Monday, December 29, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

A few pictures from Christmas. A wonderful, relaxing day. Rich and I love that Morgann's favorite gift - a pony castle was made from $6 mistint pink paint and scrap wood. Aunt Beth sent vintage tin kitchen furniture that fits perfectly. Sarah's princesses and the ponies are living the large life in the castle.



Our tree

Magnetic wooden dolls to dress up

The pony castle and newest pony - Star Song (made in China, but this was Morgann's only request for a Christmas present!)

Helping Uncle Kev open up a present



Ponies, Princesses, and a kitchen too!


Fishing at the creek on Christmas day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

American Made Toys

My friend Marie pointed out that this toy is US made - K'nex. Her son loves these! Morgann is pretty enthralled by them as well. They build cool creations for hours on end. They come in all sorts of models and kits and are very affordable - $10 to $20 a kit.


I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

And I believe that my dreams will come true. We recieved a fresh 10 inches of snow last night on top of our first layer from earlier in the week. Morgann skiied for the first time this season. She seems to have a bit more balance. Lo loves running, jumping, digging, and eating the snow. I love watching them and how our city seems a bit more "country" with a layer of pretty white snow. Its been snowing all morning and we are expecting about 7-12 more inches tomorrow. Snow is the best Christmas present of all, and better than American made, its God made!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ask and you shall recieve

I know I am a geek, but I've always prayed for snow, and well, still do. Thank you God for our snow!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We need snow...

Our snowfall has been quite sad thus far this year! So in hopes that we get lots of snow before Christmas, I am putting up a new banner:) This picture is from last winter when over 118" glorious inches of snow was gifted to us. Bring the snow!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

American Christmas III



Made in American canning jars. Currently awaiting to be filled with a deliciously smelling recipe in the crock pot!


Decorating a gingerbread house at the church Christmas party. Gingerbread making in North America has its origins in the traditions of the many settlers from all parts of Northern Europe who brought with them family recipes and customs. By the nineteenth century, America had been baking gingerbread for decades.

We had a wonderful evening with our friends. Lots of wonderful food, good coffee, and most importantly our friends gathering together to celebrate the birth of Jesus.


Alan sings a Christmas song he wrote.



I have always like Nalgene bottles. Morgann has had a Nalgene sippy since she was a wee-one, but this is the new BPA-free version. American made.

Friday, November 28, 2008

American Christmas Update 2

Avoiding all the good deals on Black Friday did require some self control. Oh how I love a good deal. Thankfully, we really don't need anything.

Morgann and I did go to Nini Bambini for our monthly La Leche League meeting that I lead! And I did partake in some Black Friday shopping! Nini Bambini is a locally owned baby boutique that carries oh so scrumptious baby items: lots of slings, baby carriers, cute diaper bags, shoes, clothes, baby legs, toys, lots of great breastfeeding supplies, nursing bras, pumps, ect. I love how supportive they are of breastfeeding. Thank goodness that Morgann is older or it would have been too tempting!

They had a Black Friday sale as well - plus lots of goodies - and apple cider! And it was relaxing. And I love the owners and what they support - moms and babies. So I bought Morgann a wooden magnetic "paper doll set" for Christmas. Plus, I got 30% off. I looked all over the packaging and it looks like its American made as well. So yet another success - and a peaceful, relaxing shopping experience.

If you are local, check out Nini Bambini for gifts for babies and toddlers. You won't be disappointed. You may spend an extra $2, but its well worth it - supporting a great business, AND a pleasant, peaceful shopping experience.

Oh and did I mention that they wrapped the present free of charge as well? Score!

American Christmas Update 1

Score! I found local fruit at Hannaford's yesterday! So not only will my jam 0r canned good I decide to do be in an American made glass jar, but filled with NH fruit.

Sadly, the only US made sweater at LL Bean was UGLY. All I want is a sweater....we'll see, eh?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful!

Ahhh, Thanksgiving. This year, new aroma's swirl in our home - risotto with garlic, leeks, and artichoke. I did use Turkey stock for the broth though. Lobster is chilling in the refrigerator. We do have pumpkin pie. We are laid back and relaxed. Its nice. In a while, we will head over to Matt and Marie's, feed the kids, put them to bed, and then have a quiet dinner for 4. Nice!

Speaking of laid back and relaxed, check out last night in Rich and Abbey's bed. (don't worry!)



We are sad to be missing Thanksgiving in FL. Congrats to Erik and Sarah!!


video

Friday, November 21, 2008

American Christmas

In my quest to: save money, not support slave labor or sweat shop practices, and help the American economy, I have decided to have an American Christmas: all gifts are to be homemade or made in America. The concept is simple, but I'm unsure how easy it will be:-) For example, I do want to print pictures: ummm, I am pretty sure that a. My printer is foreign, b. I have no idea where the ink is made, c. the paper. So I will do my best! 

Here is what I am doing so far: Canning jelly and jams. Ball jars are American made. Now, since I did not plan  ahead, I am wondering if my fruit will be American grown or not. That I may have to let slide. Next year I can think a bit more ahead.

Don't tell Morgann, but I am making her a Princess Pony Castle. Once again, I have no clue where wood is made, but I'll try! She wants it pink. We'll see if I can find pink American made paint.

Rich and I will probably exchange small gifts. Honestly, I really don't want anything and he just got his "big tool" - laser Miter Saw (and a puppy, SC made!) 

I love Wardolf toys, so I may head over to Pine Hill School for their Holiday fair and see what else I can find. The students at Pine Hill School make the toys! Very cool.

I'll keep updated on my quest for an American Christmas. I hope I can report back that I was able to find American made products (even better yet, from businesses with positive business practices!) And I hope to continue it into the New Year. It's something that I've been meaning to do, but too lazy to really do it. I'm sure balance will be a crucial key in it all as well~!

Monday, November 17, 2008

16 hours, 9 states, a puppy & toddler


Last Monday we found out that Rich's parents had a big house fire at their new home in SC. Feeling the need to go down to be with them we loaded up Sarah's Camry and headed down to SC around 8 p.m. We drove through the night, picked up some Starbucks, and arrived to the burnt house around noon. We surprised them, our dorky selves drove up with Starbucks and said: "Hey, we though you might need some coffee." I think it was a good surprise. Anyway, we spent the week down with his parents, brother Kevin, and grandparents, delegating our time between Charleston and Georgetown SC. It was a nice visit. Getting a shelter pup in NH is near to impossible and expensive, and half of the dogs are from the South anyhow. So we've always said we would look for dogs while back in the South. Well on Thursday we went to the Georgetown Animal Shelter and found Lo. (Short for Loretta, her given shelter name). She is a sweet 5 mo. old golden/lab/hound mix. The shelter manager is actually from VT and was more than willing to let us adopt and take her back to NH. So on Friday we picked her up and on Saturday we started our adventure back to NH. It went as well as to be expected with a toddler and a puppy. Poor Sarah's Camry sure was stinky by the time we made it back to NH at 3 a.m. Lo was a great passenger and slept most of the time. Morgann was pretty good little rider too and talked to the doggie, sang songs, and ate way too many snacks! So here she is - the newest girl in the Clegg household - Lo. Poor Rich sure is outnumbered by females now!

(Photo by Sarah Wickstrum. I am too lazy to upload, we are pretty beat from our adventures in SC)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Family

We are about to head out on the road. 17 hours to SC. Rich's parents - Ron and Lynn lost their home today in a fire. We are going down to just be with them and try to encourage them. Ron's birthday is tomorrow. Morgann will be a good present. We love our family. Pray for Ron and Lynn, and for us that we can be an encouragment and comfort. Pray for safe travels as well.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lets try this again....a bit aged, but I wanted to post it anyhow.


I babysit the H. kids on Friday. Just dropping off a picture of them being cute. It has been a gorgeous fall afternoon and we had fun playing in the yard. As I type, Bryn is napping. Morgann and Eli are in bed with me watching Toy Story 2 while I blog:-)

Oh Rich lost the game of chicken. He turned on the heat about 2.5 weeks ago. Wimp.

We finished our foster care classes and are now working on the paperwork! I'm so excited to see what God has in store in our future. It is pretty cool to think that in just a short time, we may have another kiddo in our family, for however long God allows him or her to stay with us. We do hope that it will eventually lead to adoption. We have a bit of house work to do and I finished my paperwork, which should get the ball rolling.

*I started this post on 10/31, but blogger was having issues, so now I am finishing it tonight....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Morgann votes


Morgann doesn't typically like going with me or Rich to vote. As Rich jokes: The Cleggs vote early and vote often!

Being the political junkie that I am (or perhaps was after this long election process), I wanted to encourage her to enjoy going to the polls. I told her this morning that we were going to go vote, to which she cried: "NOooooooo. I don't like going to vote. I don't want to go vote!"

So I made her a ballot up. With pictures to choose and bubbles to fill in. So here are the long antcipated results:

In the race between kitty and dog: Kitty won
In the race between Red horse or Blue Horse: Blue horse won
In the race between Pink Elephant or Green Donkey: Pink elephant won (mmmm, perhaps there could be an investigation into the fairness of this race....)

So there you have it. God bless America! She was a bit disappointed that she could not put her ballot in the ballot machine, but then realized that she could color in the animals and was happy with that decision. The polling workers thought it was pretty darn cute as she proudly displayed her ballot to them:-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Growing up.

Summer 2005







Autumn 2006


















Autumn 2008























I guess we missed going last year. I'm thinking between a wedding and a funeral, we did not have time. Or I forgot my camera. Its sad that I can't remember!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Community

The Haven has been working together with NeighborWorks of Greater Manchester for the past 2 years in with the purpose of community events and community involvement. The Haven is in a rough neighborhood. Just for a reference, the multi-family across the street from us is a drug house (again) and most likely has gang activity (again, but a new house). This past week, we did a voter registration drive and a pancake supper. At first, we were a bit hesitant to do this event, but agreed. In the end, it was quite a success. We laid aside the voter part. Party politics is divisive, and our goal is to bring people to Jesus, the healer. We are the church. We told people that we were doing the event as a church because Jesus served and we serve Jesus. We believe the Bible is true and thats why we do what we do. Jesus can change the lives of those in our community and then will we see great revitalization.


Our Haven kids helped set up, serve, clean, cook and clean up too. They did a great job. We've implemented a lot of structure to our program and things run so much more smoothly. I love it. It gives us a lot more purpose and patience. It also has made me realize that I have completely forgotten how to do 6th grade homework.


Answer this: How do molecules move through solids?





Micheal helps Robert Tourigny, NeighborWorks executive director serve pancakes, while Tori helps cook.


(Pictures taken by Will Stewart)

Friday, September 26, 2008

God is good all the time


















And all the time God is good.

We can praise God in the good times and in the bad. In the midst of health scares, economic turbulence, or natural disasters.

We can praise God while painting with a toddler, while singing Jesus Loves Me with Eli, Bryn, and Morgann, or running in the rain.

God is in control. He is good. He provides. He heals. Thats my King. Thats my God!

~Pray for my mommy that she gets better. She's the best mommy and Me-Maw in the whole wide world. We love her so much!

(Sometimes just writing it out helps solidify my faith. Thats what I'm doing now!)

P.S. Check out this YouTube video: Thats My King!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Another change

A layout change to reflect Autumn in NH. This was taken from Mt. Kearsarge in Warner NH. We hike it every fall. Its an easy 1 mile hike with a fantastic view. Oooh how I love autumn in New Hampshire. The leaves haven't really started to change yet in Southern NH, but it will be soon. I can feel it. My tenant, Janet and I were just discussing yesterday about how we can start making soups and baking again. Mmmm. I love it! Marie made a fantastic mushroom barley soup that I ate while watching the kiddos yesterday:-)

Currently we are playing "chicken" to see how long we can last with out turning on the heat. I think Rich will break first - or perhaps Sarah will beg us to turn it on:-)

I better get back to work, I am taking a break from doing the end-of-the month checks for the New Hampshire Baptist Association. Happy Weekending!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Autumn


Somehow I just realized today, that it already the later half of September. How did that happen?


Morgann and I have enjoyed a quiet day here today: just playing with her favorite stuffed animals: piggy, chick, and penguin, making alphabet soup, playing in the yard, just sweet fun.


Here's a picture from back when she was a baby. Her first Autumn:-) I'm looking forward to lots more fun autumn days with my girl:-)


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Change. Yes we can???

So I changed my blog background. The funny thing about these elections is that the candidates both keep talking about change. But in reality, people really do not like change. Just take a look at Facebook and the protest group of a million because they are changing the look. People are really upset about that little change. I'm not a huge fan of the New Facebook, but I digress.

Speaking of politics, I'm so over this election season. It has gotten disgusting. The media especially disgusts me to no end with their obvious bias and spins. My newest disgust: Charlie Gibson's hack job on the Palin interview. All the cutting and editing they did is disgusting. And the questions they asked her in comparison to Obama's is an embarrassment to our country. Seriously. Okay, I used the word disgust way too many times in this paragraph. But all this to say, I'm avoiding media and dumb blog coverage until November.

I also put a yard sign out hoping to detract the amount of people at my door hoping for support, alas, it doesn't seem to work. You'd think a yard sign would be enough. Obviously, not.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Oh the places she will go


Morgann on her first day of school. Can you tell how excited she is? I made her pose for a picture in the parking lot before going inside:-)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bite the Bullet

  • ~Morgann started preschool back on Wednesday. She loves it. She doesn't want to go home at the end of the day and has new girlfriends.
  • ~Sarah has a job offer (and probably another one on the way). We are praying for the RIGHT job for her!
  • ~Rich and I spent Thursday through this afternoon at Mount Snow in Vermont for a Pastor's Encouragement Retreat. It is an awesome ministry of Phil Waldrep for SBC pastors and their wives of New England. Rich and I had a great time. We did almost absolutely nothing yesterday besides worship, eat, watch t.v, and a comedy act. How relaxing!! Thank you Sarah for watching the bug.
  • ~We are signed up for foster classes beginning in about 2 weeks. We are excited and ready for this next step:-) We want to do foster to adopt. I was just thinking today during our last worship session that we could have another kiddo in our family by winter. How wonderful that would be! Emotionally, its a little scary, but worth it.
  • ~Hope you are having a fantastic weekend.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Monday on a Tuesday

Labor Day weekend was fantastic. It was so nice relaxing. We spent most of it outside. We went to nearby lakes and canoed, fished, and swam. I didn't bring my camera, so I only have a few cell phone pictures. We took a kid, Tykell, from the community center with us on Sunday afternoon. He lives in a messed up situation. Like really, really messed up. He said that Sunday was one of the best days of his life as he was leaving. Seriously, I want Tykell to come live with us. I see so much potential in him. God, we ask that You work a miracle in Tykell's life and with his family.

Yesterday was as bit more laid back and relaxing. We hung out in the morning, sold a stove on Craigslist (I love Craigslist!!) and then went on a 6-mile bike ride. It was sunny and relaxing! We went over to the Hasty's for a cookout and the kids played (very loudly). Morgann has gotten very LOUD lately. My ears are tired. She starts preschool back tomorrow and I will start working more at McLane. I'm not ready to admit that summer is over, however, it will be nice to have her back in pre-school, and get a bit more work done. Speaking of which, I really ought to go do some bookkeeping....

Have a great week!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

pool bums


Sarah, being a good influence to my cartoon crazed daughter, has introduced the Olympics to Morgann. However, either due to the personality of my girly-girl, princess playing Morgann, or perhaps a three year olds inability to pronounce 3-5 syllable words correctly, Morgann now fondly calls the games, the "Oh Lipsticks." She really enjoys watching swimming, and much to my pride, likes watching the women swim.

We have been going to the pool quite a bit this summer and Morgann has been trying to swim. After watching the women swim, Sarah asked Morgann if she would go under if she had goggles like the Oh Lipstick swimmers. Morgann agreed. Thus, Sarah and I spent a good part of Tuesday in search of goggles for Morgann to wear at the pool. Morgann wants to swim, yet detests sticking her head under the water. Sarah finally found some goggles yesterday. Thus yesterday Morgann put them to the test in her kiddie pool (it was also about 68 outside and breezy). Her lips were getting blue by the time she got out. How is it that 3 year olds can with stand such frigid water? We tried today at the pool some dunking and swimming.....she has a ways to go still...but its fun being pool bums. At the Varney Pool Oh Lipsticks, we are definitely the gold medalists.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fun in the Sun


Ahhh...summer in NH. Rich and I were saying the other day that if it wasn't for visiting family, we'd never have to leave NH. (We love our family and do enjoy visiting.) We have been enjoying the Lakes and Beaches of NH these past few weeks. I went on a Pastor Wives Retreat in Meredeth on Lake Winnepesaki last weekend, Rich took Morgann fishing and canoing on Manchester's Lake Massebesic. Then we went to the beach after church on a church trip to N. Hampton Beach.


Yesterday we went kayaking on Lake Sunapee. What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday than at Lake Sunapee with Uncle Hershel:-) Its been a fun week:) We are so glad Aunt Sarah is here visiting and hope she finds a job and stays:-)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cell phone etiquette

What is the correct cell phone etiquette these days? Or is there even one?

Like many of you, I grew up with out caller ID and voicemail. In fact, most of the time, my parents did not have an answering machine. I do remember for a while having an answering machine that was a tape, that you had to rewind if you had a message. It broke sometime and my parents liked living with out it. They didn't have to worry about who called or calling any one back. Oh the good old days.

Now we are a cell-phone only family. My phone is always on - unless I forget to charge it and it dies. I'm not nearly as attached to my cell phone as Rich. His never dies and is attached to his hip almost all the time. I leave mine in my bag, in the car, let it die, and forget to turn the ringer back on often. It drives Rich crazy at times. So I miss most of my calls.

So if someone calls you, you see there caller ID. Do you call them back because you see there name/number? Or do you only call back if they leave a message?

If I call someone and don't leave a message, I don't expect them to call me back. There are a few exceptions: my husband and Marie (we have an oral agreement over the proper etiquette for our phone calls)

This is what I do. Now I'm being totally honest, which perhaps reveals some bad qualities of mine...

If I'm expecting a call and miss it, I'll call back with out a message

If I'm busy, you leave a message, I might forget to call back. I need to write more things down.

If I'm cranky/upset, I won't call back and probably won't call back if you leave a message at least for a day or so. Its not you, its me.

If its Emma, I'll call back in a few days with or with out a message. I always try to find time when its quiet (NEVER) and I can think to talk (RARE). Thus, I should just call back right away.

If you call me twice in a row, I won't call back.
Unless its like mom, Marie, or Rich and then I know its important. This one guy from church will call seriously like five times in a row and yeh, I just click ignore.

If its Rich, Matt, Marie, Greg, and a few others, I call back right away for the most part with or with out a message.

If its a work related call, well, usually they leave a message so I call back once I get it.

If its a number I don't know, I don't call back unless there is a message. I really don't like: "Hi, who is this? you called my phone calls."

If its a friend, but not like a really really close friend or someone I do not know that well, I call back only with a message because I'm unsure if we are in that type of relationship where I should call back with just a "missed call" on my phone. For example, my friend Pam. She usually leaves a message. She just had twins, so perhaps if she called today, I'd call back regardless, because I want an update:-)

But don't think I don't like you if I don't call you back. My phone is probably dead in my van and my van is a mess, so I can't find it because when I use Rich's phone to call it, it lays lifelessly under a a pair of toddler shoes and a Winnie the Pooh book.

I think I'd go back to the whole landline with out voicemail if it was possible. But its not, Rich and I both have three jobs and rely one of which we are required to be on call 24/7, plus its nice to be able to drive and talk....

oops, I just remembered I never called Morgan back. But we did post to each other on blogger. Does that count?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Returning to "Normal"

I'm almost in denial that it is already August! Where did June and July go? This summer has been a whirlwind of travel, events, and many visitors. Looking back, it has been a very good summer, despite the challenges and emotional trials.

During the school year, I take Mondays to just recoup from the previous week and weekend. We watch way too much television, do laundry, get ready for community center, grocery shop, ect. And guess what? That is what I'm doing today!! I suppose we aren't all the way back to normal, especially for Rich. I am going this weekend on a retreat with other pastor wives in our association. So Rich will be in charge of Morgann:-)

My sister, Sarah, is coming up on Monday, the 11th! I'm very excited to have her visit and perhaps live her in Manch with us. I hope she loves it here and finds a job quickly.

Here's a picture from our baptism on Sunday.




















Have a great week:-)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Travels

We've been on the road for the past week. We had a nice trip, but it is so wonderful to be home and sleep in our own bed! We first headed down to Newport, OH for a family reunion. After that, we headed to Weirton, WV to help Ron and Lynn (Rich's mom and dad) pack up to move to SC. After that, we went camping near Lake Winnepesauki.


























































































Rich and Morgann by the campfire. We had a wicked thunderstorm while we were out, and we came back to the fire pit filled to the top with water. Rich, the determined one, still got a fire going!










Not a very good picture....but all of us by the campfire.

And this one is from when we took our team from FL up to the lighthouse in Maine. Rich proposed to me here 7 1/2 years ago:-) The team had a great time and we made a lot of new connections and a few people prayed to receive Christ. Pray that they GROW!!



















On a note of praise, we are very thankful for friend Greg and that God brought him into our lives. He lives upstairs in the apartment we rent out. When we travel, he always looks after things. He noticed a former church attender who has recently made some very poor choices hanging around the park by our house so he kept his eye out for us. One evening, this man was at our home when Greg returned. Greg scared him off. This man was arrested last night for a home invasion. Thank you Greg and praise God for his protection.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tattoo

We are having a great week with a team helping us from Holmes County FL. God is totally blessing us this week. We are going to have a baptism service tomorrow at the Bucket! (Near Matt and Marie's house, a river swimming hole!)

Morgann is having a blast with Hannah - her new friend from FL. They have been staying up waaay too late and carrying Lester around as their baby. They also are studying to become tattoo artists:-)
What do you think? Do they have a promising career in tattoo artistry??

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Famous


They said she died easy of a broken heart disease...

Remember the Wallflowers? One headlight... We have a radio station here - 92.5 the River, to be exact. One of the world's only and first solar powered radio stations....and they play the Wallflowers. I was so psyched that they played "my music". Like Sarah McLaughlin, DMB, Cake, Beck, and I was thinking to myself, that it was cool they played new alternative music...and then it occured to me that basically they play "Oldies" alternative, as all this music was new 10 years ago. I'm stuck musically in 1998 and honestly, I don't care. I have 92.5 the River, the world's first solar powered radio station. All set.

I'm beating around the bush to why I'm posting. I've been awfully vunerable and open here and I think thats a good thing so back to my title. (In part, due to Maggie, Lacey, and Riley's creative titles...) We know God is at work and he is good. He has a perfect plan and a perfect purpose, but my finite mind has a really hard time seeing past the darkness into His perfect plan. We want to be like Jesus. We pray to be like Jesus. But when we ask for that, we don't want to be rejected and betrayed like Jesus. But it happens and will continue to happen as we grow more in his likeness. My flesh self says: "well quit, give up, and stop trying to be like Jesus!" Honestly that is where I am at right now. We are so broken. Our hearts hurt. It will happen again and the thought of that is just too much to handle.

For any of you familiar with Audreycaroline.blogspot.com, this song from Mercy Me holds so true:
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

Its raining here. It's been a rainy summer. God be glorified. God bring me closer to you. God bring people to you and your truth. Bring the rain....and we pray for sunny days too.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

4th of July

As most of you already know, the 4th of July, or rather the Saturday nearest the 4th of July is one of the best days of the year. We were able to go down to VA to celebrate. On our way, we picked up my dear friend, Myxy from Brooklyn. It was an adventure getting her and getting down to VA. It has been a very fun weekend. We miss Rich though. Next year he will make it. He will. He really really will....




Morgann in Brooklyn. She's looking at a cool fountain in the downtown area. It was really cool being in Brooklyn with Myxy. We rode the subway and hung out. I hope to get back and spend more time and see more of NYC. I even conquered driving (a bit) in the city. Myxy drove us out and thank you, Verizon Navigator for giving us directions:-)



















The little ones are starting to outnumber the adults at the 4th of July. It's been a neat metamorphosis. Morgann loved having "girlfriends". It was such a joy to just to watch them play together. One of my favorite times was just playing in the sandbox with the kids. I had as much fun as they did!














Uncle Dale taking Mo and Morgann for a ride on the Gator.














What a cool Sandbox. Her bath this morning was half sand and half water I think:)

Morgann and I drive back on Tuesday. Another adventure awaits us! I hope to make it to Elizabeth NJ with just small breaks for bathroom/gas until we get there and then in Elizabeth go to Ikea for dinner and play a bit and see if we can find a shelf that will fit just right in our living room/dining room. I'll be so happy to get back and see Rich, too. We both miss him a lot. We had a sweet time doing prayers over the phone at bedtime. Morgann kept kissing his picture ID goodnight. I love my family.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

They exchanged the Truth of God for a lie...

Rich has a saying: "Sin makes people stupid." The truth of that saying is ringing loudly today. Its been a rough week. My stomach is in knots. My face is all rashy (a fun side effect to stress that I've experienced since moving here and experiencing sinful, messy situations.) I know God has put us here for a reason and he never said it would be easy, but I didn't expect it to be so hard at times. We work with a bunch of messed up people, in a messed up world and things are just messed up right now. We are trying to be a light, be the Truth, be in prayer, but even while doing those things, it still is hard. I mentioned before that we were hurt deeply by some church members last year. Those wounds are healing and God has given us a lot of discretion due to that situation, but we also built up a lot of walls - not allowing others to really get close to us. We knew we couldn't effectively minister that way - so we stepped out in faith and loved. We've seen God change lives but Satan is trying so hard to tear down the work we've done. Its no surprise. The Bible tells us we will face persecution and trials. Its just...hard.


Pray for us, especially Rich. Pray for Granite Square. Pray for Matt and Marie and the safety of our families. Pray for Rocky that this brings him closer to God. Pray that the Truth sets Granite Square free. Pray for the kids of the Community Center, like Paul and Josh.
P.S. I hope you guys don't mind my blogging be more of my thoughts than pics of Morgann like the other one:-) I'll do a Morgann post one of these days:-)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lilith Fair

Did you ever have a single event somehow direct the way you live your life and think? An epiphany.

I distinctly remember one of my biggest epiphanies. Maggie, Amber, and I went to Lilith Fair in Northern VA. Lilith Fair was basically a big concert with a bunch of different female artists, led by Sarah McLaughlin. Anyway, thats not really the point, but it was a great concert. We are standing in line to get in and its hot and the line is long. We wait and wait and wait. I notice as we slowly move along, some people are not in line, but going in a different way. Line cutters, I think to myself. Yet we stay in line and finally get in towards the gate and we realize - there's another gate. Another way in. I chastise myself on the inside for acting like a sheep. I realized at that point in my life, that I didn't want to be a sheep. Sheep are stupid. Sheep are smelly. (God does call us sheep many times in the Bible, and I agree, that yes, we are in definite need of the shepherding of God.)

I think that experience made me question a lot of how and why we do things like we do them. The biggest result, by far, is in our parenting choices, environmental issues, personal health, politics, and medical choices (or lack of using western medicine.) Sometimes going against the mainstream was not the right decision, other times, it was the right decision, and many times, I don't know if its going to make a difference or not.

One quick example was seminary. We lived in this bigger complex of fellow seminarians (and waaaaaaaay too many toddlers for the liking of a childless couple!). It was far enough from campus, that you didn't want to walk, so everyone drove. The crazy thing is was that no one drove together. 50 cars would leave at 8:50 for their 9:00 o'clock classes. Rich's attempts to get people carpool didn't catch on. So we thought, this is silly. We moved. We could now easily walk to campus (and were free from 50 toddlers peering into our windows...I like toddlers much more now that I have one by the way.)It was one of the best decisions we ever made. For everyone driving their separate cars, perhaps, it was a justified choice, but perhaps, it was a sheep decision. That's just what we Americans do. I'm hoping now that gas is $4/gallon, carpooling has caught on down there....crazy Southerners.

But then again, I don't want to get too caught up in doing things differently, that I actually do harm to myself or others. Balance. Its always a tough line.

So thats what has been rolling around in my head for the good half of the evening. It rolls around in my head quite often in fact, and now, its a blog. How crazy is that?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Enjoy the ordinary


I think I was trying to think of something interesting to write about. But we've had just an ordinary week. I suppose our ordinary weeks aren't quite ordinary for most of you though. We each lead unique lives.

Sunday - Wednesday were HOT! Morgann and I spent a lot of time in her kiddie pool. Community Center went really well this week. The kids were pretty well behaved, listened during Bible story time, and we had a pretty good time. I feel that we are developing deeper relationships with some of the kids. Rich has missed 2 Mondays in a row because of work, and a couple of the boys really miss him. I'm glad he can be a godly male role model to the them and love on them. It makes us sad that most of our kids don't have that.

Thursday was Morgann's next to last day of pre-school. We both will be sad Tuesday afternoon when school dismisses for the summer. I spent most of Thursday at McLane doing the chaplain thing and NHBA. My big NHBA task was organizing the party tents for the summer.

Friday, Morgann and I ran errands. We found some Disney VHS tapes at the thrift store. In the words of Morgann: "I'm a Disney girl." Marketing works well on 3 year olds as well. But she's loving Toy Story, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin (minus the scary parts). Friday night, Rich and I had a date! We went over to Massebesic Lake and just enjoyed the quiet.

Saturday, I went out to the seacoast to help lead in some Disaster Relief Training. Our mud out unit will probably deploy to Iowa in the upcoming weeks. FEMA is saying that the floods in Iowa compare to Katrina. Saturday night, I built a bookshelf for Morgann's room.

Sunday, our friend from college - Dan Hall and his wife Rebecca came to visit. They have a few support raising appointments in NH and will be here until tomorrow. It's been fun catching up. We had some church family drama on Sunday. I was a bit bitter, as in, wanting to chase some people out of OUR church neighborhood by gunpoint, but thankfully God has helped change my heart (not bitter, yet, still wanting some people gone or transformed). Icecream at the Goldenrod also helped. (Ice cream at the Goldenrod is basically worth the visit to NH) I think it helped Greg too. We've really taken on the family concept at Grace Haven and its hard. Its putting your heart on the line. We've been hurt badly before, but I know that God's strength is sufficient.

Monday is always my "Sunday". A day to catch up, clean up, and get ready for the week and for Community Center. So here we go to another ordinary week in Manchester.

So what is your ordinary look like? :-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Neighborfest and Sky Show



We've had a fun and busy past few weeks. We've been able to minister in practical ways to the community while sharing Jesus. Our first event was the Sky Show. Its basically a big rock concert in downtown Manchester. Over 70,000 people come to this event. We give out free snow cones, Bibles, and info about Grace Haven. Last year we gave out a little less than 1000 snow cones. This year, we gave out over 2,000 snow cones. That's a whole lot of ice - 535 lbs to be more exact. It was a blast. I think its called the Sky Show because of the fireworks at the end.

Then this weekend, we collaborated with our friends at Neighborworks to coordinate a neighborhood block party - Neighborfest '08. Our relationship with Neighborworks of Greater Manchester has been such a blessing to our church. We were able to do a big event - for free! I was even told to turn in receipts for Bibles and gospel tracts (how cool is that?). We set up the inflatable obstacle course, bounce house, and did snow cones again. The governor, U.S. Senator Sununu and the mayor also showed up to voice their support for the Granite Square. Granite Square is in the running for a HUD revitalization project. It would be a great blessing if that came through. But really, the people need a heart revitalization much more than a facade on their run down multi-families with absentee landlords. Ideally, both will happen. We saw six new people come to church on Sunday afterwards! Pray with us for heart revitalization in Granite Square....that many come to know and live for Jesus!

Eli and Morgann enjoying the Fire Truck.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Nini Bambini

I'm very excited about the direction that La Leche of Manchester is taking. My co-leader, Jodie and I were able to meet with the head of Catholic Medical Center's Childbirth education and a doula who does follow up with ALL the new moms at CMC. CMC is sadly lacking in LC services and there is a huge gap that needs to be filled. And I think that is where Jodie, Kate, and I will be stepping in. We had a very successful in hosptial help session a few weeks ago - and Nina heard about it. She invited us to begin holding our meetings at her beautiful store and classroom. It is awesome - a huge, comfortable room lined with leather couches, playmats, and play spaces for toddlers. She is also equipped with a pumping station and sells Amedas, BPA-free bottles, and lovely nursing bras, and tons of great toys, clothes, and shoes (I'm jealous that Nini Bambini wasn't around during my nursing days. I would have spent way too much money there though!) So I'm very excited about the opportunities we are being presented. I can see LLL as a great liason between CMC and new moms. I loved doing the hospital visit as well. (Who can resist a newborn? AND helping a new mommy?) http://www.ninibambini.com/ How cool is this place? I'm thrilled to be working with Nina and hope that this a relationship that can really assist me in my journey in the world of lactation. :-P I think Rich "loves" that I'm so passionate about lactation. haha. Poor guy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hug a bug


Concord Christian preschool has been doing a unit on bugs for the past month. The obsession has made it to our home. We have been doing bug crafts every day. In fact, she is in the middle of a beetle craft right now. Here is the result of hours of hard work creating bugs for her door:-)

Monday, June 2, 2008

If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you too?


Apparently I would. Though I've been a loyal Xanga blogger since the birth of Morgann, I'm switching over. Or at least dipping my toes in the water of blogger. Its not like I don't have a LJ, Facebook, and Myspace, so what is one additional online account? :-)