Monday, March 23, 2009

To Kara and faithful friends and blog readers who never find anything you go!

Here are a few samplings of pictures of our recent pilgrimage to Israel and Egypt. I know you'll be waiting on these Kara and Angela! Love you guys

First picture: Matt and I with Jerusaelm in the background

Second picture: Dusk on the Sea of Galillee

Third Picture: Matt renewing his baptism in the Jordan River

Fourth Picture: The Synagoge in Capernaum where Jesus would have attended

Fifth Picture: A manger! This is an actual manger like Jesus would have laid in. This one is tall for horses. It held the animals food and when they put the babies in the mangers, the animals were muzzled. With the muzzle on, they couldn't actually eat, but they would gather at the food anyway and then their breath would warm the baby! Interesting huh! Sure changed my picture of the nativity at Christmas.

I am so not a good blogger...apologies to you who read. We spent 12 days traveling through Israel and Egypt with my parents and sisters. We traveled with a group from Sidney First United Methodist Church in Sidney, OH. We flew into Tel-Aviv. From there we traveled to Joppa, Ceserea Maritima, Jezreal Valley (Valley of Armageddon), Cana, Nazereth, Tiberias and around the Sea of Galilee, Ceserea Philipi, Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes, down the Jordan River, The Dead Sea, Qumran, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Masada, down the Sinai Desert, climbed Mt. Sinai to see the sunrise, then to Cairo. Wow. It was an incredible journey and difficult to put into words. I know I'll be processing it all for years! I wouldn't trade it for the world. It's been nice having a break from work, but I'm ready to go back this week. Matt is still working at Chicago's Pizza and working now on entrance into the officer program with the US Air Force. We have put a lot of prayer into this decision and trust that God is leading us. I can't wait to see what comes! I will try to update soon!

Monday, September 1, 2008

An addition to the family....

After church and lunch on Sunday, and at the suggestion of Aubry, we went to the Southside Animal Shelter to look for a puppy. The puppies were cute and fun, but then we saw Molly- sitting in a cage quietly in the middle of 10 other cages of barking dogs. We got her out to play and we were sold! She's a german shepherd mix (they think) and we think she's a lot like a collie and a fox. :) She is a year and a half old and so much fun. She's the perfect dog- medium sized, gentle, playful, and loving (and not to mentioned already house trained). I am loving having this walking partner.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Appalachian Trail

Matt and I went backpacking for the first time together a week ago in the Smoky Mountain National Park. We hiked about 30 miles on the Tennessee/ North Carolina border in three days and two nights. We stayed in small primitive shelters along the way with streams nearby to filter our water. We unfortunately did not bring mats to go under our sleeping bags though, which brought two very sleepless nights, but it was still great. At the shelters, they also provided a rope and pulley system to hook our food bag to in order to raise it out of reach from the bears. We actually hoped to meet a bear along the way, but we didn't (maybe it was better that way).We met some interesting people, though, along the way- families, people doing it alone, and of all ages. One man had been on the trail since July 10th hiking the southern half of the trail from Georgia to North Carolina at the age of 61.

With our work schedules so different, the time away together was priceless. The weather was beautiful, the trails were challenging, and the views were amazing. We serve a huge creator that I scarcely remember to recognize. It made scriptures about faith that moves mountains and how he numbers the stars come to life.

Here we are at the start of our journey at Newfound Gap near Gatlinburg TN.

The amazing sunrise after the first night

Matt peering over one of the beautiful overlooks.

a mossy waterfall
After our trip we paid three dollars to take a shower at a convenience store, which was a little odd, but worth every penny to be clean! We had lunch in Gatlinburg and then headed for Indianapolis. We were driving through Cincinnati and saw the lights at Great American Ballpark on, so we stopped and scalped some tickets to the Reds/Brewers game. And that lead to us ending up staying the night in a hotel and going to a water park in the morning! My parents were able to come down from Wapak to join us at The Beach for the day. How relaxing after all that hiking.
Now we're home and back to life as usual; working, enjoying our new home, and watching the Olympics :) Life is good.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

it's been a while...

Well, I could put in a four-page long update since the last post....but I will spare you all of that. The best news as of late: we bought a house!!

(this picture obviously taken this past winter)
It has been a lot of work- but thanks to many friends helping us paint and then move, we are in and loving it. It's so great to finally have a place of our own that doesn't reak of smoke/marijuana every time we walk up to our door (ie our apartment)! We don't know what to do with all the space moving from the two bedroom apartment to a 2,000 sq. foot three bedroom, two bathroom place. I'll update more inside pictures as we get things situated.
Matt is still working at Chicago's Pizza, and enjoying it. We are praying about his future there vs. more police jobs vs. going back to Golden Rule Insurance. We are still awaiting what God has in store; we still aren't too sure. I am still working at Wishard Hospital in the ICU, which has been good but emotionally draining at times. I am still not sure some days that I am cracked up to be an ICU nurse, but I'm taking it one day at a time.
We are praying about joining a mission team from our church to Mexico in mid-October of this year. It sounds really great- there are opportunities for construction, which appeals to us both and also for medicine with a clinic there, which obviously appeals to me. We'll see what happens.
Thanks to all of you who actually look at this and have bothered me to finally update. I promise to try to be a better blogger :)

Here are few other recent happenings...

Katie Stroh is now Katie Cooper! (as of December :)...yes it really has been a while)

Baby Rebekah Ann Diener was born in April. She is a beautiful, healthy baby girl with very proud parents (Matt's sister and brother-in-law.)

Uncle Matt with the two adorable nieces

Jen also had a beautiful baby boy- Lane Clarke. Kara, Angela, and I had the chance to go to Alabama for a too short visit. Lane has such a great mom! It was fun to be together again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lunch Happens

Well, some good news! God has so graciously provided a job opportunity to Matt at Chicago's Pizza- a local pizza chain in Indianapolis. We attend the same church as the owner and his family, and Matt has grown up with them. The owner's son, a good friend of Matt's, is opening a new store right down the street from where we live, and asked Matt last Sunday if he wanted to help him open the store and work there with him! It truly is such a great job for Matt. He enjoys working with this family, he is on his feet all day, and the idea of helping to start something new is exciting to him. I will let him tell you whenever he decides to post on here. Matt used to work at Golden Rule Insurance. He enjoyed that, but he didn't like that he sat at a desk all day and never got to interact with people. This is just the oppositte and it's great. So, now he leaves for work every day in jeans and a green t-shirt that says "lunch happens" on the back. The store is mostly known for their pizza lunch buffet. I went last friday with a friend and I must say it was pretty good.
Anyway, so there's where we are for now. Matt is continuing to apply to local police departments. We are also going to apply to some missions organizations, knowing that will be down the road someday. I was hoping for sooner than later, but it seems it will be later. I know there's still a lot of work to be done in both of us before that time gets here. At least that's what I have been learning lately.
One more note, Matt and I went to see the movie "Gone Baby, Gone" last night. Man, it was heavy. It is not an easy flick to watch, but it is so good. I hesitate to use that word due to the story line of abducted's just so real. During much of the conversation between characters I felt like I was sitting in a patient's room at Wishard listening to some family members talk, or back in Marion picking up some of the kids for the Community Youth Outreach gatherings. It spurred a lot of conversation between Matt and I, that's for sure. I recommend it. (for whatever that's worth! :) )

Saturday, November 3, 2007

“As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him—to give God ‘elbow room.’ We plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses…Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through atany point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.”

Matt and I recentlly returned from a vacation to San Diego, CA to visit the Burgers, and then a cruise down the coast of Mexico. That vacation was to celebrate a new start in our lives- Matt getting a job at Indianpolis Police Department. We had looked at some houses to buy and planned on settling in here in Indy. However, as my new favorite quote by oswald chambers says, God needed some elbow room in our lives! Shortly before leaving for the cruise, we received news Matt did not get the job. He went through their process for close to nine months, passed all the tests with flying colors, and before he left, they'd given him an appointment to get his badge made for the police academy to start last week. We have no answers as to why, but we know that God is in control, as always, of our lives. We are learning to trust him amidst the questioning and also reveling at times at the possibilities that may come! We are open to pretty much anything- the possibility of overseas missions, staying in indy and Matt working at a different police dept., moving somewhere else in the US for police opportunities for Matt....We'll see. I won't sugar coat to say this has been easy, but it's been very hard in a very good way. We know God is refining us- burning away the things in our lives that are not important and re-focusing us on Him.

I am still working at Wishard Hospital in the ICU here in Indianapolis. Working there has shown me more than I bargained for, but taught me more than I could have imagined. I don't know that I am cut out to be an ICU nurse forever, but it's good for me for now.

Here are some pictures from our vacation to finish up! Until next time.....

The four of us at Pacific Beach

Matt and I in Ensenada Mexico- our first stop on the cruise. Matt's favorite part of the trip- this Mexican flag. You can't really tell, but it's as big as a football field, weighing 500 lbs. Matt was in awe. Maybe we'll move to Mexico!?
Us having dinner on the cruise. I loved the formal dinners. It was fun getting all dressed up every night. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico- our second stop. We went ocean kyaking and snorkeling in the pictures shown. Here is the big picture of where we kyaked. How beautiful!