Friday, December 22, 2006

A stormy fall

First came the rain and flooding, setting a new record for the wettest November. (And brought some great snow to the mountains)

Then came the snow. We had to resort to unusual means to get the trash down to the bottom of the driveway. Our driveway and road were a sheet of ice for several days.

And then came WINDSTORM 2006! Seriously, this was a big one. Over 500,000 households lost power, some for quite a long time... like us, for instance. We got out power back at 10:00 last night after 8 days without power. The pictures below were taken the morning after, when we journeyed out with our chain saw to assess the damage. You can probably detect the reasons for the power outage. The bottom picture is right at the bottom of our driveway.

We got along pretty well... We took showers at the pool and at friends' houses, ate out part of the time, and wore our little head lamps around at night. We have a generator that powers our computers, microwave, frig and freezer, plus a couple lights. We slept on the futon in our family room, where the fire is, and we hung quilts over the entrances to keep the heat in the core of the house. It's kind of like camping in our house!

Being without power for so long has given new meaning to the prophesy of the coming of Christ in Isaiah, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light." Each day we look forward to the sun coming up, and are very aware of the coming of darkness in the evening. The activities of our day revolve around the available daylight. This helps us understand the longing of the Israelites long ago for their Messiah, the great Light who would overpower the darkness, who would give them direction and hope in a dark world. Each year we celebrate Jesus' birth at the darkest time of the year, when candles, Christmas lights, and the joy of family gatherings bring brightness into this dark time, just as Jesus, the light of the world, brings hope, joy and peace into our darkness.

Other stuff we've been up to...

In August, Dan and Keith made a bedside table. Looks like they are overdoing it with the clamps...

I love being involved in the junior high ministry at our church. I teach 6th graders on Sunday morning, which is really fun (I love that age) and sometimes I go on retreats. During the summer I braved the heat, sun, and loud rock music at Creation, a Christian music festival. I also went on an urban mission trip in Seattle, where we helped organizations who provide food for the needy. It is great to see youth get really excited about serving others, and get a clue about how much they have and how needy some people are. I hope it will stick with them.

I have also enjoyed using my latent teaching skills by tutoring at First Place School in Seattle, a multi-racial school for children in homeless shelters. When placed in a small classroom and caring environment with extra help, these kids make tremendous progress.

Another sunny Chili Cook-off! And this one was at the end of September.

Musical happenings

Meet Matteo, Dan's baroque guitar! It has five gut strings instead of the standard six strings on a regular guitar. He plays it in the Early Music Continuo group, pictured below. Both Dan and I sing with this group, and it is great fun to be accompanied by such a diverse and unusual group of instruments. We went to Wesley Gardens last year to sing for the old folks there, including Dan's mom.

We also still sing in Opus 7 (you can visit the link if you'd like) and in a small ensemble at church.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


We took a short trip to Victoria with my parents in May.

We camped at Banks Lake with a bunch of friends. We took several hikes and were surprised by the beauty of the area. We spent most of our time in the water, swimming, canoeing and going for wild bonzai rides (and even flipped). Community dinners were fun, too. While we ate the food, the mosquitos ate us.

During the hottest weekend of the summer, Dan and I went backpacking with my brother Larry and a couple of his friends to Windy Gap, near Mt. Rainier. The sunsets and the wildflowers were beautiful!

We enjoyed vivid fall colors on a hike to Ingalls Lake, near Mt. Stuart.

At the end of October, we traveled to Kauai, a spot we'd been wanting to visit for a long time. We found it to be the most pristine of the islands, much to our delight.

This is the Waimea Canyon.

This is the last beach before the deserted Napali coast, where we found some wonderful snorkeling (as well as a bunch of free roaming roosters). We hiked four miles along the coast and up to a waterfall, and swam in pools along the way.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Family news

This year, our family has many occasions to gather together.

On New Year’s Day we celebrated my birthday and Keith’s graduation with a dinner at the Calcutta Grill.

Since January, Celia and Keith have both been studying at Regent College in Vancouver. It's nice to have them closer to home! They live in a basement apartment. Their landlords, a wonderful Christian family, have become their friends as well. Here they are with some friends at their apartment:

Celia and Keith both love to open their home to their friends, most of them fellow Regent students. They love the community at school.

Celia and Keith joined us at Whistler for a few days. While we were there, I presented Celia with her sweater, a graduation present. This was probably the most difficult knitting project I have ever done.

Celia still has lots of opportunities to play her cello and viola da gamba, at school and church. She attended a couple of music workshops over the summer.

Colin decided not to go through the official graduation exercises, so we put on our own! Celia and Keith were there to help us. Colin was staying one last night at the dorm and then riding his bike home. When we expected him home, we put on a very bad continuous recording of “Pomp and Circumstance”. Everyone dressed up in caps and gowns and funny hats and we had a mock ceremony. It was just the kind of celebration Colin could appreciate.

That evening we went to Outback steakhouse to celebrate with the grandparents.

Early in July, Colin left for six weeks in China.

The team spent the first week in Beijing sightseeing and doing extensive orientation, including a lot of study of Chinese history and culture. They spent four weeks in Ningxia autonomous region, where each team member was paired with a Chinese student.

Colin is pictured here with Allen, his Chinese counterpart. the group held classes on their respective cultures during the week and went on outings on the weekends.

The day after Colin left, he received a job offer from Boeing, which he accepted. So now Colin is working for Boeing in Everett, in structural design on the 747-8. For a while he carpooled with Dan; (it's hard to imagine Colin getting up at 5:20, but he did it!) In November he moved to an apartment in Edmonds; our thrifty son found almost all his furnishing free via Craig's list. He has signed up to host an international student at Edmonds Community College, and hopes to have someone in January. Ministry with international students is a growing passion of Colin's, coming out of his experience in China and with his conversation partner at the U, Jianlei, who has joined us for several holiday celebrations.

Here we are at Thanksgiving. Nice to have everyone together.