Monday, June 30, 2008


Just a peek of Colorado Springs
Agia Sofia: my favorite coffeeshop in Colorado Springs. This is where we went for our meetings on Thursday.
a week and a half ago i flew to colorado. i had meetings with my team at ACSI Headquarters. I left last may - so it had been a bit over a year since i was back there, and since i've been involved in meetings. It was so refreshing. God really used that time with the ladies on my team to rejuvinate me. Sometimes i feel like i'm all alone out here just drummin' away at the computer answering emails and not really being a part of the "big picture" of ACSI. Sometimes i feel like i just run this tiny program that nobody else wants to deal with. Well, the ladies on my team made me feel like i am very much a part of what is going on and that sponsorship is an important part of what ACSI is doing around the world. I was encouraged. I got to spend a few days doing meetings with the wonderful ladies on my team and i got to stay with britta and travis in colorado springs!

Saturday and Sunday morning i got to be with my family in littleton. Just a short time to get to be with them. I came home really encourage and blessed. I love Colorado and those there that are so instrumental in my life.

Friday, June 27, 2008

a friend in gurnee

Lindsey just left today.It was so wonderful to have a dear friend come to visit. Landon and i do not get many visitors and we are SO blessed to have had our good friend Lindsey stay with us for a few nights. It's really refreshing to talk with someone with similar interests in the outdoors. Landon taught Lindsey to climb when we returned from Africa 2 years ago and she has since become a really incredible climber. Besides being a colorado native, in her last year at seminary studying philosophy this year, and working at an outdoors store, "we" have tons else in common. We met in college at campus crusade for christ and she played football with landon at UCCS. Linds and i took a few classes together. When i would spend evenings pining over Landon, SHE was the one that said, "just see, you two will be married one day". Gosh, i wish she'd let me know when to expect some off-spring! i might just trust her prediction.

Thanks for paying us a visit, Linds, i know it was a sacrifice and it was SO special for us to get to see you in our neighborhood of "gurney".

Monday, June 23, 2008

A good friend is hard to find

last tuesday, courtney and i went to independence grove (part of the lake county parks and the des plaines river trail). we went running around the lake through the park and then sat in the sunshine for a picnic. what a wonderful day.

it's wonderful to have courtney for a friend. we got to talk about marriage and singleness, starbucks, and the challenge of returning to america from africa.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Flooded forest + our canoe = awesome afternoon!

this is the first snapping turtle i've ever seen. wow! he was ferocious too!

EDIT: Apparentely i missed some better pictures from our weekend, so i'm adding them here:
snapping turtle snapping at the canoe paddle

just so you can see how big that guy was.

neat picture of the woods and the water. Can you tell how annoying it can be to have duvi in the canoe with us - do you think we're just a bit tilted to the right?

through the reeds.

"hey, that would be an awesome log to 'lumberjack'!" not quite. but still an adventure.

we are literally canoeing on the same trail that we have run/walked/skied numerous times! FYI: these are the SAME woods that flooded and froze over during our winter here

i could get used to this.

my boys.

maneuvering through the trees was a challenge (we were covered in spider webs), but it was really beautiful. i had the "kiss 'da girl" song from the little mermaid stuck in my head the whole time.

isn't he awesome?

just chillin with my canoe on a park bench.

a normal day.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The latest from Gurnee:

First off, and not on the subject. You will notice that i added a play list to this blog of songs that i like. but YOU are the one who reads this blog, not me. So, if it's annoying to always have music on here, PLEASE tell me and i will do away with it. I usually mute sites when i'm online because i'm always listening to my own music. so, no hard feelings, just let me know. easy change. but until i hear from ya'll, i'll just leave the music for your listening pleasure.

Here's a picture of our swinging chair hanging from one of our silver maples in the backyard. I bargained for this chair in espanol while i was in guatemala last fall. The weather has never been good enough to be worth hanging it. but now it hangs and it is so wonderful to relax in the yard. if you ever call me on my cell, i almost always immediately run to the swing in the yard to talk. so, picture me here while we're talking!

These are my herbs. I got this aerogarden in the mail from mom and dad for my birthday! My herbs are finally growing big enough that i'm having to prune them regularly. i'm having fun looking for recipes to incorporate them into. let's see, this week we have chives in our corn bread and lots of basil in a mayo/lemon juice/garlic/basil spread on our vegetable sandwiches, and a mint fruit salad. pretty fun. and these are made in boulder! check it out!

welp, i just checked on duvi in the yard. i was surprised to see him in the grass (he usually sleeps in a corner of the garage all day because it's getting too hot for him outside - i've been hosing him off in the afternoons). he discovered a little treasure hidden in landon's things. too cute to get mad about. some of you may recognize the packaging: Backwoods Sweet Aromatic Cigars.

So this weekend we have endured our first tornado episode. Saturday we had high winds, severe thunderstorms, and a tornado warning. It was scary! The neighborhood alert system (siren) was activated and i was constantly checking the weather warning online because we have no television. sunday we were having a tornado watch until 1am monday. landon was so chill about it. i had prepared our tornado shelter in our hall closet with flashlights and blankets and everything. he thought it was funny, took this picture of me and told me that i had to post it. so there. i was scared.

finally: pictures of my new flowers. These are the flowers that Janelle gave me a gift card for, for my birthday. you know they look a little shabby right after you plant them, so i wanted to wait a little bit before i took pictures.
(can you tell which bush duvick pee's on each morning?)

These are inspired by my grandmother who always had 4th of July flowers in front of her house by july. i wanted a pot full of red, white, and blues!

my window boxes that didn't work well last year are flourishing this year! i think i may have crammed too many petunias into there, but i think they may survive the summer at least!

And my most favorite flower! i planted them in an empty spot of dirt not knowing the the plant beside them would cram them into the gutter. oh well, they're still pretty.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Now we're back in town with a new paddle. (we weren't able to canoe yet because we only had one paddle). So we've been canoeing a lot! We have this wonderful river that goes through our town called the Des Plaines River. If you have ever seen pictrues of us having any kind of fun at all - be it walking, running, skiing, snow shoeing, and now canoeing, it has only been on the des plaines river trail.

These pictures were taken during our first time on the river (notice life jackets, mom)(also notice long-sleeves - those are COMPLETELY unnecessary these [sweltering] days). we just packed a lunch and pulled over during the middle of our float to let duvick run around (he's uncomfortable sitting in the boat for so long). we have a canoe rack on both of our cars, so we leave one at the pull-out and take the canoe up to the put-in up stream. it works out nicely. our floats are about 3-4 hours, and are so relaxing. it's amazing to be alone in the river. we have seen some really wonderful wild life: deer, muscrat, beaver, heron, raccoon, etc...

duvick is kind of a dweeb in the boat. he rocks it so much, and sometimes he leans out to get a drink or watch the water and just about tips us over. he also gets mud in the boat after we have to portage. he is really alert the whole time, and we think he enjoys it enough, we're just not sure if it's worth it - he's pretty annoying in the boat. he won't be riding any white water with us once we get out of the mid-west, that's for sure!

captain and commander!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Last stop: Columbia, Missouri - Justin's graduation!

sorry it has taken me so very long to complete these posts from our trip. well, this one is the last one. I was amazed at Justin and Anna. In the same weekend, they celebrated Justin's graduation, threw a huge party with people from all walks of life in their own backyard. Around these events, they were having a mondo garage sale, were hosting 6 people in their own home, and were getting everything in their storage unit, as they had to be out of their house permanently at 5pm Sunday evening. Wow - pretty ambitious! Despite all that they had going on, they were intentional to spend some real quality time with their friends and family who had traveled far to celebrate with them.

We are so proud of Justin! What an accomplishment - "Dr. McBrayer".

And i can't help but be amazed at Anna as she has been working her butt off at farm journal (among other places) as well as birthing (and MOTHERING) two boys these last 4 years. I am simply amazed at them, and am so inspired as Landon and i have only just begun that journey.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A few days in Georgia

After the wedding, we drove down to Georgia to get some R&R. Wow - after last year where i was working 2 jobs and landon was in school and working part-time, we really needed that time alone together just hanging out and having fun. So we went to the McBrayer family cabin in Jasper County and lived it up! Lots of fun things to do amidst some quiet reading, naps, hot-tubbing, and evening movies. MMMMM.... really what we needed.

And just a picture of all the McBrayer babies after mother's day breakfast. Love 'em!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wedding in NC

Unfortunately, i left my camera in the car for the wedding weekend. These pictures are all thanks to Merritt.

Landon and I were really honored to take part in their wedding, as he was asked to stand as a groomsman and i enjoyed singing in their ceremony. I didn't post any pictures of us here because i already did a few weeks ago!

See the most recent pictures of the McBrayer families!!! can you tell that we've had a year FULL of new babies!?

Brent, Merritt, Avery and Griffin

Peyton, Ann, and Addison

Garrett, Crystal, and Greenlee

Justin, Anna, Patrick and Aeneas

Charleen, Mike, Preston, Haley, Garrett

This video of Pooks and Leeann's dance best captures them, i think: take the time to watch at least half of it - they're pretty creative!

morning in tennessee

We drove through beautiful country on our way to Preston's wedding. Landon literally dropped off his last finals paper on our way out of town. We drove for hours (both of us pretty exhausted from little sleep that week) and stopped in Tennessee where we put up camp for the night. We were so fortunate to find a really beautiful spot:

Our campground was completely empty - even of people to ask us for money. we knocked on doors and everything was locked. We'll enjoy a night of free camping beside a beautiful river any time! It was quiet and so sweet.

next... off to the wedding in Charlotte, NC.