Saturday, October 15, 2016

September: Project 365, the 2016 Edition

Sunday, September 4

Brats on the grill is how we celebrated Labor Day a day early. Enjoyed the evening with Kyle, Tina and the kids. Simon was quite proud of his prowess on his trike. He'd hop on, take a trip around the driveway, and hop off:
Until one trip down the driveway ended in a spill. He normally jumps back up and says "I okay!" but he suffered scrapes on arms, legs and face. He was most definitely not okay!
Pobrecito :(

Wednesday, September 7

In Chicago we discovered Uber! So much easier to get around and not have to worry about finding (or paying) for a parking space.

Have to share this über cute studio photo of Betsy! That face!

Thursday, September 8

We went to Chicago for a five-day training course with the new business (HP Home Rescue). The training took place at the Hyatt Place in South Chicago. I thought this art installation was really cool, comprised of around 10,000 tiny kitschy souvenirs.

Friday, September 9


Cannot believe my baby is three decades old :) They celebrated by going to the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky.

Saturday, September 10

The weather was (mostly) beautiful during our stay in Chicago, but we only got to see the sunlight during breaks. During lunch Ivan ventured up to the roof to take some pictures. I really liked this one:

Over to the other side and this was his view:

In the evening there was a meet-and-greet event and we had our picture taken with Than Merrill, one of the co-owners of the real estate investing educational company doing the training. Some of you may remember him from Flip This House (his team was featured on the show from 2007-2009).

Sunday, September 11

Sort of felt like shouting "School's out! School's out!" when our training ended :) Here's the sidewalk outside the conference center. In the midst of large, tall buildings and concrete everywhere, it was refreshing to see a bit of green.

Monday, September 12

We stayed in Chicago an extra couple of days, but switched hotels to be closer to Midway Airport. It didn't take us long to realize there was an IKEA nearby. A little bit of online research indicated IKEA now carries some GF options, including some vegan meatballs that were introduced last year.
I won't be ordering them again. I've read their ribs are also GF so I'll try those next time.

Honestly, the whole Chicago eating experience was sad. Mostly because of the area where we were; there just weren't any good options for dining out. Our first night we went to a restaurant I shall not name, but which supposedly had GF options. But then I noticed tiny print at the bottom of the menu that said, "Gluten free ingredients but not a gluten free environment." What does that even mean? Well, in the case of this particular place it meant they cooked the GF pasta IN THE SAME WATER as regular pasta. What?!?! How can they claim it's gluten free when they do that?! After some online searching, we learned about a GF store/restaurant (they had a few stools and a microwave to heat up what you bought) that wasn't too far away. After two days of salad, salad and more salad, I was starving! So we took an Uber there, ate, liked it, and I bought several ready-to-eat meals to take for the next few days' lunches. And on Friday we went to the closest Whole Foods and stocked up for the weekend. Next time we go to Chicago, I hope we can stay in the area where there are better options for eating out!

Tuesday, September 13

The reason we stayed in Chicago was so we could pick up our former co-worker at the airport. Tito brought some things for us from Argentina, so it worked out well to get those things from him, and be able to spend some time together catching up. First we went to a pizzeria near the airport -- turned out the owner is Argentine! (Yes, I ate salad again but boy, did that deep dish look and smell amazing!)
Then Tito had to go through all his suitcases to pull out our things. We'd parked on a shady side street so it was easy to line up the suitcases on the grass. We'd also brought along a suitcase to replace the old one of ours Tito had brought (no wheels, awkward to haul around), so there was some reorganizing to do. It was too funny so I had to snap this photo!

Wednesday, September 14

What's wrong with this picture?

Thursday, September 15

Kyle was out of town for a big RV show in Pennsylvania, so I spent a few days with Tina and the kids. Simon was thrilled to show me his new train tent:

Tina had a photo shoot in the morning but as soon as she was done, we were out the door and on our way to Costco. The kids enjoyed having lunch there. Betsy was lovin' the hot dog!

Friday, September 16

I'd taken a Sonoma GF flatbread (my favorite frozen GF food so far) and Tina made a lovely  caprese salad to go with it for lunch. Yum!

Thursday, September 22

Work progresses on the house near Chapman Lake:

Totally stealing this from Jon's Facebook timeline. I just love it!

Friday, September 23

And this one (which I also stole). Adalyn loves the beach as much as her parents do, so she's always happy when they get to go.

I'd forgotten what a big deal Homecoming is in the Midwest. We're not too far from the high school and the parade went right by the house in the evening.

Saturday, September 24

Ivan and I got to spent the afternoon and evening with Simon and Betsy while Kyle and Tina went out to dinner. On our way to their house we went to South Bend and had lunch at the Fiddler's Hearth.

We always have so much fun with these two!

Monday, September 26

Received a book I'd ordered from amazon, but whoever packed it didn't seal the box. The book slid down and the spine stuck tight against the adhesive strip on the box. Could not get it off!
Since it's for a gift, I had to send it back and get another. Thankfully the second one arrived unscathed.

Wednesday, September 28

Another stolen photo; this one from Tina. Simon really loved bowling, and he got such a kick out of the mechanism that moved the balls back up the return lane!

Thursday, September 29

Couldn't resist sharing this studio shot Tina took of the kids. Photographer's kids know how to ham it up for the camera :)

Friday, September 30

Jon, Nat and Adalyn were all sick and after days of being cooped up, they were desperate to get out of the house. This is what going out to lunch when you're still feeling ill looks like :)

So I "borrowed" almost a fourth of the photos in this post. I have seriously lost my photo-taking mojo. All year I've been hoping I'd get it back, but it just doesn't seem to be happening. This year has been such a roller-coaster with moving back to the U.S. and struggling physically and emotionally with that decision. But I'm choosing to show myself grace through this transition and just do the best I can. As I've said so often in the past, and will probably continue to say: Es lo que hay!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Memories of Bo

Oscar Fields, Jr.

November 27, 1956 - October 9, 2016

I've shared on Facebook that my cousin died on Sunday. His given name was Oscar and I guess some people did call him that, but to the family he was always Bimbo or Bo. I have so many wonderful memories of Bo! I was really impressed as a child that he could wiggle his ears! And I remember one summer he was on crutches, but boy was he fast! He was faster on his crutches than I was without them. Of course he was also almost three years older. (Or at least that's what I told myself, so I didn't feel quite so bad about him being faster than me.)

We spent ten years living in Michigan when I was a kid, but we went back to Kentucky every summer at least once. I loved staying with Aunt Lizzie and the cousins. Bo was closest to my age, and he put up with me and let me tag along on his adventures. He was the only one who could ever talk me into going out on the swinging bridge down by the country store. And stinker that he was, he'd wait until I was in the middle and then start jumping up and down and causing it to sway. You'd think I'd learn, wouldn't you? But he must have pulled that stunt half a dozen times. Bo loved to get into mischief but he had a heart of pure gold and didn't have a mean bone in his body.

When we moved back to Kentucky just as I was starting high school, Bo was a senior and being his cousin made the transition a whole lot easier than it would have been otherwise. He was always there if I needed advice or help.

He was that way with everyone. He was the very definition of loyal. Everyone who knew him loved him. He believed that you took care of your family, did your job well, helped your neighbor and got involved in your community. His loss is a loss not only for his family but for all of Leslie County, where he was born, raised and lived his life. 

I haven't gotten to see the cousins very often, as we're spread far and wide. Our last trip to Kentucky was in 2011. We stayed with Ruth, Bo's older sister, but while we were there Bo and Char invited us over for a wonderful meal. Bo was never a big talker, but his steady presence made you feel welcome and comfortable. It was obvious he was happy and content with his life. He and Char have been married since 1978. They raised two wonderful, accomplished children.
Brice (on the right in the picture above) will be getting married next April. Erin and her husband, Tommy, have been married almost three years and just had an adorable daughter in June. The following photo of Bo with his granddaughter absolutely melts my heart.
Bo was the baby of the family and I know this is really hard on my cousins, too. As they gather to mourn their loss, my thoughts and prayers are with them. I wish I could be there, too, as they share their memories and grieve together.
That isn't possible, so I was thinking through what I could do... And realized that, after living on three continents, and two distinct regions within the U.S., I no longer have a clue what's appropriate protocol in this situation. No surprise that there are different funeral traditions around the world. Having lived "away' for my entire adult life, I simply could not remember what protocol was for back home. I missed the funeral for Aunt Lizzie, who died while we were in Argentina. I think the last funeral I went to in Kentucky was for my mom, way back in 1988.

We'll figure it out, but my mind (like the little silver ball in a pin ball machine) started bouncing all over the place, thinking about all that's involved in the death of a loved one. There's a lot of paperwork, so the nearest and dearest has to deal with that on top of everything else. Even for the most organized person -- and Char is extremely organized -- it's going to be tough. My prayers will continue for Char, as she deals with the "business" of Bo's death even while she grieves. For Erin and Brice as they face a new reality of life without their father. For Grace, Ruth, James and Bobbie Jean as they mourn the loss of their baby brother. A lot of people will miss Bo tremendously, but these are the folks who will feel the loss most deeply.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

August: Project 365, the 2016 Edition

Saturday, August 6

Our Saturday morning walks in downtown Warsaw include taking in the weekly Farmer's Market. A street is blocked off by the courthouse and vendors set up tents and tables selling everything from syrup to vegetables to home-made soap... One vendor always has homemade Scotch eggs which Ivan enjoyed for the first time this summer. Sadly I couldn't have any because they are most definitely not gluten free -- leading me to attempt making a gluten free version myself.
Not the prettiest picture, but they were quite good served with a homemade peach syrup we also bought at the market. Definitely making them again!

Saturday, August 13

We sure enjoy any time we can get with our grandkids. I get to see them just about every week when I go to pick up that week's CSA share, but Ivan only gets to see them 2-3 times a month. I don't always remember to take photos but today I did. Let me tell you, it's not easy getting decent photos of little people in constant motion :)

Sunday, August 14


We were able to skype with Adalyn (and her parents) today. One of these years we'd love to be with her there in person to celebrate on her birthday, but meanwhile we're just grateful for Skype and photos on Facebook, like this one:

Tuesday, August 16

We've been enjoying fresh produce via a CSA in Elkhart. Today's haul included a huge head of cabbage.
Isn't it beautiful?!

Saturday, August 20

HP Home Rescue has several homes in various stages of progress, including these two:
This house near Chapman Lake was a down-to-the-studs project that's close to being done.  It's where Ivan has spent most of his time recently.
But he's also worked on the plumbing at this new build right here in town.

Sunday, August 21

Today was the start of the annual missions conference at Pleasant View Bible Church. One of my favorite parts is the Parade of Flags at the start of the morning service; then throughout the conference the flags line the stage.

Tuesday, August 23 

I've been a fan of MudLOVE for years. Today I was downtown and decided to stop at their store (you can shop online, too). For every product you buy, you help provide clean water to someone for a week. Organizations can also contract with them to have fundraisers by selling their products. Wonderful organization! Anyway, outside was a bin of clearance bracelets, some with the wrist bands and some without. I spent an inordinate amount of time going through the bin and ended up getting this one, and choosing a band in one of my favorite colors:
There are many reasons for choosing this particular one: (1) a reminder to watch my words; sometimes -- too often -- I use an excessive amount; (2) the importance of story; and (3) the impact of our of words...

I've followed Amy Beth for years, since she regularly blogged about the ministry she started while in college, and then via Facebook as she married, fostered and eventually adopted two sisters. Amy Beth's Facebook post about an object lesson she taught her older daughter, who was starting middle school, ended up going viral. It appeared on many online sites as well on various news outlets, including The Today Show. She had asked her daughter to squeeze toothpaste onto a plate, then asked her to put the paste back into the tube. When her daughter protested, Gardner told her to remember the plate of toothpaste for the rest of her life. "Just like this toothpaste, once the words leave your mouth, you can't take them back," she said.

I'd encourage you to read the rest of the story if you haven't already seen it. Bottom line: our words matter.

Friday, August 26

On Fridays Alan and Sharon's sons come for dinner, giving everyone a chance to catch up and just enjoy some really good food. Like these bacon wrapped stuffed hot peppers that served as appetizers tonight.
Oh.My. These were so good! And a great way to use up the jalapeños that had accumulated from the CSA over several weeks. We'll be making these again!

Saturday, August 27

We got to watch Betsy while Kyle and Tina took Simon to the circus, and then both kids while their parents went out to eat. No photos of Simon; he was pretty tired so it was dinner and bed for him when he got home. But I did snap this (kinda blurry) photo of Betsy standing at her play kitchen.

And I took this crazy photo of Ivan and manipulated it in Photo Booth using the kaleidoscope option.

Sunday, August 28

Few churches have missions conferences these days, but PVBC does it up big! There are activities every day from one Sunday to the next, finishing up with a Taste of the World event. Representing Argentina, we bought baguettes which we sliced thinly and served with a dollop of chimicurri that Ivan made. Unfortunately we had no idea what a big deal this was going to be and ran out (even though Ivan made a triple batch of chimi). Next time we'll know and be better prepared!
I wish I'd taken notes of what different missionaries served from their countries, but we were too busy dishing up chimi appetizers. After the initial rush, we did take turns going around the gym and checking out the different booths. The only thing I felt safe trying was the borscht made by another missionary with celiac. And I learned later that there were booths in two other rooms. Next year I'll make sure to hit them all :)     


Once again I didn't do very well at remembering to take photos this month. I missed so many opportunities! I need to put a daily reminder on my iPhone calendar to help me with that.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

July: Project 365, the 2016 Edition

Saturday, July 2

A beautiful sunset as we drove home from Elkhart.

Tuesday, July 5

Jon, Natalie and Adalyn are here! So fun to spend time together, and see how much Adalyn has grown since we saw her in November.

Wednesday, July 6

Our kids gave us the best gift ever -- a photo shoot of the whole family! Here are just a few of the great shots taken by Jennifer Buehrer, owner of Luna Dulce Photography, and long-time family friend (she was in youth group when Ivan was youth pastor).

Then Jon and Nat ordered a large canvas of the whole family that will hold pride of place when we get into a place of our own. I'll get 8"x10" prints of other pictures from the photo shoot for what will become a gallery wall.

Friday, July 15

One of the projects HP Home Rescue is working on is a new build, using a technique new to Ivan: steel frame construction.

Saturday, July 16

We spent the weekend with one of the pastors from our home church, his wife, and another couple who had been missionaries in Ukraine. Can't even begin to say how much it helped to kick back with people who understand, who "get" what we're going through. It was a weekend filled with good food, lots of laughter and conversation around the table.

We did keep up with our (almost) daily walking schedule, and the only picture I took all weekend was during the walk. You'd think I'd have taken a photo of our friends, but no, my one and only snapshot was from a bridge over the creek near their home.

Monday, July 25

We've enjoyed meandering around downtown Warsaw during our morning walks. The city has a temporary art installation called the Walk-n-Wander, featuring twenty life-size bronze sculptures by Seward Johnson scattered throughout town. It's been fun to insert ourselves into the tableaus. Here's Ivan with the mariachi singers...

Wednesday, July 27

...and me joining the mom and her son petting the bunny.
The statues really do look life-like, don't they?!

Thursday, July 28

This cat wasn't at all bothered by passersby on this morning's walk. I guess the sunny spot on the fence was quite cozy.

Friday, July 29

A remodeling project has kept Ivan occupied most of the time, but he is still involved in the steel frame house as well. Today he stopped by to check on the in-floor radiant heat system...

Saturday, July 30

...and with that installed, it was time to pour the finished concrete floor.

Then we celebrated Mother's 95th birthday! She actually turned 95 yesterday, but the party was today. I couldn't find my phone to take a photo so this is from Rita.
It was my first attempt at a gluten free cake. I have a long way to go to master a light, fluffy GF cake, but I'm determined to do my best. It looks so pretty because Sharon agreed to decorate it.

Sunday, July 31

Another hot, muggy day but we found some shady spots at the Biblical Gardens in Warsaw.