Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Praise the Lord - we made it!!

I am updating from the library, as we still do not have internet at the camper (hopefully Friday) ...

Just wanted to let you know and to PRAISE THE LORD - we made it! That morning, my faith kind of faltered when I drove up in the car and the bad spots seemed way worse as I imagined bringing the trailer over them, but we really had very little problems at all. Thanks so much for praying - we want to give all the credit and glory to the Lord for His provision.

We were also very grateful for our new neighbor who was there to help us. He gave us good advice, watched out for tricky spots and just overall was a great help. He doesn't actually live on the mountain yet, but we had ran into him on Sunday evening and told him our plans of moving the camper up on Monday. He just "happened" to be up when we did the actual move.

The dogs are loving it - I can't wait to post a picture of Lilly! The kids are enjoying it, but not fully yet as it has been raining quite a bit since we have moved.

Again - thanks for all who have prayed and thanks be to our Lord for helping us!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Moving day

Today, we are planning to move up to our property. We currently do not have internet access up there (although it was supposed to be on the 21st), so we not sure when we will be online again. Please pray that the transition will go smoothly - we have a BIG rough hill to climb with our camper ...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Kamping rekap

We returned home earlier today from our camping adventure. We truly had a fun time, especially the kids. Savannah cried when we got "home" to the camper, and Hadden has said repeatedly "I like tenting".

Most of all, we enjoyed being with a great group of people that truly feel like family. We arrived at almost dark on Wednesday and several immediately offered to help us out. We had not brought a flashlight, so very quickly 2 were given to us to borrow. In fairly short order, our tent was up and ready to go.

The first night, it got pretty cold, so we ended up using our "padding" (comforter off our bed) to cover up with. The next night, we were lent some egg-crate foam and an extra sleeping bag. We slept much better last night.

Here is our tent. I had won it in a volleyball tournament a number of years ago and had never taken it out of the box.

Biking: Thanks to a dear friend, PM, who watched our kiddos Thursday morning, John and I were able to join the group going mountain biking. We went on a 17-mile loop trail through the woods. I have never ridden on trails before, so I slowed the group down to all but a grinding halt as I cautiously navigated the roots and rocks on the trail. They were all very kind and gracious, but I felt bad holding them back. By the end, I was getting a little more brave, but I should probably stick to the roads :)

Kiddos: The kiddos just thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with the other kids (Savannah especially). They went on a hike while we were biking and were so excited to share about seeing 2 deer and an old rock chimney. Hadden enjoyed playing catch and showing people his new car collection (the sweet neighbor boy gave Hadden his entire collection of cars). We had s'mores at the campfire which was a big hit also.

Ring saga: John took the kids for a dip in the lake in the afternoon while I relaxed at camp. Savannah came running into camp saying "Mom - Daddy lost his ring in the water!" I knew she was not joking, so I headed to the lake with her to see how I could help. Here are some things going through my head:

"lake water = not clear, muddy, zero visibility" "bottom of lake = muddy, the really squishy, gushy kind" "odds of finding the ring = VERY slim" ... "PRAY"

You see, John never wears his ring in or near water ever since he almost lost it on our honeymoon. I mean never - not in the shower, not shaving, not swimming, never. As Savannah and I approached the lake, John is standing at the edge with a big smile on his face and waving at us. With the Lord's help, he FOUND it!

He then told me the story ... he was in the deep section and remembered his ring. He decided to check to see if it was tight enough to stay on, and when he tried to slide it over his knuckle it popped off of his hand and quickly sunk. Not wanting to move, he called to our group of kids to see if anyone had goggles. None did, but there was another lady there swimming that overheard and brought him out a pair. He was then able to dive down and find it. Praise the Lord!

Petting zoo: Today on the way out, we stopped at the petting zoo and enjoyed the goats, donkeys, peacocks, horses, ponies and pig.

The peacocks were fun to watch as they displayed their tail feathers. In the picture below, the baby goat was very inquisitive and just kept going up to the peacock. The peacock seemed irritated at the goat and kept fluffing at him and at one point, went up and pecked at him! It was funny to watch because the little goat just didn't get it - he was a little mischievous one.

Well, I had better sign off. We have a big day tomorrow - we are hoping to get everything connected (well, electricity, septic) so that we can move the camper up to our property this weekend (which also means I will probably be offline for a bit).

Jude 1:24-25 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kurtzes are going KAMPING!!!

Ok - I know it sounds a little krazy to you - aren't they already kamping, you ask??? Well, yes, we are, but we are going "real" kamping for 2 whole nights ... in a tent ... I am hoping that it will make the kamper seem luxurious!

We are going with the rest of the staff from We Care, so we are looking forward to it. Hoping we don't have any severe thunder storms and/or tornado warnings while kamping.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Current progress

1. Snakes!

Friday afternoon, we spent a day at the property working. It was a beautiful day - not too hot - just great for working. Towards the end of the day, we went for a hike "down to the deer stand". It's funny how we just naturally start naming different areas of the property. It had rained quite a bit last week and we have a seasonal stream in a valley with a waterfall and we went to check it out. The dogs went with us and at one point, I caught Mercy chewing on a snake skeleton - yikes! We deicded to not hike into the waterfall after all - we decided to wait until the fall when the underbrush isn't so thick and the snakes are in hibernation :)

Saturday, we found this (it was already dead - whew!). John said "yesterday ... snake skeleton. Today ... dead snake. Tomorrow ... "

2. Baseball:

Aaah - no playing baseball in the house! Oh - that's ok, the house isn't there yet ...

Hadden and Savannah are both enjoying playing baseball. Hadden has always loved it, but we have just begun playing with a hard ball. We were with our home group at the park on Sunday afternoon and he "caught" some with his lip and his nose. Ouch! He kept at it and is now doing a lot better and gaining more confidence.

3. Sunsets:

I have always loved sunsets and so I am thoroughly enjoying them at the property - I hope I never tire of them. Hee - also, I hope you don't tire of seeing pictures of them :) A truly breathtaking reward at the end of a hard day working.

4. Cactus:

The cactus is blooming! I am looking forward to going again next week, because there are a lot of blooms close to opening.

Not sure what kind this is, or what it is going to look like, but it is close to doing something, too.

4. Discoveries:

We have muscadine grapes (they are new to me) on our property. Anybody ever tasted them before? I read online that they have a pretty thick skin, but can be used for jelly and jam. I would like to try to make some jelly and maybe even grape juice - we'll see! The plants are currently in danger - they are not exactly planted in the best spot, so John keeps threatening to "move" them.

We also have either blackberries or raspberries, I think. I am a little disappointed at myself because I used the weed wacker and took out a lot of the bushes because of the thorns. We were here too late in the fall to know that they had berries on them and the thorns are just nasty so I was glad to get rid of them earllier this spring. Now that I see the berries, I am not so glad. Lesson learned.

5. Current schedule

We have ordered a pump for the well and it should be here tomorrow. We have an electrician coming to hook it up for us and then we will hopefully have all of the necessary pieces to move the camper up to the property. Our goal is to move it up this weekend since John has a 3-day weekend. We are a little bit concerned about the actual move, as our driveway is still pretty rough, so we are praying that everything goes smoothly. If we damage the camper on the move, we will be homeless!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hearts in 1 accord


Susan has been obedient to what the Lord has called her to do and has started a prayer blog, with the desire to have people praying 24/7 (across the globe). I have committed to joining her and others to pray.

I think my favorite thing about this is that it crosses denominational and cultural lines and simply unites believers in Christ in prayer.

If you feel led to join in this prayer group or if you have a prayer request, simply click on the "Hearts in 1 accord" button on the left sidebar and send an email.

Psalm 66:20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What I like about laundry ???

As my time to do laundry at a laundro-mat soon comes to an end (hopefully), I was trying to have a better attitude while doing laundry yesterday.

Since we have been doing laundry "out" the entire time we have been in AL, I have figured out the cleaning crew schedule and try to go after they have cleaned (for obvious reasons). However, yesterday, we arrived before the cleaning crew and the kids were thrilled to find "treasures" in the trash left on the floor. They each found 2 pennies, an "eye" ball super ball from the vending machine and a pop top. We were collecting pop tops for Ms Sherry and after she became sick, pop tops were our reminder to pray for her. Now, when we find them, we pray for Mr. Al and the family.

OK - let's get to things to like about doing laundry "out":
  1. Getting the laundry all done in one day. Can't beat that, even though it is an all day chore.
  2. The joy of time spent with the kiddos. On nice days, we go to a nearby park while the clothes are washing.
  3. Watching the kids enjoy it. This one still amazes me - they actually want to go do laundry with me and are upset if I don't take them. I guess the "treasures" are worth it to them.
  4. Catching up on all of my state quarters! We have been collecting 4 of each state quarter and I have been able to find those few that we were missing. I also was able to help my sister with her collection :)
  5. Meeting interesting people - some very nice, some very interesting!
  6. Finding many dimes in the dryers. OK - so I not quite sure if it was multiple dimes, OR just the same dime that I would put in my pocket ... forget to take out ... and find again the next week. :)
  7. Playing the ABC game IN the laundry mat. Thankfully, the signs are also in Spanish, so we were able to find some of those obscure letters like q. The day we played there was a very nice lady who had just as much fun as we did "helping" the kids find them.
  8. The washers use less detergent...
  9. Memories like this ... the laundry mat has vending machines for kids - where you put in a quarter, and out pops a treasure in a little plastic bubble with a top. When the owners first put the machines in, the kids found a couple of the packages on the floor - instant "treasures". Hadden was playing with his, tossing it in the air and trying to catch it. Pretty soon, it fell between the machines where I could not reach it. He was devastated and in a whimpery voice asked "can we buy another one, Mom? .... I'll throw the toy away"! I thought that was really cute.
OK - that is more than I thought I would find, but I think it is good for me to remember to be thankful in all things!

Colossians2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

What are you thankful for today?


Friday, May 9, 2008

Bugs and stuff - part 2

Don't worry - No pictures this time!
The kids and I were driving home from church the other night about dusk. It was a beautiful, warm, clear, spring night. All of the sudden, it looked like snow in the headlights! And it sounded like rain on the windshield ... oh my - those are BUGS! Yuck!

So exciting! Are you ready for this? We have power TO our property now. However, we do not have power available just yet.

This is truly a learning process for us.

They will allow temporary power for us, but we have to supply the pole, AND put it in the ground ... to their specifications! It really doesn't make sense to me, but that is what we did. We picked up a pole yesterday. OK - picture this ... the pole is 18' long. Our truck bed is maybe 12' long ... so, the person where we purchased it put the pole diagonally across the truck and it stuck out the right side at least 4'. We then drove about 30 minutes home. We tried to stay on back roads as much as possible, but we tried to "keep it light" by saying "whoa - that was close" at anything that was remotely close ;) It then became a game of wanting to at least brush something (tree branch or something). Once we were on our road, it was narrow enough that we picked up a few vines along the way.

When we finally got to the property, this is what it looked like (taken out the window):

Pouring down rain! We waited until it calmed down a little, dumped the pole and came back to the trailer. John then went up this morning very early and set the pole. What a man!
We have strated digging the footer by hand. We have 2 sides almost completed, but have hit spots of rock. The remaining side that really needs dug should be pretty soft earth.
We are hoping to have the electricity hooked up, the pump installed, water lines ran to where we need them this weekend. If all goes well, we may be able to move up next weekend. Any progress at this point makes me thrilled!
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Man!

2 Corinthians 9:12-15
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

I was searching for a scripture to honor my man on his birthday, and this one spoke volumes to me. I do thank God for his indescribable gift to me - the gift of my wonderful husband, John.

It also reminded me of John's full-time ministry in the prison with We Care Program. It has been amazing to watch God work in and through John - as John has stepped out in obedience, the Lord has been so very faithful. I have watched John "bloom and grow" (that's an inside joke ;) in wisdom, patience, faithfulness, perserverance, confidence and assertiveness - giving all credit and glory to the Lord for His transforming power. Don't get me wrong - John was wonderful before moving to Alabama, but is all the more now. It is a joy to watch him work at the property, go for hikes, build a fire, teach the children, play with the dogs, interact with strangers, etc.

Finally, this scripture also reminded me of our supporters who have been so faithful to give, so that John is able to continue to minister to the inmates. Their faithfulness to pray, support (in many ways), and serve in this manner have allowed us this opportunity. Thanks be to God for you!

I love you, honey, and hope you have an extra special day! Keep on keepin' on - we're right here with ya!

Psalm 40:2 "... he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand."

Notice the fire pit behind John - this is our first fire on our property.

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, May 5, 2008

Strawberry season

Last Friday, we went with some friends to pick strawberries - it was a beautiful day and we had a blast picking. We love strawberries and as there were 3 of us picking, we decided to use 3 baskets ... we got a LOT of strawberries. Probably should have stuck with just 2 baskets. I made 4 batches of jam, quickly ran out of freezer space and still had a whole basket of strawberries leftover.

Oh - how I miss a real kitchen ...

There is nothing quite like homemade strawberry jam!