Tuesday, September 06, 2011

What have I been up to?

A few of my friends have been giving me grief for not having posted on my blog recently. It's not that I have nothing to write about. Much has happened. But most of my writing has been devoted to my dissertation, which is coming along s-l-o-w-l-y. But it's coming.

So, here's a photo overview of the summer, albeit with gaps as I don't always think of taking photos.

On the flight from Jakarta to Singapore (and from there to Chicago, and then Cedar Rapids)
I had a clear view of Krakatoa, one of Indonesia's hundreds of active volcanoes

I had hardly been home when my friend Nan (at whose house I'm staying) and I
went to Des Moines for a Michael Bublé concert. It was a fun evening with great music
The next day, we drove through to Lincoln, Nebraska, where we attended a Beth Moore/Living Proof conference.
Beth is one of my ultimate favorite Bible teachers, and I love seeing her. As a frequent reader of her blog,
I got to meet her backstage afterward with other members of the blogging community
After the event, Danette, Nan and I went to explore Lincoln a bit. We went to the quilt museum
and saw "Tree of Life." I'm still trying to figure out if I liked that movie or not...
It has great moments, but the long interludes were like lullabies to me
Back in Cedar Rapids, there have been many fun moments, such as the balloon glow at Brucemore.
With Danette is Melody, another of our friends. No photos here of evenings spent at Melody's house,
having thought-provoking conversations by her swimming pool
Pam got married this summer. All the girls in this photo are part of a Bible study group that has been meeting for several years, all dear friends of mine here in Cedar Rapids.
From left to right, there's Danette, Connie (who came to visit me for the trip to Sulawesi), Pam, Karen (who visited me in Kenya in '07), Steven (Pam's singer/songwriter hubby), then Beth, me,
Jodie and Nan (who visited me in Kenya in '07 and Indonesia in 2010)
Some pretty cone flowers in the area

At the end of July, I went to California for some meetings with Genysys, a group I'm joining.
Though I saw the Clarks (with whom I lived while studying in California), met Jessie's baby, even went to Jeremiah's wedding for a bit, I didn't take any photos except this one at Din Tai Fung (my favorite Chinese restaurant)
with my friends Mary and Shawna. I also saw my friend Melissa Tan (from ORTV).
With my frequent moves around the world, it always does my heart well to reconnect with friends that go back in time!
Our Genysys meetings were held at Rubel Castle in Glendora.
The meetings were instrumental in that I got introduced to a topic Ray Rood (founder of Genysys and
former professor of mine at APU) had researched in 1991, and which I will be resurrecting through my dissertation.
I'll write more about that at another time...
The Iowa State Fair is among the top 100 things to do in the USA during the summer, so it was fun
to go to the fair in Des Moines with friends. There are all kinds of yummy treats to enjoy at the fair,
especially fried goods (which none of us friends tried.)
The newest of the fried treats at the fair this year was fried butter. Imagine that!
One of the things the Iowa State Fair is best known for is the butter cow sculpture. All of this is made of butter, yes
One of my favorite things to see at the fair are the horses
Connie (in purple) was at the fair with her family as her nephew had some sheep enrolled. Danette, Nan, Sara and I
hooked up with Connie and explored the grounds
My other favorite thing at the fair was to visit the hall where they had a bunch of baby animals: these ducklings,
newborn piglets, calves and more. And we watched as little chicks were hatching from their eggs
The sand sculpture (here, still in progress) was rather cool, too. This year was the 100th anniversary of the fair
having a butter cow, hence the sand sculpture them was the butter cow, also
Back in Cedar Rapids, it was an unexpected blessing when Vivian and Tilana Whitcomb passed through town
and I got to spend a morning with them, catching up. Our times in Taiwan overlapped in the late '90s till 2002.
They now live in Doha (in Qatar), so it was a bit bizarre for us South Africans to meet up in the Midwest USA!
In between my research/reading/writing, I take time to stop and try to enjoy every moment, such as this moment
when I got to watch a little ruby-throated hummingbird. These little birds are amazing creatures!
Not only can they hover in one place such as in this photo, but they are the only birds that can fly forward,
backward and sideways
Another day, I'll give you an update on my studies and possibly on the road ahead, which, not surprisingly, continues to be a journey of faith and an amazing journey, for sure.