it was the best we could do with traffic coming from both directions and both of us excited. The moose fit into its stereotype of stupidity and just stood in the middle of the road while cars were coming from both directions. Finally it moved on and that's when Dane snapped the picture.

We will post again soon about our time in Maine and Canada. Sadly we didn't get to climb Mount Katahdin. All of the trails were closed due to ice and snow. Hopefully next time!
Hectic travels does interesting things to one's short-term memory. Trying to recall too much about the last few days, where we've been, where we've stayed, makes us feel as though we're in the progressive stages of old age-ism. To the best of our recollection, we spent one night after Buffalo somewhere in the Adirondacks. I've heard about the Adirondack Mountains all my life, so I'm sure it was beautiful.

Let me see . . . oh yes! Leaving New York and entering Vermont required the services of a ferry to cross Lake Champlain. From our worthy vessel we could see the white peaks of the Green Mountains. Unforgettable.

Burlington: cool, trendy, hip. Seeing quickly that we couldn't fit in, we high-tailed it to more low-key Montpelier, the smallest state capital in the nation.

Montpelier is an incredible little town. After college, I (Dane) briefly considered moving there following my first visit. With a set of wheels and $800 in my pocket I was going to shake off my southern roots and embrace Vermont northernism. That didn't happen, but our recent visit there reminded me of what motivated the notion.

Vermont State House

Representatives Hall - fully restored to its original 1833 condition

Montpelier is a small town of fewer than 10,000 folks, but several days could be spent exploring its many bookstores, historic sites, walking trails, and surrounding countryside. We were able to do a little of that, as well as learn more about maple syrup production at a nearby sugar farm.

Many of our Montpelier experiences will settle there, dying before becoming eternal memories. But one thing I'll never forget . . . Montpelier gloriously boasts the absence of a W*l-Ma**, and is the only state capital where the globally ubiquitous golden arches of McDonald's cannot be seen!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Northeast Thus Far

We did stop to camp in Ohio on our way north. It was a fun time. We were the only campers there. Dane played his guitar around the campfire. We went mountain biking early the next morning. Unfortunately we got lost from each other AGAIN while we were mountain biking. We eventually found each other, vowing to use our walkie talkies next time we hike or bike.

Putting our walkie-talkies to use

Detroit was a temporary stop on the way to Toronto. There is a lot of sadness about Detroit. Some bright spots there were...1) the "People Mover" train that does a loop around downtown Detroit (only 50 cents) and 2) Campus Martius Park which is one of the top 25 public spaces in the United States according to the American Planning Association.(Dane's info) The fountain there was great!

Downtrodden Detroit

On the way to Toronto we were detained at the border by Canadian immigration. Our main offenses were trying to carry firewood over the border (we didn't know!) and Dane being a little bit "facetious" with the border guards. It was a little fiasco that put us behind time about an hour.

Two days in Toronto. The highlights were Chinatown and Kensington Market. We were also fascinated by the black squirrels.

We saw Niagara Falls on a cold, blustery, rainy day and they were still beautiful. We especially enjoyed the trails along the river that led up to the falls.

Along the path

The Falls

We spent 3 nights in Buffalo. An unexpected surprise was an annual event called "Doors Open Niagara". There were several sights in and around buffalo that were free to the public. We went on several free tours including the largest city hall in the nation which was beautiful, a carousel museum, a huge cemetery and an old homestead to name a few. We also visited Brian and Emily, missionaries who are starting a church in the Buffalo area and attended their Bible study on Sunday night.

Buffalo City Hall

Inside City Hall

Dane's description in a gravestone

By the way, I know we're not following the Fall foliage at it's peak season, but it has been beautiful! Dane compares the feeling he gets when he sees to the colors to being punched in the gut. (Dane wanted me to clarify that this punch in the gut is a good thing)

We've been camping the past 2 nights. For a fact we know it got to 23 degrees Fahrenheit one night. Our tent was frosty and it was snowy/rainy when we woke up.

Our frozen bottle

We also got stopped by a state trooper yesterday! Three major issues were speeding (15 miles over the speed limit), Dane couldn't fine his license and we couldn't find our registration! Julie is one of the nicest state troopers we've ever met and she only ticketed us for a non moving violation...a cracked windshield. Funny thing is the crack was only a couple of inches long the day before and in the cold temperatures it decided to crack about 3 more feet!

The windshield being cracked

Dane did find his wallet rolled up in one of our sleeping bags.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We're on the road again! Somehow our truck is fuller this time than it has been on any of our previous trips. I think it's partly because we are driving north and don't want to get cold, but we've also added 2 mountain bikes and a guitar to our load.

See you in a month Nashville!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Table Rock

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. -Martin Luther
We've seen so much Beauty!
The picture below is at the top of Table Rock Mountain in the Table Rock State Park in SC.

As we descended the mountain we knew we were almost there when we started hearing the sounds of water. Pretty little waterfalls welcomed us back down!

Dane's favorite part of the whole day came after the climb...

Can anyone guess what comes next???

Yes, Dane's change finding obsession continues and one of the prime spots to find change is under a deck where a drink machine in located. The grand sum was $14.35 in change. I couldn't believe it! It almost paid for our $16 campsite that night, although trying to stuff all that change into the envelope and then into the deposit box at the campground didn't work so well.

Dry Falls in in the Nantahala National Forest near where we camped the night before. I'm not sure why they call in Dry Falls. Possibly because you can walk underneath it and not get wet. We arrived in the morning and saw the sun rise over the ridge. It was beautiful.

One of Dane's artistic shots of Dry Falls