Sleeping Bear Dunes

It is embarrassing to admit that I somehow missed Tim’s note (on the sidebar) explaining the banner picture at the top of the blog. Ahem. Sorry about that, Dear. I should have known that a conscientious blogophile like you would be sure to identify the picture for our readers.

While we were visiting my family in Michigan, we had the opportunity to go to the Sleeping Bear Dunes with my parents and my brother’s three children. I have to write about our dune adventure lest people (who, like me, didn’t read Tim’s note) think the picture at the top of the blog is just some random shot of the beach and nearby lake.

And, frankly, a rather boring picture at that.

Well, in our defense, that isn’t just some dull old two-dimensional shot of sand and water, it’s where we stood overlooking the water, 400 + feet above Lake Michigan on a mountain (okay, hill) of sand. Sand that we were going to climb DOWN. Truly a picture fraught with danger and excitement.

The picture looks a little more impressive now, doesn’t it? Oh yeah.

Rachel and Tahlia
Rachel and Tahlia are definitely ready for an adventure.

We didn’t make it very far (okay, it was the observation deck before we even started climbing) and one of the children took a little tumble. Thankfully, there were “nurses” on hand to distribute bandaids and supervise the first aid care.

chase and the girls
It’s a good thing Sarah and Aydia were there to help Chase get his bandaids on straight.

The plan was for the hikers (Grandad, Tim, the 8 children and myself) to climb down the sand dunes to the water, walk along the beach and meet up with the driver (Mamie) who would park at a vehicle-accessible entrance to the lake. This tidy scheme was devised so that the hikers wouldn’t have to climb back up the sand precipice. We were a bit confused about where to begin our descent, but said a hearty farewell to my mom and set off like the intrepid explorers you read about in books.

It turns out those fearless adventurers, plucky though they may be, are FICTIONAL. In real life, things are a wee bit more complicated and, er, rather fearful.

looking for a place to descend

It wasn’t until AFTER my mom left that we realized there wasn’t any clear way to descend the dune, certainly nothing that seemed fitting for four and six year olds. Ooops.


sarah and tim

Standing on the sand dunes overlooking Lake Michigan is a good time for a little father/daughter talk.
“Daddy, where is the path down?”
“I don’t know, Sarah.”
“Are we going to die, Daddy?”
“No, Sarah, I don’t think we are going to die (just yet).”
“But there isn’t any way to get down the mountain and Mamie already left!”
“I know, Sarah. Why don’t you go see what Mommy’s doing?”

The older children thought it was a grand adventure and were eager to help Tim and Grandad find a good spot to navigate the near-vertical descent of the dunes. I spent most of my time shouting, “Don’t go too close to the edge until we’re ready to climb down.” I’m sure that was very helpful.


One push and David could seriously eliminate the competition. We’ll see who gets “voted off” the dune.

Reluctantly accepting the fact that we had to get to the meeting place where Mamie was waiting and couldn’t really stay at the top of the dune all day (although eventually she might come back looking for us), Tim and my dad found a possible path that just might get us to the bottom in one piece.

Tim went first with Daniel following at a cautious distance. The sand shifted alarmingly beneath their feet, and they stopped frequently to avoid excessive momentum. Despite a brief slip on Daniel’s part, they really made it look quite easy. Tim later shared his fears that one or more of the children would flip forward and tumble 400 feet to their death; happily, he didn’t describe this in any detail until we were safe at the bottom. Tim claims he had already made up his mind to shout, “As you wish” (ala The Princess Bride) if he fell.

down he goesback up again

The rest of us climbed down in teams, emboldened by Daniels courageous example. Joshua stuck with David, Rachel and Tahlia went together, Dad had Chase and Aydia, and I held (tight) to Sarah. David thought the whole thing rather grand and practically ran down the dune, towing his brother after him. Rachel and Tahlia talked the entire time, following behind Joshua and David. Chase and Aydia were quite scared (perhaps they shared some of Tim’s visions of plummeting, tumbling, falling children). My dad intended to take Aydia down and let Chaseton accompany the older boys but Chase insisted he wanted to go with a grownup. A little bit of shuffling (very careful shuffling, so as not to disturb the shifting sand) and Dad had a child on each side. Aydia cried a good portion of the trip with Grandad doing his best to keep his balance and comfort her at the same time. No easy feat. At one point Grandad and Chase and Aydia were riding a moving wave of sand about the size of a picnic table, barely moving their feet but descending at a good pace.

grandad and the kidsclose up

To Tim’s considerable surprise, we all made it safely to the lakeshore, where the kids enthusiastically greeted the surf.

david made it!

That was fun. Let’s do it again!

About a mile south along the water, we rejoined Mamie and spent a pleasant hour swimming and building up an appetite for pizza on the way home.

ready for supper

We’re Alive! We’re Alive! We’ve got drinks and cards, now to get some pizza and life will be good.

Although it certainly didn’t eclipse Phil’s wedding as the event of the week, it was a near thing in the minds of the children.

Project 365 – Day 177

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Disappearing blogs

I did post a blog last night. Really, I did. Some of you even got a nice little e-mail notification. Sorry about that. Is there such a thing as blogging false alarms? The gal who cried “Blog!” Thankfully it wasn’t a very brilliant or witty, or even mildly amusing, post. The pictures, often a redeeming factor in the blog, were only average. So actually, you should be thanking me for sparring you the annoyance of a sub par blog.

What happened is I posted the blog to our old server whereas Tim has moved everything to the new server. It all seems a bit science fiction-y to me but I listen attentively and murmur words of encouragement as needed. I’m sure that I am a big help.

It has definitely been a big job to move everything over to this new server. I still don’t understand why the hosting company isn’t more helpful. Let’s see, I pay you MORE money each month and then I do all the work myself? Of course! Silly me.

david's tortured look

David is VERY upset about all of the website trouble we’ve been having. Look at that agony, the boy is suffering.

To add insult to injury, I left my camera at our pastor’s house last night when we were over for dinner. Boy, getting it back from him is probably going to be costly.

“Sure, Kathy, you can have your camera. Which class would you like to teach for VBS? Oh, sorry Kathy, I left your camera at home. You can have it tomorrow, maybe, but first let’s talk about the need we have for nursery workers.”

Shew. Holding a camera for ransom seems low, even for a pastor.

rachel's hat

What would I do without these self-portraits of some of my favorite children?

Of course, being an overachiever in the Project 365 department, I do have a few other pictures to choose from for the odd blog (odd being the number, not content or state of the blogger). On Sunday we had lunch with Tim’s family. During our conversation it came out that Rebecca (15 yrs. next month) has some sensory “issues.” She even went so far as to call my beloved orange chair (Orange Crush) “almost evil.” I guess the pseudo velour fabric isn’t to her liking. So, of course, before she left we had to tie her up and make her sit in it.

That’s the kind of loving family we are.

rebecca is tortured

How can you NOT like this chair? Some people have no taste.

Tim’s brother insists that these kind of odd quirks and eccentricities always accompany a true genius so we’re trying not to be overly concerned about Rebecca.

Of course, when I’m not tying up nieces and nephews and forcing them to face their fears, I occasionally torture them with family pictures.

“You’ll thank me later,” I tell them but so far no one has. Blogging has created a photo monster in me, what can I say. I’ve heard scrapbookers talk about how, after years of scrapping, they begin to compose pictures to fit in their oval and circle cropping stencils. Some even dress their family members in clothing matches their scrapbook paper. By comparison, I’m almost normal. Almost.

three generations

Three generations!

We aren’t wearing matching shirts or even perfectly coordinated colors but I think it works.

the ladies

We needed Tim’s sister and her family to complete the photo shoot.

I apologize for any any e-mail troubles you’ve had with our account or wild blogging goose chases you might have experienced this week. Tim is slowly working through all the steps to ensure everything is working smoothly.

Project 365 – Day 203

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We’re Working On It

I was advised to blog WITHOUT pictures this evening. What? Horrors! Is such a thing even allowed on this blog??? Truly I am a bit concerned. The last time I tried a wee little tiny blog without pictures there were serious consequences. It wasn’t pretty. Experiences like that are enough to scar a girl.

And yet.
And yet.

A post with some content is better than a blank page or even a dreaded ERROR message!!

Ahem, our website is in a bit of disarray, as Tim works to move things on to the new, virtual server. Having never done this before, he’s hitting a nice learning curve along the way. Oh, yes, and he has a few other things on his plate these days (not asparagus pancakes although those are always tasty) like work, children, church responsibilities, mine and Sarah’s birthdays to celebrate (July isn’t over yet!), important stuff like that.

I don’t know why I continue linking to old blogs since all of the pictures are temporarily (I surely hope!!!) gone. Too bad, as those asparagus topped pancakes were really something.

It’s funny to think of how we become dependent on technology and, in this case, pour so much of ourselves into something that can easily be wiped away. I guess that’s true for most anything. A gorgeous scrapbook could be lost or destroyed just as effortlessly. A quilt stained or ripped. A painting scratched. Even people are vulnerable to injury and death. In comparison a blog seems so transient and ephemeral, there’s nothing to hold or touch.

I apologize for the disruption in the normal blogging schedule. It is my hope (and prayer) that Tim will not have any undue difficulty in completing the process and restoring the rest of the blog (including those precious pictures).

Thank you for your patience,

Who did take some Project 365 pictures today even if they aren’t ever posted on the blog

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Bloggy Give Away

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A fellow blogger, Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer, is hosting a blog giveaway this week. Click on the blue link to check out her blog — Give Away. Bloggers from far and wide have stopped in at Shannon’s blog to list their giveaways. At this point there are over 300 people offering fun treats of all sizes and shapes. What a great idea to spice things up in the middle of the July!

Most of the contests are randomly drawn so everyone has a chance to win. Enjoy the fun! If you have a blog and want to offer a giveaway, be sure to add yourself to the list. There are instructions on Shannon’s site.

Kathy – off to sign up and WIN something!! :)

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Walking On the Word of God

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

On Saturday Rachel and I stopped by to visit some friends. They are just completing the building of their new home and we have been privileged to watch, with excitement and wonder, the different stages of development over the past year. Tim and his brother Mark, along with the older boys, helped move the piano into the study on Saturday afternoon. The finishing touches are slowly and steadily being completed. It’s truly amazing to look around this beautiful home and know that Pam and Jay have done almost all of the work themselves.


Zachary is excited to move into the new house.

I heard that the carpeting was to be installed on Monday, covering the plywood floors of the upstairs, and thought that offered a unique opportunity. Treasuring and pondering the words in Hebrews about the LIVING Word of God, I asked if I could come over and write some verses on the bare floors. Receiving permission, Rachel and I brought our bag of Sharpie markers, grabbed two Bibles and set about to work.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

This family has been dear friends to us for many years and their love for the Lord is sincere and true. I was overwhelmed with a desire to bless and anoint the house with God’s Word in any way I could. I kept thinking about the power of walking in and on and through the living and breathing Word.

emily's closet

Emily works on the floor of her closet.

My Bible reading the night before led me to a verse for the boys’ bedroom which in turn brought me to a passage for the girls’ room. Suddenly I was eager to find verses for each of the upstairs rooms. A song of praise for the Lord in a room where music will be practiced, a reminder about physical training and godliness on the floor of the exercise area, verses about love and respect and marriage in the master suite, the passage from Philippians about thinking on that which is noble and pure and lovely and right for the library, the Bible treasure hunt was on.

the armor of God

After just a few minutes, Rachel and I were joined by Pam, Zachary and Emily, Bibles and Sharpies in hand. For close to an hour we copied Bible verses onto the bare, rough wooden floors of the upstairs. Pam found verses about clothing yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience and wrote them in the closet. Zachary wrote down his favorite verse, John 3:16. Emily copied parts of Proverbs 31.

zach's verse


It was a precious, sweet time, as we worked all the while amidst hammering and nailing as Jay put up the trim and the little ones played. Zachary told me he wished he could copy the whole Bible on the floor of his room so he could easily turn to just the right verse. There is power in God’s Word. It is ALIVE. It is HOLY. It is the power to change and transform our lives.

For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. (Hebrews 3:4)

May our hearts and homes be built on the solid foundation that is only found in Jesus Christ!!


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