Friday, September 16, 2011

Home in a nutshell.

What an amazing trip home! I have had such a wonderful time enjoying my friends and family the last few weeks. It was definitely a whirlwind tour. I started off at home in Ohio. I saw my Aunt Cindy and Uncle Rick as well as my cousins Mark and Brian with their wives and babies. It was my first time to see Brian and Maria's baby, Erica since she was born in the winter. SOOO cute! I have a delightfully crazy, wonderfully playful family. Many pranks and jokes have taken place over the years. They made my heart happy.

Here is my blog tribute to the teacher that started it all. Let me introduce those who don't know this lady to the amazing Patti Spiegel, AKA Spiegs, Espejo, and Spej. Spiegs was my high school Spanish teacher. We got into a lot of trouble in her class. We, you say? Not just "I"? Nope...We. She let me play pranks on other teachers (she usually thought them up). She let me explode marshmallow peeps in a microwave during Comida y Conversacion Friday's. She let me decorate her classroom door as a manger at Christmas time. She also may have let me hold a live baby crocodile during my first trip to Costa Rica in 1999...after a death defying trip down white water rapids. But aside from the fun, she also let me have a Bible study in her classroom before school. I remember doing Bible devotions with her in the morning in front of the volcano, Arenal, in Costa Rica as a teen. She even encouraged me to do medical missions, and we traveled to the Dominican Republic in 2007. We had a mini-reunion of that trip while I was home. Two of the other teens, Anna and Jameson, who are no longer teens but in college (oh, my, I'm getting old) that came on that missions trip came to my house. Jameson and Anna have also gone on to do other missions trips and overseas travels. Spiegs, you inspire us!!

Of course what trip home would be complete without a trip to visit my BFF?!? I left Findlay and traveled down to Cincinnati for the night to stay at my bestie's place. Obviously we had to take ANOTHER picture in our standard pose. I think in 10 years this makes 1,298,485 pictures in this exact pose. The hair has changed, our ages have changed, but our smiles and my height remains the same!!

As you all know, there is a new man in my life. All pint-sized, droolie-faced, running-machine that is my nephew, Will. And his name is accurate, he DEFINITELY has a will. I had a delightful weekend spoiling my nephew and playing the crazy aunt. We created new words in the English language, danced to "Shoo, Fly, Don't Bother Me" like it was going out of style, and snuggled with more fuzzy, cuddly animals than I care to recount.  I also have to give kudos to Skype. I have been watching my nephew grow up via video...AND HE RECOGNIZED ME!!!! He knew exactly who I was by name! Amazing. He is starting to understand the concept of the video calling. The other day my brother said he ran over to the computer, wiggled the mouse, and kept saying "Papa" (the name he calls my dad). He wanted to talk to my dad! So my brother called my parents. So funny. I think kids are way smarter than we give them credit for...

 After I finished playing auntie, I headed up to Michigan. Enter the tales that are the stuff of legends! I had to make a visit to my Alma Mater, Calvin College...and sit in the Cheese. Oh, you Calvin College students know exactly what I'm talking about. You non-Calvin College students, I'm sorry, you're not privileged to that information ;)
 Shout out to Britt and Rhiannon!! Thanks for an awesome night out on the town!
The town is now red. With a splash of hot pink.
Maybe some neon orange, too ;)
 Abby, Terri, and I reenacted a scene from their January Costa Rica missions trip.
Some how this same pose on a beach at sunset is so much cooler than in a bathroom at the B.O.B...
 No trip home would be complete without a good game of poker. 
These are my poker buddies, Dan, Dave, and Nikka.
 A huge thank you also goes out to my church, Vineyard North in Grand Rapids. With the help of Tanya DeYoung, Dan and Mama Bethel, as well as many others, the church put on an Ice Cream Social Hot Dog Fundraiser to help me raise support for my next year in Costa Rica. Through the generous donations of people from my church community, I was able to raise a little over $1300!!! Thank you guys, soooo much! What a blessing! I can't wait to share all of what God will and is doing in Costa Rica from now until Christmas!!!

 An extra special shout out to my dearest Tanya. Without her, the fundraiser would not have been possible. She poured out her blood, sweat and tears...okay, mostly just sweat...the tears came later when we had to say goodbye until December...into making the day possible. Tanya-girl, keep high kicking!!

 Oh, Yeah, did I mention that there was even a bouncy house!!! All us ladies waited until the party was over, everyone had left, and just a few of us were cleaning up...and then we had our turn in the bouncy house. Woot woot!! There was some pretty amazing high-kick-flips!!
Another big thank you to everyone for making my trip home so special. I really miss you all!!
Many, many blessings on all of you and I look forward to being with you again at Christmas.

PS Just in case you were wondering...I did check in on the tupperware. 
Still all there.
Still packed away.
I'll visit that at Christmas, too ;)

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