Thursday, April 29, 2010

more photos from my trip

Most of our previous visits to North Dakota have been in October--and the snow is flying in as we fly out. I though that maybe I would escape it with a late April visit...

While it wasn't significant accumulation, there was snow on Monday morning when I woke up!

I had planned on taking lots of photos of the hills leading up to Kenmare that morning, because each high school class puts their graduation year on a hill in white stones. The snow made finding them much more difficult. The day I drove in would have been better... I saw dates going back to the 50's!

On Monday, I drove from Kenmare to Leeds, North Dakota, where my cousins on my mom's side live. On the way, I stopped at the Geographical Center of North America. As I recall, this was always a stop when we used to live in Bemidji, MN and drove to see the grandparents in Kenmare.

It was a great visit with my cousins Eric and Janel. They are a "few" years younger than me, and we haven't seen one another in about 10 years. They each have great spouses and lovely families, and I enjoyed being able to spend time with them. We kept their kids up pretty late for a school night...

We shared memories of our mothers, and our grandparents. It is strange to have the previous generation be gone...and to now be the keepers of history and photos. They found one that none of us had seen before! Their mom is the girl on the left, mine the one on the right.


I had the joy this past Sunday of visiting the Faith Baptist Church in Kenmare, North Dakota. I have a long history with this congregation -- my grandparents were involved in this church. My parents were married in (a different building but) this church. They were sent as missionaries to Brazil by this church.

They have been part of our support team since we were married, and it was a joy to be back, reconnect with many, and meet the younger generation of leaders at the church. It was also a little sad, because many of the people I knew in my younger years are now gone.

I did have a wonderful opportunity to visit with the last of my mother's cousins who is living in a home in Kenmare. My Mom died nearly 12 years a fairly young age. Others have gone since then, two within the last year. I didn't know how much it would mean to me to spend time with that family connection.

I drove past my grandparents' home. It is owned by someone outside the family now, but this was the home we came to when I was a little girl on our family's furlough from Brazil. I have special memories of this place--and was struck by how small the house is! I don't have any ambitions to live in Kenmare, North Dakota, but wished that somehow this place would be accessible to us... I guess its the "Missionary Kid looking for roots" syndrome!

I had to stop in the town square and get a photo of me at the Danish Mill, also called "the potato chip house" by my brother when he was a young child. I don't remember why it is in the park, and I was trying to remember what brand of potato chips caused Brent to give it that name...that is, until I was at a meeting with friends in Minneapolis a couple of days later and saw this bag on the table:

Don't know about the Dill Pickle flavor, but now I have evidence of the brand! They don't sell this in California...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

May the Lord watch over our comings and goings...

When I stop to think of what I've done recently, I realize that I've spent a lot of time getting ready to go somewhere or settling back at home after leaving.

I'm in that spot again
  • I joined Asian Access colleagues in San Diego for the Christian Leadership Alliance Conference from Sunday evening until Wednesday evening.
  • I fly out on Saturday morning on an 8-day trip to North Dakota and Minnesota, wrapping up at a conference outside O'Hare in Chicago.
In the middle are these two days to do laundry, make sure that my presentations are ready, check those last minute instructions for driving to people's homes and confirming appointments.

I've hardly had time to check the refrigerator. I am so grateful that Stan is gifted in covering while I'm gone. I also am grateful that he's very happy to have me come back!

And when I return to California on May 1, I have three weeks before our next trip!

My first weekend, in North Dakota, will be a walk down memory lane for me. I'll be visiting my mother's home town, Kenmare, which is 50 miles from the Canadian border. I no longer have first or second tier relatives there--but the church that supported my parents when they first went to Brazil as missionaries in 1954 has been supporting us and I look forward to reconnecting with 3rd, 4th and 5th cousins as well as making new friends!

I will chronicle my trip as much as possible for you! And I will appreciate your prayers as I have 7 flights -- many on smaller airplanes than what I usually fly.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Another piece of Route 66

We shadowed the Historic Route 66 to Williams, Arizona, where we stayed during the Grand Canyon visit. For a good part of the trip, Interstate 40 parallels the old 66. There was little to draw us off the interstate in California, but when we got to Arizona, we met up with a few stops and interesting attractions.

First was Kingman...

...where an old powerhouse has been converted into a Route 66 museum, and had this interesting mark on the post next to the entry door!

Just across the street was a Mr. D Diner, with our own Mr D. in front. No, we didn't eat here.

From Kingman to Seligman Route 66 curves north. It actually looks like the model map for the Pixar movie "Cars" but instead of Radiator Springs, there is a Peach Springs. We didn't take the extra hour to drive that stretch, but caught up with it again at Seligman.

I'm not quite sure why Seligman is the birth place of Historic Route 66...I will have to go back to the Hamburger Restaurant in Kawagoe, Saitama Ken and find the book in their library that gave the history of this road to get that detail. But it definitely played up to the name.

We were dealing with strong winds by the time we got here--I almost got blown across the parking lot as I went to get a photo of the RoadKill Cafe. No, we didn't eat here.

Finally when we got to Williams, we discovered that this was the location that was last on the bipass when the freeway was put in. At one point, it had the only stop light between Chicago and LA...

This may have been on that intersection (or it may have been one block up...there were no stop lights left--just stop signs). Williams had some quaint shops, and it would have been fun to roam if it hadn't been so windy, and our younger passengers had more interest in Route 66. And no, we didn't eat here.

From the Home Assignment "Bucket List" -- A trip to the Grand Canyon

Each time we return to the States for a one-year home assignment, we try to get to a major site in this country. We've been to the Statue of Liberty (walking kindergarten daughter A all the way to the crown), the Bad Lands and Mount Rushmore, Gettysburg, and this year I really wanted to see the Grand Canyon.

So, with this week being high school spring break, we packed up our sons Monday morning along with the portable DVD and a bunch of movies, and set across the Mohave Desert to stay overnight in Williams, Arizona. On Tuesday morning we woke to a beautifully clear and somewhat cool day, and headed up to the Grand Canyon National Park.

It truly is breath-taking!

We managed to persuade the young men to join us for ONE family photo. Stan and I were ready to enjoy this day. J-n (left) wasn't feeling well, and spent a good portion of our time at the Canyon resting in the car. J-ph just likes to look tough. (Believe it or not, these guys have beautiful smiles!)

Our small digital cameras really can't do justice to the majesty of the Canyon, but we were very impressed at every stop.

We went just a short way down the Angel Bright trail. We knew that if we went much further down (that part was easy) we would have trouble getting up because of the elevation and the fact that we haven't trained for this. I am sure though, that going down into it would it would give even more of a sense of the awesomeness of the Canyon.

We stopped all along the South rim (missed one section because the shuttle line was too long, and we didn't want to be too far from the parking lot for what looked like a possible three hour round trip).

There was a bit of a wind as the day wore on. I've been having fun trying the "self portrait" and my dear husband got in on this one.

At one point we were walking into a gift shop, and a Scripture verse on a plaque was nailed to the door post. We were so encouraged by that! It is hard for us to imagine that anyone could see this and not think of the power of the Creator! We were blessed to see this.

We spent Tuesday night at the same place, then took off Wednesday to see Hoover Dam and spend a night in Las Vegas (been there, saw that, never need to see it again). Home by 4 pm on Thursday gave us a few days to unwind at home before the guys get back to their final quarter at school.