Category Archives: Travel

Lately I’m . . .

I don’t even remember the last time I posted one of these. This year has taken me away from Editionally quite a bit, so it’s only fair that I tell you what I’ve been up to.

Lately I’m . . . 

Missing Orlando and Lake Superior
We had a few really amazing vacations this summer, and I sincerely believe they upped my quality of life and enjoyment of the season.

I went to Orlando at the end of June for a database conference (way more fun than it sounds!), and Jonathan tagged along. We stayed at the Rosen Centre (AMAZING hotel!) for nine days and visited Cocoa Beach, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Typhoon Lagoon. I feel guilty for some reason, but I enjoyed Universal more than Disney. Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade were AMAZING! (Can someone in Minnesota please start selling frozen Butterbeer?)cocoabeachhogsmeade At the end of July, we met up with some of my family in Marquette, Michigan, and spent a week touring the Upper Peninsula. I wish I could convey how unbelievably beautiful it is up there. And besides that, I got to PET A BEAR! Bucket list: check!

littlepresqueisle marquette sprayfallsbabybear Loving my job
I’ve been in my new role for almost a year now, and I have never been so happy at work. l enjoyed my work as an administrative assistant, but I LOVE my coworkers and the database and communications work I’m doing now. And our church is healthier than I’ve ever seen it before. I’m definitely in my sweet spot.

Earlier this week, I came across an opening for my dream job. And you know what? I didn’t even click on the link. I just thought, “I don’t really want that anymore. I love where I am now, and that job isn’t me anymore.” If you know anything about the journey I’ve been on, you know that’s a BIG deal.

Planning a trip to the United Kingdom
Jonathan and I are going international! We’ve wanted to do some traveling for quite a while and next year is the year. I asked him if we could ease into it (I’ve never been anywhere but Canada) by going somewhere they speak English. And we both want to visit England, so we’re going to.

If we can make it happen, the plan is to visit England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. The trip will be a little about writers (Austen, Lewis, and Tolkein just to name a few), a little about heritage (I’m distantly related to the MacLeans who own Duart Castle in Scotland and we both have some Irish blood), and a little about curiousity (does anyone ever go to Wales?). Throw in a few super touristy things and it’ll be an amazing trip. I can’t wait.

Budgeting like it’s my job
Not only do we need to be saving like maniacs to make the UK trip happen, we’re paying off about $3,500 in unexpected car repairs and I need a new phone. So we’re keeping it super tight until . . . well, indefinitely.

I’ve been brainstorming ways to make a little extra to get there faster, and I’ve come up with everything from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to selling crocheted hats to friends on Facebook (are you interested?). And of course, I’m ALWAYS open to new editing projects, but I haven’t gotten many bites lately.

Trying to stick to Weight Watchers
This summer has been a huge struggle, but I’m hanging in there. I’ve lost about 31 pounds so far, and I’m almost half way to my goal of losing 70 pounds. I’m in a wedding next year, and I’d really love to hit my goal by then. If nothing else, definitely by the time we go on our trip.

It gets really tough to stick with it when you’ve already seen a ton of progress and you’re tired of having to put so much thought into something as “easy” as eating. I slip into old habits so quickly, despite knowing I’ll feel like garbage later.

Working up the courage to actually write that book
Apparently telling people I was going to write a book wasn’t actually enough motivation to do it. I’ve discovered that my anxiety extends to my writing, and I’m actually quite terrified of failure. Because, if I write my story and it doesn’t work, what do I have left to write? But between the Global Leadership Summit and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, I’m feeling inspired to find ways to do it anyway.

So, um… there you have it. I’ve noticed I feel like everything is “normal” and nothing too exciting is going on until I sit back and look at where I was a year ago. I’ve changed a lot, and I’m excited to see what happens next.

While on Vacation

This spring, I spent a good chunk of time line editing, copy editing, and proofing While on Vacation, a devotional for people who are, well, on vacation. The author, Joe Graves, develops a “theology of play” and explores what the Bible has to say about rest, celebrations, and how God fits into our “breaks.” It even includes a few Sudoku puzzles! It’s up there on my list of favorite projects. If you’re taking a vacation this summer (or even taking some time off to stay home), it would be a great companion. Check it out!

Available June 15 | colorcanvasmedia.com

I’m not receiving compensation for this post. I’m sharing it because it was a fun project that I believe will add value to your life if you take the time to read it :)

Collecting October

October in Minnesota has been beautiful. We’ve had several opportunities to enjoy the fall colors—a quick stop in Stillwater, a family boating trip down the Mississippi, a walk through William O’Brien State Park, and even a few walks around the block.

Stillwater

DSCN0387WEB

DSCN0382WEB

Redwing & The Mississippi

DSCN0462WEB DSCN0448WEB DSCN0423WEBDSCN0407WEB DSCN0397WEB DSCN0405WEB

William O’Brien State Park

DSCN0623WEB DSCN0627WEB DSCN0612WEB DSCN0620WEB DSCN0628WEB DSCN0679WEBDSCN0622WEB

DSCN0608WEB DSCN0598WEB

Close to Home

DSCN0567WEB DSCN0543WEB DSCN0527WEB DSCN0519WEB DSCN0496WEB DSCN0497WEB DSCN0488WEB

Here’s to hoping November is just as lovely!

Where Your Calling Takes Shape

DSCN0326WEBLast week we took a long weekend to visit Fort Wayne for TUFW’s homecoming weekend. We hadn’t been back to campus since my graduation, a year after it was closed by Taylor University’s board for financial reasons.
“There was something sad and a little frightening about the place, because it all seemed so forsaken and long ago.” – From Prince Caspian
 
It felt like going back to Narnia. I had vague memories of the place, but life had moved on, many memories and faces forgotten. Parts of the campus were being used by local organizations, others were in disrepair. When we peeked through the broken, boarded-up windows of Hausser Hall, we were greeted by sagging, water-damaged ceiling tiles and unused furniture. Rooms that once housed hopeful freshman excited about the future sat barren, deserted, and forgotten.
It was all so familiar. And so different.
DSCN0309WEB DSCN0328WEB DSCN0360WEB
“That’s what the life of this place is. It’s not buildings, it’s not fields, it’s not classrooms. The life of this place is the connections people made here with a sense of purpose and passion and calling for how to make a difference in this world.” – Dr. Randall Dodge, Former TUFW Dean of Students
 
I was overwhelmed by the profound legacy left by our school. Not just TUFW, but also Fort Wayne Bible Institute, Fort Wayne Bible College, and Summit Christian College–all schools that used the campus before it became Taylor. It’s unusual, I think, for a school to have that kind of history. So many different schools and students and professors, but God brought us all to the same place and changed our lives, preparing us for what would come next. The legacy of TUFW lives on in us, not the empty buildings that still sit on West Rudisill.
DSCN0329WEB
DSCN0332WEB
DSCN0334WEB DSCN0363cropWEB
“Then in the name of Aslan,” said Queen Susan, “if ye will all have it so, let us go on and take the adventure that shall fall to us.” – From The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Back in 2009, a reporter from the Journal Gazette quoted me in her article about the closing: “It was really hard, but I have since realized God has a bigger plan for it, and He’s going to spread us out and use us in bigger ways than we thought He was going to . . . I’m kind of excited now for all the options.” That’s exactly what happened. TUFW-ers have been spread out all over the world–from Fort Wayne to Upland (where Taylor’s main campus is), Michigan, Minnesota (yay!), Zambia, Sudan, the Dominican Republic. And that’s just some of the people I know about. It was hard to see at the time, but God had a grander adventure in store for us.

Packing Light by Allison Vesterfelt

Packing Light

Packing Light is the account of writer Allison Vesterfelt’s decision to quit her job, sell her stuff, and drive through all 50 states in a beat-up Subaru with her friend Sharaya. But it’s not just a we-did-this, we-saw-that kind of book.

Vesterfelt dives beneath the surface of her trip and shares her heart and the lessons she learned on the road— lessons about packing more than you need, letting go of baggage, leaving rules behind, trusting God, and not being afraid to use the gifts He’s given you.

Since reading Packing Light, I’ve become a little obsessed with Allison Vesterfelt. I followed her on every form of social media I could, got really excited when I thought she lived in Minneapolis (I was totally going to ask her if I could take her out for coffee), and nearly cried out when I found out she moved to Nashville less than a year ago. Anyway . . .

Her book changed and challenged me in too many ways to sum up in a neat little blog post, so I’m going to share some of my favorite quotes and let you decide what to do with them.

 

On Rules

“Rules give us a false sense of control. They make us feel like if we just follow a list of instructions, we’re sure to get the outcome we want . . . Rules never buy us the safety we think they will” (pg. 122).

“I hope we never stop asking ourselves what the intent is behind the rules we’re following, and if they’re accomplishing the objective” (pg. 123).

“We need a generation of people who aren’t rule-followers—who aren’t rule-breakers, either, but rather live lives that aren’t dictated by the rules at all . . . How much more in tune would we be with the twists and turns of our journey and prepared to handle them with conviction and grace, if we didn’t think the ‘rules’ were protecting us?” (pgs. 123–124).

“The reason rules don’t protect us is that the rules presume that every circumstance, and every person, is identical” (pg. 151).

 

On Pride & Insecurity

“The more I think about it the more I think that my insecurity is really pride. My insecurity makes everything all about me” (pg. 210).

 

On Fear & Regret

“You don’t have to go. You can stay home. It’s up to you. But if you let fear stop you from doing what you really want to do, you’ll regret that forever” (pg. 246).

 

On God’s Direction

“God wasn’t telling me what to do. He was just helping me to see what I actually wanted. He was saying, ‘Here’s permission to want what you want, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Here’s permission to be the woman I created you to be. You think you don’t have the resources, but you do. I will provide them. You think you aren’t strong enough to face the obstacles, but you are. I’ll be with you the whole time. Here’s permission to live your life, not dictated by fear of what might happen. Go ahead . . .’” (pg. 247).

“When we stop seeing God as a controlling God who tells us what we have to do and what we can’t do, we stop feeling so much anger toward Him” (pg. 247).

“Our life is not ruined. We’re not being punished. We’re not doing it wrong. God isn’t mad at us; He’s just waiting for us to wake up, to take responsibility, and to start living life with Him. He’s waiting for us to do something beautiful, something courageous, something totally out of the ordinary” (pg. 247).

“There comes a point where we don’t need anyone to tell us who we are anymore, we just need to take the information we have and run with it” (pg. 210).

 

Ten Things to Do in Copper Harbor, MI

DSCN9964WEB

  1. Hike Estivant Pines. It’s a virgin white pine forest with two loops you can hike. I think it was less than 4 miles to hike the whole thing. It was a little  tricky in a few places, but if I could do it, you’ll be just fine. You may not know this about me, but I really, really love trees. I was in heaven.
  2. Eat at Harbor Haus. Yummy yummy fish and au gratin potatoes. And potato pancakes. A little on the pricier side, but it
    was some of the best food we had while we were there.
  3. Read on the beach. (And if you need a good book, Grandpa’s Barn.) I wish we had done more of this.
    DSCN9821WEB
  4. Visit the Thimbleberry Fudge Shoppe. It’s inside the Country Village Shoppes. We bought half a pound the second day we were there and went back on our way out of town for another pound to take home with us. The Maple Bacon and Mocha are the best, but I there wasn’t anything I tried that I didn’t like. It was so good that I suggest you call them up and have some shipped to you, even if you don’t make it to Copper Harbor :)
    DSCN9815WEB
  5. Eat a Pastee. It’s basically a requirement when you visit the UP. It’s basically meat and potatoes wrapped in a pie crust calzone-style. Most people eat them with gravy or ketchup. The ones we had weren’t fantastic, but they were nice warm comfort food on a rainy day.
    DSCN9898WEB
  6. Take Brockway Mountain Drive. If you only do one thing on my list, do this one. It’s a four-mile drive from “downtown” Copper Harbor with some pretty steep grades, but there are gorgeous views the whole way. Once you get up there, you can see the whole town, two or three other harbors, Lake Superior, and gorgeous tree-covered rolling hills. If I were you, I’d head up early enough to see it in daylight, watch the sunset, and then hang around until it gets dark to see the stars. And bring some blankets—it gets cold up there. We were lucky enough to be up there to see a meteor shower. Amazing.
    DSCN0049WEB
  7. Tour the Copper Harbor Lighthouse. Not only do you learn all sorts of history about the area, you get a boat ride across the harbor. If you’re luckier than we were, it won’t be raining the whole time. At least we had ponchos.
  8. Kayak Lake Fannie Hooe. I learned kayaking is a lot harder on a lake than a river. But it’s a gorgeous lake. We took about 4 hours to kayak the whole lake. Thank you, Keeweenaw Adventure Company, for a great deal on the sit-on-top kayaks we rented!
  9. Visit Brickside Brewery. I don’t like beer, but Jonathan likes a good craft beer, and he enjoyed our trip to the brewery. I did too, actually—they also brew yummy root beer.
    DSCN0023WEB
  10. Hike Hunter’s Point. So so pretty. Two trails, lots of beach and trees, and great views of Lake Superior and Copper Harbor.

Click here for more about our trip to Copper Harbor.

Camping in Copper Harbor

Last week was glorious. We set off on Saturday for six days of camping at Fort Wilkins State Park in Copper Harbor, Michigan. I’d always wanted to go there. It’s the northern-most city in the Upper Peninsula. According to one of the locals we talked to, there are only 80 full-time residents.

Michiganedit

One of the best parts of the trip was being forced to unplug. We were already planning to “forget” our phones in the car, but when we got up there, we had no cell signal. At all. On the way home, we had to buy a map and navigate the old-fashioned way because we couldn’t even use the GPS on our phones. With the exception of a few reservations, we didn’t even pay attention to what time it was. We got up when we wanted, went to bed when we wanted, and basically did whatever we wanted. All week. So, so lovely.

I apologize in advance for the picture overload. I can’t help it.

Most of the week was in the mid-sixties and we had a few days of rain. Not exactly summer weather, but nearly ideal for camping. The first night was so rainy we got dripped on while we slept and ended up covering the tent with a tarp. Of course it didn’t rain much after that.

DSCN9799WEB

DSCN9801WEB

When it’s chilly, you do what you have to do. Like make fashion faux paus you swore you never would when you were eight and you saw your relatives do the same thing.

DSCN9812WEB

Notice the pjs.

DSCN9814WEB

When you wake up on a rainy Sunday, of course you find a local place to get some warm coffee, hot chocolate, and pasties. We went to the Tamarack Inn. So charming.

DSCN9997WEB

DSCN9995WEB

DSCN9987WEB

Nothing like reading with Lake Superior waves crashing in front of you. Way more comfortable on sand though. I got bruises from sitting on those pokey rocks.

DSCN9979WEB

We came across this little guy in the middle of the trail. He didn’t move when we got close.

DSCN9964WEB

All these tree pictures are from our hike through Estivant Pines, a virgin white pine forest.

DSCN9978WEB DSCN9974WEB DSCN9970WEB DSCN9969WEB DSCN9965WEB DSCN9959WEB DSCN9950WEB

DSCN9924WEB

Our campground was on Lake Fanny Hooe.

DSCN9923WEB

DSCN9913WEB

Brockway Mountain Drive was my favorite scenic part of the trip.

DSCN9934WEB DSCN9922WEB DSCN9919WEB DSCN9911WEB DSCN9907WEB DSCN9888WEB DSCN9877WEB DSCN9871WEB DSCN9857WEB DSCN9839WEB DSCN9825WEB DSCN9818WEB

DSCN0064WEB

Those green spots are copper.

DSCN0061WEB

The bell buoy. We could hear this from our tent. Every morning. Every night. All day.

DSCN0066WEB

I wish I could take credit for this photo. But it’s so good I have to tell you Jonathan took it.

DSCN0045WEB

The Copper Harbor Lighthouse

DSCN0038WEB

We found copper!

DSCN0035WEB

A view of the town from the harbor

DSCN0079WEB DSCN0075WEB DSCN0039WEB DSCN0025WEB DSCN0024WEB DSCN0011WEB

DSCN0004WEB

This was an adorable book store. I would have bought half the store if I didn’t already have a stack of books to read.

DSCN0003WEB

So I think one of my aunts taught at this school. But maybe that’s just family legend.

2014-07-31 16.35.40WEB

We left the campground on Friday morning and headed for the Porcupine Mountains, which was another part of Michigan I’d always wanted to visit. There were some pretty podunk little towns on the way. We spent the night at a cute little motel in Ironwood, Michigan.

DSCN0123WEB

Lake of the Clouds

DSCN0118WEB DSCN0109WEB DSCN0114WEB DSCN0134WEB DSCN0154WEB

DSCN0162WEB DSCN0155WEB

This trip ended like most do—we were content and crabby and full of happy memories. If I have anything to say about it, we’ll be going back.

Click here for my list of the top ten things to do in Copper Harbor.

Unplugged (And Some Upcoming Book Reviews)

I’m not sure how we’re going to fit all our crap in my car, but once we figure it out, we’ll be off for a week of somewhat posh camping near Lake Superior. We’re borrowing a huge tent (Jonathan can stand up in it) and we bought a super comfy, memory foam-topped air mattress.

However, as ridiculous as it is that the campground has wifi, we’re unplugging for the whole trip—no computer, no phone (except GPS and trip-related research and maybe the long drive there and back), no work. That also means no blog posts because I’ve been so busy I didn’t plan ahead enough to have some extras scheduled while I’m gone. Sorry. I’ll repay you with beautiful pictures and some book reviews when I get back :)

One of my favorite parts of camping is reading by a campfire, and I fully intend to do that A LOT in the next week. To start with, I’m going to work on a few books I’m really excited about . . .

Camping Trip Reviews

I’ve already listened to an audio version of Packing Light, but I loved it so much I bought a copy to read. I can’t wait to tell you all about it.I haven’t read the others yet, but the first few pages seem pretty promising!

If you’re interested, you can get a 20% discount on Interrupted if you order through Tyndale by next Thursday, July 31. They’re currently out of stock online, but I spoke with a customer service representative who said they should be getting more in early next week. He also said you can call and reserve a copy over the phone to get the discount.

Northshore Tourists

A few weeks ago, two of my favorite people came to visit us—my Aunt Renee and my sister, Cilia. They were only here from Friday to Tuesday, but I kept them running. We visited the Stonearch Bridge, Stillwater, the Mall of America, and the North Shore.

By the time we headed home on Monday night, we were all tired and crabby and full of happy memories.

adirondack2 auntandnieces cillighthouse coldwater DSCN9672 gooseberry jonathanwaterfall Lighthouse onthebeach sarahjonathan sarahreneewaterfall ship ship2 splitrock

 

Saturday in Duluth

A few weeks ago, we went up north for the weekend. We were both desperate for a vacation and it was glorious. We stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s house (they’re in Arizona), slept in way too late, and spent Saturday in Duluth. It was nice enough to spend some time outside, and it was still cold enough for Lake Superior to be frozen, at least the part we could see. And yes, that is is a guy on a bike. He and another guy on a bike drove off across the lake. bikeandlighthouse

If you’ve been to Duluth, you’ve seen the old loading dock that people swim out to and jump off in summer. I would never be able to stand the water long enough to handle that. BUT we were able to walk out to it. I may or may not have been terrified of falling through the ice. And I maybe fell on my butt while a bunch of strangers watched. Maybe.

Loading-Dock-Distance

Jonathansarahloadngdock inloadingdock icewindow

To warm up, we spent a few hours at the Amazing Grace Cafe with our books (notice the creeper in the magazine rack next to Jonathan). Then we went to Va Bene (my absolute favorite restaurant in Duluth) and got some great pictures of the sunset.

magazinecreeperliftbridge

sunsetsunset2