Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Update time again...

Since I never seem to have make the time to update my blog these days, I decided it was time to update you of the goings on around here.  Excuse the bullets, but they will help me to relay all necessary info without requiring any sense of cohesiveness....

-  We are still living with my parents.  If you are sending us a holiday card, you can send it here.  If you've already sent one to our MD address, we will get it eventually, either through the postal service forwarding it here or by picking it up ourselves....BUT, if you are not uber-organized (yep, it's a word), and haven't sent your cards yet, you can send it to this address...
     1290 Mount Joy Road
     Manheim, PA, 17545

-While we're on the subject of holiday cards, I'm not sending you one.  Well, not just you.  I DO plan to send change of address cards however, when I have a new address to give you.  Not sure when that will be yet BUT...

-We rented our house in MD!!!  Woo hoo!!!  That is one major piece of the puzzle.

***PA friends, this one's for you!!!***
-I'm starting a book club!  It's one of the things I miss most about MD, and so I'm starting one here.  The plan is to meet the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30pm.  We will have dinner (soup, salad, bread, and dessert).  You don't have to bring a food item every time.  After dinner, we will have discussion.  We are meeting Thursday, Dec 28 at 7:30 pm (location to be determined) to pick the books for the first few months.  Then, we will begin our first meeting and book discussion on the first Tues in Feb (the 7th).  The idea is to do a variety of genres, and also to have a diverse group of women to discuss.  If you are interested, please email me at, and I will give you more info.

-In other news, Nathaniel is for he's MOBILE.  Yeah, game changer.  Super cute though.

-I really need to post some pictures.  So sorry, I'll get right on that.  Posts are so much better with pictures of my cute children.

-m'kay, time to cook dinner for the masses, wipe some snotty noses, and ya know, other mom stuff...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In case you were wondering.... life if CRAZY right now!  I haven't given an update for a while, so here goes...

We are mostly living in PA at this point.  My parents have been so generous and hospitable as 5 of us and all our stuff descended on their home.  Patrick started his new job three weeks ago, and it is going really well.  He splits his time between Baron Family Practice and a clinic in inner city Lancaster for now.  He has off on Wednesdays (LOVE THAT!) but works late on Thursdays (so they can have some evening hours at the clinic).

We've been working on renting our home in MD, as we would lose too much by selling it.  The market has tanked everywhere, but it seems to be especially bad in the DC area.  It stinks if you want to sell your home, but it does create a rather nice rental market.  Anyway, we just agreed to a lease this week, and the new tenants are moving Dec 1!!!  That means we need to get out....SOON!!!  The packers/movers are coming the Monday after Thanksgiving, and we will spend a few days bonding over the work of packing most of our worldly goods, which will then go into storage until we close on a house in PA.  To close on a house in PA, we first need to have a contract.  To have a contract, we need to have a loan.  Having a loan largely depended on having a tenant.  Ah, now you see how this is all coming together.  We are hoping to hear news about our loan tomorrow (happy news, please!!!), and put in an offer this week.  The owners of the house we want don't want to move until January, so if all these little details work in our favor, that is when we will finally settle here.  God is so good.  Thank you for your prayers.  Please keep praying!

Having a house here will probably help reality to set in that we now LIVE in Pennsylvania.  I've been working on and off in MD, and we've been down to visit on a few weekends, so we still pop in at church and Bible studies on occasion which really makes it seem like we're not really gone yet.  I guess not having a house there anymore will help the feeling of permanence.

We've also begun to plug into life in our new town.  It helps that this is "home" for me, and we already have friends and family here.  We are really excited about church and the people we are meeting there.  I joined the flute choir.  Patrick is planning to sing with the men's choir in a few weeks, and he will probably join one of the noteveryweek choir options.  The church offers dinner every Wed evening for $12 for your whole family.  LOVE THIS!  After dinner, there are various rehearsals, Bible studies, classes for the kids, and nursery for the babies.  How nice to not have to cook dinner or find childcare to be involved in church activities.  I've also been going to a mom's group (at another church) that several of my friends attend on Wednesday mornings.  I've run into old friends that I haven't seen in years.  It feels good to be home.

So, that's us.  That's why I haven't been blogging.  I can't find my shoes some days, let alone compose coherent sentences.  Most of the pictures that go with posts in my head are on the computer we still have in MD.  I keep reminding myself that this is not a normal season for us.  My kids may watch more TV than I ever thought I would allow.  I might not read to them as much as I like, they might have candy before breakfast some days, and we may have to skip many of our holiday traditions.  It's okay.  This isn't our home.  Our stuff is in a million places, and I don't have to do it all.  Can you hear me preaching to myself?  I'm tough to convince....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What I've Been Reading...

I'm already starting to forget some of these books, so it's high time I did a "What I've Been Reading" post.

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks is based on the true story of a tiny village in England in 1666.  When the plague visits their quiet town, they make a pact to stay together in their village rather than infect the surrounding area.  A neighboring town brings them food/goods at a designated spot in exchange for their vow to not spread the disease.  The book is slow at times, but still worth the read.  As well as describing this distinct place and time in history, there are elements of faith, love, morality, witchcraft, sacrifice, and healing.
I just finished Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, which I believe is Jamie Ford's first novel.  I don't know what it is with me and books about WWII and/or Asian culture, but this one has both.  I had a hard time getting into the story, but about 3/4 of the way though, I really wanted to finish it.  The story is based on Henry's life, a Chinese boy raised in the US in the 1940's.  He meets a Japanese girl at school who becomes his best friend and later love interest, which is not an option for his traditional Chinese family as Japan is "the enemy." The story oscillates between Henry's life in the 1940's and his life 40 years later.  If you cut out 1/3 of the book, the story would be great.  The title suits the story well as the love story weaved throughout is truly bittersweet.

   I haven't read a Tim Keller book yet that I wouldn't recommend, and Counterfeit Gods is no exception.  I read it for book club, and appreciated it so much more after the discussion.  Before the meeting, it wasn't my favorite Keller book (still isn't), but I gleaned so much from the discussion, and I think I would glean even more from the book if I read it slower and more intentionally.  As the cover explains, it is about "The empty promises of money, sex, and power, and the only hope that matters."
Okay, so I'm not QUITE done with Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, but I'm close.  This book made my list of "books I didn't finish" at one point, but this translation is SO much more reader friendly.  The ladies from our church in Maryland have been studying it under the direction of Barbara Coleman.  As I always advise new ladies attending our church, "If Barbara Coleman is leading a study, go if at all humanly possible."  I am taking my own advice and traveling from PA to MD for a few of the meetings this month.  I arranged it so I could work during the day (in MD) and then have dinner with friends from church before going to the study and driving home.  Long day, but SO worth it.  Read this book.  Read it with a group so you will have accountability and learn together from this amazing allegory.
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins is unlike anything else I'm reviewing here.  I DEVOURED this series.  Honestly, it sounded corny  and science fiction-y to me, but a friend recommended it, so I thought I would try the first one, and I was hooked!  I finished The Hunger Games before vacation and read the second one, Catching Fire on the plane (it's a PERFECT travel read).  I finished the third, Mockingjay, about two days after I got home.  Really well written, emotional, action packed.  Add this to your list.
I want to love One Thousand Gifts.  So many of you reviewed it and recommended it.  I won it on Sara's blog (which you should check out if you haven't.  She's awesome).  I was drawn in by Ann Voskamp's unique writing style, but after a chapter or two, I found it flowery and annoying.  I thought her message was fabulous, perhaps even life changing.  The importance of thankfulness is something we all take for granted, and Ann teaches us how to find joy in the mundane through nurturing an attitude of thankfulness.  Not just trying to be more thankful, but actively, intentionally, practicing and looking for the gifts God lavishly gives to each of his children.  He loves us more than we could ask or imagine.  I had a hard time getting through it, but I am glad I read it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Road to Sedona

This the first of four posts with pictures of our recent vacation to Sedona/Grand Canyon/Las Vegas.  The following were taken on the way to Sedona from Phoenix.

Montezuma's Castle

Detail of the Castle

I was fascinated by the trees in the Southwest.  Lynn got this picture on her iPhone.

This is the picture I was taking above.  A juniper. 

Montezuma's Well, a natural spring in the middle of the desert.

Resting at the well.

Stay tuned for the red rocks of Sedona!

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Grandma....

...was an incredible lady.  She went to be with Jesus on Friday.  She lived a long (would have been 90 next month) and active life.  Two months ago she was still walking 2 1/2 miles every morning, volunteering, sewing part time, living independently, and driving.  She was sharp as a tac.  She sometimes babysat my kids when I was home.  She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and quickly deteriorated.  She loved the Lord and loved her family.  She prayed for each of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren daily.  I was able to see her a few times since she was diagnosed.  She said, "I'm ready to see Jesus and see Miles (my grandpa)."  

For anyone who is local, her viewing is on Wednesday evening, and her funeral is Thursday morning.  Let me know if you need more specific details.  I love you, grandma, and I will see you again....

Day at the Park

The following were taken using our new Tamron 18-270mm lens (with a UV filter).  We recently took the Beginner and Intermediate classes with McKay Photography Academy, and I took these as part of a "Rule of Thirds" exercise.  -- Patrick

They heard a squirrel rustling in the leaves...and declared it was "a bear."

"Camille, look at Daddy!"  She just would not turn around.  Then, "Camille, I'm gonna get you!"  And I snapped this shot.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


No, not that news....good gracious people, Nathaniel's only 6 months old!

We're moving!!!!!

We thought we were staying in this area for another 3-5 years.  God had a different plan.  Doors were closed here, and doors we were barely knocking on started opening wide.  Bottom line...we are moving back to Pennsylvania!!!  Patrick accepted a position at a small family practice (in my hometown!) under the umbrella of Heart of Lancaster hospital.  His start date is Nov 1.  We are both excited and overwhelmed.  

We need to sell our house.  The market is not very conducive to meeting that goal, but we know our God is big enough.  Please pray with us that we would find a buyer soon.  If you know anyone moving to the Baltimore/Washington area (our house is in Bowie, MD), please send them our way!

I created a blog to show our house, since most of the sites where we listed it only allow 5-10 pictures.  Our house is convenient to several military bases (Andrews, Naval Academy, Fort Meade, Bethesda).  Comments, advice, and encouragement are welcome.

You can also pray that we will find a house in PA.  We've been looking, although the process is somewhat stalled until we sell/rent our house.  It's a big decision.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More PA weekend fun...

The same weekend as "camping weekend" we spent Sunday with my family.  Lisa even joined us for dinner.  The fish pond is just beautiful in my parents' back yard.  The girls love to help paw paw feed the fish.

My dad is super cool, talented, and creative.  He decided to build a tree house for my kids.   It even has a porch, skylight, and a slide attached.  I tried to get a good picture of it, but it's hidden by some trees.  You get the idea though...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Camping Weekend...

You may remember the super fun kickoffthesummer picnic we had at Jen and Scott's farm.  Since they are such fun folks, they invited us all back to camp out one Friday night.  We I have very little camping experience.  Yes, all 5 of us "slept" in the red tent.  We figured even if it was awful, it was one night, and we would recover.  Having indoor plumbing a short walk away was helpful.  I was woefully unprepared in the blankets was a COLD night.  In the wee hours, I was scavenging the house for blankets.  We did better after that.

 I left my kids with my friends and went to get a haircut.  John, Jonathan, and Patrick went golfing while Scott packed eggs.  The kids spent most of the day in their swim suits.  They played in the water, rode bikes, played with water balloons, chased each other, played lawn games, played in the sand, and ate...we all ate...a lot.

I was so proud of Adeline for trying this floaty.  Jen K was kind enough to swim with Adeline so I could take a nap tend to the other two.

Popsicles!!!  Brennan, Isaiah, Aubrey, Camille, and Adeline

Molly is such a sweetie, but she usually has to stay in the garage when we come to visit.  However, my usually scared of a dog the size of her ankles brave girl even petted her a few times.

Boche ball....among other lawn games...

It was a packed weekend, and we were all wiped!

Thanks again to Scott and Jen for opening up your home.  We love you!