Friday, April 25, 2014

Home front Update April 2014

At West Beach, Indiana on Saturday!
The Beach -
This cracks me up, a beach with fresh water?

Three weeks until the Semester finishes! That doesn't seem long does it? Well there is lots to do between now and then :). 

We're doing well here, ploughing along! I'm currently on Week 32 this week which is means that I need to do a few double days in the next couple of weeks in order to get all the school work finished for the girls before we go! (For those in NZ, the American School year is 36 weeks) This does mean though that some of the 'extra' jobs are falling behind. Albert has been devoting our family time to schooling the older girls particular in English, not my strong point. I've really appreciated Albert helping out, it means that he has dinner on the table at night and the washing is folded :). So the good news for the girls is that the school year is almost finished, the bad news is that we'll be starting the new school year as soon as we get to Canada! I'm aiming to do about 4-5 weeks of school in Canada as we've got most of the month of August off and also I'm aiming to finish by the end of April in 2015. This means that I've got May 2015 to clean/sort etc. our stuff before we go back. Zara in particular is making huge leaps and bounds in reading which is such a big deal as she now is able to some of her maths by her self. 
The new homeschooling material is being ordered in the next couple of weeks so that I can take it with me and also so that I can organise it all before we go to Canada. Last year it was very nice to have 'school' ready to go when we came back. 

Remember the family portrait in the winter?
same stretch of beach a couple of months later
This deserves a mention as it is ever changing. Last weekend it got to about 24C and then on Monday night a cold front approached and we woke up on Tuesday with -4C and SNOW!! I LOVE snow but it is slightly cruel to have summer one day and below freezing the next. While I have really enjoyed the winter despite it being very harsh (coldest on record since 1978) it has been very nice to go outside without bundling up! So on the weekend I finally washed all the snow gear (thankful for a HUGE washing machine and dryer!) and put it all away. The sleds have been returned to their rightful owners and the bikes brought up from the basement! A change of season! I haven't quite changed all the clothes over yet for the girls but will do that soon, maybe Saturday! 

Again this deserves a mention as with this lovely weather, running has been so much more enjoyable. Albert and I are trying to run once a week for about 30 minutes while the girls stay home, a nice way to spend some time together. Well I'm sure Albert enjoys the quiet 'me' as I haven't got enough breath to hold a decent conversation! ;). Swimming is going well also, I am getting stronger in the pool. I have cut down on my distance and just trying to swim for time as otherwise with running as well it is too much. I do miss not taking out the dog for walks and runs. :( Hopefully one day I'll have my own one again!

17 boxes and we've eaten some already!
(these are great for our date nights,
as cereal is a treat for the girls!!)
I've become more picky here as I've got a good stockpile for most things. So I'm only after food/toiletries that are VERY cheap or FREE or I make money on! It must be cereal month at the moment as I have about 15+ boxes in my pantry and I paid less then 50c for most of them and some of them I got free. Also at the moment I have an air freshener in our bathroom which the shop paid me a $1 to have. Of course I'm not going to pay for a refill but it is a case of it being fun while it lasts! I also scored some free Snickers bars not that long ago which I thought would be nice for our road trip but unfortunately some have already met a certain fate! I'm also making good use of my ipad mini and uploading all sorts of money making apps :). I use one rebate app that has new healthy rebates like $0.25c on cucumbers, or tomatoes or bananas and I can even buy it at Aldi and then claim my rebate. Twenty five cents doesn't sound like much but it all adds up. I'm also using the Swagbucks mobile app which is earning me some points which I can 'buy' amazon gift cards with.  Plenty of kindle books and books coming my way I think! (or maybe Settlers of Catan!). 

How are we REALLY doing?
Girls are enjoying the fact that they are able to play outside. Since Michaela and Grace have realized that the quicker they do all their school work the quicker they are finished for the year, the harder they are working! Zara is not doing huge amount of school bar reading and writing and some maths. She is doing history with Kate and she is not doing science yet. Kate is doing well and will move up to the next year in the new school year. She enjoys maths in particular. Kate has also joined the 'glasses' crew in our house. It has made a difference already! Thankful for glasses!
I'm doing well also, I've had enough of school but determined to finish and get it all done. I would love to get all my cleaning/sorting done before we finish school but that might be a bit ambitious. A lovely Kiwi lady (yes there is another lady, as well as the lovely Hannah!) has offered to help me clean for the summer so once Albert finishes for the year, we'll all do a deep clean together. Albert's Mother told me to leave the cleaning for her when she comes but I can't leave the house dirty for 11+ weeks. Last year I sorted/cleaned the entire house before we left and it was sooo nice to come home a clean house! 
I'm also trying to lose some "US processed food" weight. This is not as easy as it sounds and I'm making slooow process but at least I'm getting fitter in the process which is a bonus I guess :). I read the other day that dog owners are in a lot better health than the average person, so I'm blaming it on not being a dog owner! (Just kidding of course about the blame!)

Albert writing his blogpost
(he took a photo of me writing a
blogpost so this is payback!)
As Albert said in his post we are Canada bound this summer! We're excited!!! We don't know much about Canada yet apart from it being a Commonwealth Country and it having a metric measuring system! (YESS!!). A lot has to be done between now and then. Packing, health insurance to organize, visa's updated, paperwork all sorted out. Banking to sort out, this is so complicated especially with regard to the USA. Basically if you do not have a credit rating, you can't do ANYTHING financial! We tried to apply for a US Visa card but got declined :(. So after talking and discussing this with Hannah, we are going to use our NZ Mastercard (OneSmart put out by Air NZ) as there are no fees for withdrawing cash or any conversion  fees. In my eyes this seems silly that I can use a NZ card overseas and have no fees while if I use my US debit card it attracts all sorts of fees. Never mind. Enough said. 

Albert's parents are DV visiting us in August! We are all looking forward to seeing some family. Since we are going to be in Canada for the summer we are going to see them a couple of days earlier than originally planned which is a nice bonus. 

That's about all from me today. I'm still hoping to 'catch up' with all the photo's we took after the summer internship until now. I've got plenty more snow photos although Hannah has some very nice photo's of the girls and Albert in her blogpost . Go and visit her blog :). I've also got some more photo's of our Christmas of which we had several.......

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


As Promised, here are the Papers

Exegetical Paper on 1 Corinthians 12:12 - 26
1 Corinthians

Pneumatology Paper on the Ordo Salutis
Ordo Salutis

Exegetical Paper on Isaiah 52:13- 53:12.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Oma's Visit Part One!

Here are some photo's of Oma's visit. I'm trying to figure out how to get some photo's of my ipad. So watch this space :)!

Lansing at last! After missing a few plane connections,
Oma finally arrived! This photo is taking VERY late at night
with Oma sharing all her goodies for the girls
Not sure who enjoyed this more.....
We took Oma to Build-a-bear, right up Oma's alley!
Putting a 'heart' into Oma's bear
Grace giving her Hello Kitty a 'bath'
Kate with Oma's football bear!
The bear even has a passport!
Oma treated us to a buggy ride in Shipshewana
One of Oma's dreams come true
Horse :)

We visited Mennohof, an Anabaptist museum.
Well worth it, very interesting and informative!
Waiting patiently for the 'girls'
Oma, Kate and Zara trying on some bonnets
Beautiful quilt gardens
Oma treated us for dinner

The Business End of the Semester

It's a Monday morning. That means it's Homeschool Monday. I am sitting at the table waiting for the two youngest to do their jobs, so that we can start some reading. Monday morning is the time that I spend some time with the girls doing school work.
It's three and a half weeks to go till the end of Year 2. It's amazing how fast these two years have gone. We are looking forward to coming back home, but I feel that there is so much that I still need to learn! Guess I'm not going to learn everything at Seminary!
My studies are going well. I am on the home stretch. Left for this Semester is a Book Report, two sermons to write, and a Greek Exam. On top of this is readings to finish. Sounds like a lot, but this Semester doesn't seem as tough as last year. Maybe I am just getting better at organizing myself.
In a seperate post I will attach some links to some papers that I have written over the last couple of weeks for those of you who are interested. 
We appreciate all your prayers, and you continue to be in ours!
Grace and Peace,

Michaela and Grace getting ready for Question Time
Hanneke working on a Blog Post, with the two little monkeys getting their school work out.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Canada Bound

We have found out where we are headed for the Summer. We will be doing an internship at Wellandport URC in Ontario, Canada. It is a big church with approx 600 people. For us it is about an 8 hour drive, not taking into account the process we will have to go through at border control.
We are looking forward to the exciting prospect of meeting new people, and being able to be involved in Pastoral Ministry, preaching, teaching and visiting. We are also looking forward to adding to our experience of meeting a wide variety of Reformed people from all walks of life.
We don't yet have any real details, but we will let you know via our blog when we have a better idea of what we are up to.
Thank you always for your continued prayers, it is much appreciated. We keep you all in our prayers as well.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Divine Hope Reformed Seminary

WOW it got to 64F, 17.7C on Monday!
I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to spend a day at Divine Hope Reformed Seminary. No I am not going to change Seminaries. In fact, this is a Seminary that it should be very difficult to attend. You see this Seminary is at Danville Prison in Illinois.
Two of our Professors were going down for the day and invited some of the students to join them for the day. I was not sure if I would be permitted to go, being a foreigner. You need to apply two weeks beforehand so that background checks can be done. The checks came through fine, and I was good to go.

It was a two hour drive down there, empty cornfields broken up by one wind farm. It was good to get out into the country, but it .... is ... flat.

Arriving at the prison we signed in, and passed through security. And then we were inside. It felt a little funny being inside the fence line. The buildings reminded me of old college buildings, minus the razor wire. We went into the education block, and into the classroom.

Divine Hope Seminary has approximately 30 students, and we sat down to lectures with them for the day. Our Professors and Rev. Brummel, the Pastor that does most of the teaching at the Seminary, spoke on preaching, the whys and hows. It was a good refresher. It was a good experience meeting many of the Seminarians. It was exciting to hear what God has done in these men's lives. Some of the men will never be released, but they are looking at being involved in ministry in the prison.

The Seminary is entirely funded by Reformed Churches, and they have an awesome library, with all of the books donated. I confess to coveting the books slightly. We also got to experience prison food. We ate in the staff cafeteria, not with the inmates. I didn't think that the food was too bad at all. We had pasta, lettuce, pears, and sherbet for dessert.

It felt odd leaving at the end of the day, being able to walk out knowing that the men we had met could not do what we had just done. But it warmed the heart to see God's work in the lives of these men.

I hope to go out and preach sometime, but there is a 90 day stand down before you can go back. So something I will be looking at next Semester. But what left me with the biggest impression was that here, in the middle of a prison, was a Seminary the same size as the one that I am attending. How wonderful would it be to see something like that in one of our New Zealand prisons?


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Holiday Essay - Part 4 - Philadelphia, Amish & Misc

Here is the last of the photo essays from the holidays :), phew glad I caught up on those. This summer internship is just around the corner! 

Tenth Presbyterian Church

Trying some lovely Amish treats!

Shoefly pie
YEP a horse and buggy!
Michaela having a go at making pretzels
Outer courtyard of the tabernacle :)
Apparently Lancaster is well known for it's covered bridges.
So here is one
Was tempted to buy one, a spare $1000 anyone?
Papa, was thinking of you :)
Albert liked this, might not be a good idea
on the Pastor's Study though ;)
THE room where The Constitution was signed!
The original chair
(from memory a lot of the other furniture were replicas)

One of the many information boards re the bell!
Thanks to Lillian for taking this historic family photo!
Notice the crack?
(Also the tower behind it?)
Meeting some 'figures' from years past.
(Also the only photo I have of Lillian, sorry :( )
In this tower is where the Liberty Bell used to hang
Very interesting place to visit!