Jun 29 2013

Day 1540: Sammy Rides Again

by andrew

I keep trying to imagine how the pioneers must have felt crossing the expansive untamed regions of our country back in the days when all forward motion was biologically powered. What did they do for repairs? If a wagon wheel broke did they stop, cut down a tree, and make a new one right there on the spot (if and once they were out of spares of course)? There were no grocery stores back then or Wal-Mart parking lots to park in overnight either. Food must have been what they could carry or kill, and supplies would come down to what they could find or make. But the things they would have seen! Oh with those first eyes on places never before discovered. And before you say, “well, surely the natives would have already seen those places,” I’m sure there were pockets even they didn’t know about that settlers came across on their travels. What would it have been like at night with no artificial lights? What would it have been like without vast webs of electricity, sterilized water, and concrete running like veins above, across, and beneath the countryside?

And here we’ve just covered in 3 days what would have amounted to a months-long journey for them. And we’re cozy in a campground site next to a heated pool nestled among water and theme parks and other audacious attractions in Wisconsin Dells, WI. We can run the AC if we need to. And when I’m done typing this I’m going to send it into space and back to earth after it hops through a series of towers at the command of a little box not much bigger than a deck of cards. Did the pioneers have and play cards back then?

If you’re not in the know, Sammy is the family name for our ’98 GMC 6.5L turbo diesel suburban. It has dutifully lugged us and all our belongings across roughly 60,000 miles over 4 years which is no small miracle considering where all we’ve been and how much it has pulled there. Oh, it’s had its share of fits and tantrums and somewhere along the way (not too long ago) we officially crossed the threshold of having put more into total repairs than we had originally spent on the vehicle itself. But Sammy has been taking this trip in stride, running smoothly, and strongly and enjoying the last second maintenance and repairs (leaky power steering line swap) that we got done before leaving Pennsylvania.

Leaving Pennsylvania.


It’s truly like leaving a home especially in the way when you feel like part of yourself is still attached to a particular geography because of the relationships anchored there. We are grateful for every experience we had there since last September. Departures are (or at least should be) every bit as much a part of life as miracles, and there’s nothing like traveling again to combine both in such a concentrated and potent dosage as to be reminded all over again why we set out to do this in the first place. For us, the Road compresses nearly the whole dynamic spectrum of life into such rapid bursting moments along a highly accelerated timeline: good-byes and sadness, open possibilities and elation, soundtracks, storms and trials, tests of faith, tests on wisdom, unexpected unique decisions, problem solving, strategizing, thinking ahead, coping with failures, basking in successes, memories, discoveries, and on and on.

But by far the best part is the miracles. The things that many people might write off as coincidence or mere “positive perspective” when confronted with trying to explain 2 or 3 of them. But when they happen by the dozens like they do for us on the Road, by the grace and provision of our Heavenly Father, I don’t care how you try to explain it – life is miraculous.

I was trying to find a good analogy for it. I love the mind-opening affect of the Road. As the driver I have lots of time for mind-wandering exploration – something in which I almost never indulge because I almost constantly have my brain focused on some particular issue or problem or situation with family or work. Even with a substantial amount of concentration on gauges, and sway correction required by the blast of passing trucks, and the GPS, and road signs, and the current pulse of passengers, there are open stretches where I can mentally wander into scarcely trodden paths.

And, so, I came up with the back yard analogy. Life for those who walk in a pure and practical daily trust in their Creator is very much like the life of a child sent out into the back yard to play. The child basks in the freedom of the whole yard, of getting to decide the games and activities, to feel like the master of his own destiny, oblivious to the parent’s watchful eye behind the window, of the carefully crafted fence around the yard, of the deliberate selection in the objects filling the yard. There are certainly dangers: toys can be abused, a child can employ foolishness to great effect, and even tragedy can happen in the relatively safe environment. But their parent is always there, and the permutations of things that could go wrong are almost all within the realm of something the child can handle. But for those other situations the parent is always ready to intervene directly. Even when it’s not a matter of safety or crisis, the parent still delights to intervene in response to the conditions: to supply a sprinkler on a hot day, snacks and drinks at intervals, and encouraging word when the child does something particularly creative or clever, and so on.

And that is very nearly exactly how I feel traveling. So much can go wrong, but YHWH knows we can handle it and we know that He will intervene for things completely beyond us (because He already has time and time again). But even more miraculous are all the little things He puts together for us to discover along the way… almost a reverse breadcrumb trail for us to follow – even when our waypoints are not predetermined in our own minds. Now I’m sure you can think of countless real-life scenarios that seem to break the parameters of this analogy, but it’s completely consistent with my personal experience so far. So here’s a list of Miracles and Memories that we’ve collected so far on this trip:

  1. After departing our friends’ farm in PA I felt like I should stop one last time a few miles down the road before getting on the interstate to connect the anti-sway bar and check a few final things. As a result I discovered that we had developed a pretty bad fuel leak, which explained the slight fuel smell we noticed since picking the truck up from the shop and the fluid leak evidence Joe noticed as we were pulling away. With all the other vehicle issues we’ve had I thought we might not be leaving PA for a while after all. My heart sank. But looking at it there in the parking lot, tracing it backwards, I figured out that the fuel filter had vibrated loose and I was able to tighten it down all the way again which fixed it completely so that we could keep on rolling down the road. That could have been major serious if we hadn’t stopped and caught it, not to mention expensively drooling fuel all along the interstate. Joe had prayed right before we left that we’d discover any issues before we got too far.
  2. Dad and mom recently sent a CD that became an instant soundtrack. Everyone had a favorite – Zach was the first to start asking to play that one particular song on continuous repeat – and the beauty of it is that even in the children though they might not consciously understand it, the song resonates so deeply with the entire context of this trip itself, where we are going, why were are heading there, and the trajectory of our entire lives. I can’t listen to it without tearing up from the expectation. It blows my mind and heart to know we’re alive in these days and our King is letting us play in His back yard even while He prepares to renovate and re-landscape it completely. The song is “Prepare the Way” (Spotify) from Paul Wilbur’s album “Your Great Name” (iTunes).
  3. One of our rear / side trailer light covers has been missing for month. It got smashed when I parked a little too closely and Bennah opened the door into it. On a whim, I looked in Wal-Mart. Lo and behold I found an entire light module that included a cover the exact right size and color. It fit like a glove and even included a rubber seal. This unexpectedly completed a bunch of little external trailer repairs that I had been slowly working on.
  4. The first night we stopped I had a perfect place to walk across the street and catch up on a few hours worth of emails. Maybe doesn’t seem miraculous given the scourge of 24-hour McDonalds covering the land now, but the fact that there was an outlet to plug into and other minute details which rarely all come together keeps it on teh ledger of Provision in my book.
  5. Our second and a very long day of driving landed us in an epic Storm. I’m talking about “Master! We are perishing” epic. Traffic on the 70 MPH speed limit interstate was none existent or going 30 MPH. There was nowhere to pull off and weather it out. Trees were bowing and branches were flying along horizontal trajectories. Visibility was 10-20 feet with wipers full blast. Father provided an escort. A car just in front of us was traveling slowly with blinkers flashing and I could just keep those flashers in visibility and follow.  The road lines themselves were scarcely visible, and the wind kept trying to push us into the other lane, but our Shepherd kept us safe and brought us through the storm.
  6. At the 2nd night’s Wal-Mart stop-over south of Chicago Renee went in to pick up a few things. The cashier turned out to be from Manitoba – just south of Winnipeg (Renee’s home city) in fact – and warned us that it was a very unsafe area (the store next door had just been robbed a few nights before) and advised us not to stay overnight. We were all settled in and the kids were asleep and it had been an 8 hour + stops driving day: a fear-based reaction wasn’t an option. I was talking to my business partner and brother in Messiah Kenn when Renee came back with the report and we put our phones on speaker so that our wives could join the conversation and we all prayed together in agreement for safety. The night passed in restful non-adventure.
  7. Right across from that Wal-Mart was a Home Depot and we were able to easily swing by there on the way out the next day. I had been looking for one. I needed new 18V batteries for my drill that I use to help speed up the stabilizing process of trailer setup and Home Depot is the only one that carries the brand I need. Just in time for the setup I would have to do that night.
  8. I had really wanted to take the kids into one of the walk-way bridges at the oasis stops along the Chicago area tollways so they could stand over the crazy traffic passing beneath. I stopped at one because we needed fuel but the signage was ambiguous and I ended up on the wrong side for diesel. There was no way back. I figured it wasn’t a big deal cause we could just stop at the next one 13 miles up. But before we got there we had to exit onto a different route. I was so sad, because it looked like that was the last chance and we had missed it. But unexpectedly there was another one – the last one furthest from Chicago, several miles down the other route. It was such a fun blessing.

These are just a fraction of the little provisions and adventures that fill our days on the Road. Our King is such and awesome Brother and Father and what a joy it is to play in His back yard. Well, we got free passes to an insane water park down the road from our campground so we’re off to play on some slides and pools.

Shabbat Shalom!

Jan 30 2012


by andrew

Time is a funny thing. Take for instance the time that I am spending to write this when perhaps I should be sleeping. From a certain vantage point this time could be better spent. And from another, this is the best way to spend it.

For some reason this day culminated in a peculiar sequence of events and observations that might have otherwise gone unnoticed if it hadn’t been for the curious case of Benjamin Button. Do you ever notice that? How some days more than others just seem to be trying to communicate a particular message all their own. Maybe every day should be like that and it is only certain days that we’re actually listening carefully enough to catch it. And then again maybe some days just shout their message more loudly than others.

So much time has passed since last I wrote. That must be some sort of psychological hurdle that ironically prevents me from writing more frequently until finally some sort of unavoidable inspiration overcomes the inertia of all the things that have passed unrecorded and I have no choice but to but to let it all come flowing out in a colorful outburst laden with weightier harmonies than any routine life-stenography could carry.

Today was dripping violently with Time saturation as though the last few months have been soaking in it and someone finally decided to raise it high with discovery’s expectation for how much It held and how long it would take to drip out.

I have been driving myself hard the last few months particularly with work. It’s easy to do as I love what I’m good at and there’s no shortage of things to demand my particular zeal for stubborn problem solving. But in the middle of that seemingly inescapable and delightful storm also comes the burden of feeling like my other priorities – some of them like family, which are far more important – are just getting the left-overs of me at best. And while I know that the blessings of my work at home situation afford me much greater flexibility and more time with my wife and kids than most, it still doesn’t feel like enough – it feels like I should have more for them and less for work. What do we allow to devour our time?

We were clearly past due for a vacation and what better way to spend it than a weekend-long prophecy seminar about the End Times, some time catching up with family and friends, and a solid day of shopping in Winnipeg? Yes, when we returned home after almost a week I knew that we had a great vacation because we needed another. Time.

But the healthiest part was going (nearly) cold turkey on work for a bit. Of course this means that I’m having to drag myself past some reluctance to build up steam again, but I think that this is a good thing too and will hopefully help me strike a fresh and more stable balance as things settle out once more.

And then there are video games. Ah how quickly dormant passions resurface when the right conditions conspire to release them: the placebo of an outlet that involves problem solving of a very different sort than the routine, a new facilitator (iPad ironically purchased solely for work at the first), and the excuse of vacation time. If you don’t understand how I can connect the concepts of Passion and Gaming, then you have somewhat to learn about the authentically male heart. In perfect Eldredge-ian philosophy (most of which I believe is very very truthful) I can recognize that hours and hours poured into colonizing planets, designing and commanding fleets of ships, and taking over the universe one star system at a time Is really nothing more than my male heart seeking a visceral kingdom building experience. And yet that is Time that completely evaporates, and there is a real Kingdom to build, and the mind knows this even as the spirit knows that Kingdom is far more real and adventurous than even the most cleverly crafted game. Ah but we we like our instant gratification don’t we? There’s nothing quite like starting with only one planet and no technology and in the span of a few near-all-nighters defeating 4 other alien species for domination of the universe.

There is nothing like the innocent disappointment of a child who missed out on some enjoyment of an incredible moment in life because it didn’t match their expectations of how it was going to or should unfold to drive home the lesson that every moment in Time is precious and if we are constantly requiring them to fit our preconceptions of how they ought to play out then we will be constantly let down. Today reminded me that Time is not something we can place demands upon, but that we will also have a far superior experience within its confines if we decide to make the most of it and savor. This was essentially the encouragement and warning I gave Reayah. It was also the wisdom shared by Renee’s grandmother at the girl’s Tea Party that Renee and the girls hosted here while the boys and I holed up upstairs and did guy things.

Then today my laptop power supply fried out. It was the oddest thing. The failure caused a fluctuation in the power of other things plugged into the same power supply, accompanied by a faint pop and the smell of toasted electronics though it took me a minute or two to figure out what had happened. (Almost) nothing lasts forever and Time claims many things. In the instance that I figured out what had happened, the implications threatened to choke me. Thankfully the power supply for my old laptop turned out to have the same exact watts, amps, and plug size, and I can use that until the new one arrives.

As if attempting to tie all those threads into a final tapestry from the day, Renee decided she was going to watch a movie tonight and it was going to be The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. For all it’s shortcomings it’s still an excellent thought-provoker and I found one thing in particular resonating quite deeply: “when it comes to the end [of a particular plan, of a day, of a season, of a life], you have to let it go.”

How true. Seems like there was more I had intended to write, but coming to the end of this post I am discovering that my brain is using Time less and less efficiently the longer I keep at this and I too have to let it go.

Apr 30 2011

Life in Manitoba

by andrew

Here’s a much abbreviated a snapshot of my adventurous past week from which I am thoroughly enjoying the reprieve of Sabbath.

We got back to the homestead-waiting-to-happen from an excellent time in Winnipeg on tues and in addition to all the fun stuff I’m working on for Clvr the following productivity ensued (in somewhat no particular order):

  • emptied our black tank into the new 25 gal holding / tote tank on wheels we picked up in Winnipeg and drug that out into the pasture to dump into the sewage pit I dug with Bennah the week before. “And you shall have a place outside the camp, where you shall go out, and you shall have a sharp implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your excrement.” (Deu 23:13-14)
  • covered the poop pit with a hood from an old red chevy truck so that animals in the pasture don’t fall in and break a leg or something. “And when a man opens a pit, or if a man digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls in it, the owner of the pit is to repay, he is to give silver to their owner, and the dead beast is his.” (Exo 21:34-35)
  • took my two sons of thunder for a couple mile hike around the property (yes that’s the poop pit bottom left):


  • started researching immigration / residency more thoroughly
  • walked out and flagged what will become our roughly 1/4 mile driveway so that we can hire a loader to come out and knock the right trees down to make a path and build it up.
  • several rides on the quad (ATV)
  • Reayah made friends with the horse by devising a bribe that involved an apple
  • i used a roll of white duct tape patching up our awning from driving through hail and wind damage
  • filled up our 40 gal water tank again since the weekend was going to bring freezing temps and pointless hook up to the hose when that happens. temps were supposed to hover around 30 F / -2 C which would have been fine but it got much colder and the pipe from tank to pump froze anyway. thankful for a warm house to come hang out in with our cousins.
  • lost power last night… and somehow “get propane” never made it from my mental list to my written list and we ran out a couple hours before the power died. fabulous. no heat and just in time for a freak blizzard and 20 F / -7 C. what an amateur move… just so happy to be here and distracted by everything going on that I didn’t really take much thought to the fact that it’s already almost 3 weeks since we filled one of the tanks. SO. gave myself a bit of an unintentional adventure in the middle of the blizzard night to hunt down other tanks on the property. even the tanks from our cousins’ camper were pretty much empty but their grill had a full, albeit smaller tank that should get us through tonight at least to where we can maybe make it into town tomorrow if the highway opens up (yep, currently closed).

  • ok time to take the kids out into the blizzard for 5 minutes to get their crazies out and sap their energy for the rest of the evening where burgers and The Prince of Egypt are on the agenda.


The deck is actually at least 2 feet off the ground…. but where did the ground go?

Apr 11 2011

Day 730: The End is the Beginning

by andrew

I wish I could convey the immense import behind the (humanly) unplanned, colossal culmination of crossing the border back into Canada on April 11th upon completing our family mission to visit all 4 corners of the United States exactly 2 years to the day after we originally departed Virginia on April 11th 2009.


YHWH our Father in the heavens has without fail secured our path on every mile of this amazing Journey. For the last several weeks – despite continual rains on the west coast and some more dicey weather in parts – we have had sunny weather every single departure day. We’ve hit some weather on the road, but always way milder than forecasted. And the Provisions along the way have been even more specific and personal than just the weather on every given day.

Today we drove northward up through beautiful BC. Jasper tomorrow perhaps. Eastward to Manitoba. A new season begins, and with it many uncertainties and questions that we know will find doors opening in their time.


2 years. I am feeling inordinately sentimental at the moment. Or maybe it’s just too warm here in the 24-hr Denny’s with wifi that I walked to from the Wal-Mart next door here in Quesnel (“Que-nel” for all you tourists) BC.

Joy was a baby when we left. This is the only life she knows and has no context for what life in a “house” is like. Now she thinks she’s 4. And it’s hard to prove she’s not. Jaiden barely had a vocabulary, but his laugh is the same. Zach still jumps off of everything despite our futile efforts to extend the life of our trailer interior, but he has started school and grown up in so many other ways during this time. Reayah and Bennah have blossomed in numerous areas. They’ve mastered bike-riding, scrambled up scree cliffs, built forts throughout the continent… I better not start lest I spend the rest of the night listing.  It’s hard to imagine them 2 years ago.

I almost can’t remember what normal used to be. This is normal now, and it will keep changing, just the way I like it. I feel like we are discovering a life story that was written for us from the beginning of time. Rather than muting our free-will it intensifies it. All of our decisions – especially the second-guessed or uncertain or even less than ideal ones – are met with plot twists that keep the story interesting. It is a wonderful epic treasure hunt where the hidden prizes and rewards are things that haven’t even occurred to our searching imaginations: new relationships, breathtaking geographies, self-discovery, family bonding to a degree that’s hard even for us to realize and appreciate consciously much less express to others, memories whose imagery fades but which pull our spiritual roots deeper and deeper, anticipation, letting go, learning… to keep moving.

Life is moving. Whether across the continent physically or in your own personal development, perspective, and spiritual universe. Growth. Why do we crave new things? How can we be quenched?

Life is a quest for the elusive infinite.

Journey is a verb too after all.

Nov 30 2009

Day 231: Growing and hopefully growing some more

by renee

Some days it’s hard to believe we’ve been living so long in our trailer, as the days have passed so quickly. Other days, it seems like we’ve been living in it too long! We’ve been in Colorado since beginning of October and plan to stay through December. This is our longest stop so far. I think I might be getting a bit antsy, like I’m ready to pack up and get moving again. We’ve been having a great time here with family and met many wonderful new friends. We have had new business opportunities and have keeping busy with the work that has been coming in. We also have some good friends who happen to be family, coming to visit over the holidays as well. The kids are very excited about seeing them again. So am I.

We are so thankful at Father’s provision. He continues to give us what we need every day and every moment. And when I want to run away from hardships, His grace abounds and then I have the patience and understanding I need for the day. I hope I am growing while I’m here. I hope living with 2 other families and learning each other’s personalities is building my character. I hope I am being humble and sympathetic to those around me. I hope I am putting others before myself. I want to grow. It’s not easy, but I still want it. This is great training ground.

There are many blessings being here. One of the things I like most about being here is seeing the mountain range to the west. The majestic, snow covered peaks never get old and still take my breath away. I love that we get enough snow in one snow fall to go sledding and almost get snowed in. Then it warms up, the snow melts and we have more warm days and we can look forward to another new snow fall all over again. I am also enjoying the free babysitting and the many helping hands. The new family Shabbat traditions where together we welcome in the sabbath and set it apart is the weekly highlight. Thanksgiving last week was fun. We shared the meal together with many friends and family and are still eating the leftovers!

There are blessings and challenges wherever we roam. I hope I am embracing and being thankful for both.

Nov 9 2009

Day 211: Our Incredible Life

by andrew

You can’t even imagine what I’ve been up to these last couple weeks… I can scarcely believe it myself. If only income was based on how “interesting” one’s life was, we’d be insanely wealthy by now. But our Creator continues to provide for us faithfully even as we stare down the bottom of the savings barrel. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Nor would I trade all the money in the world for a life even one bit less interesting.

I will work backwards and try to remember the most noteworthy details.

  1. I just started a course in the Ancient (pictograph-based) Hebrew language
  2. Bennah slept outside in low 40 F weather by himself
  3. I’m currently working on editing a training DVD from the footage a buddy and I shot of a seminar at a Filipino martial arts class
  4. Renee and I became founding members of a company that offers every media service known to man (from video production to web sites to marketing to traditional print, writing, and editing, to technology consulting, and more).
  5. I went dumpster diving with the boys to find materials for the airplane they are building to escape to Pennsylvania. I am not making this up. They are convinced they can pull it off.
  6. I took Renee and the kids to visit the Air Force Academy (where I graduated in 1999)  and told them a few stories at the places where the adventures actually occurred.
  7. I was on the video crew and manned the lead camera at a big Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event in Denver.
  8. I started submitting photos again to the stock agencies I’m with and also ramped up video submissions significantly.

I thought the list would be more fascinating without extra commentary, but here are some additional details about each item with resources and links for those with time for chasing fun bunny trails:

  1. The course is offered on-line here:  http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/index.html – It turns out that the modern Hebrew characters represent at least 3 or 4 evolutionary transitions distant from the original pictographs that would have been inscribed on the tablets of the Commandments at Mt. Sinai and used in the original writings of Scripture. Not only this, but the original pictographs also restore the grounding of the language in its original, agricultural, cultural, concrete, and practical-every-day-life base. Not only does Hebrew (ancient and modern) read from right-to-left, but the original meanings and understandings are often completely opposite from our modern interpretations. For example, we think of the past as behind us and the future as in front of us. Not so in Hebrew thought where the past is in front of us (after all it is visible and completely known) and the future is behind us (for we cannot see it and do not know what it will be). How can we correctly interpret the Scriptures when we approach it with our backwards modern thinking and expect it’s meaning to conform to our cultural biases and preconceptions.
  2. Actually, all the kids wanted to sleep outside the other night. They made a tarp “tent” in the back yard and bundled up in 10 layers of clothing each. One by one they all came in… except Bennah. He toughed out the whole night. I was so proud of him. I wanted to go out there and sleep through it with him, but I knew that he had to handle this one by himself – he had to know that he could do it without any help.
  3. The instructor of the seminar was Rico Cortes of Filipino Combat Systems hosted by ColoradoFCS.com and TrainFightWinFitness.com. It was an awesome class. I’m looking forward to getting the DVD ready for sale and am seriously considering going back to the great folks at the gym there to continue my own training.
  4. The name of the company is Garlic Media Group and we’re in the process of spinning up the website now. I know the name sounds a little funny, but it’s good for you! And it encapsulates our character and emphasis: we can offer a spectrum of media services and packages to any company, but our forte and mission lands squarely in the arena of health, wellness, and wholeness of body, mind, and spirit whether we’re generating marketing material for another business or creating entertainment for diverse audiences. There are 4 primary couples involved at this point and among the 8 of us we have: an award winning director / producer / editor / filmmaker; a published author / nutritionist; a chiropractic doctor; musicians; a programmer / technology consultant; a connector (marketing and PR genius); artists; a graphic designer; writers; editors; our own private think tank; several children; videographers; photographers; …and… someone who has worked at the White House… sorry, just had to throw that in, as it makes this COMPLETELY TRUE list even more outrageous. We’re excited to see where it goes.
  5. That about speaks for itself… I actually interviewed my 8 yr old, 4 yr old, and 2 yr old boy and they told me all about their plans for the airplane. If I ever dig my way out of all the video I have to edit, maybe I’ll post some stuff from that project.
  6. The Academy has and hasn’t changed much. The SMACKS still run on the strips at least. The cadets took the hill at noon meal formation as army helicopters flew over and dropped thousands of little “go Army beat AF” slips of paper (the two Academies were playing each other this weekend). You can still get pizza and watch movies in Arnold Hall. But now all the cadet areas are secured by gate-fences with keypads and there are new id badges. I’m guessing that all went into place after 9-11. The pay phones in the back of Arnold Hall – the ones I used every weekend as a freshman – are gone. And it seemed somehow much quieter from the outside looking in.
  7. The MMA event was my first time shooting with high end equipment. I had to learn how to shoot with a shoulder-mount full manual camera, walk backwards, track the fighters making their grand entrances, and somehow not trip over the 250 feet of cable I was tethered to all that the same time. For starters. Then, after the fighters were in the cage, I was up on the platform mounted to one of the posts, shooting right down into it. Yes, these were cage matches. I was on one of three cameras and our director was switching between them live, giving us instructions and heads-up as necessary in our headsets; the feed was going to the massive screen for the event and streaming live over the internet. The 3 hour event evaporated in what felt like about 30 seconds of adrenaline.
  8. Starting to have to get serious about every potential revenue stream… I had a pretty good couple months with my stock video work and wanted to invest a lot more time and energy in that since it was starting to pay off. But it’s a massive ship and slow to accelerate. Photo efforts have an immediate affect, but on a much smaller profit scale. So, it’s all a balancing act. And I’m still LEARNING what works and what doesn’t.

There’s more, but that will have to wrap it up for now… I have to get back to work editing video. Stay in touch!

Oct 30 2009

Day 202: What a difference the sun makes!

by renee

Boom! Whoosh! Whomp! There are huge clumps of snow and icicles falling off the trailer onto the ground. It’s a bit hazardous coming and going, dodging big clumps of wet snow and icicle drippings. But it’s so warm today and the sun is hot and shining and making the white world sparkling and breathtaking. But today is a different day.

After the snow fall and cold weather all day Wednesday and Thursday, we received about 20 or more inches of snow. We enjoyed the snow but the kids got cold and wet very quickly. However, we soon remedied that with hot cocoa and a fire in the fireplace. That was the fun part. The hard part was bundling up the kids just to go the bathroom in the house. Our trailer is not hooked up to the sewer here. We have a small porta-jon, but it fills up very quickly. The other hard part is living in two places at once. Making lunch for the kids in the trailer while giving my daughter a bath and doing laundry in the house. Now today, while it’s warm, I don’t mind it a bit. Running back and forth, spending more time outside breathing in the fresh air, and getting a bit of exercise. It was the last two days that were very difficult (was it only two days? It seemed like a week). With no sun and it being so cold, it was a lot more character building. Keeping the kiddos occupied in a small space for a longer period of time and making sure they didn’t get too rambunctious in the house and cut short their house play time privilege. There are a lot of us and even when we do behave ourselves, we tend to change the sound and space dynamics of a place pretty obviously. Including us, there are 3 family units living in close proximity who all need their own space to function properly and recharge once and a while. I’m trying to be sensitive to others ‘ needs as well as our own.

That;s hardly an issue when it’s nice out, as they don’t need to spend that much time indoors. Today it was 45º F and getting warmer. After a little home schooling, my sister-in-law and I took our kids for a long walk through the snow to Whole Foods. To give them some exercise and sunshine, and to tucker them out so they would have blessed quite times this afternoon. The walk there was great and we had snacks and water in their cafe and picked up a few groceries for the weekend. The way back was a different story. The sun had melted more of the snow and it was a lot wetter than on the way there. My father-in-law had blessed us by bringing us some sleds that he had drilled holes in and attached ropes so we could use them for our tired kids on the way back. We ended up carrying them for half the way but definitely enjoyed them the rest of the way home. The kids were tired and complained of being wet and cold and having to go pee. On the way home, the sled I was pulling tipped over and Zach and all my groceries tumbled into a huge pool of melted snow. A few minutes later, my sister stepped in a big puddle and lost the whole sole of her shoe! We both burst out laughing. The tired kids, the puddles, and more mishaps along the way home could not discourage us. We were determined to enjoy the walk and knew we would be rewarded by a nice long quiet time when we got back.

And that is what I am enjoying right now. With the sun shining in through the windows and warming up our little home, all is peaceful and I am looking forward to taking the kids out again in about an hour or so. It’s been a beautiful day.

Apr 24 2009

Life and Death

by andrew

Yesterday I helped dig a grave out in a field’s corner at the farm where we’re staying. That was a first for me, and a  very sobering and reflective endeavor on many levels. There we laid to rest the body of Barucha – a wise and strong spiritual grandmother to many – she didn’t need it any more. YHWH delivered her spirit from a three and a half year struggle with cancer, and she is now dancing in the Heavens once again.

As her husband shoveled the first few scoops of dirt onto the body in the grave, I put a rams horn to my lips and sounded a long steady blast that held strong until my breath collapsed. It was a wail of mourning and a victory shout all at once. The victory is this: she trusted and served her King – Yahushua the Messiah – faithfully until the end and will be raised incorruptible in the last Day.

My last memory of Barucha – the most vivid one – was etched in place on Day 9 (just 2 days before she passed away). She was lying there on her hospital bed in a lot of discomfort, holding my 6-month old daughter’s tiny little hands, delighting in baby Joy who was just sucking away on her finger. I remember feeling the profound weight of the differences and similarities colliding in such a small space between the two of them. Here were two Daughters of Tsyion that – by all physical appearances – were at completely opposite ends of life. And yet, they both had such a strong ember of life burning in each of their spirits that they could connect at precisely the same spot beyond human comprehension.

I have been very thankful that this was my children’s first firsthand exposure to death – as part of a bigger spiritual family in Barucha’s immediate family and others here who understand that death is part of life – that it is a transition, not an ending – that it is not something to be feared or avoided in conversation or treated as some strange thing.

I believe that death – as with anything in life – should be faced squarely, head on, dealt with as best anyone can, and then left behind. Barucha did this with all her might, and her family carries on in the same way.