Archive for September, 2012

Summer Vacation in Wisconsin: Tubing, the Lake Path, and Heading Home

Friday, September 28th, 2012

We did some tubing on our trip.

The kids laid it all out on the court.
We had each of our kids rest a bit each day. This day, Harrison rested in the basement/ game room. We told him not to come up the stairs.

Looks like he took his cue from dogs that sleep in doorways. They don’t want to miss out on the fun so they strategically position themselves to be woken up in case anyone goes anywhere.

One of my very favorite things about our trip was our walks/jogs on the Lake Path. The Lake Path is a 21-ish mile trail that makes its way all the way around the lake.
Every person who has lake frontage has to allow access to their property on a portion of lake path that they are responsible to maintain. Those on the path cannot go up in their yard or down on their dock, but they can enjoy the beauty of a fabulous stroll between some historic homes and the beautiful lake.

If I ever return to Lake Geneva, I hope to find a friend to walk all the way around (and someone else to watch the kids!).

I learned the following from THIS WEBSITE on the history of Lake Geneva. I’ve relayed the high points here: The Oneota Tribes inhabited this area and used this path as early as 1000 B.C. The first documented white person visited in 1831. The Potawatomi Tribe lived around Lake Geneva until their unjust eviction in 1836. Prior to the civil war, Lake Geneva was on the reverse route to the Great Lake ports for slaves escaping from Southern Illinois and Eastern Kentucky. After the war, the town became a resort for wealthy Chicago families.

Here Emmie is pretending to be a fancy lady using the steps alongside the path to mount her imaginary horse–all her idea.

Many of these estates were held by wealthy families from Chicago. This area has some pretty unbelievable mansions with exceptionally decadent features. One mansion that was completed in 1901 had gold-plated plumbing fixtures, a basement bowling alley, and a third floor miniature golf course. Ever heard of Schwinn bikes or Dupont? This house is Wrigley Spearmint Gum green because it was part of the original Wrigley estate. It has been immaculately maintained.

Day lilies and hydrangeas often line the Lake Path.

After a fun filled, four-night stay, we started to make our way back to the airport for our first flight. Everyone was already tired even though it was only about 2 p.m. in the afternoon. Little did we know what lay ahead for us. . .

My parents got Emmie at the Dallas airport to spend some time with her. The boys, Greg, and I had the misfortune of some major flight delays.
Here we are at DFW at 10 p.m. meeting a new friend, Dean.

The flight that was supposed to leave around 7:45 p.m. didn’t take off until 12 a.m.
I am so thankful for how Dean shared his military books and answered all the questions that the boys could come up with.

Thank you, Dean, for being awesome!

We rolled into our driveway just shy of 2 a.m. to find a huge tree branch had fallen off of one of our trees blocking our driveway.
Despite the challenges of getting home, our trip was so worth it.

Thank you, Rick and Nancy, for sharing your lake home with us. We felt so welcome and cared for, and we had so much fun! My kids are still talking about our trip. It was a high point of our summer. Thank you, Nancy, for feeding us! Believe me, I know how much my family eats, and I am grateful for the planning and work you did to care for us.

I am thankful for our friendship. Still hoping there is a Shabang II in East Texas. . . 🙂

Summer Vacation in Wisconsin: Special Delivery and Lunch at the Club

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

At Lake Geneva, you can opt in to get your mail by boat.
To us, that sounds like a spectator sport so we “baited” the mail box each day for outgoing mail and stalked our prey at mail time each day.

The boat comes almost dangerously close to the side of your dock.

You have to try out to get a job delivering mail. Nancy said that they use her dock as the test dock because of its high degree of difficulty. And yes, these carriers do fall in on occasion.
Nancy said that the carriers used to be girls only. Now they’ve opened up the job to boys and girls.

Tourist can pay to ride along on the mail boat and watch the process. The boat doesn’t stop running as the carrier leaps off, checks for mail, delivers mail, and hops back on the narrow running board of the boat.

Day #1 we baited with a letter. Day #2 we upped our game and baited with sweets for the crew, eliciting this response from our carrier.

By the way, these docks are disassembled before winter when the lake freezes over and reassembled in the spring like jigsaw puzzles each year.

One day for fun we shoved Greg in the trunk of Nancy’s rental car.
Just kidding, one day for fun we headed to the club for lunch. The kids got the seat belts for the brief ride. Greg was kind enough to take the trunk.

The Club was established way back in 1895. You can learn more about the history of this area HERE.

I’ve known Nancy since I was a freshman in highschool. That adds up to 20 years of friendship. I’m glad that we’ve been reconnected through Facebook and photography.

I love this one of my kids with Nancy. I think you see a lot of Carter’s personality in these next two.

Yes, Carter managed to “photo bomb” his own photo. I didn’t quite think that was possible.

You can see more from our trip HERE (Smoothies & Fishing) and
HERE (Getting There, Chess, & Rain) and
HERE (Rick’s Bday & Breakfast on the Lawn).

The Illuminated Word Project (September): Be Different

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

This year, I am participating in a group project with other photographers across the country. Once a month, we each select a part of the Bible and represent it some way visually through our photos.

We are a diverse group of seven women with different beliefs, and I am looking forward to an ongoing conversation with these photographers and with the people who read these blog posts.

Welcome to The Illuminated Word Project!

Be Different

***After taking a look at my post, please check out all of the other photographers participating in this project. The next step is Denean Melcher. Just click HERE.***

It is like apples and oranges.
Jesus tells his followers to be different. He tells me to be different.

When Jesus begins to teach his followers about who they are and how they are to live, he spells it out in Matthew 6.8: “Do not be like them.”
Be salt that preserves a world headed toward further decay.
Be light shining into a world in darkness. Be different.

Let me get a little more specific.

When I want to display my own fabricated goodness to impress others, Jesus reminds me to be different from the religious people. (Matthew 5.17-6.18)

When I am consumed—nearly overwhelmed–with acquiring and maintaining the material things in my life (clothing/ doing the laundry, food/ feeding my family, washing the dishes, buying the groceries), Jesus reminds me to be different from those who don’t know God’s Fatherly care. (Matthew 6.19-34)

This theme of distinction or contrast runs throughout the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5, 6 & 7. I have enjoyed feasting on this passage of Scripture this fall.
The Sermon on the Mount is largely about contrast.

1) Jesus contrasts the genuine Christian with the person who goes through the religious motions but is not inwardly new (a.k.a. “the Pharisees and scribes”).
AND
2) Jesus contrasts the genuine Christian with the secular person (a.k.a. “the Gentiles”).

Read these chapters and see for yourself. The theme of distinction helps us to see the forest for the trees in the Sermon on the Mount.

I am not a performer. I can’t perform well enough on my own for a holy God. He sees into my heart what I can mask from others.

I am not a chaser. If I live a life in pursuit of what I see, I will never “catch” those things.

Instead, I am a hungry girl. I hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness. I need Christ’s performance. I need His death to satisfy what God’s holy law demands. I hunger for fellowship with Him continually that I may lead a holy life.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5.6

Father, forgive me for trying to manufacture my goodness to impress other people.
Father, forgive me for forgetting your Fatherly care for me and the certainty of your love.
Father, help me to be distinct before a watching world so that people might see me (even with my flaws) and glorify you.

My Beliefs
I think it is only fair to tell you where I am coming from. We are all religious people. We are all trying to find life, meaning, value, and purpose somewhere or in someone. What matters is what or whom we believe. This is what I believe. What do you believe?

This is what I believe: WHAT I BELIEVE
This is what I care about: WHAT I CARE ABOUT
Think Jesus Christ is irrelevant to your everyday life? JESUS CHRIST CHANGES EVERYTHING
Want to get fancy? GETTING FANCY
Have no idea where to start? Want to teach your kids about God? START HERE

Summer Vacation in Wisconsin: Rick’s Birthday and Breakfast on the Lawn

Monday, September 24th, 2012

We got to celebrate Rick’s birthday while we were on our trip.
Nancy assembled a diverse crew to join in the party.

She also hatched a plan to surprise him with an evening dinner on board the Steam Yacht Louise, built in 1902.

Harrison was happy to be on board.

Nancy tricked Rick into taking the first bite of cake with just his mouth, without any utensils. This is how that ended:

We saw this paraplane at a distance and joked that the pilot was a singing telegram for Rick’s birthday.
When the pilot (who was a complete stranger) buzzed by us, he saw Rick’s birthday cake and shouted, “Happy Birthday!” right in front of Rick and Nancy’s house.

My boys were FULL of questions for the captain of the boat. They both took turns blowing the very loud steam whistle which sounds like THIS.

We had three tired kids so we got dropped off at the dock a bit early so that the other adults could catch some adult time.

After everyone returned to the house, Nancy and Rick’s friend, Marcelo Berestovoy, treated us to some sweet guitar playing. Nancy gave Rick the gift of music for his birthday by inviting Marcelo and his wife Julia to come to Lake Geneva for the weekend. Marcelo has a real gift for music and has worked in the industry for many years. My family enjoyed getting to know them a bit.

Here he is playing in very dim lantern light.

The next morning we enjoyed breakfast on the law. Well, technically for our family, it was our second breakfast. Any parent knows that no matter how late your kids go to bed on vacation, they will still wake up bright and early. So our family had already been up for a couple of hours, but somehow, some of us managed to eat a second breakfast. Harrison will always make an exception for his favorite food–watermelon. Nancy set him up with a half of watermelon and his own melon baller.

Carter was probably going over Nancy’s real estate investment portfolio with her 😉

The kids made bug habitats for rolly pollies. If you look closely, you can find one crawling up the stalk of the swiss chard.

Marcelo and Emmeline treated us to an impromptu guitar/ dance recital.

Emmeline descended down these big stone steps dancing all the way.

Later in the morning, Marcelo played “Norwegian Wood” which his wife Julia recorded. You can view the video clip HERE.

Thank you, Rick, for sharing your birthday celebration with us.
Thank you, Nancy and Marcelo, for making the celebration so special.

Summer Vacation in Wisconsin, Getting There, Chess, and Rain

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

There is a whole lot of waiting involved in traveling. . .

Carter filled up a lot of that time with tons and tons of questions. Good thing Greg knows some of the answers.

The kids watched the planes and service vehicles on the runway.

We had to wait a little longer because the President was in town hosting a campaign lunch in town.
The downside: Our wait was longer because the airspace above the airport had to be shut down.
The upside: The kids got to see Air Force One.

After our second flight, we landed in Wisconsin. Carter kept looking for planes as we got a ride to Nancy and Rick’s house.

Greg taught Carter chess early on in the trip.

Carter beat Greg the third game. Now, Greg was coaching Carter and helping him think through the results of some moves he was considering, but he still gave Greg a run for his money. And Greg’s a pretty sharp guy. If you’ve met Carter, this doesn’t come as a big surprise.

Wisconsin was experiencing a very dry and unusually hot summer.
One of the first nights we were there, they finally got a good soaking rain–enough to fill up this make-shift rain gauge.
The result was one happy gardener.

Emmie made some bouquets for Nancy.

Summer Vacation in Wisconsin, Smoothies and Fishing

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Remember this special wedding: HERE, HERE, HERE, and these bridals HERE? These are from Sarah and Lane’s wedding. Sarah’s mom, Nancy, hosted this beautiful wedding. Sarah and Nancy built a team of people to pull of this beautiful, down-to-earth and heartfelt wedding.

I’ve known Nancy since I was 15 years old and spent a lot of time in her house as a teenager. We enjoyed working together and reconnecting through Sarah’s wedding. So when Nancy invited my family to spend time with her and her husband in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, we said, “Heck ya!” So we took our first real deal family vacation and headed to Wisconsin in July.

Part of the Lake Geneva experience is limeade smoothies chock full of fresh mint. Harrison and Nancy prepared some for us one afternoon.
We didn’t spike them like she normally does because the kids were drinking them. They were delicious!

(And I’ll just add that I absolutely adore the above picture of Nancy and Harrison.)

Note the sequence:

Tangy (adj.) see below:

We did some fishing also. All the kids got lucky.

Shark man caught the most.

I plan on sharing many more soon!