Sunday, December 31, 2006

Christmas Pictures

We obviously made it to Rochester to celebrate Christmas with my family (minus Mike, Jen, and the kids in Arizona). We had a fun time, watched several movies, spent an evening looking through old slides (yes, slides!) and home movies. We've all agreed that Matt looked like Chris Farley when he was a baby. Boy, was that kid chubby! We had good times together.

We flew home early Friday morning to be greeted by David's parents (at our house). Allie soon returned to us from her stay at Doggie camp (Thanks, Greg and Rita!). She was WIPED OUT after spending 4 days playing non-stop with three other dogs. She had just enough energy to try on her new Christmas accessory from "Grandma and Grandpa Gafford" and then she crashed on David's lap for the remainder of our festivities. David just had to open his presents around her because she wasn't about to move.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Not quite the Christmas we had planned....

David and I celebrated our Christmas yesterday, anticipating spending the day today traveling to New York to visit my parents. So this morning when we woke up, we got right to work packing and getting the dog's things together to drop her off at the sitters' house. We were within 15 minutes of loading the car and leaving when I noticed a voice mail on my cel phone. I wasn't surprised; when booking with Orbitz, I'm used to receiving a phone call a few hours before my flight. Only this time the voice mail was different. It was supposed to say something along the lines of "Orbitz is calling to inform you that your flight to Rochester, NY is on time and will be boarding at gate such-and-such." Only that's not what it said. It said, "Orbitz is calling to inform you that your flight to Rochester, NY has been cancelled and you're going to need to sit around the house and pick your nose all day because you're not going to be in Rochester until 10:00 tonight. So you can forget about a nice Christmas dinner with your family. But have a nice flight." (Ok, I realize that this probably wasn't what the message said exactly, but it was something to that effect...) It was just kind of disappointing... not what we had planned for the day. I'm sure we'll get there eventually. (Hopefully at least by 10:00 tonight!) And I'm sure we'll have a great time once we're there. I just hate it when plans have to change like that.

Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

(Jenn Swift, will you be in Rochester this week? We should get together...)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It's official

We are no longer home owners in Michigan! The closing yesterday was a success (which was a relief because we were a little concerned that we might have missed a place where we were supposed to sign and they'd have to send the paper work back and delay the closing.) Now we're just waiting for the money to show up in our bank account.....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Worship Arts Christmas Open House

Friday night we invited all of our worship arts volunteers over for a Christmas open house. This included any one involved with music, drama, sound, video, and probably other areas that I forgot. We had a good time getting to know those that help us each weekend and the families that support them.

Our senior pastor, Henry enjoyed spending his evening playing the Nintendo Wii.

Field trip to the Bakken Museum

We took the fourth grade class to the Bakken museum on Thursday. They learned all about static electricity, which was especially fun since I've been teaching electricity in science for the last few weeks. The kids had a great time, as the day was greatly hands-on. They really enjoyed all of the experiments and especially getting to shock each other.

Here the kids were testing different materials to see which conducted static electricity the best.

Here, the kids have made generators and Leyden jars to store up static electricity in order to be able to shock each other. It's amazing the fun you can have with a few styrofoam plates, cups, and an empty film canister!

It's amazing how much enjoyment my students got out of watching their teacher electrocute herself.

It was a fun day for all!

The long awaited Thanksgiving photos!

The Gafford Clan

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Yes, we're still alive...

Busy. Just very, very, busy.

We took a nice trip to Indiana for Thanksgiving. It was good to see all the family, many of which we haven't seen for a very long time. I'd post a picture, but I'm on the wrong computer for that. They're on David's laptop. I'll have to do it later.

I was surfing around on everyone's blogs this morning and it just hit me that we haven't announced yet that we've finally sold our house....mostly. We haven't closed on it yet; hopefully in the next couple of weeks. It's something we're very relieved about. It will be nice to not have to worry about it anymore. But I can't say that we've been terribly excited about it, because we're selling it for less than we bought it for. Much less, in our eyes. So it's exciting in a disappointing kind of way. But the sooner we can stop flushing our mortgage payment down the toilet, the sooner we can begin saving it for the next house. We'll just be relieved when it's all over with. That will be nice.

It's extremely cold here. I don't think it's gotten warmer than 25 all week. In fact, my thermometer's spent most of the week in the teens. Windchill got down to zero a few days ago. Our pond's completely frozen over. Brrr!

Monday, November 13, 2006

More free tickets!

The ticket fairy came to the Gafford household again! This time we had the opportunity to go to a Minnesota Timberwolves game. I've never been to an NBA game and was actually very excited about it. (Those of you who know me well are probably shocked!) But the thing that made it all the more fun was the fact that our seats were Row 9, seats 1 & 2! ROW 9! Not even in the middle of row 9, but the end! We were so close to the court that there were actually waiters and waitresses coming to take orders so you wouldn't have to leave the game for your concessions. You can see in these next few pictures how incredible our view was (and also the fact that it's hard to take clear pictures of NBA action!)

We thoroughly enjoyed the half time show provided to us by the Twin Cities Jazzercise group. It consisted of about 80 women, 4 little girls, and 1 man. Very entertaining!

Unfortunately, the Timberwolves lost this game, but we had a VERY fun experience anyway! Thanks so much, Terri for the tickets!

Fun at the MOA

David's parents flew into town on Saturday and after David and I picked them up from the airport we decided to swing over to the Mall of America for a while since it's pretty much right across the street. We took the opportunity to visit the world's largest underwater aquarium, Underwater Adventures. It was really cool. You go through these glass tunnels with fish, sharks, stingray, turtles, you-name-it, swimming all around and over you. It was very entertaining.

David got to pet a stingray. He said it felt really smooth.

I think our favorite part was the tank of coral. It was really cool to see the incredible variety!

Minnesota Wild

Yes, we are WAY behind on posts. We've been a little busy lately as you'll be able to see in the next few posts.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my students' moms came in to help grade papers and offered to take us to a hockey game while she was there. We're not known for turning down free tickets, so we agreed to join them. We had a great time! They kept me out a little later than I like to on a school night, but it was worth it!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Any Gamers Out There?

Many people who know me are aware that one of my favorite downtime activities is computer gaming. There are about 5 of us who currently play games online together here in Minnesota, but I thought I just might put out a call to any gamers in the blogging community who read this little slice of Minnesota and see if anyone wanted to join up with us! We are currently enjoying the Battlefield series of games in the forms of Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142 - the latter of which just came out about 10 days ago.
If you haven't ventured online to play yet, all you need is the program, and there aren't any fees associated with playing online. It's totally free. If anyone wants to join up with the gang, you can find us through the free gamer link-up program at, and you can reach me at the handle musicman1234 (original, isn't it?) If you're a gamer and you don't play in the Battlefield series, I'd love to know what else you are playing! Melissa is absolutely stuck on this little game called Snood. She's like the grand master of the game at this point. I don't think I even hold a single record on the game anymore. See you online! (i'll have to post pics later. Blogger is being SLOW tonight...)

DMV Drama Continues...

Well, I guess it's my turn to post a little about the Minnesota DMV. I have to admit that it was Melissa who had quite the difficult time even getting her license approved, but I received mine in the mail today, and apparently there is a David Garrord who lives here. I don't know this David Garrord, but I sure hope he is a nice guy. I've never really been the one in my family to have my name spelled incorrectly, but I do remember many stories that my father used to tell us when he would return from a trip overseas. Upon returning from Japan he was always called Mr. Gasford and they pronounced his first name (Lowell) as Rowrell. I guess it is time for the torch to be passed, to me, Mr. Garrord as we launch out into the far out culture of Minnesota and teach the natives our new language. Here's to adventure!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lincoln Brewster

Last night we had the privelege of attending a Lincoln Brewster concert at Constance Free Church (Dangie's church). It was awesome. He is such an incredible guitar player; it was unreal. We had a great time hanging out with Dan and Angie and reconnecting with Mark Wilson after the concert. Fun times! Thanks Dan and Angie for the great tickets and a wonderful night!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The DMV part 2: The happy ending

You might remember my unsuccessful trips to the DMV last week in a desperate attempt to get a Minnesota drivers license. They sent me away with instructions to obtain a more "official" copy of my marriage license. I made several different efforts and was unable to get anything different from what I already had. So I had David call the DMV on Thursday and explain the situation. Whoever he talked to said that they would have to accept what we had and give me my license. So we decided to take advantage of the half day of school Friday (last chance until the holidays) and give it another shot at the DMV.

Fortunately, after waiting in line for a half-hour, we got the "right person" who happened to remember me from our last visit. Apparently all they wanted me to do was "try" to get a more official marriage license. We didn't even have to argue it; she just agreed to accept it. It's kind of funny (but I'm still not laughing) that a week and a half later they would so willingly give me my license using the exact same documents that I brought in before.

Now we just have to wait 4-6 weeks for our new licenses to come in the mail. What's up with that?!? In Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois I got my new license on the spot. How is it that some places can do it in 4-6 minutes and other places take 4-6 weeks? This better be one fancy drivers license for that kind of wait!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A new menu item at Red Lobster?

Unfortunately we do not have a picture to go along with this post. We almost did, but didn't get the camera out quite fast enough. You'll have to just believe us.

So, we went out with some friends to have dinner at Red Lobster tonight. We'd finished our meals and were just talking; it was probably about 8:00 or so. Who walks in next, but the Domino's delivery guy. He's there to deliver about 6 pizzas. To Red Lobster. Does this strike anyone else as odd?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A monumental birthday

Yesterday was David's 30th birthday. Happy birthday, honey!

His parents came to visit for a few days in order to help celebrate. However, much of the weekend was spent working in the garage, trying to organize it and make way for us to finally park both of our vehicles in it. It was a pretty huge job; we should have taken "before" pictures. You may remember my highly unsuccessful yard sale last spring. Well "somebody" wanted to bring all of the leftovers along so we can have another yard sale in Minnesota. So the garage was pretty piled with boxes of stuff we don't even want anymore. We finally got all of that out of the way and Dad Gafford worked hard on hanging anything and everything up on the walls to create more floor space. We were making progress.

And then I spotted it; David's "time capsule," as I liked to call it. When we moved David out of his parents house over five years ago, we were in a hurry and decided to dump his junk drawer in a bin and go through it later. We moved it straight into the shed of our new house, where it sat, undisturbed for the next 2 years until we moved to Michigan. However, moving to Michigan, the bin found a new home in the back of yet another storage shed. This house in Minnesota does not have a storage shed, and although it makes for a more crowded garage, I see it as a blessing, because David would finally have to sort through his junk bin. The bin that we'd been carting around for five years without really knowing what exactly was inside. It seemed very appropriate to go through such a time capsule on his 30th birthday. We got a real kick out of all the things we found.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The official "Welcome to Minnesota"

Today is October 11th and it snowed. I don't ever recall a snow so early in the fall. Welcome to Minnesota. I think the snow is even catching the geese off guard. Notice the group of them still swimming in the pond... They better pack their bags; they've got a trip to take.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Two trips to the DMV and still no license

I have had a very frustrating morning.

I didn't have school yesterday or today because of parent/teacher conferences (late afternoon and evening), so we decided to take this rare opportunity to finally go get our drivers licenses today. We'd hoped to do it here in Woodbury a couple of weeks ago, but research online informed us that we would have to go all the way to Saint Paul since we're from out of state and therefore have to take a test. This morning before we left I got online again to make sure we'd have all of the proper documentation to get our licenses and register our cars. We were ready to roll. So we get in the car and drive the 1/2 hour treck to the DMV, walk through the front door and read a sign informing us that this office is ONLY for drivers licenses and NOT for vehicle registration or plates. Well, shoot; we were hoping to be able to take care of it all at once, but we knew that the other part could be completed in Woodbury, so we got over it. We waited in line for a while and it's finally our turn. We get up to the counter and tell them that we've just moved from Michigan. She says, "Great, I need passports, birth certificates, and a marriage license." That's funny, the web sight spoke nothing of those items and therefore we did not have them. We were out of luck without them, but we could still take the test while we were there. Very disappointed with our wasted trip, we agreed to at least taking the test, which we both ended up passing by the skin of our teeth. So we drove home and decided though we didn't really have the time, we would just get the needed items and go back to the DMV and get it done. After all, my opportunities to conduct business on a school day are few and far between unless I want to use personal time and get a sub. We get back to the DMV and hand in our stack of documents and discover that we do not hold in our posession a "Marriage License." What we have is an "Application of a Marriage License." which is notarized and all, but it doesn't count. I explain to them that's all we got; we were never given an actual certificate. Tough luck. No marriage certificate, no driver's license for Melissa. AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH! I've just wasted an entire morning and two trips to Saint Paul and I still have no drivers license. She gave me a web site where I can request a copy of my marriage license. Great, so I'll probably have to wait 6-8 weeks for that to come in the mail and then when in the world am I supposed to get back to Saint Paul during a week day between 8 and 4?

As you can see, I have had a very frustrating morning.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A much better Tuesday

I only killed one wasp today. It was a good day.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Just another Manic Monday

Monday's have been a little tough for me since I started school. Every Monday morning, we meet at 7:15 for staff devotions before the students come in at 7:50. Most Monday's I'm lucky to have 5 minutes to prep for my day unless by some miracle I get to school before 7:15. So, this weekend I decided to bring everything home with me so I could take the time I needed to review Monday's plans and be ready before staff devos. I also spent a few extra minutes Sunday night getting my clothes out and ready, packing my lunch ahead of time, etc. I thought I was sufficiently prepared to finally have a smooth Monday. The kids came in at 7:50 and by 8:00 the first wasp appeared. There was nothing I could have done over the weekend to prepare me for the next 6 1/2 hours.

I tried to tell the kids to ignore it and get back to work. After all, it was hovering around the light and there was no way I could reach to swat at it anyway. But then another wasp was spotted. Pretty soon there were five. I could no longer ask 16 fourth graders to ignore the five wasps flying around the room. So I sent a student down to the office to request a fly swatter or some assistance. Ten minutes later, a maintenance man appeared with a can of wasp spray and by that time we were up to about 20 wasps in the room. Trying to muster everything IWU ever taught me about Classroom Management, I had my students all gather to one side of the room so our hero could spray our flying pests to their deaths. There was no controlling them. The screams, the mobbing, it was complete chaos. Meanwhile, maintenance is spraying wasp spray all over the room, coating everyone's desks and leaving a trail of dead wasps all over the floor. He no sooner had them all dead before five more had appeared. By the time he was done, he had sprayed and killed about 50 wasps. Please believe that I'm not exaggerating. Trust me; I listened to my students count as each little wasp fell. It was roughly 50 wasps. So at that point, I have my students go sit in the hall while my student aide and I clean up the aftermath. All the while, more and more wasps are appearing. We ended up FINISHING a whole can of wasp spray in my classroom, meanwhile hearing my students from the hall, yelling "51! 52! 53! 54!" We get it all cleaned up, I invite the kids back in, lecture them about how I don't want to hear any more talk of wasps because we've got work to do. And then I look back and Brandon's about to throw up. I realize that my poor students can't even breathe because the fumes from the spray are so strong. So then we waste MORE time trying to find a fan to vent the horrible smell out of the room. Ok, now we're ready to get back to work. Wrong. Every 2 minutes I look out and they're all pointing in one direction yelling, "There's another one." This goes on for another 1/2 hour while I DESPERATELY try to teach! I told David that I literally could have been standing there naked and I don't think they would have even noticed because they were so fixated on finding more wasps. Fortunately, it was time for P.E. After dropping the kids off, I stopped in the office and told the administrators what I'd been going through. They got maintenance back on the job and they found the wasps nest outside underneath my air conditioner. They sprayed and literally hundreds of wasps fell out from underneath. Those that didn't die tried to escape....into my room. So I now had about 15 more wasps and much stronger fumes in my room. And it was time to pick up my kids. There was only a half hour now until lunch so I finally gave up and told the kids to grab a book; we were going outside. I was tired of trying to compete with a swarm of wasps. We would, in fact, have to go outside to GET AWAY from the bugs. Go figure!

Fortunately, by the time recess was over, the wasps and the smell were pretty well cleared out. For the most part we were able to get through the afternoon relatively smoothly. There were still a couple of random wasps, but nothing, NOTHING like we'd experienced that morning.

By the way, the death toll in my classroom came to 73 wasps. And I am proud to share that not a single student was stung in all of the craziness.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Fast & The Furious...

There are times in life where it seems that life just kind of sits around with nothing to do, and there are times of the complete opposite. I haven't seen life around here for awhile now with Melissa working from 7:00 in the morning until 6:00 in the evening and then working on lesson plans and homework until bedtime. Me, it seems like I have really started to settle in to my position at church now that I have had 3+ months to get used to the pace and expectations of a new work environment. I'm finally to the point where I don't feel like everything is right at the brink of "crisis mode" in having to be done right away, and it's a great feeling. We're hoping that Melissa can get to that point too here in the near future. Nothing like a new school, new grade, and a whole new state, church, & house to help that crisis mode along.

Since I haven't posted in awhile, i'll give you a little update from me. Minnesota really is a beautiful state. Lakes everywhere surrounded by forests and groups of trees with walking paths going through or around it all. I had no idea that you could actually be in a major metropolitan area and still have this kind of nature so close. I took our new technical coordinator for a drive around town today and just realized again for myself how much I like it around here. We all drive from work to home and vice-versa at least twice a day, and sometimes I never look at anything besides the bumper in front of me. (Let's just call that cautious driving...) I will say that it feels like winter is upon us at an early date. Winter in Michigan & Indiana started to feel like it was coming around by the middle of October, but here i'm starting to catch the look and feel of winter in September? Where did I move again? North? I must be crazy. Here's hoping that those lakes are good for skating or something else during this chilly season.

In an un-related note, Melissa and I have actually become mild sports fans. We had the opportunity (Thanks Terri...) to attend a Twins game not too long ago, and Twins fever has gripped the city with their recent clinch of a playoff spot. We still don't glue ourselves to the television every time that they are playing, but if we're surfing around and the twins or Vikings are on, there's a good chance we might stick with them till the end of the game. I know that we are put to shame by the fans of such teams as the Ohio Buckeyes, Chicago Cubs, and Michigan Wolverines that are among our friends and family, but I just wanted to let you know that our TV will now stop and most local sporting events and also any Indianapolis Colts games. While in Indiana, we stuck with them through some terrible years, there's got to be some type of post season vistory some day. Why give up now?

Other than the above, there are many other things to tell, but alas it is almost midnight and I must retire. Thanks for taking the time to catch up, and I look forward to seeing you all again here soon! Bye for now! (David)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I'm famous!!!!

So, first of all, I guess I should share that school started this week. I would have blogged sooner about it but I've been SO STINKING BUSY! Even as I type I've got hours of lesson planning and grading haunting me, but it'll just have to wait because I had an amazing discovery this afternoon. My name, as far as the students are concerned is Mrs. Gafford. Not a common name; you don't regularly hear of Gaffords (outside of the few that you all know and love...). But before my kids came in from recess, I was looking over the math lesson and read the following:

Did you read the story problem next to letter a? It has my name! Right there in my math book was a story problem about Mrs. Gafford! I couldn't have been more shocked. Obviously I wouldn't have been so surprised if it was a more common name but I've never met a Gafford that I'm not related to (by marriage). I just got a kick out of that. I guess I'm easy to please. (My students thought it was pretty cool, too).

Labor Day a couple of days late

This past Monday (Labor Day), a couple from the church took David and I to the Minnesota State fair for an afternoon of fun and food. Here are a few highlights...

The Dahlia flower arrangement with a ballpark food theme,

The Sock monkey dress,

And of course, the deep fried candybar. Yum!

Thanks Deb and Steve! We had a wonderful time!

Monday, August 28, 2006


David and I were out this evening and happened upon this sign. I'm all for setting a time limit for the prime parking spots, but this is asking a bit much, don't you think?

An update...

My deepest apologies for the great lapse in blog updates. My reason is a combination of lack of internet and the fact that we've been INCREDIBLY busy the last couple of weeks. But, we now have internet up and working and here I am to catch you up on the whirlwind that has been our life.

Last weekend David and I flew back to our "investment property" in Michigan to move all of our belongings to Minnesota. We had reserved two U-Haul trucks (yes, it took 2, and yes, it's just the two of us...) about a month prior to the move. I don't know if any of you have had experience with U-Haul, but the way it works is you reserve the truck(s) in advance and then they call you the day before you are supposed to pick them up to tell you when and where they are available. Our reservations were to pick them up on Friday and our plan was to load on Friday evening and Saturday morning, clean the house, and be on the road mid-to-late-afternoon on Saturday. We got our call on Thursday, as expected, only they were calling to inform us that they had no trucks for us, but they would call back on Friday and maybe they would have some on Saturday. There was nothing we could do. So we kept packing and waited for our call on Friday. That call came and they again informed us that they still had no trucks for us, but they would call back on Saturday and maybe they would have some trucks for us on Sunday. At this point we were getting VERY frustrated; we were supposed to be on the road by Sunday; not loading a truck! Fortunately Saturday morning began with a couple of phone calls informing us of 2 trucks that had magically appeared in the night, I guess, and the marathon to load all of our belongings began. We were able to get loaded up and out of the house by evening and still made it to Minnesota by our expected deadline. Lessons learned: Michigan's economy is SO bad right now that U-Haul's are only leaving the state and none are coming back. They have to fly people to other places in the country and pay them to drive U-Haul's into Michigan. Also, we probably won't be calling U-Haul the next time we have to move...

We were blessed to have the help of Mom and Dad Gafford, both with the driving of the second U-Haul, and unpacking throughout the week that followed. I had to turn around and start preparing my classroom as soon as we got back to Minnesota, so I wasn't a whole lot of help at home. Their assistance was greatly appreciated!

Those of you who are addicted to the weather channel like me may have heard about the terrible storms and tornados that swept through Minnesota last week. Fortunately we didn't have any damage, but I was able to take these pictures from our back deck once the worst had passed by.

I hadn't thought about it at the time, but as I'm writing this blog, I'm reminded of that first rainbow for Noah and the covenant that it represented. Maybe this rainbow was for David and I and it was God saying, "Ok guys, it's safe to get off the boat. Continue to follow me and trust in me as you have over the last several months, and I promise not to send a flood of this magnitude ever again." Maybe not, but it sure is a good reminder and incentive to remember the lessons learned, so maybe I won't have to learn them all over again.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Home Sweet Home at Last

David- homeless for 72 days.

Melissa and Allie- home alone for 42 days, homeless for 30 days.

Having a home to call our own- priceless.

God has really hit a home-run with this one. We needed a home in Minnesota, but all we had was a home in Michigan. So, God put us in touch with the Sampson family. They had a home in Minnesota but needed a home in Poland. They are being transferred by 3M to Poland for two years and need someone to rent their house while they are away (still planning on returning to the same house in about two years). And just like that, God answers the prayers of the Sampsons and the Gaffords all at once. God provided a home less than five minutes away from church and school, where we can keep our dog, not have to sign a lease committing for a whole year, and not have to take on two mortgages for who-knows-how-long. And to top it off, it’s a much bigger house than we could afford on our own. God has truly blessed. Now we don’t have to worry about our Michigan house (as much), and when the time comes, we can take the time we need to really shop around and find the house that we really want; not just the best of what’s available at the time.

God is so good. He always provides. Why do I even bother worrying? He ALWAYS takes care of it by the time it needs taken care of. (Which usually doesn’t happen until a couple of months after I think it’s critical, but hey! Who am I?) These last 72 days (plus the 3 months prior) have been a very difficult time in our lives. But you know, now that it’s winding down (FINALLY!), I don’t know that I would really have it any other way because it has forced us to completely surrender to God. Our lives were completely out of our control, no matter how hard we tried. We eventually reached the point where we stopped fighting it and started living in faith literally one day at a time. It was a lesson that I admit, I needed to be reminded of. I’m just going to try really hard to remember it this time so we don’t have to go through this every few years!

Praise God for his provision and caring for the needs of His people.

Crisis averted with super-sleuthing skills

(Due to the content of this blog, the location of the following events will remain anonymous.)

So, we’re in house #4, expecting to move into our final destination later today. That will be a relief to finally be in our own home. We are incredibly grateful to all of those individuals who opened their homes up to David, Allie, and I over the last several months. You have all contributed to making this “unsettling” time of our lives more comfortable than we thought was possible. Before it’s all over, I had to have one great story to take with me, and it took place this morning.

David left the house around 8:15 to head to a Willow Creek Conference for the day. Allie and I followed David out the front door to wish him off and let Allie take care of her morning “business.” Upon completion of said business, we turned to head back inside. But alas, the door was locked. So here’s the situation: I’m in someone else’s house (in the middle of nowhere), while they are on vacation, I’ve locked myself out of the house with no shoes, no phone, just a dog. So I proceed to make my way around the house to check all other doors only do discover what I feared and expected… they were all locked as well. What to do? After pondering for a few minutes (in a bit of a panic), I decided to go next door and ask the neighbor for her spare key (we’d met previously and I knew she had one). One problem, though; she wasn’t home. Now what? Fortunately I’d at least left my car unlocked the night before so I stepped inside to warm up a bit. At this time in the morning, it was a bit chilly and breezy and I was in my bare feet. I sat in the car for about the next 45 minutes, hoping that the neighbor would come home, and trying to figure out some other way to get into the house. And then I saw it…the keypad on the garage door. Surely there was no way I could accurately guess the access code, but I had nothing but time to give it a try. So I got out of the car and approached the keypad. My husband will tell you that I am typically not the most observant person; I tend to be pretty oblivious most of the time. But this particular time something caught my attention. There was one digit on the keypad that looked particularly worn. Upon further investigation, I noticed another digit that looked worn as well. Not quite to the extent of the first number, but none-the-less worn. So I concluded that the access code must consist of these digits, with a repeat of the first digit. I tried a couple of combinations and then noticed yet another digit that looked slightly worn as well. I pressed it next and heard the most beautiful sound follow. The garage door was opening! I’d actually done it! I guessed the access code to someone’s garage! I ran inside hoping and praying that the door to the house was not also locked and was very relieved when the handle turned and I walked inside.

While this strategy helped me gain access to a house I was allowed to be in, I am also reminded to be cautious. If I was able to figure it out, surely a criminal mastermind could figure it out as well. So all of you with keypads on your garage, take a look and see if your digits are becoming obvious through all of the wear. It might be time to reprogram your garage door…

Monday, August 07, 2006

House #3: No internet

Sorry about the lapse in posts, but our third stop in our "Tour of Minnesota" is without internet and therefore it's been difficult to blog. David is in a meeting right now, so I'm on his office computer catching up on emails and blogs.

The big news here is that I got a job. I'll be teaching 4th grade at New Life Academy beginning September 5th. I used to teach 1st grade and then I took a break and taught 3 year old preschool for the last few years, so I'm a little nervous about the age jump, but I'm sure it'll all be fine. I know the job was provided by God and He, along with the school administration apparently think I'm up to the task, so I will give it my all. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Life's picking up

It seems as though the pace of my life is starting to pick up finally. This is a good thing. I know I still have a ways to go before my life is back to "normal", but it's nice to have things to do each day. I thought I'd share some highlights of the last several days.

Our church had a baptismal service on Saturday morning at a nearby lake. It was followed up by a picnic. The weather was fantastic and it was such a great opportunity for us to meet people from church in a more relaxed setting. No one was in a rush; we had time to just sit and visit for a while. That helps me so much when it comes to remembering new people, especially their names!

We've moved into our second house this week. Allie thinks she's died and gone to heaven because we are now living with THREE other dogs. The Bents have 2 dachsunds (Annabelle and Dexter) and an 11-week old retriever pup named Ellie. So we have an Allie and an Ellie. It's been a little confusing. We'll say "Ellie, No!" and Allie will look at us like, "What did I do?" Or we'll say "Allie, come" and Ellie will come romping up to us. It's been fun. Allie loves playing with other dogs. but it's taken them a couple of days to come to the point where they want to play at the same time. Usually, the other three will be playing and Allie will stand back and watch, or Allie will want to play and the others won't be interrested. By the end of the week they should have it all figured out...just in time for us to move to the next house!

David and I had the opportunity to participate in our first small group meeting EVER! None of our former churches have had small groups. We've really missed out; we had a great time tonight getting to know other couples our age. We look forward to continuing on with this group for a while and hopefully lead one of our own once things settle down a bit. We also look forward to recruiting their help when we unload our moving trucks! That's what small groups do, right? :-)

I continue looking for a job. The search is going well, though, compared to when we moved to Michigan. I've been able to meet the right people who are helping my resume move through a little faster than if I were on my own. I have an interview scheduled at one of the local puplic elementaries for Monday morning at 11:30 and then also a possible interview at the Christian school on Monday as well. We'll see how it goes. I figure I'll give it my best shot and leave it up to God. He knows what I can handle better than I do and He won't give me more than I can take.

I'll close with this picture of Ellie, the retriever puppy. She's growing up with dachsunds, which are a very small breed of dog. Ellie seems to think that she is also a small dachsund because she frequently tries to fit in small spaces or under low objects. Here she is "hiding" from Allie underneath a dining room chair. She's got a real clumbsy phase coming her way real soon as she discovers her true size! We've gotten a real kick out of Ellie and are enjoying the fun of the puppy phase without the responsibility of the puppy phase.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The "Green" Room

Greetings all! I know that it has been awhile since I (David) have posted to our little slice of internet heaven, but here we go! I've been here in Minnesota for about 7 weeks now, and the people have been fantastic! The church is very relevant to the surrounding community and the pastoral staff is clear to lead in the direction that the senior pastor has for us. I have the opportunity to lead a great creative team that works very hard to see extraordinary elements added to our thematic services. I wish you could all visit!

But I digress...

Our latest project which Melissa has illuded to in her last post is our greenroom just off-stage of our main stage. I really wish that we had a before and after picture to show you, but we just dove into the project without taking any pictures. (This is what happens when you live in a vacant house with no furniture. You look for things to do...) We started by working with various ministries cleaning out this little back storage room that seemed to be missing a purpose, and here's what it turned into after 3 trips to Ikea and a short jaunt to Target. We enjoyed our first visit to Ikea... Ikea's computers were down for the afternoon, and they were checking people out by pad & pen working from outdated source books. The average time that it took our distressed checkout assistant to check out one person was around 30 minutes. We were third in line and it took around 90 minutes for us to get out the door. Was it worth it? You tell us! We are hoping that our arts department volunteers will find it as a place to call home during our 4 weekend services this fall.

That's all for now, but more to come!