June 30, 2005

The Power of Positive Reinforcement

Here I am in graduate school working on my masters, taking Ancient Hebrew, 20 years after I started my first day of kindergarten, and still the power of positive reinforcement via stickers of happy faces and "nice job" spur me on... no, more than that, they demand of me to achieve superior competency so that I may possess them. I am hoping that if I keep doing this well that I might get a scratch-n-sniff sticker. Could I be so blessed? But in all seriousness, it's still fun to get them even now. My friend Joel at Harvard Law would be so lucky as to receive stickers for his A's! Perhaps he does? Posted by Hello

June 29, 2005

Supermarket Madness

So, people in Massachusetts shop like they drive (well...they do at the Market Basket). We went to do our routine grocery shopping yesterday and I (Kim) was seriously unnerved by all of the shopping carts flying past me. There was one point (at an apparently popular 3-way intersection connecting breakfast cereal, chips, and a donut spread) where, to get out of the chaos, I turned down an aisle (that I didn't need to go down) and was leisurely strolling through the oasis of solitude when suddenly this lady comes careening down the aisle behind me, zooms past me and cuts me off in order to avoid a little old lady pushing her cart down the other side. I was so shocked I just stood there (not the best of ideas since the other people who followed me down the aisle were not happy to be suddenly bottlenecked by me and the little old lady...thank God shopping carts don't have horns!). Then, a little bit later, I was waiting in line to look at the shredded cheese. I needed a bag of shredded monterey jack, that was all I needed. But someone else was in front of me, standing in the exact spot I needed to stand, so I was patiently waiting by the butter, pretending like I was despereately trying to decide between Land o Lakes or I Can't Believe It's not Butter (so that the person wouldn't feel rushed) when they finally moved on. I smiled and poised my hands on the cart, ready to push into their spot when out of no where this cart comes from behind and slides into the spot before I have a chance to move (Now I'm wishing there were a horn, a bell, something that would let them know of my displeasure!). And even though they seemed to be rushing through the store, carelessly cutting people off and taking their spots, they are suddenly completely relaxed and taking their time finding the perfect shredded cheese. I cannot tell you how many times that I was caught in a traffic jam, cut off, and given dirty looks for going to slow (I'm still adjusting to the layout of the store!!!). I was actually relieved to get out of the store and back on to the roads where, amazingly enough, the people are more civilized.

June 28, 2005

Massachusetts Driving (Me Crazy!)

First, thanks to all of you who have been leaving comments! We love to read them and are encouraged by them. This post is validation of my promise to post more frequently if we received more comments. Thanks again!

For those of you unfamiliar with Massachusetts, we live on the "North Shore". Specifically where the red star indicates. Tid bits: we are 15 minutes from 4 or 5 beaches, the town of Hamilton has more horses than people (headquarters fo rthe U.S. Olympic Equestrian team we're told) and about 40 minutes outside of Boston. Traffic is bad out here. The road system does support the amount of traffic... back in 1978. But today's traffic simply overwhelms it. The drivers out here tend to be aggressive, which is good and bad because drivers are fast and efficient but quick to let you know what they think about you both through audio and visual forms of communication. Driving is also difficult out here because of all the small towns. Now, I am use to small towns, but not small towns that keep running one into another. Both in Nebraska and Northern Michigan, the small towns are separated. In addition, there is only one street sign at an intersection, by that I mean I can find out the name of the smaller road that is intersecting the road which I am currently driving on, but it doesn't have a street sign for my road. So, if I am lost, which has happened, it's tough to figure out where I am. We live about five minutes from the worst intersection (actually it is really two intersections that are 20 yards apart) I have ever encountered. It's tough to describe so let me just give you the pieces: two blinking red lights, two yellow blinking lights, railroad tracks, a curbless parking lot that is inches from the intersection, and cars upon cars. Some of the cars stop, some yield, and some simply go and they do all three in every direction! The unfortunate thing about this intersection is that I usually need to make a left hand turn, thus the anxiety. To avoid the hassel during peak times, we take an alternate route. This post is already too long and I haven't even touched on rotaries or the lack of roads that go north to south or east to west. Oh, how we miss Michigan and Nebraska roads! As you can imagine, we are very excited for winter driving up in these parts. I think I'm going to trade in for a team of dogs. Mush!

June 26, 2005

Vocab Quiz Tomorrow

Here is what I have and will be doing since last Monday to August 19th; learning Hebrew. The top word is pronounced "boker" and means morning. The bottom word is pronounced "mitsvah" and means command, commandment (think: bar mitzvah). Kim and I have definitely settled in and are becoming more and more familiar with how to get around these parts. We went for an adventure on Friday afternoon to find a beach. The first one we went to wanted $15 for parking so we decided to continue on to one further down the road that was free. The beach was packed and the water was as cold as Lake Superior, which for those of you who do not know that means it is freezing. But, Kim had a good time anyways and the sun did feel good on my white, white skin. Friday evening we saw "Bewitched" and, while Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell were terrific, the movie left much to be desired. Many storylines were left dangling in the wind, which is odd considering the movie is only 90 minutes long you would think they could have added some minutes to do a better job telling the story. We continued our Church hopping this Sunday and visited an Evangelical Free church about 45 minutes from our apartment. First person we met was the pastor's wife who introduced us to all the other ministers of the church and had us sit with her in the very front row. [When was the last time you saw a visitor in the front row at your church? Unheard of!] Very friendly church, made us feel right at home, sot hey are a definite contender, but we still have 6 or 7 more to check out, so we shall see. If you are reading this sentence, take a minute to post a comment for this blog; the more posts we receive the more we are encouraged to update our blog with greater frequency. Have a great day! Posted by Hello

June 22, 2005

Our Move-In Helpers

We thought that since we had a picture of those who helped us move out we should have a picture of those who helped us move in. We had a homemade pizza party tonight thanks to our chef, Kim. It was nice to get to know couples in our building and a great way to say "Thank You for helping us even though it felt like it was 100 degrees out with 100% humidity". We also played "Apples to Apples", which is a great party game; easy to learn, and you can jump in and out of it if you need to. The couple with the baby, Laura Jane, are our next door neighbors, Josh & Kim, for whom we already got to babysit (but in all honesty Kim did most of the "baby" part and I did most of the "sit" part). Dave is next to them and has his hand on his wife, Sarah. Behind Sarah are our building's Resident Life Coordinators, which makes them our go-to persons whenever we have any questions. Janet is on the far left, but at the time of this picture her husband, Matt, had already taken off to study for our Hebrew I quiz (we are in the same class), which I, myself, should be doing right about... now. Posted by Hello

June 19, 2005

The Move

Top Left: Brooks and Gretchen provide the muscle. Top Right: Our material possessions = One 15 ft Penske Van. Bottom Right: The Maestro (Joe Garnjobst) uses his van-packing experience and expertise to enable all of our possessions (see top right) to actually fit in the van with space left over for our last item, the Iwo Jima tree. Bottom Right: A tired and very sweaty moving team takes time from admiring their handiwork for a picture.

Much thanks to everyone who helped us move! It only took us 3 hrs to pack the van and 1.5 hrs to unpack it. It was quite interesting to have a moving team of seminary students helping us because it was our first time meeting everyone and we had little time to get to know them; only time to sweat profusely up and down 3 flights of stairs. We (Kim, myself, and Kim's family) left Hillsdale last Saturday, June 11th and made it all the way to Albany, NY with a stop at Niagra Falls. We made it to Gordon-Conwell about 12:30 Sunday afternoon. Our Penske truck only had 660 miles when we picked it up and was a very nice ride. I actually enjoyed the drive out here because I knew I wasn't going to be going after any time records, I would always be in the far right lane, and that people would get out of the way of me and my big truck; even near Boston! Posted by Hello

Our New Apartment in Kresge Hall

Well it took us 3 full days to unpack everything. Amazingly, we only had one victim from the move: a serving bowl. One bookcase that was feared destroyed from the initial packing of the van survived and is currently holding books with its back in tack (play on words)! The name of our building is indeed Kresge Hall, which certainly conjures up fine memories of Hillsdale, but the people around here simply call it Building B. Kim and I love our new digs with its extra leg-room. More spacious and I can watch TV even in the kitchen! We have already spent a day touring Boston with Kim's family on Thursday, which included stops along the Freedom Trail, a lunch at the original Cheers, and a tour of Boston Harbor. Tomorrow I have my first class (Biblical Hebrew I), and Kim starts hunting for a job. Please remember us in your prayers in these specific ways: 1. That Kim would find a good job, 2. Our adjusting to our new surroundings, and 3. God would strengthen our relationship with him here as we prepare for full-time ministry in two years. Kim and I would love to hear from you, so please leave some comments. Now that we are here with Comcast high-speed internet in our apartment, we will be updating this blog frequently if not daily. Posted by Hello

June 08, 2005

Making the Move

This may be our last post for a week until we arrive in our new apartment and have the internet hooked-up, which should take place next Tuesday. I pick up our Penske moving truck tomorrow and have several friends from work who are going to help us pack the truck after a going away BBQ. As I have said in the past, one of the best things about being a Christian, besides the eternal love of God, is that you always have help moving. If a Christian is not willing to help someone move he or she should seriously question their faith! There have been a lot of farewells said already this week and none harder than saying goodbye to all the great kids in our youth group (one of the few times in my life when I have legitimately choked up and not been able to speak). The fridge is just about empty as we have been living on rice and chicken all week saving that one can of SPAM for the BBQ on Thursday. Played my last round of disc golf yesterday with my long-time disc partner, Joe Garnjobst, and finished with a personal record of -2 for a 9-hole round, which included 4 birdies in a row, another personal record. Kim has been very busy packing during the day and actually prefers me not to pack because she has her "system". Instead, I do the heavy lifting. We hope to have all our boxes packed tonight, so we are ready to pack the truck tomorrow. We are both excited about the move and quite nostalgic about our 12 combined years here in Hillsdale. Tons and tons of great experiences had and people met. On the other hand, it is time to move on, and it I will be nice to be somewhere where all the memories will be ours together and none separate. I will try to post perhaps once more before the move, but, if not, the next time you hear from us will be from our new home in Massachusetts! Posted by Hello

June 07, 2005

June 03, 2005

Partnership Program

Kim and I would like to thank those of you who have offered your support to us through the Seminary's Partnership Program. For those of you who do not know, I am one of 50 students to be part of this inaugural program. I have received $14,000 towards the cost of tuition for the next two years. As part of this program, I need to locate individuals and churches who would be willing to partner with me by supporting me financially to help offset part of the cost of my ministry training and education. My goal is to find at least one sponsoring church (which I have done) and 12 individuals who would be willing to support me at $35/month for the next 2 years. I believe I am about 2/3 of the way there with some individuals giving more than the suggested $35, some the suggested amount and still others giving $18 (1/2) or $12 (1/3).

I am extremely appreciative and really excited to be this far along before the move out there, and as I was telling Kim, it also gives me encouragement knowing that I have family and friends out there who not only think this is a good idea but think that it is a good enough idea to support through their own finances and prayers. I feel like we are not simply heading out to Massachusetts on our own, but that we are heading out there with the full support of our family and friends to prepare ourselves for a life of preparing others for love and service to Jesus Christ. If anyone else is interested in this, please e-mail or call me and I can give you all the information concerning the program or you can check it out on-line by clicking on the title "Partnership Program" at the top of this post. Thank you again for your help Posted by Hello

June 01, 2005

Fear the Fro

Although my mother would like to see this entire blog dedicated to the Detroit Pistons, I do need to have some postings on them as they maximize much of my months of May and hopefully June as well. They played terrific defense last night, which lead to easy baskets. Attacking Miami's big men early and getting them into foul trouble never allowed Miami to really get into an offensive groove. Big game 5 on Thursday night! Posted by Hello