Thursday, December 31, 2009

Powerful Pain Reliever

I went to bed last night, hoping a good night’s sleep would make my headache go away. I gauged how bad it was. Not splitting or throbbing. More like a dull cloud.

I snuggled into my warm, cozy bed and willed the headache to leave. I tried talking myself into getting up and walking through a cold house to the downstairs bathroom for Tylenol, but didn’t want to leave my warm cocoon.

I tossed and turned and dozed in and out. I stared at the ceiling, wondering why I didn’t just get up and take care of it.

I got up this morning, headache still intact. I hoped moving around would help. Perhaps breakfast would make it subside. Not so.

Finally, after two hours, I took Tylenol.

And my headache went away.

Why didn’t I take Tylenol before bed last night? During the night? This morning? Why did I wait so long to seek relief? Since the pain wasn’t to crisis mode, I was willing to live with it. I hoped it would go away on its own. I hoped the situation would resolve itself.

I often do the same thing with God when I have a problem. I continue to carry it around when I don’t need to, hoping it will leave on its own. I hope the situation will resolve itself. And finally, when I’m tired of the pain, I go to the Pain Reliever.

Since He is the only one who can make things better, why do I wait so long to go?

I think of the many, many times God has taken care of my problems. He is so good and I am so slow to learn. May I someday learn to trust Him sooner.  

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Thy consolations delight my soul.” –Ps. 94:19--

Monday, December 28, 2009

Andrew's Christmas Letter

Welcome one and all to the Christmas tell all

I have no choice in the matter
As I am doomed by the fall
Between the cling and the clatter
It just seems too tall
For those of us who matter
This is the Christmas Tell all.

Merry Christmas Everybody, Andrew Vik here. I have had a good year and I am thankful to the Lord for many blessings, although I’m still disappointed that I cannot grow a decent beard.

I still work at Village Creek Bible Camp in Lansing Iowa. I am gainfully employed (not sure what that means) as the program director, and helped run 12 weeks of summer programming. It was a fun experience and I will do the same thing next summer.

I have also helped build a new dining hall at camp and have learned a lot about construction. The coolest part about the whole shebang is that I became pretty good friends with the guy in charge of the project. So good of friends in fact that I was in his wedding, and he will be in mine.

So last year I had started dating a pretty awesome girl and I looked forward to what the Lord had in store for us. Well, she is crazy…in love with me.

At first she didn’t want to get married til she was done with school in five years (a tad long I thought) so I didn’t take too much stock in this cause I am me and surely she would change her mind after spending time with me.

Well sure enough, in February she said we could get married In January of 2011. Then this fall she asked when I was planning to propose. (I know, a little forward - girls were not like this in my day) because she needed to line up school housing for next year. She asked if she needed housing for one semester or two. I said as a joke (albeit one with some hope behind it) “What if you didn’t have to for any semesters?”

She really liked the idea so I talked to my parents and her parents. We went ring shopping and I proposed on her birthday. I don’t have to tell you if she said yes or not, cause one alternative is amazing and the other would have been crazy. So I’m in love with the girl and we are getting married next May.

This has been the first year I have spent without my family. They live in Wisconsin so I have seen them less than any year of my life and not surprisingly (cause my momma said this would happen) I have missed them a lot. But the good news is they love Rachel, and me too.

My older sister Christina is in Spain, and will get back just in t
ime for the wedding. Kiah plans to visit Christina in March.

Erica graduates in May which seems a little weird, about as weird as Amy becoming a teenager. Anna worked at camp with me this summer and everyone liked her more than me. Then there’s Lani, who may already be smarter than me.

My Dad (Keith, he has a beard and I don’t) enjoys his church, and I have been very grateful for his advice and leadership. My Mom is very good to me. I can always call home and get new recipes and good advice.

This year has been a great reminder of the Lord’s faithfulness. As the line from the hymn How Firm a Foundation says, “How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord is laid for your faith in His excellent word.”

And Psalms 119:9 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure, by living according to Your word.” Every day I am reminded of my reliance on the Lord, and as I get ready to start my life with Rachel next May,
I am asking for prayers for a firm foundation grounded in God’s Word.

So that is out an eggshell a rundown of the general synopsis of the summary reviewing what’s going on in my life. Thank you for reading and as always,

In Christ
Andrew Vik

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Late Night Thoughts

This was our first year without the oldest three kids home for Christmas, and we didn't like it, not one bit. I try telling myself, that I'm okay with them being gone on other days. But at Christmas, when many people are with their families, I want to be with mine. Even knowing that two of them will come home next week, didn't help. It just wasn't Christmas without them.

I felt sad too, because my parents and three siblings don't get together. It's been 20 years since we were all together.

So while I'm thankful for my kids who are still home, and thankful for friends, good health, and many blessings, I still feel sad.

I read this quote in the novel If I Gained the World by Linda Nichols that sums up how I'm feeling.

p. 176 - "What was it about Christmas that caused such a mix of beauty and pain? Maybe it was the very meaning of the holiday. The baby born to die. Maybe there was no separating the joy from the sorrow. Perhaps it was a mistake to try."

I have much to be thankful for and I am. God has been so good to us. But come next Wednesday when Andrew, Rachel, and Kiah come home, we will have a good time. Or else.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Viks

(This is a portion of our family's Christmas letter. Keith, Erica, Andrew, and I take turns writing this)

Christmas Greetings,

Technically it’s Andrew’s turn to write the Christmas letter, but Keith nixed that since our one son is no longer living with us anymore. So being the head of the home and all, Keith decreed that it’s my turn. So there you have it and here I am.

We’ve been Wisconsinites for a year now. We like the area, our house, our church, our new friends, Lake Superior, fall colors, the absence of severe thunderstorms, and cheese curds.

When in Wisconsin, do as the Wisconsinites do. Last winter the girls took ten weeks of ski lessons which they loved. Except for Anna skiing into a tree, they caught on and we enjoyed seeing them gain skill and confidence.

This summer Keith and I hit a major milestone. 25 years ago a serious responsible shy Midwest Scandinavian ex-Marine married a scattered, friendly, usually late, sometimes goofy outdoor girl from Northern California. We celebrated our anniversary with family, friends, Root Beer Floats, Doritos, and Dipped Oreos.

So I turned 50 this year, along with Alaska, Hawaii, Barbie, the movie Sleeping Beauty, and the 64 count box of Crayons. Barbie aged better than I did. For the most part, I have no complaints, although my bad memory makes Keith nervous.

Amy (13) and Lani (11) adjusted well to the move and have made many friends. They jump in Lake Superior in the summer without hesitation despite the COLD water. They love to play games, read, skate, swim, and talk on the phone.

Anna (15) is my personal assistant. “Mom, it’s time to wake up. What time should we have breakfast? We need to go grocery shopping. There’s nothing to eat. Here’s a shopping list. We need more laundry soap. Want me to start dinner?” She can’t ever leave home.

Erica (17) and Anna both enjoy Facebook, reading, and cooking. They helped at a Homeschool horsemanship last spring. Kiah, Erica, and Anna spent five weeks this summer working at camps. Five weeks with only Amy and Lani home took some getting used to. Erica enjoys photography and bought a nice camera. so our life is well photodocumented. She graduates from High School this year.

Kiah (20) lives in Ellsworth, Minnesota and works all the time. She’s full-time at one nursing home, part-time at another, and baby-sits on her day off. She’s had a hard fall but we’ve seen so much growth in her. Though we’d never wish hard times on our children, we’re thankful for the good fruit.

Hurricane Christina touched down in our home this summer for a month. Messy room. Late nights. Constant music. Always busy. She left in September for a week in Ireland, then a week in Germany, and had a semester in Malaga on the southern coast of Spain. She is in England with a friend for the holidays and then will study next semester in Grenada. Christina (24) graduates from college next spring, and then plans to live with us while she contemplates her next step.

Andrew (22) is doing well and still works at Village Creek Bible Camp. He plans to marry Rachel Schwerdtfeger on May 22, 2010. We really like Rachel and are blessed and grateful that God brought someone so nice into his life. So come next spring, we’ll add another girl to our family.

After nine catless months we welcomed two cute black kittens named Stubby and Chubby into our home. Stubby doesn’t have a tail, hence the name. They are still in the playful, wrestling, curtain climbing, ankle biting stage but we’ve really enjoyed them. I love purring cats.

If you’re in the market for a new vacation destination, may we suggest Ashland? This is a pretty area and we love to have visitors.

Though we don’t know what next year holds, we know the One who does. We cling to God’s promises and trust Him for what lies ahead.

Blessings on the new year.
Angie, for the family

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Gained 5 Pounds In One Day

How can something so fun be so fattening?

When we lived in Oregon and Colorado, Keith's Mom used to send us a box at Christmas filled with all sorts of wonderful goodies. The kids loved to set out an assortment of Grandma's cookies every night at dinner. It became a privilege to make the "assortment."

The care packages stopped when we moved to Iowa and lived 9 miles away from her. But that also meant year round access to the goodie maker. She still made delicious cookies at Christmas and our kids loved our extended family Christmas gathering when Grandma brought her assortment.

In addition to Grandma Vik's goodies, my Mom also sent goodies. Bon Bons to die for and fudge that nobody else can make the same way.

For years we took getting Christmas goodies from the Grandmas for granted. About six years ago my Mom stopped Christmas baking. Now she sends food packages from Swiss Colony which are nice but not the same.

Keith's Mom doesn't make cookies very often anymore, let alone at Christmas. At 85 she's winding down and does a little less every year. Sigh!

So here we are up in Northern Wisconsin, 470 miles from Keith's family, 1800 miles from my family. No Bon Bons, no fudge, no Lefse, no pies, no assortment, no Christmas Eve party at Aunt Karen's, no cookie exchange, no Christmas Open House at our old bank (the granddaddy of all assortments).

This week two different families gave us a plate with cookie assortments. I was touched and appreciated it so much. It's a little thing, but God knows how much we like our assortments. It's most likely not a good idea to get comfort from food, but as you can probably guess by looking at our Christmas pictures, we do.

Because we didn't gain enough weight eating the assortments that were given to us, I dug out recipes for the Grandma's traditional goodies. I have this phobia about making Keith's Mom's recipes because I can never make them as good as hers. But I have a college degree. How hard can making fat pills be?

We spent Saturday on a sentimental baking spree: Dipped Oreos, Strawberry Cake Balls, Homemade Snickers Candy, Birds Nests, Date Ritz cookies, the extra fattening Bon Bons. Of course, these recipes all need to be sampled to make sure they taste right. And it's really hard to tell with just one so alot of cookies went down our gullets.

After cooking all day, earning tired legs and a sore back, royally messing up the kitchen, feeling buzzed from consuming too much sugar, and gaining five pounds in one day, I had an epiphany. I wearily watched the clock turn midnight as I washed the last counter and put cookies in containers, and thought, "There may be a good reason the Grandmas stopped doing this."

But after a good night sleep, we were proud of our accomplishments. By golly, we had made our own assortment.

If we can keep our grubs off, hopefully there will still be some left when Andrew and Rachel get here next week. I live for moments when Andrew eats something I made that I know he'll like and he smiles and says, "Thanks, Mom."

There you have it. Messy cars, muddy shoes, and cookies in the cookie jar. Life is good.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Indecision is a Curse

We were all together for three hours this summer so tried to take our 2009 Christmas card picture then. Someone suggested we all traipse across the busy street to sit on a concrete retaining wall. Not my first choice of location but it was convenient.

Everyone jumped up on the wall, but since my wall jumping days are behind me I went up the steps and walked to the wall. When I tried to sit down I fell over, so Andrew was the dutiful son and helped me up.

I didn't like how this one turned out. Background is too busy and Keith looks like he's holding up the wall.

We included Andrew's girlfriend, Rachel and Kiah's boyfriend, Mark in this picture.

Which wasn't a good idea because Kiah and Mark broke up six weeks later. Ever resourceful, I just cropped Mark out of the picture. But Keith said the stray hand on Kiah's shoulder looks creepy so nix on this picture.

We borrowed without asking Grandma's neighbor's lawn chair and posed in front of the neighbor's landscaping. You can do this in Iowa without getting in trouble. I thought this one was okay but someone didn't like how they looked. They wanted to try one more pose.

One of the kids suggested we take a picture on the spot where Keith proposed to me. Since we celebrated our 25th anniversary this summer, that sounded like a great idea. However he asked me underneath the kitchen window of his parent's house which isn't the most scenic background.

Someone complained again that they didn't like how they looked. I explained about the Law of Family Pictures. That the moon and stars have to align just right before we get a perfect picture. And in every shot, someone will look like a doofus. Too bad it happened to be their turn this year.

Keith and I weren't smart enough to just make an executive decision. Being democratic only led to a stalemate. There wasn't one picture that everyone liked.

So Erica suggested a picture we took when everyone was home at Easter, when it was my turn to be the doofus. I'm the one paying for these pictures so for sure I don't want to be the doofus. Erica then came up with this collage and finally everyone agreed.

Except that we didn't have Rachel in the picture. So I tried one more time and came up with:

I really liked how this turned out. But Keith said we should save a collage like that for a year when we can't all get together. That since we have an actual family picture we should use it.

So I did what any indecisive person would do. I ordered both collages and the picture of where Keith proposed. Some people will get one picture, others will get a different one. That keeps people guessing.

Hopefully next year we can take a decent family picture at Andrew's wedding and be done with it. Just think how much housework I could get done if I didn't obsess over the annual family picture.

So for kicks and giggles, which one do you like best?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Innovative Cat Walking

My Dad turns 73 today. While I'm not crazy about getting older. I really don't like it that my parents are getting older, although, we're thankful that for the most part he's in good health. My parents live on the west coast so we don't see them very often. My younger kids have only a few memories of their Grandpa.

In 2004 we met my parents and my brother's family for a week of camping in Yellowstone National Park as that was halfway for all of us. Grandpa was always the first up in the morning and he would build a fire and heat water. The grandkids all sat around the fire drinking hot chocolate. The kids enjoyed this time with their grandfather and us parents enjoyed sleeping in.

In 2006 my Mom was hospitalized for four months so we went out for a short visit. Grandpa loves to cook breakfast and specializes in eggs, pancakes and fried potatoes. In the next picture Amy is helping Grandpa cook pancakes.

When we were growing up, my Dad always cooked our eggs runny so that's how I thought I liked them. After I was married and couldn't figure out how to cook eggs without breaking a yolk, I started breaking the yolks on purpose and cooked them all the way. Hence my kids have grown up with non-runny eggs.

So when Grandpa served them runny eggs, one of my kids said, "But Grandpa, these eggs aren't cooked." My Dad looked at me, astonished that a descendant of his wouldn't like runny eggs.

When Mom was in the hospital we had to wear masks when we visited her. Kiah spent extra time at the hospital taking care of her Grandma.

2008 - As I live and breathe. I have never seen this done before. It's a little hard to see in this picture, but my Dad walks his cat on a leash at 12:00 and 6:00 every day. I made sure to get a picture since I might never run across this again.

Some day when I'm 73, my kids will blog about the quirky things I do. I wish they lived closer or we could see them more often. Maybe some year we can celebrate his birthday in person.
Happy Birthday, Grandpa.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Undeserved Mercy

So I was crabby Saturday afternoon.

I was irritated because the dogs shed (they do on other days, but if I'm not in a crabby mood it doesn't bother me), the girls don't hang up their wet towels, the cats keep knocking bottom ornaments off the Christmas tree, the plates didn't get clean in the dishwasher, I ran out of stamps, there's too much to do and not enough time to do it, my 70-year-old Mom was hospitalized for a respiratory infection, no one wants to walk the dogs beside me, and Tucker doesn't cooperate when I do walk him. I could keep going but you get the picture.

Some days everything bothers me. So I did what any frustrated woman would do: crabbed at Erica and Anna, the only people who were home. They were only guilty of not cleaning their rooms, not hanging up towels, and not wanting to walk the dog. But they got the full brunt of all my frustrations.

They left to run errands and I stomped out of the house to walk the dogs. By myself. Again. Hmmf!

When I got home, this was on the counter.

A & W. My favorite. I'm not a pop drinker, but for some reason, I like root beer. Why would the girls be nice to me? I had been the one to blow it. I should be making amends, not them.

I asked why they did that. Erica smiled and said, "Because we love you."

I was immediately humbled. I am so not worthy. I don't want to take my frustrations out on my children. By my age, I should know better. I don't want to be crabby. I want to take things in stride, dog hair and all. I don't want to be tiptoed around or humored.

So we hugged. And I apologized. And drank the root beer. And thanked God for the beauty of forgiveness. Not only does He forgive me, but my girls do too.

So Lord willing, with His help, we all hope tomorrow is a better day.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Walk Down Memory Lane

I've been working on Christmas cards , so wanted to share some Christmas pictures from years past. Taking nine people's pictures is not easy, but I'm so thankful we kept at it because as much as we don't like taking the pictures, having a nice family picture is something we all enjoy. Now that we don't all live in the same state, it's harder than ever to get together to do this.

1993 - Colorado
You know, the Olin Mills standard Church directory picture


My favorite. A friend took this shortly before we moved from Colorado to Iowa. 
When she had one picture left on her film she said, "Dogpile on Dad."

1999 - Lani fell off the table while taking these pictures.


2003 - At Mt. Rushmore after eight days on the road.
We look a bit bedraggled.

2004 - With Grandma Vik on her 80th Birthday party



2007 - Our famous picture was Andrew's idea.

2008 - Last family picture in Iowa before
the oldest three moved out.

Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.
--Andrew Brandt--

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Quiet Time

I close my eyes and pull the outside within. The muted sounds and gentle breeze nestle in my soul and the peace that has eluded me seeps into the corners of my heart.

For a precious hour there is a break in the never-ending traffic of my responsibilities and I can safely cross to a place of rest.

I lay my burdens down, wishing wish I wasn’t so fragile and needy. But could I properly appreciate His provision if I didn’t have a need?

My tears seem to come from nowhere. The tears I have no time for don’t go away. They stay somewhere in a frozen part of my soul only to thaw when I slow down long enough to let them fall.

Sweet the peace of exhausted tears. I feel soft and clean inside, almost afraid to move for fear I’ll lose this wonderful feeling.

I feel balanced. Like my axis wasn’t tilted right, and now it’s aligned properly, my world is spinning as it should.

I want to stay in this sweet pocket of peace, but He bids me go and return tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.

"Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul."
--Psalms 54:4--

Friday, December 4, 2009

Swimming Fools

So my friend Shauna called last month and asked if we'd like to meet them for a couple of days in Minneapolis which is halfway for both of our families. It was an offer we couldn't refuse so we left that next Sunday after church and headed south.

Driving through Duluth and Minneapolis was a breeze because everyone was home watching the Vikings/Packers football game on TV. We pulled in the hotel parking lot and looked up and saw three heads in a sixth story window looking out and waving their heads off.

One of the cool things about our friends is that their names, first and last, all start with "S." Shannen, Shauna, Shaylee, Summer, Shania, Sawyer, and Shyanne.

They're the kind of friends where we can pick right up where we left off. Our kids have a special bond and even though the ages span from my Erica at 17 to their Shyanne at 2, all of them enjoy spending time together. Poor Sawyer (age 4) doesn't quite realize that he's the only boy.

How fun to have good friends just down the hall in the hotel. The kids played long and hard and wore a path between the two rooms. Sort of like a two day sleepover.

And they swam for hours. So much so that by the Tuesday morning, their skin burned.

We have lots of pictures of the seven oldest, but few with all nine. Now we know why. The two youngest had no interest in cooperating.

Friends, swimming, snacks, free hotel breakfast, card games, movies, pizza, Perkins: How fun is that?

--Erica and Shania--

--Anna and Shaylee--

Our girls left on Tuesday with happy hearts and full emotional tanks, thankful for a friendship that has survived a 450 mile separation.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Engagement Pictures

While we're on the subject of Andrew and Rachel. I wanted to share their engagement pictures. They were taken by the camp director's wife where Andrew works. It's kind of hard to get good outside pictures this time of year so we're pleased with how they turned out.

"Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction." --Antoine de Saint-Exupery--

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Love Worth Waiting For

Andrew wrote this sweet story for Rachel and gave me permission to post it on our family blog.

Once upon a time there was a young man who had a problem of monumental proportions that had weighed him down. No matter where he looked there just wasn't a girl to be found for him. Sure there were beautiful girls, but none that had a certain beauty this young man was looking for. You see he had found something more amazing than anything else. This particular young man knew Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, which meant not just any girl would do. He needed one that loved Jesus.

It seemed that girls were just fine with giving their heart to anyone and everyone, and this wasn't something this young man was looking for. He wanted a girl that had given her heart over to Christ, a girl who knew what true love was because she had experienced it from Jesus.

But time went on and the young man started to grow discouraged, thinking maybe girls like that didn't exist anymore - girls that are completely and utterly beautiful, not just because of how they look but because of the light that shines from having a relationship with Christ.

Right about the time he was ready to give up and become the most un-eligible bachelor in America, figuring it better to spend the rest of his days alone with his Bible and Bloom County than to spend it with a superficial token girl, something amazing happened. To be sure it was the best thing that had ever happened to him.

One day at camp, the young man was assigned to watch some kids and a certain beautiful young woman ended up helping. While she was pretty the young man didn't think much about it yet, assuming she was just like every other girl he’d met. This young man was soon to be pleasantly surprised.

A month later the young man gave the girl a ride back to college and his car broke down. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the young woman saved the young man from having a major meltdown. They spent the day talking and walking and having a great time.

The young man was thoroughly astonished at how amazing she was. He thought she must be lying because nobody as perfect as she was could possibly exist, right? But he decided that she was worth trying to find out, and so he did.

As it turns out the girl was as beautiful and pure and amazing as she seemed to be, and as the young man continued to get to know her he realized that she had that rare beauty that comes from knowing Jesus Christ and because the light of Christ was in her, it made her beyond just beautiful. It made her radiant and by far more lovely than anyone he had ever met.

So the young man knew that this was the girl he had been waiting for, the one who was completely worth pushing all the other girls away and giving his heart to her and only her. By God's grace, he had found a love worth waiting for.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Over the Top Blog Award

Nati at I Will Praise Him gave me this blog award. Thank you so much! There's a list of questions that come with it. Apparently these are questions that are supposed to have one word answers. I had a few answers I couldn't shorten to one word.

I nominate:

Sprinkles and Wrinkles - I love this lady's perky, cheerful, humorous outlook on life
Janet at Homeward Bound - A fellow Pastor's Wife I've just started getting to know
Claudia at After His Heart - A high school senior with a sweet heart for God

1. Where is your cell phone? non-existent

2. Your hair? thinning

3. Your mother? Just moved

4. Your father? Resourceful

5. Your favorite food? soup

6. Your dream last night? camp

7. Your favorite drink? juice

8. Your goal? weight loss

9. What room are you in? Living room

10. Your hobby? scrapbooking

11. Your fear? painful death

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? traveling

13. Where were you last night? Home

14. Something you aren’t? organized

15. Muffins? blueberry

16. Wish list item? Upstairs hardwood floors refinished

17. Where did you grow up? California

18. Last thing you did? sweep

19. What are you wearing? sweats

20. Your TV? old

21. Your pets? shedding

22. Your friends? many

23. Your life? Blessed

24. Your mood? Busy

25. Missing someone? older kids

26. Vehicle? BIG van

27. Something you’re not wearing? Shoes

28. Your favorite store? Target

29. Your favorite color? Blue

30. When was the last time you laughed? Saturday

31. Last time you cried? last week

32. Your best friend? Keith

33. A place that I go over and over? church

34. Someone who emails me regularly? Lori

35. Favorite place to eat? Ruby Tuesdays

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dad Scores a Home Run

Friday morning, Keith surprised us by doing something totally out of character. He took us on a spur-of-the-moment day trip to Ontanagon in the Upper Peninsula (UP for short) of Michigan. Normally there is lots of snow by now, but we're having a "warm" November so trips like this are possible.

Keith woke me up by holding a map of the UP in front of my blurry eyes.

"Let's Go!" he said.

I had two intelligent responses. "Who are you and what have you done with my husband?" and "Are you feeling okay?"

He said he felt fine, but the weather was beautiful and we were burning daylight so I should get up and get going.

This was my first time in Eastern Time Zone. Kind of weird how Eastern Time juts over to catch the west corner of Michigan like that.

Keith had everyone write a paragraph about the day. I'll start with his.

Keith: Sun was up. It called, I listened, and I TOOK THE DAY OFF!! There is always work to do. It never ends, while spending time with your daughters has an expiration date.

Driving away from responsibilities felt good, somehow larceny of a moment. But in the best of company. No plan, no deadline, just being together exploring a golden day.

We found a bakery, a beach, and contentment. Slowing down. Girls walking in sand and wife hand in hand. REST.

Erica: Today we plucked up the courage to visit a different world. Where everyone says things like, "Yah, sure, you betcha." The UP seems different, set apart. The waves are bigger, the trees taller, the air smells different, and the hills look like mountains. I had my first Pasty. Yum!!!

Anna: Shining sun and yet there was fog. Freezing water, but warm (ish) air. All in all a perfect day to stop everything and explore. I liked the bakery and walking by Lake Superior. Watching Erica fall in the lake was an unexpected bonus.

Amy: I thought today would be a normal day of school. But no, it's not. I woke up like normal and went downstairs this morning and started to paint when all of a sudden Dad said, "Girls, let's GO!"

"Go where," I asked.

"To a new world, that's where. To Upper Michigan to explore."

And boy did we have fun. In November of all things.

Lani: Today was really fun. For November it was great weather and NO SNOW. I really enjoyed walking on the beach, writing my name in the sand, and watching the waves, and most of all collecting glass. I didn't mind riding in the car so long because I had some old comics to read. All in all, it's been the funnest day of November.

I'm amazed at my girls' thermostats. I'm wearing a shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, hat, and gloves. They are barefoot, playing in the water.

So Keith scored a home run and got lots of way cool points. It will be hard for me to top this.