The Warm

It finally feels a little like spring and less like winter.  After speaking at a Wesleyan Church yesterday (more on our ecumenical ministry opportunities later), Ryan and I headed up to the Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota).  Since Sunday was beautiful we took advantage of the lovely day and visited Minnehaha Falls. Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.25.24 AMWe then walked along the Minnehaha Creek, down to the mighty Mississippi.  Well, it is the Mississippi River but since we could obviously (if you look at the picture) see across it, it isn’t the widest point.  Anyway, it was a beautiful day to be out enjoying the weather and getting to visit with Ryan’s brother.Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.25.42 AMAfter our walk, we had a delicious dinner at the 112 Eatery filled with new things to try and enjoy.  And we ended the evening with a fire in the backyard.  This was complete with good conversation, apple pie and ice cream.  It was a wonderfully warm day and now we’re looking forward to another couple of lovely days here in the Twin Cities.Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.25.57 AM

6 Things We Want Our Supporters (and Potential Supporters) to Know

“It’s like calling a girl I like and not knowing what she’s going to say,” Ryan said as he was psyching himself up to call another church.  Thankfully Ryan has a lovely wife now (if I do say so myself:-) and has no need or desire to call girls but we both still have the responsibility to contact individuals and churches while we continue to support raise.  Each and every one of these phone calls, text messages, emails and Facebook notes require extra thought and prayer.  We never know what the response will be but we will keep working until we reach our goal or until God directs us elsewhere.Ryan.pngSo as we continue this process, here are 6 things we want our current supporters and potential supporters to know.

  1. We wish there was an easier way.  From the beginning Ryan and I have been thankful to have a long list of friends, relatives and acquaintances in our lives who care about us.  We want first and foremost for people to be a part of our ministry through prayer but we also know that if everyone who reads this blog, our newsletters or generally keeps up with us gave $20 a month, we would be more than fully funded.  But we are thankful to everyone who does what they can, whether that is fervent prayer, a smaller donation either monthly or one-time and for those many individuals who are able to and give more than $20 a month or even larger one-time gifts.
  2. Ryan and I do not enjoy asking for money.  Now before anyone jumps on that phrase to remind me that we are “asking people to partner with us” or “asking people to join in our ministry” or any other way of saying it, I understand and we truly view this as a partnership with our supporters.  However, at the end of the day we need money in our account to do our jobs and that funding has to come from somewhere.  We know people have a long list of demands on their budgets so faithfully we will continue to ask.  And prayerfully we will continue to trust that the money will come.
  3. We know that there are benefits to this system.  At this point in the process we get to travel and see people face to face.  Skype is good but there is something about sitting down for a meal or just hanging out.  Also when people join us with interest, prayers and/or finances, we want to keep them informed and keep in touch as personally as possible.  This is one of the reasons I blog, we do Instagram, keep up on Facebook, with newsletters, etc.  We see the benefit in sharing our story with those who are invested in us.  And we also love hearing from you and following your journey.
  4. Don’t be afraid of our phone call or messages.  Please believe that we do enjoy sharing our story.  We would much rather people be up front about their financial situation but that won’t change our desire to share and keep in touch.  Maybe God might even change your heart when you hear more about our ministry:-)  We are thankful for all our relationships and would love to make a time to see you face to face if we’re in the area or catch up by phone or Skype.
  5. We genuinely want you to pray about supporting us (and discuss it with your spouse if that’s applicable to you).  Pray.  Listen to God.  Seek wise counsel.  And if God is telling you not to support us or to support another ministry or give more to your church or whatever it may be, listen.  But if you are hearing from God to support us, pray for us or advocate for us, listen.
  6. No is an acceptable answer.  Or even, not now.  Or even, maybe when things change.  Or even, we don’t know.  Seriously, it’s ok.

Thank you for being a part of our ministry in whatever way you can.  We look forward continuing to share our journey and enjoy having you along with us on this ride.

Reasons #63-#65 Why I Love My Husband

This list is first and foremost for me, a reminder of why I choose to love this crazy, wonderful man each day.  But I share it with you because I want you to get a glimpse of the amazing way he was created as well as the many ways he is gifted.  There is a lot to love about this man.

#63- He honors his parents.

This month we are living with Ryan’s parents, yes we have a couple short trips here and there but a month with the in-laws is enough to make many people groan.  However, I really do enjoy being with Ryan’s family and I especially love getting to see him daily interacting with them in special ways.  He truly loves and honors his parents.Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.06.10 AM#64- His Hands

Ryan often reaches across the center console of the car and his hand finds a place to rest on my knee.  This is an especially comforting gesture on days that we fight.  Ryan has amazing hands.  Hands that make me feel safe and comforted.  His hands that can speak to me with a simple touch, telling me everything is going to be ok.

#65- His cheesy heart.

Being in Wisconsin is always a reminder of how much of Ryan’s childhood shaped him.  Although he grew up in Wisconsin and has lived in a couple other states, he most recently spent over 10 years in California.  So when Ryan introduces himself he often describes himself as a Californian with a cheese for a heart.  This description is a reflection of his humor as well as an apt description of his history that still influences him today.

Check out my April post for more reasons Why I Love My Husband.

 

Tim Tam Slams

Tam Tam slams are one of our favorite things to introduce to family and friends.  They tend to go over a bit better than vegemite.  Although it is widely known that I enjoy vegemite on toast and I wish more people shared in my love for this tasty, salty treat.  But this post isn’t about vegemite so back to the delicious Tim Tam.  Monday I posted about the Tim Tam Taste Test.  And after the taste test we, of course, had to celebrate by experiencing the Tim Tam Slam.Explain It WellThe Tim Tam Slam is done by using a Tim Tam as a straw to drink hot chocolate (or your other hot beverage of choice) and the liquid makes the biscuit deliciously melty and gooey.  Ryan has his directions down pat and always cracks me up when he uses the words “structural integrity”.  I’ve documented the process below for your future Tim Tam Slam enjoyment.Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 9.36.44 AM1. Hold the Tim Tam and take small bites out of opposite corners.

Slam 12. Put one bitten end of the Tim Tam in the hot chocolate and suck the liquid in through the other end.Slam 23. Once you feel the structural integrity of the biscuit start to collapse then “slam” the biscuit into your mouth.  Slam 34. Enjoy!  These Tim Tam Slams have made such fun memories on many of our stops.  I’m glad that Tim Tam Slams have made their way into a few homes as a favorite dessert treat. Ryan and I will continue sharing the love until our box of Australian Tim Tams is empty.

 

 

Nephew Time at Garden of the Gods

Ryan and I are here in Colorado working towards getting to Australia but one of the perks of our travel schedule is time with family.  We are thankful that we can celebrate Ryan’s brother’s birthday today.  May the 4th be with you!  But having yesterday with our nephews while their parents were working was extra special.  We did a few fun things (like take the lizard to the pet store to confirm that she was indeed a she) but my highlight was the Garden of the Gods.PanoramicClimbingThis beautiful park is free and open to the public like it has been since the land was bought in the 1870s by a man named Charles Elliot Perkins.  And it’s been called Garden of the Gods even longer because when these large sandstone formations were seen back in the 1850s, one man remarked that it would be a “capital place for a beer garden” to which another responded, “Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.”  This place is indeed a beautiful example of God’s creation.JoyandRyanThese incredible rock formations definitely make you feel small.  Yesterday was a beautiful day to explore, climb and enjoy.  We stayed on the path when we had to but the nephews really enjoyed the places where we were able to make our way up and down the rocks themselves.  Ryan and I also took the opportunity to use a nephew’s photography skills to capture just the two of us together.PhotobombAnd of course a day like this isn’t complete without a little photobombing.  Even the most basic backdrop at Garden of the Gods was lovely.  The bright white clouds and blue sky contrasted beautifully with the red sandstone.RyanNephewsRyan already has lots of great uncle memories with these guys but it doesn’t hurt to make a few more.  I love the fact that the memories we are making now will actually have a chance of sticking with them.  Having the boys say that they want us to stay longer and visit more often is a compliment but it’s also one of the many things that makes it emotionally difficult to think of the reality of our move to Australia.JoyandNephewsUnlike Ryan, I have only had a handful of times with these guys.  And despite the wind, I was happy to have this day to get to know them better and hopefully we will have many more special days in the future too.PikesPeakIf you’re in the Colorado Springs area, Garden of the Gods is a definite must see.  It’s easy hiking and the views are spectacular.  Each different angle of Pikes Peak provides another viewing treat as you walk through these amazing sandstone formations.  I’m so glad that I was able to explore this place with Ryan and our nephews.

Tim Tam Taste Test

Tim TamsTim Tams are delicious Australian biscuits (cookies) made by the Arnotts company.  I was first introduced to these in Papua New Guinea by Australians who love them.  And then coming back to the US I found that you could buy Tim Tams here.  While they use to have only a limited distribution, these yummy cookies can now be bought at World Market, Target and Walmart.  They are made by Pepperidge Farms (an Arnotts sister company) and the question was raised whether or not the US version was as good as the Australian version.  Could we even tell the difference?Tim Tam ComparisonRyan brought back boxes of Tim Tams from his last Australia trip (it was a good use of his second free checked bag:-) so all we had to do was buy a pack here in America.  The Australian biscuit is pictured on the left and the US version on the right.  They look very similar, have similar ingredients (although the US version has a little more sugar) and on first examination, we didn’t know if anyone would even be able to tell the difference.Testing 123So the idea was to try a quarter of each cookie without knowing if you were eating the US or Australian version.  6 of us did the test.  And the final results were two of the testers (the youngest two) chose the American version while the other 4 all chose the Australian biscuit.  There was a lot of thinking as well as discussion afterwards on what differences we could or couldn’t taste.  One tester could taste the difference in sugar content.  Another thought they tasted pretty much the same.  I personally think the chocolate was very similar but the texture of the cookie insides were what made the difference for me.  I found the US inside wafers were a little more porous and flaky while the Australian version was just a touch denser.  Enough to taste a difference.ThinkingThe final result is that the original from Australia are indeed better.  If you were offered a choice, the Australian version should be your pick.  However, the US version does a passably good job if you can’t make it to Australia and they will still make a delicious Tim Tam Slam (pictures and directions coming soon!).  This was a fun test and I would be happy to add some more tests to our data set in the future.  However, I am convinced that the Australian Tim Tams would continue to win.

The Cold Part

snowdrivingIt’s the last day of April and I drove today through the snow.  Maybe I’ve done a little snow driving before in California but nothing that I can really remember and definitely not in April.  I can now say that I’ve driven through the Rockies in falling, blowing snow.  The coldest it got was 25 degrees according to the temperature gauge on our car.  But it was a beautiful drive (at least what I could see when I wasn’t needing to focus solely on seeing out the front windshield) and the light flocking of snow made everything look lovely.therockiesWe’re hoping that this is the coldest it will be on our road trip so it can only warm up from here.  There is snow on the ground in front of Ryan’s brother’s home but it didn’t stop us from having a great evening with some of Ryan’s old friends here in Colorado.  It was a night for Rook and catching up.  We’re thankful to have arrived safely and are looking forward to a lot of work this week mixed with good family time.