Tag Archives: Michigan

He is Risen Indeed

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Good Friday is a solemn celebration, a reminder of how bad things were—how bad things are. It’s a reminder of what life is like without Jesus. Most years it rains, or at least clouds over with darkness.

But Easter is bright and hopeful. A celebration of grace and love and life and mercy, a reminder that we’re loved by an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator who became flesh and died so we could spend eternity with Him.

Spring (at least in the Midwest) is the perfect time to celebrate the juxtaposition of life and death that holy week brings—bleakness and bright hope.

The seasons mirror the work God does in our lives, in our world. It’s a cycle of life and death. A reminder that good things come to an end, but for a reason. It’s not senseless. It’s not the last word. Death is required for new life to break forth. The leaves must turn crisp and fall, the peaceful white snow must cover the land, hiding that death and ushering in the new life that comes with spring. The birds start to sing again. The flowers send shoots up out of the soil. The air embraces you with a warm breeze. Summer is coming. Sunday is coming.

As I’m preparing my heart for Easter, I’m remembering just how bad it was before He came—how bad my life could have been without Jesus—and I’m praising God for the new life He brings.

He is risen. He is risen indeed.

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Ten Things to Do in Copper Harbor, MI

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  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.
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  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 :)
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.
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  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.

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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.

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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.

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Notice the pjs.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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Our campground was on Lake Fanny Hooe.

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

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Those green spots are copper.

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

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

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The Copper Harbor Lighthouse

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We found copper!

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A view of the town from the harbor

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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.

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

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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.

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Lake of the Clouds

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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.

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Hudson’s Hot Air Affair

When I was a little girl, my aunt and uncle helped plan the local hot air balloon festival. Every summer, I got to spend an entire weekend watching balloons launch, fly, and glow. The whole thing was magical. Then, when I was ten, my family moved to a different town that also hosted a hot air balloon festival every summer. It was close enough to our house that we’d often see the balloons fly over our house. And then, when I moved to Minnesota, there were no balloons. It was sad. Until . . .

Until I randomly came across a website about Hudson’s annual Hot Air Affair. Not only is there a balloon festival within driving distance, it happens in FEBRUARY. That’s winter, guys. If a hot air balloon festival is awesome in June, it can only be awesomer when there’s snow on the ground, right?

So last weekend, when my cousin Rachael came for a visit, we took her with us to see the balloon glow on Saturday night. This is before we all looked like Rudolph (it was maybe 15 degrees out).

If you don’t know, a balloon glow is when they inflate the balloons at dusk and take advantage of the dark to make the balloons “glow.” They don’t actually launch. They just look pretty.

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patchwork-balloon-2 quilted-balloon balloon-glowballoon-glow-2My favorite part about this festival was that they actually let you out on the field. We got to stand right next to the balloons. It might be different for the launches, but it was the coolest thing. I had so much fun, and now I want to go up in a hot air balloon even more than I did before. I’m not a huge fan of heights, but I’m willing to suck it up for that experience.

Meet Margaret

This is my car, Margaret. I named her after my grandma. Jonathan and I bought Margaret in Minnesota, but she was made in Michigan like me. She’s 125,500 miles old.Car

Margaret is a champ. So far this winter, we’ve had several days of at least -20 degree windchills (that’s not even counting all the other below zero days), and she sits outside all night and starts right up every morning. She’s a little groggy at first, but she comes around. I think we do just as well as native Minnesotans—maybe better. Jonathan’s car, which doesn’t have a name, can’t do that unless it sleeps in the garage.

 

This morning Margaret and I had a great conversation.

“Good job, Margaret. You can do it. We’ve just gotta get to work and we’ll be fine. I know it’s slippery, but you can do it. We just gotta stay safe and we’ll be okay. Just keep going.”

Then I patted her dashboard. Repeat four or five times and you have our ride to work. We made it without incident. A little pep talk goes a long way!

And Jonathan thinks it’s silly to name your car.

Running Update

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On Friday, November 29, we’re kicking off the holiday season by running our first 5K!

Jonathan and I are headed to Michigan to spend Thanksgiving with my family, which means we’ll be there for the annual 5K and holiday parade. I remember watching the race before the parade every year, but I never ever thought I’d run it it. But now I’m registered and committed. Jonathan and probably my sister are doing it with me.

Running starts at 6:00 p.m., and it’s gonna be chilly (but I still hope it snows). I spent part of my day looking for just the right gear to keep me warm while I run. Now I just have to figure out what cutesy, Christmasy thing I’m going to “decorate” myself with for the race. I’ve seen people run dressed as presents, complete with cardboard boxes—I won’t be doing that. Maybe I’ll crochet some snowflakes? Any ideas?

 

Running inspiration courtesy of slowisthenewfast.com.

Hope and a Future

The beginning of the school year makes me sentimental.

But who am I kidding?—I’m always sentimental.

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about my freshman year at Taylor and how different my life looked when I started college. I’ve been reminded how awesome God is.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.’” It’s a verse I quoted over and over to myself as I faced my first year at college with utter terror. (You think I’m exaggerating? I cried almost every day of my senior year of high school just because I knew I’d be leaving home on my own—three hours a way from my family and no friends to hide behind.) As many times as I quoted it though, I didn’t understand the depth of its meaning until now, as I look back at how my life has changed and how God has used each step to teach me and further His kingdom.

My college roommate, Dana, has become a life-long friend who understands me better than almost anyone. God used her to push me out of my comfort zone and show me what a Christian friendship looks like.

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I met Jonathan and spent six months waiting for him to ask me out. And then I spent 14 months praying God would let me marry him. We just celebrated our fourth anniversary.

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I left my beloved home state of Michigan and moved to what one of my friends from home calls, “The Great White North.” It’s not the same, but I really have come to love Minnesota.

I learned what it’s like to be part of a committed, Christ-following community. My days at Taylor were filled with professors, students, and even cafeteria workers who loved Jesus. And now our church (also where I work) has brought us the same gift here in Minnesota. What a blessing to be surrounding by such a faithful, positive, and supportive group of people.

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I discovered a passion for editing and had the opportunity to intern at a major Christian publishing house. What a learning experience! And now I often use my skills to help friends and friends of friends edit the books they’ve written to further the gospel and share hope with the world. Not the way I planned to do things, but it’s been so rewarding.

Either He's God or He's Not

My parents divorced after nearly 27 years of marriage. Not gonna lie—this has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever faced. It caused me to question every aspect of my life and rethink all of my childhood memories. And it’s wreaked havoc on my entire family. But God has taught me a lot about what’s important in life, and I’ve seen my family come to rely on Him in ways they never have before—a blessing amid the ashes.

Now, as Jonathan and I face an unknown future yet again, I’m excited about the challenges it will bring and the ways God will grow us. I can’t share details now, but we might have some big changes coming up before the year ends, and I know they’ll stretch us in new ways. (For the record—we’re not pregnant!)

I can look back on what God has already done in my life and quote Jeremiah 29:11 with so much more confidence: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “Plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Lately I’m . . .

run-for-the-borderRunning for the border—No, not Mexico. Or Canada . . . Back in May, I set a goal to run/walk/bike 100 miles between Memorial Day and July 14 in order to raise money for meals for Burmese refugees living on the border between Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Thailand. So far, I’ve completed about 84 miles. Jonathan is also doing 100 miles, but he’s running all of his. My next post will have more details about why we’re participating in Run for the Border.

GrizzlyLearning to be intentional—God has really been challenging me to be intentional in my living, meaning I shouldn’t just be going through the motions without thinking. I have a limited amount of time and I need to use it wisely. (This picture has nothing to do with being intentional—it’s a grizzly we saw at the Minnesota Zoo on Memorial Day. I love bears.)

warren-dunesClimbing a sand dune—Jonathan and I made a trip to Ohio and Michigan in May to attend a friend’s wedding and visit my family. On our way home, we stopped at Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer, Michigan. I got ambitious and wanted to climb a sand dune. They’re a lot steeper than they look.

family-timeCelebrating with family—We’ve been spending a lot of time with Jonathan’s family over the last few months between birthdays and Father’s Day and visits from out-of-town siblings. In case you’re wondering, the last picture is Simeon trying to retrieve a frisbee from the roof.

Storm-damageSurviving a storm—Almost two weeks ago, we were driving through downtown Minneapolis when we got hit by what Jonathan said was the worst storm he’s ever seen, short of a hurricane. We drove through half a foot of water, drove under a downed power line, parked next to a tree that had already fallen to protect our car from damage, and survived without electricity or hot water for 24 hours (lots of people had to wait several days–we were lucky!). Things are back to normal now, minus a few trees . . .