Monday, January 31, 2011

The way God works

Our car broke on Wednesday which at the time was VERY stressful.  We had plans that we were gonna do and with our car not working it just gave us an added headache that we didn't think we needed.  But looking back at that it was really God's way of working out some of the prayer concerns that I had.  You see we were planning on driving out to CT.  John was gonna take the moving truck and I was gonna take Little N & Little M in our car and pull our trailer.  I was more than a little nervous about going cross country with two little kids and not having any help (I knew that it would work out just fine but I was just a tiny bit nervous)!  Plus I got no sympathy from my dear sweet husband who when I said that I had to drive the car with two little boys with no help, he replied that he had to drive the moving truck which trumped my need for sympathy (I'm still not sure about which one would have been worse!! Opinions?) So when our car broke down John went to see if it could get repaired and find out how much it would cost.  We only needed our car for 3 and 1/2 weeks so if it was to much to repair than we would just sell it.  We were already planning on selling the car after our time in CT so when we discovered that it would cost more to repair we just thought we would sell it! 
     John was talking with one of his friends about life and just mentioned in passing that our vehicle was in the shop and that it would need some major repairs.  They hung up and once we found out that we needed to find someone to buy the car from us, our friend called us up and asked how much we were selling the car for and that he would buy it from us if we could get it up to Cooperstown.  Thankfully we had AAA and were able to tow it up to Cooperstown for free.  So God provided us with two answers to prayer (just not when we wanted them!) we wanted to sell our car and we got a buyer.  Then I didn't have to drive all the way out to CT with the two little boys.  Praise God!!
      While we were dealing with the car I was also trying to figure out how to get Little M, Little N & myself out to CT PLUS do everything that I wanted to do!!  I wanted to be able to see a couple more friends and be able to say my good byes to my brother in law and sister in law.   But with not having a car to get down to Rochester we just thought that we would have to fly out of Fargo which was so disappointing.  Then John thought that maybe we could take a bus down to Rochester.  Thankfully my in-laws were going down to Minneapolis on Sunday so they were able to drive down to Minneapolis on Saturday and take us down.  I was thankful that I was able to spend some quality time driving to the cities with Linda and that John was able to spend some quality time with Jim.  The other thing that was SO wonderful was that John's brother Ole & his family were able and willing to take us down to Rochester from Minneapolis.  We were also able to get airline tickets to fly out of the Rochester Airport for Monday.
      The airline tickets were also an answer to prayer and just showed that God was in control of everything.  We booked our airline tickets for Wednesday and unfortunately we had 4 layovers and it would take us about 8 hours.  The next morning my mom called up and had been able to get us tickets to come out on Monday with just one layover.  Thankfully we were able to cancel our tickets with no charge and get the flights for Monday.
      When we got to the cities we stopped at the mall of america.  We met up with Ole & Kim (along with their kiddos) and I got to say good bye to some of my mom's siblings as they met us there which was an added bonus.    John and his dad finally got to the Ikea parking lot and called us to meet over there.  Unfortunately we (Linda & I) got to have a  great story when we were in a hurry to meet up with everyone.  We got all mixed up on where we parked so when we went to the parking garage and to the spot where our car was supposed to be it wasn't which caused lots of stress!  Thankfully we discovered that we were in the wrong parking garage and just had to walk through the mall to get to the other garage and to our car.  You have to have at least a couple of stories to share down the road and this was one of them! 
    We unpacked my in laws car and then packed up Ole's car  with 4 little kids and all of our stuff and started our journey down to Rochester.  Kim & I visiting in the minivan and John & Ole visiting in the moving truck.  We got to the house and just sort of relaxed, hung out and ate food. 
John was asked to speak at Sunday school and do scripture and prayer during the service.  It was really funny while John was reading the scripture he said Micah & Little M had been playing with his cars with his back to the podium and he turned and looked to see what his daddy was telling him to do.   After church lots of people were visiting and chatting with us.  Just wishing us best of luck with our move and upcoming adventure (that's what I think life)!   Afterwards we went to lunch with friends which was fun to spend time with everyone.  After that John got ready to leave driving and I put the boys to bed for a nap! :-) QUIET time with Culver's ice cream DELICIOUS!!!  I recommend the Reese's pieces, marshmallow and then adding some peanut butter!! YUM!!!
Ole was nice enough to wake up EARLY to drive us to the airport so we could fly out.  It was a really horrible time 4:30 am was the time I woke up and then 4:45 I woke the kids up so that we could make it to the airport so we could make our flight at 6:00 am!  The Rochester Airport is a small but WONDERFUL airport.  Ole watched the boys while I checked in and then we went through security.  The people helping me we just amazing......making sure I was okay with the boys and that I had everything.  The boys did a great job getting through security.  Our first flight we all fell fast asleep as we flew to Chicago.  We had 30 minutes in Chicago to make from our arrival gate to our departure gate.  A mad rush and we had just enough time to use the bathroom then we were boarding.  We were "lucky" enough to be seated in the LAST row.  The last row is a hard row to sit in.....Little M and Little N are bothered by the loud noises so they cried and were quite upset at times which is very unusual for them when we are traveling.  We got to Hartford no problem and had WONDERFUL help getting the kids into their seats and all the carry on luggage on the stroller.  Mom picked us up and we went to the office to play and hang out while Mom finished work.  We drove home and started making dinner and found out that John was actually beating the storm and all the bad weather!  Woo hoo!!  At 10:15 pm John arrived in CT and we were able to put the moving van where we were gonna unload all the stuff before the bad weather hit the East Coast.   Which is another way that God answers prayer if we had driven our car we would not have made good time because of stopping with the boys and making sure we weren't tired.  Because of that we would have been driving directly into the two storms that hit the East Coast.   God works in mysterious ways but I am thankful that it worked out the way it did

Answers to Prayer
1. Our car needed to be sold! (answered)
2. Driving out to CT with the little boys (never found out because we came out a different way)
3. Plane tickets (from four layovers to 1 layover.....woo hoo!!  Thanks Mom for checking it out!)
4. Flying out on Monday (we beat the storm and weren't stuck in an airport because of weather!)
5. John wasn't driving a moving truck in horrible weather! (praise GOD!!)
 Taking off from Chicago

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's a hard day!!

          Today was probably one of the hardest days for us! We (John & I) got up early to pick up the moving truck. John started off to Cooperstown & I went back to his parents to get the little boys ready so we could drive up to start packing everything up.  As we drove up to Cooperstown it was a hard drive in two ways.  It was warmer out so we had fog in the air so all you could see is a pretty haze surrounding you as you drive.  At times you couldn't see in front of you so I got nervous that I was gonna come upon something and not be able to stop.  The other thing that made it sad was that Little N and I were talking and he recognized the way we were going and he kept on saying.....yay mommy we get to go home and I can play with my toys. (Which just made me cry because it kills me to tell him that actually we are packing up and we will no longer have a home for a while!)  It was hard emotionally because I was reminded that we were never (most likely) live in Cooperstown and I was just taken back to when we first moved there and then the different events that occurred in our family while we were in Cooperstown and the wonderful people that we met and became friends with.
         I had to stop a couple of times as we were driving because I had to get pictures of different things that I absolutely loved -- a railroad bridge that has a small little stream that follows underneath it and then a beautiful lone tree that had the cloudy haze behind it & snow all around it.  It was my way of being able to say my good byes to the area that I grew to love and consider home. 
         We got to Cooperstown and I was able to drop of the kids at a friend's house so that way I could pack & help without worrying about them.  It was kind of funny just watching everyone help (and a humbling experience also) pack us up so we could start our new adventure.  Also it was crazy to think about HOW much stuff we had (and we had gotten rid of a bunch of stuff too) that we were packing up in storage and trying to figure out if we were gonna bring over to Taiwan.  I mostly directed and told people what needed to get in the moving truck (a lot of the big stuff wasn't in the truck which made me really nervous)!  I also had to go and sign papers to say that yes we were gonna sell our car and get that taken care of! 
        Around 12:30 pm - I went and got the little boys and the ladies of the church made a meal for us which was just a sweet thing (we were planning on providing Pizza Ranch)!  Then we had the little boys for the rest of the time that we were packing and loading everything up from our house.  I started to clean up because I wanted to make sure everything was clean before I left the house (we didn't get everything BUT most of it)!!  We had two very special people pray for us as we left our house and moved onto our newest adventure & there were tears as we hugged and said our good byes. (Actually as I type this I am in tears as I relive that moment!! So many special people that we met and grew to love like family!)
        We packed up the car and I needed a moment in the house to say good bye to the wonderful memories and had to take pictures of John & Little N's snow fort that unfortunately we didn't get to play in as much as we wouldn't have liked to because of packing and moving.  We got into the car and said farewell to the house that we had lived in for 4 1/2 years.  It was a great house and probably the biggest house we will ever live so many wonderful memories and things have happened in that house. 
 Good Bye to a wonderful house that holds great memories for our family!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A time of good bye with Rachel and kids & Great Grandpa Olson

         We had a meal with Rachel and her kids.  It was the last time that we were gonna see them because we were packing up the moving truck and LOTS of stuff happened.  Our car unfortunately started making a funny sound on Wednesday.  John took it into the dealership and discovered that unfortunately it was gonna be a lot of money to fix the car.  We ultimately made the decision that it wasn't worth fixing just to have a vehicle to drive out to CT (bringing out some stuff) and having a car out in CT for the three weeks that we would be out there for.  Thankfully we were able to get the car sold and get it towed up to the person who was buying the car (So thankful for AAA)!  Also thankful for the way everything worked out. 
        It was wonderful to have the kids play together and visit.  Before Rachel and the kids left we went to go visit Great Grandpa Olson.  It made for a difficult good bye but THANKFULLY none of the kids saw me cry and none of the adults did either.  Thanks for the fun visits and it's kind of hard thinking that we won't be able to just pop in and see family as easily as we did when we lived in Cooperstown or Fergus Falls.
       We went and saw Great Grandpa Olson.  It was pretty special because John had scanned all sorts of slides that Grandpa & Grandma Olson had taken while they were in Japan being house parents to the missionary kids.  It was pretty neat to look at the pictures and listen to Grandpa reminisce about those times.  It was also pretty fun to watch Little M & Little N interact with their Great Grandpa and just listen to Little N talk to Great Grandpa!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Olson Weekend

John's mom family had this tradition of staying in a hotel and playing games & just spending time with family!  We have carried over this tradition with just John's immediate family (we did it in '06 and again this year and weekend)!  It was great time being able to spend time with parents, siblings, nieces & nephews.  Lots of swimming & tons of eating went on.  We celebrated both Ingrid & Gideon's birthday (they share a birthday) and it was just a chaotic & wonderful time to be able to visit and spend time with family. (I got individual pictures of almost all the nieces & nephews minus one -- I'm didn't even realize it until I got a chance to look at the pictures! :-( Sorry!!) I always love to spend time with family and this was a great way to do it! Thanks to everyone for being willing to spend time with us!  We love you!!
 Linda call me about the pictures!! :-)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Torturing Little M

John decided to see if Little M would try a pepper!  We tried to take a picture of it but Little M wouldn't cooperate and decided that he wasn't interested in eating the pepper!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bath Time

Grandpa offered to take a bath with my boys!  Little M heard the water running and was so excited!!  He peered over the bathtub just watching and waiting in anticipation for the fun that he knew someone would have and he was gonna be a part of it!  They had a blast taking a bath together and playing in the bubbles & all their toys! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

A cookie....for ME?!?!?!?

We drove down to Fergus Falls today to go and visit my grandma (also so that my mom could see her mom)! We also had to drop off some stuff at a friend's house and John wanted to see people at J-Term.  We had a nice time visiting and decided that we should end the day with pie for the adults and food for the kids.  Little N & M decided that it was a good day to split rainbow sprinkle pancakes & get two crazy cookies (because you can never share cookies or split them in half that would be disasterous!)  So of course the adults get their pie first (which causes all sorts of turmoil with the youngest!! If you are a waitress PLEASE serve the kids first....I'm sure the parents or adults don't mind waiting!!)  Finally the pancakes come.....Little M & Little N devour their pancakes and then Little M moves onto his cookie. (Little N ate his cookie also BUT was much more refine in his eating so we didn't need pictures to remember his eating!)  For your viewing pleasure Little M eating a cookie!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A hard Sunday

It was a hard day today!  Very emotional with lots of tears and remembering the various things that happened through out our 4 1/2 years.  4 1/2 years ago accepted the call to be the head pastor at Zion Church in Cooperstown.  A lot happened while we were there -- as soon as we arrived the church celebrated their 125 anniversary.  We also were around for some births, weddings & deaths.  We started our family there and were blessed with many loving and caring people who loved our kids as grandkids.  Today John gave his last service at Zion Church.  He did a great job.  Afterwards there were hugs and good byes which were so painful.  The church gave us a pizza good bye party which was wonderful.  Then there was a farewell which was open to the community.....people were able to talk about their memories & what they were thankful for about John (and us).  So many tears & so many beautiful loving comments said to us which we cherish.  One of the families we will miss is the Starke's -- when we first arrived he drove us around Cooperstown and gave us a map to mark off where everyone lives (it was SUCH a helpful task & we used that map for a couple of years), they also invited us over to celebrate family events, fires, etc.  They also are the boys adopted grandparents.  Little M & Clint are really good friends (Clint gets a kick out of the fact that Little M is such a big eater & that he would always go to him)!  I am so thankful for all the memories and the people that we have met in Cooperstown.  Thank you so much for being our first church & for being such a loving and wonderful group of people. 

My Letter to our Church:
To our Zion Family –

       Over four years ago we began the call process to come to Zion. We weren’t exactly sure where God was leading us but as soon as John heard that we had been called to Zion we were excited to come & serve you. Lots of things were going on during that time we celebrated the church’s 125 anniversary, we mourned with you when people died, we celebrated life & so many other things with you.
       We were blessed to be able to start our family with you having both Nikolas & Mikah here. Thank you for loving them like they were part of your family. We have considered you family & have blessed to have you a part of our lives. Thank you for the cuddles that you have given the boys, the candy & gifts that you have given them through out the years. The time that you have spent with them making them feel special & loved thank you!
        The ladies from the church have been so generous to us over the years giving us a pantry shower when we first arrived. Then having a baby shower for when Nikolas was born. Also for the gifts that were given when Mikah was born also. Everything you have done for us we are so appreciative for all you have done!
        Thank you for being our first church where we started off learning & growing as we learned who we were as a pastor & as a pastor’s wife. We might not have always done the right thing but we learned & grew from it. We also might not have always remembered to say thank you all the time but we appreciate all the letters of encouragement, gifts to us, the time spent with you either at our house or at your house. The gift of time that you spent with us was always so welcomed and we always loved spending time with you. Getting to know you was so important.
          There are so many other things we would love to say but it would take up the whole bulletin. Suffice it to say that we love you & are so blessed to have gotten to know each & every one of the members of Zion church and the people of Cooperstown. You are a very unique and blessed community. We are praying that God will richly bless you as a congregation so that you are able to continue to share the message of Jesus.
       Thank you for everything that you have done for us!! Please pray for us as we start this new adventure in our life that God has given us.
                                                                          Love –
                                                          Pastor John, Caristy, Little N & M

I Corinthians 1:4 -- I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A colored castle

Little N & Little M got the cutest coloring castle & we loved spending time coloring it. Little N loved it because he could color with markers without getting in trouble!  Little M loved the castle because he could shove markers into the castle windows and make stuff disappear.  I liked it because it was a great de-stressor and I could go and color when I got to overwhelmed emotionally thinking about packing & moving.  We threw away our castle today (which was a sad and emotional thing for me to do).....just had to make more room in the living room for boxes and storage.  We didn't get it all colored but let me tell you we had tons of fun coloring it all in!  Thank you Ole & Kim for such a wonderful Christmas gift!! 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Friendly Meals

Since the first of the year we have been busy, busy, busy!!  We picked up my mom January 7 & have been going nonstop since she came.   It's a difficult thing trying to pack for four different places -- Fargo, CT, Taiwan & permanent storage.  We are getting pretty close to be done in Cooperstown, packing, visiting people & just preparing for the last stages of being done in Cooperstown.  Today we went to a friend's house for an African soup.  We have been blessed to meet Shawonia...she has been a blessing with her testimony & just her friendship to me.  We had a delicious meal -- crackers with brie & fish on them, a delicious salad, African soup & bread. She has invented a device that helps with all sorts of things and she wanted to show us that.  The little boys were so excited because they could climb all over it & it gave Shawonia all sorts of other uses of her product!  Because no post is ever complete without pictures here are the boys.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jungle Jump

Since the first of the year it's been busy, busy, busy!!  I forget to take my camera out to take picture of things happening....the silly moments with the boys, the chaos of our household (with packing & such), playing with grandma and our colored castle (we almost have one side of the castle completely colored).  Today John set up Little M's jungle jump that he got for Christmas from Grandpa & Grandma O.  Both boys had a blast....pretty sure once we leave our house we will set it up ONCE at Grandma & Grandpa O. house (most likely it will have to be in the living room.....sorry guys -- to scary to think of it being in the garage with the rough surface & no padding)  Little M has jumped and twice now landed on his head and did a somersault (terrifying!!).  Which in turn made Little N want to do the same thing, which we repeatedly say no to! :-) We have a video which I will put up another day of them enjoying themselves!!  But it is late and I am tired!!  Good night and for your enjoyment.....Little M & Little N!!!

Welcome to our blog! We try to keep this current for family and friends. We moved to Taiwan in February 2011 and are trying to keep in contact with loved ones through this blog. We love comments and will respond back if you have questions or comments!! Thanks for checking us out!!


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