November 07, 2007

Back from the Netherlands!

Hello all! Sorry that the last (or next) post is only posted today, though written last month, but be sure to read it too, it really tells what has been constant for us since we moved to Ithaca.

This past week and a bit we have been traveling all over the Netherlands with my parents. What a great time we had! It was amazing, I even forgot that David was a student. I don’t think that he ever did, but he had a good relaxing time too I think.

We spent three days in Houten staying with my Dad’s sister and brother-in-law. The first day there we took a drive with Oom Tom to see castles and windmills and dykes. Just for David :) The second day Dad took us to see where he grew up and to visit the MerewOord building which used to be VanOord’s main offices. The third day we took the train to Utrecht to do some sight seeing and shopping :) Tante Polien went with us. It was a really nice morning. In the afternoon we went to visit Tante Rie, Dad’s aunt, before heading to Gieterveen to visit Mom’s side of the family.

Tante Anny is a joy! I would love to live with her for a year and learn dutch, (she suggested it ;)) it would be a pleasant time, but I won’t leave David for that long for sure! Wednesday Dad took us to the North of Holland to see Delfzijl and the North Sea and some old mansions. Thursday, David and I spent some time walking together and learning the bus system in Holland. In the afternoon Dad and Mom brought us to Veendam where we spent some time walking and shopping. Found David a really nice shirt for the family weekend. :) Thursday night we visited Oom Pete in the hospital and brought his wife back home for the night. Tante Jo was waiting for us at Tante Anny’s so we spent the evening with them :)

Friday we headed to the Family VanOord weekend. We stopped by Emmen to go to the market on the way. We also drove by the town that hosts an Iams factory that David worked with when he worked at Intestates. That was kind of fun :)

So, what do I day about the family weekend? How about starting with “it wasn’t long enough”? It was a bit overwhelming, so many people (89 I think?) and most everything in Dutch. The people were really welcoming to us, to David especially. We appreciated that. Despite the language issue, we had a number of great conversations with a few people. That makes it all worth while (the spoke english for us ;)) We met a lot of people we had only heard of before. We learned more about what it means to be part of the VanOord family. That is good.

If you want to know the truth about the weekend from my point a view, it was a very up and down weekend. I was a little nervous about what to expect, not knowing who to talk to or how to start a conversation. The first evening was good, people came up to us and welcomed us, that was good. We are both kind of shy people. I’m used to walking behind Debbie, my sister, at events like this. When she paves that way to friendships and conversation, I can fall into line and join them. Well, I didn’t have anyone to pave the way, and David isn’t the kind of person to talk to strangers very quickly either. We have had conversations about this over and over again when we talked about trying to welcome new people at church. I expected David to be good at it, but in reality, we would both rather hide and stay with people we know. So, being torn between wanting to get to know people and have a few good conversations with family, and not knowing how to start it ourselves, we found ourselves not knowing what to do. We make very good wall flowers :)

After a bit of internal struggle with this, and a few attempts to start good conversations ourselves, only to fall flat one way or another, I finally decided I wouldn’t fight it any more. We planted ourselves somewhere and let what would happen happen. God blessed us, we did have a few great conversations and we did learn more about the vanOord family.

We learned a number of great things about our family, and some things the family could work on. It also started some questions on how can we really be part of the family when we live in Canada or the USA? Honestly, I don’t know that we can as things stand now. I hate it, but I learned loud and clear that if we do want to be involved, we do need to learn Dutch. Why do I hate it? maybe because it’s hard work I don’t want to do and it goes against my pride. Maybe it was the way I had to come to that conclusion, because it hurt. I felt inferior and stupid for not knowing Dutch. Excuses were made for my husband by others, but I felt looked down upon. I would love to know Dutch. I wish my parents taught us when we were younger. I did try to learn in college too. I am glad for the little I do know, even if it is very little. But alas, I do not know Dutch as of right now, not enough to really be apart of the family.

I have some heart work to do yet still, so I don’t become angry when I think about how I felt this past weekend. But God is very good, and the anger may have it’s purpose. There is a lady I knew in Iowa who would often say “Sometimes it helps to become good and angry” and I think she is right. Until we become passionate about something, we don’t take any steps to do anything. Lord willing this anger will be turned into good and the next time we go to Holland, whenever that will be, we will be able to better communicate with our family and really become part of the family, rather than flowers by the wall.

All that said, I just want to add a note of extreme thanks to Annelike (did I spell your name right?) who took the time to translate the meetings for David and I, without whom we would be even more lost. Annelike, you are wonderful! :D Thank you!

All in all, we had a fantastic trip to the Netherlands. It was great to see so much of Holland and to meet so much family. God blessed us with a few great conversations too, which is like water for our thirsty souls. David and I thrive on finding people who love God as we do and will talk to us about Him. That was good. (Or anyone who will talk to us more about things other than surface topics really.)

But now I am late in running my errands. So I am off! Love you all, thank you for faithfully looking at our website, even if we don’t update it quite often enough.

Two prayer items, First, prayer for David to be able to catch up in school, and secondly that God will work out the details to this job I am hoping for still.

In Christ who is God eternal!

Rita (and David)

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An update written last month… (But only posted today)

Well, I am sorry for those of you who do read our web page and come up empty as of late. Even now I hardly know what to write, so I’ll write what ever comes to my head. :)

I don’t know that I would use busyness as an excuse, but we have found our days to be very full, with still more to do when we get to bed. David spends the day at school working in his office or going to class. He comes home for supper and then usually does homework for another couple of hours in the evening. I am trying hard to start this spoon carving business and try to spend three full days minimum carving. It had been successful, but after my parents’ visit last week, I’ve been having a hard time getting back into it. Both because of so many other things to do and because I wasn’t feeling well for two days.

David is taking 3 classes, and has his midterm exams this week,(10/17/07) as well as last week. They don’t call them midterms here though. I think they call them preliminaries or something. I never did ask for sure. Those three classes keep him busy! On Friday’s he has a class that he has to go to, they feed him and give him a grade for attending :) Then in the afternoon, we try to spend together a bit if it works. Saturday is usually spend doing more homework or things around the house. Like mowing the lawn, or cleaning and sealing windows, as we did this past weekend. Sundays we have church and David doesn’t do any homework, but often we have been found to be doing other kinds of work because we don’t have time the rest of the week to get it done.

It has been stressful for him especially. He is tired and worn out, but his wife is oh so very proud of him! He is working hard to do what needs to be done and he is doing quite well at it, in my opinion. He doesn’t get much of a break and is often exhausted, but God is very good and is giving him and me strength. David is also working on finding an adviser to work under, as well as looking into grad fellowships for extra cash. Or he would like to be, but doesn’t have the time right now with exams and all.

To add to all that stress, we are going to the Netherlands next Friday and are there for just over a week. I’m kind of excited, it’s coming quickly, but it sure adds to David’s stress right now!

As I said earlier, I am trying hard to carve, and am loving it still! We are looking into getting me a band saw, but I don’t need it quite yet. I have a few people calling and asking for orders too, that is exciting. I hope to become a member of the Handworks co-op, but I have to look up the requirements yet. I am also looking into a part time job. Right now I have it limited to one place, because I really hope to get in there. But if there is no good news when we get back from Holland in two weeks or so, then I will start looking elsewhere.

Because I am trying hard to spend a lot of time carving, I’m a lot busier in general too. The house is the usual mess that we live in. Not outrageous most of the time, but too messy to find the table or couch often ;) I am trying hard to keep up better with dishes so my evenings are quite busy after my day of carving.

We both love it here. That has not changed. We love Ithaca, we like Cornell, we like being out east again. The trees are beautiful, there is an abundance of rain, thunderstorms are just as exciting as in Iowa, and water is everywhere. We really do love it here. Church is good. We really enjoy the Sunday school we are in. Talking about religion, politics, ethics, schools, and how they all interact. We are part of the Christian grad group on campus, and enjoy bible study on Thursday evenings with other grad students. I would like to get to know the college students (called “undergrads” here) some, but it’s been hard to want to join something else when church and grad fellowship takes up all the spare time we have to give. That is ok, maybe we will get into it later.

We are doing well. God is amazing! I liked Sioux Center well enough, but I am learning so much that I could never have learned in Sioux Center without a lot of effort that I was willing to put into it then. Learning how to live for God every day, especially being in a town where it is easier to assume that every is not a Christian rather than that they are. It is a good change, and a needed boost for us both in our journey with God. I am also learning how to praise God for real, and learning what it means to live a surrendered life to him. Changes are happening slowly, but changes are happening. David and I are both proud of each other for the changes we see in each other and I think we are looking forward to the changes that will come yet.

We would love your continued prayers and patience ;) I am getting a little better at letter writing, because I find it nice to write letters while I am waiting for the bus, but we only have dial up at home, so it makes it a little annoying to try to update the web page. Our apologizes to that :)

Love you all! In Christ Rita (And David, since he won’t be able to update himself yet)

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August 22, 2007

An Adventure Begun…

Well, what is an appropriate way too begin the first post after so much has happened? I wish I could have been able to write posts all along, but I wasn’t able too. And now, if I wrote as much as I wanted this would be at least 4 pages long. :) Packing, saying good-bye, the trip, seeing the trailer for the first time, David’s trip to the hospital, David’s parents leaving, learning to live in Ithaca, visiting my sisters in Canada, Cornell orientation, an now another visit to the ER because I cut my finger. We haven’t even been here for a month yet! But in all things, God is so very good!!!

Constantly we are assured that we are in the right place. We have already found a church that we would like to call home for the next 5 years. We have already met a number of interesting people. We are liking the trailer more and more. It continually feels like home. I still want to do a lot of painting, but I am very happy for the little room David is letting me have for my own. It’s a nice little place to pray, and to carve, and to just be. There is a nice little pond in the trailer park that David and I walk to in the evening occasionally and sit by to talk and relax. And slowly we put things away and make this place home.

David and I both find ourselves liking Ithaca very much. Not for any one reason, but for many little ones. Last week David and I tried to learn the bus system, and spent the day in town. I loved it. I explored the library and then the downtown shopping. They don’t allow “big box” stores downtown, which is not nice for those living close and needing a grocery store, but it is fun for other kinds of shopping. I loved it! I found a store where I told David that if we ever need anything for the kitchen again, I want to buy it there. I found a store of fancy woodworking that I love. A store with expensive contemporary furniture, and a very cool chair made of tree roots. And a store dedicated to selling local artists work. I’m excited to see if I can sell there too.

So, what more should I say? David is excited to start classes and work. He is grateful he was able to work for Intestates for two weeks after we got here, both for the extra income and the insurance. My finger is slowly healing. It still looks disgusting though, I don’t enjoy changing the band aid. But, I found a real reason to be glad for a lame finger, since I can’t carve, I thought I should do some sewing that I also wanted to do but didn’t want to stop carving to do it. So, I have the pants about half way done but thought my finger needed a break.

God is good. I do pray that I won’t get lonely when David is gone all day long. I’m excited that there is a women’s retreat at church in October, maybe that will open doors to new friends. God is good, He is taking care of us.

Now I’ll see if I can get a few new pictures with this post :) Look under photos: Life In 2007

We would love your prayers! Love in Christ,


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July 19, 2007

Packing and Moving

My apologies, life is so crazy here right now that I don’t have time to give a good update. But I did write my family a nice e-mail yesterday that might suffice :) Needless to say, right now our apartment and world is turned upside down! But God is good and we are doing well!

An e-mail to my family:

Hi hi all, I just thought I’d take a break a minute and send you an update on how everything is going on this end of the world. I’m quite tired right now. I spent the morning digging through more cupboards and cleaning etc. Right now we have the guest room full of boxes that are ready to be packed on the truck next week. The table and kitchen is full of stuff that needs to be put into empty boxes yet and the couch is full of empty boxes :) I think the empty boxes out number the things to put in the boxes, so that is good :)

David has been busy using his lunch breaks to call people about utilities here and there and making sure the car is ready to go etc. It’s all coming along quite well. Last week and the beginning of this week we were both very very stressed. Work was busy for David and I was just over whelmed here about all there is to be done. God is good. Work is less stressful for David and God has given me peace about what there is to do here.

I hope to have two spoons finished yet by this weekend or Monday so I can send them to Kelly in Grand Rapids. One of them was supposed to be a nice long handled mixing spoon, but as I was carving the handle it turned into a zig zag handle instead, but it looks really cool! :) I’m pretty excited about it! Those are the only spoons I hope to finish before I leave. The rest I’ll have to make in NY and then send to people that have orders here. I do have a few orders, which is very exciting to me :) I’ve already sold 2 and have two ready for sale and people to buy them :) Lord willing it will be a nice little side business. Oh, and just so you know, we do have a webpage already for my spoons, but it doesn’t look pretty yet like we hope for.

I hope to be going to visit a lady from church this afternoon and she is going to see if we can make a pattren for my favorite pair of pants :)

I’m still doing Music Secretary work at church. I have a big project I am working on and hope to have finished yet this week. I don’t kow what I am going to be doing next week if I finish all I hope to finish this week yet :) Washing walls probably :)

This weekend we are going to David’s parents one more time. I have a lot of wood to cut into spoon shapes while I am there too. They are coming with us next weekend to NY too. I think we decided to drive our car instead of pull it, because its cheaper (not to mention less tiring! Whew! Hard on the arms!) So that will be 3 vehicles to drive about 20 hours. I think we are doing to leave Sunday afternoon the 29th instead of monday the 30th. Just for the extra time and then we can go slower. We hope to be there tuesday night and move in Wednesday :) How exciting!!!

Anyway, I just thought you might like to know how we are doing. God is good, I was stressed earlier, but now it’s going well!~ I can’t wait to see most of you in the next couple of months. Don’t forget we have a real guest room now and bedding even!

Love you! In Christ,


So, if you would like to see pictures of where we are moving, you can find them at:

Thank you for reading this :) Welcome back to Washington, Hannah and Nate :)

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July 09, 2007

Weekend In Minneapolis

So, it is about 3 weeks from today that we will be moving. It’s coming up quickly! There is so much to do! Every morning in my prayer time, I say exactly that. “God help me! There is so much to do!!” Our weekends have been packed already back in June. Two weekends ago we were able to get together with our growth group, this past weekend we took a trip to Minneapolis and next weekend we have Brittney and Amanda visiting!! And the weekend after that we are going to Fergus Falls to visit David’s parents and then the weekend after that is the packing weekend… Yes, it is busy. Thankfully the weekdays were not as busy, but the closer we get to moving, the busier they become!

Well, this past weekend we went to Minneapolis and visited as many people as we could fit in. God was so very good! We were able to visit all of our closest friends in Minneapolis, have a good relaxing time with them and not feel rushed or crushed about leaving when it was time to go.

Even before our trip began I was able to visit with Allison for a few hours, I am so glad for that! Then we went to Melanie and Colyn to stay over night. It was a lot of fun to see where they are living and to talk about wood with Colyn for a long time :) He had some exotic woods and I thought it would be years before I’d be able to see woods that I have been hearing, reading and seeing about in books and on the internet. That was very fun for me. As well as to enjoy their pool with them in the morning.

After a good swim we went to John and Heather’s for lunch. It felt like coming home a bit, to see people that have been such good friends recently, and because we have spent time in their home before. We were even able to see John’s mom and Heather’s family too. It was a hot day, so they headed to the beach while we went to visit Jenna.

We stayed over night with Jenna. It was a hot night, but an enjoyable visit. I especially liked meeting her boyfriend named Weasel. Yes, that is unexpected for Jenna, but it is true ;) We went out for supper to a fun Ecuadorian restaurant and all ordered a different dish then proceeded to eat off of any plate we desired. That was fun! Especially since we have never eaten Ecuadorian before. We also went out for ice cream just before bed time. :) Fun fun

Sunday morning we went to Church with Janelle. I’ve been to her church before and enjoyed going again. After church we went to a lake to walk and have lunch. As we did a LOT of talking :) (of course). And David politely walked behind us carrying all of my stuff, what a guy! It was really great to see Janelle again!

Our last stop of that Hot Hot sunday was to visit Joshua and Allison, Rosie was there too! She reminds me of my sister Debbie… I was a little sad that I was so tired, but it was still a good visit. Especially for David I think. I enjoyed seeing where they live and their fun yard. There was one spot in their yard that made me think of Family camp in New Brunswick. That is a great thing! It also cooled off a lot which was muchly appreciated by me :)

Now we are home, and tired. I spend the morning at Tops and water Aerobics Then in the afternoon worked for Dale at church a while, and spent a few hours working with the wood I have waiting to be cut down to size. Now, I’m late for bed. But I did have a long nap today.

I have updated some pictures too, I hope it all works out well :)

Love you! Thank you for reading about us again…

In Christ, Rita

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June 27, 2007

Packing, and more!

So, what is there to write about of interest when it feels like all I am doing is packing, typing into a data base and carving, if I get time? That isn’t actually true, but it does feel like it this week! Right now I am trying to pack all those things that we rarely use. I’ve gone through our bedroom closet, the bathroom cupboards, kitchen cupboards and now the storage closet :) Our spare room is getting fuller, and our walls are getting barer. We hope to invite a few people over before we move, but it sure isn’t as inviting of a place to welcome them to. But that is all part of packing.

David and I had a little bit of stress last week :) On Friday morning, the man we have been talking to about renting his mobile home for the past couple of weeks, send us an e-mail letting us know that there was another couple or family inquiring about his home also. He said that whoever was able to get him the money for security deposit first would be the ones to rent the home. The biggest catch was that the other family lived in Ithaca, and we live in Iowa. So, we did what we could to get him the money first. God was good, and after waiting we did get an e-mail confirming that they received our money and if the credit check worked out then we would be the renters of their mobile home. And, the credit check has gone through. So! Now we know where we will be living for sure when we get to Ithaca. We can focus on packing and not worry about apartment hunting. God is good, and we are excited :) Incase you would like to see pictures of the home. There is a link for you :)

David would like to write a new post soon, but hasn’t figured out what he wants to write about. The trouble is that he could write about so many angles of what has been happening, that he doesn’t know where to start. We are excited, nervous and busy :) But all in all glad.

I have been finding a few more spoon links also, so feel free to check them out yet again :) The two I like especially well is The Spiral Spoon, and Fine Art (I think that is the name). I also love the picture of the Turkish carver, you will just have to go to the spoon links page to see what I mean :)

I hoe you are all doing well, and we would be glad of your prayers right now.

In Christ Rita

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June 16, 2007

The Things You Never Knew

You’d never believe what I happened to find the other day. Well, maybe you would. Head over to a fairly random website and search, using your browser, for the name Hjelle. Lookie there! A reference to my Dad! And—woah—software he wrote sometime before I was even born!

Maybe computer programming is in my blood after all…

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June 14, 2007

New Web Page And more Links

So, David tells me it should work to write another post. I’ve been waiting anxiously for a few weeks, not wanting the few faithful readers to be disappointed (Do we we even have any??? Oh yes, Rachael of course!!)

So much is happening in our neck of the woods I don’t know where to start! Packing for our big move, house/apartment hunting, catching up on work for the church, spending last minute time with family and friends, and even finding time to carve! I even have “orders”!!! (People ready to pay me to make them spoons, how great can it get?!?)

Some day in the near future (think 2 or 3 months… ) we hope to put up a web page of my own, devoted to my wood working. I am very excited. I have some great pictures to show you that I took, but alas, I am saving them for the other web page. Wait patiently or pester David if you think you must see them now. Although many of you have already seen some of them already because I tend to blab about exciting things when I get them :)

Oh, we do have our Store’s e-mail up and running. I just spent a while e-mailing myself from one e-mail to the other. It is highly entertaining. Warning though, alter egos tend to come through…. Feel free to test it out (ah, the e-mail, not the alter-ego part you might scare me away)

Lastly, I am hoping to update a few spoon links that I forgot to add earlier. So if you enjoyed looking at the spoon links earlier, I have a great surprise for you. I may have left the best for last. I forgot to look under my “fancy spoon” links. These are the ones done by sculptors or ones with funky colours or in odd shapes etc. Feel free to check them out. I added a few other random ones too.

Lastly, Ha! who I am to say lastly now?! Did you notice how quickly I got sidetracked up above? I really did mean to go on farther about all the packing I’ve been doing, but I said the word carving and kept right on going… :) How silly of me!

As I said, I’ve been busy packing in the past week. I guess 7 weeks doesn’t feel too long any more. I am hoping that if I keep packing in little bits before we leave, then it won’t be so stressful the last week we are here. I really hope it works.

David and I have been doing a lot of apartment hunting too. We were accepted into on -campus housing but only into a furnished apartment. Well, we have too much furniture already to get a furnished apartment. So apartment hunting we went! We think we have found a great place, but haven’t yet signed the papers, we are waiting for a few last minute details. Please pray that it all works out well, or that God has an even better plan in mind. It is hard to imagine what that would be though. But we do want to follow him above all! There is no point in living otherwise!

And now I will sign off. I want to work on those links for you, then get back to packing or carving. But before I go, I must say a very big HAPPY BIRTHDAY JON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
See you for brownies and ice cream tonight! And Pizza right???

I hope you all have a super day! Love, In Christ Rita

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…to the new! We’re glad you could make it!

Hey….do any of you tech-types out there have a suggestion for a good CMS, now that I’m on hosting which allows me to use one? I’ve been using a Perl script (actually, two copies of it, no less!) with a lot of hacking and custom scripts of my own (bash, AppleScript, and JavaScript) to generate a whole directory of HTML. Then I chuck it onto the server. Nice. Makes for secure and fast pages, but it currently takes nearly half an hour to generate this site on my machine. Not so nice. And it doesn’t have a pretty blogger interface for Rita to post; not that it’s stopped her. :-)

My current favorite for being able to handle this site (blog and static pages) and for being relatively simple (I don’t want the kitchen sink!) is Radiant. Yes, I’d have to write some of my own code to get this site out of it again, but it looks both possible, unlike with Wordpress, and relatively easy and clean, unlike something with Joomla. Plus it’s written in Ruby.

Any other suggestions?

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May 15, 2007

A Post for Rachael, and Spoon LInks

So, yesterday I thought I had better post something for Rachael, since she said I need to post more often, but then I remembered that I couldn’t post anything yet because I was in the middle of something that needed to be done before I posted again. And then when I was done what needed to be done before I posted again, I would need to write a post to tell people about the changes. So now, is this a post for Rachael or a post for you? Well, you can decide.

I don’t have much new to say yet. (Besides I was able to see Rachael yesterday who I haven’t seen in about a year! That is exciting!!) And I don’t think I’ll be able to post pictures today either. I’ve been busy carving spoons and sanding toys. Sanding, and sanding, and sanding toys. Did you know it takes a long time to sand toys? It is long, and not very interesting. But to make nice toys, it needs to be done, so I continue… And add a bit of carving to mix it up a bit. The Sioux Center Summer Celebration is coming up in a few weeks, and it would be kind of fun if I was done all of this so I could try to sell them, but we will see…

So, in other news, I have finished my project I was working on, and that was to make a page of spoon links for you to enjoy with me :) Because I am sure you all like looking at wooden spoons on the internet like I do, I have made it more convenient for you to find them. :-) As well as to show you my favorite pages of course. So, if this all works as planed, when I upload this post, there should also be another section under this links (on the left) that says “Spoon Links.” That is where you are to go.

Enjoy! and more pictures later, sometime…

In Christ


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May 05, 2007

Eating with Wood Spoons

So, as you may have seen from our photos, I have made a few spoons to be used as a soup spoon. A few weeks ago we put them to the test when I made some pea soup. Honestly, I was very disappointed. The wood became rough very quickly and wasn’t very pleasant.

I washed them and re-sanded them, twice, then put them on the shelf again. Last week I thought, silly me, why do I let them sit on the shelf, they will not get smooth and tested that way. So, I picked them up one more time and tried mine out with cereal. What a pleasant surprise!!! They were almost perfectly smooth. Yes, they did get a bit rough, but not like the first time. Nothing that won’t get worn down by my taste buds after a time. It was VERY exciting for me!

I told David about it at lunch and he said he will start using his also, and he has. They have become our primary cereal and soup spoons and I am very excited about it! :) It has encouraged me to keep going and make a whole set. It has encouraged me to make smaller ones to eat with ice cream or even smaller ones to eat with yogurt. I want to make them fancy and plain. I am just excited to make them!

I have also finished my first wood mixing spoon. Ready to sell. I have a few more that are close to done also. I also tried my hand at a dealy to use to pull the oven rack out of the oven and push it back it. It may become one of my favorite kitchen tools :)

I will take a few pictures and add them to the carving section of the web page. Enjoy!

Oh, I already have an order for a wood mixing spoon made from dark walnut wood. Feel free to e-mail if you would like to order something too. Hand made and hand sanded. Smooth as a babies bottom ;)

Love you all!

In Christ


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Results of Fasting

Can I just start by saying that God is VERY good? Good, than I will, God is VERY good!

I have been fasting for the past three weeks. Sort of a fruits and vegetables fast. Or what many people call the Daniel Fast. I started because a friend of mine talked to me about rediscovering fasting and how praying is so wonderful when a person is fasting. After praying about it and thinking hard on it, I decided that it was time for me to fast too. Diabetes or no diabetes.

My three weeks are almost up. (Just a time I gave myself when I started, no rhyme or reason for that particular time) I can honestly say that I am glad :) And even though it hasn’t been going as I expected, God is so good, and it has been good.

I started fasting for two reasons. The first one being that food has become my idol. I turn to food to satisfy me in all things. When I am tired, when I am sad, when I am hungry. I eat because food tastes good. I eat uncontrollably and with out thinking. I have been gaining weight steadily over the past year because I can not control my eating. So, I wanted to give God my idol of eating and ask him to take back the throne that I have given to food.

Secondly I wanted to fast because I do not live a surrendered life in Christ. I am lazy, and easily forget God in my day. I want to live a God focused life, not a ME focused life.

It’s been an up and down three weeks. The first week went really well. I didn’t complain about the hunger and was pleased with myself. The second week was very hard. I was very busy and complained a lot (possibly also affected by the time of the month). I was frustrated and felt like a failure all the time. I didn’t break the fast, but I felt like I did because I did not have the same attitude as the week before. I also was less hungry because I added a bit of protein to my fast and wasn’t sure if it was good or not because I didn’t feel as hungry. The past week has been more of a repair week. Trying to figure out what it really means to fast. Is it to be like I was in the first week, or how do I change the second week to make it right?

God has been good. I have learned so very much about me and food. A quote from my prayer journal this morning, “I learned that I am weak. I have learned that I will fail. I have learned that food will be a life long struggle for me. I have learned that YOU are better than food. I have learned that it is YOU who give me strength, not food (I may have some learning to do in that area). I have learned that I do not need crackers and peanut butter to solve a sugar low. I have learned I should travel with raisins rather than granola bars. I have learned that it doesn’t take meat and easy carbs to feel full. Daddy, food wise, I have learned a LOT. Daddy I praise you for that! … It was a lesson I very much needed to learn and oh I am so very glad to learn it!” Now that my fast is about done, I want to learn how to continue eating in a self-controlled way, rather than going back to my old ways.

The second thing I learned is that hunger is a good way to be humble before God, and I want/need to do it more. It does bring your to your knees knowing that you can not eat but you can pray. I can’t go into more details because I have more to learn here too, but I can say that it is very much worth it. I was mostly excited about how much I have learned about me and food and God and me and food that I wanted to share. Lord willing, this is the start to a better eating life. Just because food is easy to get here, doesn’t mean we should be eating it all, or eat it all the time :)

God is amazingly good! And I am so very glad to have walked through this with him. Hard days and all. It is worth it. And it is HARD, but it is good. If you think you might like to fast for any reason, John Piper has a sermon series on fasting. It was very very encouraging to me while I was fasting and questioning why I was doing it. In short, a paraphrase of his definition of why we fast, we fast to tell God that we love HIM more than food. And that is exactly what I wanted to tell God.

God bless, I hope you are encouraged by this.

In Christ


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April 12, 2007

What a week!

David’s parents came Friday night to join us for Bible study. Saturday we had a surprise party for David’s mom’s birthday, and my parents arrived from Texas to visit. Sunday we had Easter and the sun rise service. Monday Mom came to tops with me, and water aerobics. We left for the Black Hills in South Dakota in the afternoon, after David worked for a while.

Tuesday we had not heat in our cabin and had to stay a while longer in the morning to wait for the propane guy to be done, but we were grateful for the heat that night!! We went to see Mt Rushmore (Horray! not fog this time!). Then to Crazy horse. Then drove in Custer state park to see the Bison. Finishing with a nice supper in Rapid City before returning to our beautiful cabin for cards and sleep!

Wednesday we headed home but took a detour through the Badlands and stopped at Wall Drug. We also stopped by the Corn Palace before having supper in Sioux Falls. We arrived home before 9 and had a game of cards before bed.

This morning we got up early to eat out with Mom and Dad before they left for Ontario. It was a great time! Very full, I’m tired, but it was a lot of fun!

That is the past few days in a very small nut shell (short of saying it was easter than we went to South Dakota with my parents). There are a quite a few new pictures to go with this post though. Enjoy!! :)

Maybe I’ll write more of a real post when I’m not so tired….

In Christ


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That is the answer.

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April 03, 2007

A decision made quietly at night

No fanfare, not excitement, just a decision made and a step taken.

Last night David was working on taxes and had a phone attached to his ear trying to get a hold of someone at the tax office to ask a question. It was getting late and I was already reading in bed waiting for him when David came in, phone still to his ear, and classical music playing loud enough that I could recognize the song, and he says “I think I’m going to send in an e-mail.”

“To accept?” I ask.

“Yeah.” David said.

“You sure?”

” Yeah.”


And that was it. The decision was made.

Weeks of stress and questions ended as simply as that. We still have questions, and there will still be stress, but at least we know where we are going. The decision has been made.

I did expect a bit of fanfare, or excitement. Maybe a shout of “Horray! We Area Going to Grad School!!” But no, it was a quiet decision, made by a tired man ready to take the next step.

So, we are going to Grad school.

“That is nice,” you say, “we already knew that. WHERE are you going?”

Ah, well, maybe we should let our parents know first.

In Christ


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March 30, 2007

Just a Photo update notice

Hi hi, I didn’t have my photo’s ready last time I updated the blog, so they didn’t get updated. Now we have a few pictures up from our Cornell trip as well as the U of M. Most of them maybe are not that interesting, but I was told to take a lot of pictures, so I did :)

Love you all! In Christ


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March 26, 2007

Toys, Toys, Toys!

Well, what does a person do when they are facing a possible pay cut or change in financial income (in the downward direction)? Find ways to supplement of course! Especially if there may be need for more income to be able to pay all the bills.

Well, after thinking and praying about it, I’ve decided to go back to work. Kind of.

I am putting myself to work by making toys, kitchen utensils, and a few other things to sell. I would love to join a market to be able to sell them, especially where ever we end up for Grad School, but their markets are so big that they are not really taking new applicants. I have the goal to have enough items to ready to sell by the time the Tulip Festival comes along in May, but that might be a bit of a stretch. If I don’t make it, than I will keep at it until the Summer Celebrations in June or July and see how it goes then.

When I get a anything of interest made I’ll put them on the web page too, just so you can see them also. I don’t even know yet if i will be good at making toys, but with a bit of practice I think I will do okay.

Just more to think about :) In Christ


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I’m glad that is over!

David and I were finally able to visit the U of M in Minneapolis this past weekend. Now we have visited both schools, and I’m glad to have that behind us! Now we just have to make a decision. :)

So, two weekends ago we went to New York, and we have had a quite a few people ask how it went, I just wasn’t in the mood to talk about it much. Honestly, for me, it didn’t go so well. Thankfully it went better for David. He very much enjoyed the professors and the school. Which we are glad for.

I had a bit of culture shock. Even though we kind of make fun of Sioux Center for being such a “Christian” community I realized that I haven’t ever lived out of the Christian environment. This would be a challenge and a change for me, but not a bad one, especially if this is where God wants us to be. I was also disappointed in the VERY small on campus apartments, but God assured me that would be okay too, if that is where he wants us to go. It didn’t help that I became sick at the end of the trip either. There was a lot of me to process when we got home. David too I know, but different things. If you want his side to the story, you will have to ask him to write it, it’s different than mine.

The U of M was good too. I was very glad that they let me go with David as he visited the professors, it helped me know a lot more of what is going on. I really wish they would have let me at Cornell also. David wonders if we didn’t try hard enough to ask. I think it would have helped me help David make a better decision too.

The U of M was a good visit, but trying to drive around town was so frustrating that it has pretty much killed the positives of the school. We still haven’t made any official decisions, but we are 80% sure of what our decision will be. We are concerned about the financial part of it yet. I don’t know how it will all work out.

I can’t tell you how glad I was Friday night to be done with looking at Grad schools. We only visited two, but it is such a relief for me to not have to do it again! We will let you know what our finial decision is as soon as we know ourselves :) We would love your prayers as we still think and pray about our decision.

Thank you! Love you! In Christ,


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February 28, 2007

A Lot Happening!

Well, it is been a busy past few weeks. Some because of mental stress, some because of traveling etc.

I thought you might want the grad school update, especially since it has been occupying most of our thoughts over here.

As I mentioned last time, David received an e-mail saying that he had been accepted to the University of Minnesota. Although I didn’t mention the school. Well, a week later we got the official letter from the U of M saying he has been accepted, but it also held some other information they didn’t tell us in the e-mail. Has has also been accepted for paid tuition and a stipend! Oh horray! we thought! We said we would not be able to go unless they would pay us to come, it just wouldn’t work. Now we just had to wait for the other school.

It wasn’t a week later when we got a package from the second university, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. They have also accepted David into their engineering program, and were offering him tuition paid and a stipend. Wow! how exciting! Although, David’s first reaction was “oh Shoot!, I didn’t want to have to make this decision.”

Both universities are having visiting weekends. The U of M is this weekend, and Cornell is next weekend. They are paying for David to come and check them out, and I’m going along with him.

It’s been a long month, thinking back and forth about both universities, or even university at all.

Two weekends ago we went to the L’Abri conference (David’s Christmas present from me) . Long story short, it confirmed to the both of us that we should be going to university. We are praying about which one still, and would love it if you could join us in prayer!

So, that is the update. The other bit of interesting news, last Sunday we were without power for 13 hours! It was Exciting! I loved it! We even hosted Growth Groups here and had meeting by candle light. (and flash light to see our books)

I hope to have a few more pictures up in a bit of my carving. But the way I am working, it might be longer than a bit ;)

I hope you are all doing well! In Christ Rita

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February 05, 2007

Perfect Forever

For about the past two years that we have been living in Sioux Center, David and I have hosted a Bible study. First it was with a group of our friends, now it is a group of college students who have become our friends. I love hosting this Bible study. It gives me something to do every Friday night. It gives me a reason to clean the apartment, and gives me people to “spoil” to my hearts content :)

For the past year we have been working through a commentary on the book of Hebrews. For me, most of the time I participate in a Bible study, I enjoy it, but I don’t feel like I learn a lot that I didn’t already know, or think I knew ;).

This past Friday I feel like God broke through a wall that I have not been able to get through, no matter how hard I tried.

Here is a piece from my journal that I wrote on Saturday morning:

“Dear Daddy, Thank you for being so big. Thank you for the lessons you taught me, or made me know last night. I am flying high. Last night at Bible study we read the passage in Hebrews as usual and my thought was, ‘I’m starting to get it now, and it is very cool!’ Jesus’ death is the real deal, where as the blood offerings and sacrifices given before Jesus were just a shadow of his offering.

“I loved the first verse in particular. ‘The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming - not the reality themselves’ (Heb 10:1a) My though was, how cool, I get it. Just as Melchizedek was a high Priest before Jesus, and the Levitical high priests were a shadow of Jesus, and the temple just a shadow of what is in Heaven, and the blood offerings just a shadow of Jesus’ offering, so the law too is only a shadow of what is to come.

“But, it doesn’t talk about how it is the shadow of what is to come, like the tabernacle is to the temple in heaven, but it says the law is a shadow of what is to come ‘For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.’ (Heb 10:1b) So really, the law is not the shadow so much as the sacrifices are the shadow. They cannot make us perfect, and that is where they are the shadow. This is the good part from the commentary last night.

“Well, I don’t think I can quote from him (Hywel R Jones, author of Let’s Study Hebrews, through the Banner of Truth Trust) on this one, it won’t make so much sense, but he said that verse 2 ‘If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilt for their sins.’ It is not the old sacrifices that are able to do this. Over and over and over again the Israelites came to sacrifice at the temple because of their sins, but never left them guilt free. Maybe for past sins, but not for future ones too, that is why they did it year after year after year. To continually be cleansed for their sins.

“And then the commentary draws attention to verse 10 ‘And by that will {the will of Jesus to become the sacrifice for us} we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.’ Note the words ‘been made holy once for all.’ Then to verse 14 ‘because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.’ and for good measure, verse 17 ‘Then he adds “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”’

“What the law and sacrifices were unable to do, Jesus did! He has cleansed me, forgave me of my sins and lawlessness and I am PERFECT FOREVER in God’s eyes. I am not the worldly perfect, but I finally see that I AM perfect in God’s sight because of Jesus. Yes, I sin, but ‘Jesus died for that too’ as David says so often to me. “Jesus died for that too!’ I AM PERFECT… Forever! Hallelujah Amen!”

What an exciting truth to learn! To know with my heart and not just my mind. God has made me perfect forever! Praise be to HIs name!

in Christ Rita

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February 03, 2007


So this past month I’ve decided to pick up carving again. Two years ago I tried my hand at whittling a piece of wood into a spoon. That was an exciting accomplishment for me. But since I also carved a hole in my hand I was a bit fearful of knives and decided to put them away for a while. Now two years later, a little bit wiser, I thought I’d try again.

So I was looking up carving in the local library and was a bit discouraged because there are SO many different types of carving! I know that if I tried many of them, I would quit before I got anywhere. I’ve always loved the idea of being able to pick up a piece of wood and a single knife and making something beautiful. In looking at the books it looks like you need wood and tools galore! I don’t want to use tools galore, just one or two would be nice.

In one of the books I read that “love spoons” was a type of carving too, I thought it meant that someone else loved spoons too, and loved to carve spoons, so I googled spoon carving to see who else carved spoons. (I have since learned that “love spoons” are a certain type of spoon, and to say “love spoons” is not short for saying “I love spoons” but is a category/type of spoon to carve :).) Oh how encouraging this research was!!!

The first page that came up was the Spoon Lady. Horray! A woman who also loves to carve spoons and does it as her “work. That was VERY encouraging to me, so much so I had to e-mail her to tell her.

The second page that caught my attention has been my favorite by far!! It is titled Eating Spoons That intrigued me. :) I love silverware, especially spoons. I spent a quite a bit of time exploring the links on the bottom of this website, and loved it all! Then when I was researching knives (The knife blades I have been using continue to break on me and I have no way of keeping them sharp, it was time to decide if I would invest in this hobby or be done with it.) I came across the homepage, Pinewood Forge, the only link I didn’t explore from the eating spoons page. And there I found so much more to look at. I especially love his hugarian spoon pictures!

Longer story shorter ;) I was so impressed with the information on his web page, and his knives that we decided to invest in them. They are very much worth the investment! I love them! Even David is very impressed! :)

Oh, and just when I thought I had explored his pages inside and out, I remembered that I didn’t finish checking out his links page, and there, just yesterday, I found a wealth of spoon carver/ing sites that just made me giddy! :) Hours later and I am still going through all the links to see what there is to see!

So, after all of that, if you want to see the results of my carving thus far, check out the photo’s under “Life in 2007” If I end up carving so much then I will make a separate page just to show you the results. I am challenging myself to carve a hedgehog right now. I don’t know why a hedgehog, but that is what it is. Well, I should say, I was challenging myself, but with the delivery of the knives and spoon blanks, I’ve gone back to spoons for the time being.

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Brief January Update

Hi hi All! Here I am to give another update about the past month :) We are getting back into the swing of things. The Dordt students are back and bible study is started up. It is great to have them back! I was able to get the Veggie Tales Dance Dance Dance game. :) We have been having a lot of fun with that one!

Oh silly me! I almost forgot! My girlfriend Robin had her baby boy two weeks ago! Stetsen James, a beautiful baby he is too!

I have been able to join a bible study with ladies from church. And I am now volunteering at the public elementary school Library on Thursday mornings and loving it! So now all my mornings are busy with aerobics, story hour, Bible study and working at the library. That has been a lot of fun! But I haven’t been able to visit with Robin as much as I’d like.

The big news of the past few days…. David received an e-mail from one of the universities he applied to and has been accepted into their grad school program!!! Horray! This is especially exciting for us because this past month we have been feeling even more like it is time to move on, we just haven’t been sure how or where. I haven’t said which university yet because there is another that we have also applied to that we are waiting to hear from. Please continue to pray for us as we move forwards and seek God’s will. We don’t know about financial aid, or if we are going for sure, but it is encouraging to know that he has been accepted. If this is where God wants us, he WILL work out the details.

Love you all! In Christ


PS, yes, with a new post, comes new pictures! Check out the “Life in 2007” page under photo’s, that will give you the most recent ones.

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