Saturday, December 8, 2007

December 4 - 10

Ken and I celebrated our six month anniversary this past Sunday and also welcomed Pepper, a 2-year-old fox terrier, into our family! We are so excited to have this little ball of energy to play with! We found her on accident - I talked Ken into visiting the SPCA (humane shelter for animals) but there were no dogs left. However, there was a sign for Pepper, a fox terrier, spade, and free! So we visited her, fell in love, and now have a new best friend in New Zealand!

Anglican church in Palmy that looked beautiful as the sun set on it


Besides playing with Pepper (and spoiling her rotten - she has a matching bed and food dish as well as a Christmas squeak toy and some dogie treats!) we celebrated our six months of marriage Saturday evening by going out to a nice dinner and getting martinis for dessert at a fancy lounge.

Dinner at the Mao Bar

The week was busy: The Olive Tree hit the press on Wednesday, so I spent most of Tuesday doing finishing touches. But the hard work paid off - sooooo many people have already commented to me how much they really enjoyed reading it! They said the layout was easy to follow, the stories were interesting, and they loved how large it was (20 pages)!! It should soon be uploaded onto the LCNZ website if you want to check it out: OR just go to and click on "read about olive tree"

Ken also was busy writing and editing this week - a journal called The Lattice contacted him and asked for an article to be published later this month in their journal! It is a journal for young people of today who don't want a corporate ladder, but a corporate lattice. They asked for his opinion on how to balance work and life and family, so he wrote an article about letting the fields lay fallow. Check it out later this month at: and click on "journal"

I finished outlining all the services for December and began getting everything in order for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services (candles, the Christmas tree, and props for the Children's play). I also created a songbook of Christmas Carols for next weekend when I'm taking some people from church to the Lutheran Homes (retirement village) to sing carols! Plus I've been busy practicing piano for the Christmas Youth Fundraiser that Ken is leading for the youth on December 22 - it will be a donation based dinner and all funds raised will go towards helping a underprivileged village in the Darfur through the "Tear Fund" organization. If the youth can reach the goal of $600 that evening, Ken will let them shave his head!

Friday evening was the last night of the miracles Bible study and Ken wrapped it up with a interactive service that reviewed all seven miracles using all the youth's senses (we ate bread while he read the story of the feeding of the 5000, or we sang the song Forever for the miracle of healing the Roman officials son from afar, and we burned our sins at the altar for being healed like the lame man at the pool...)

Other exciting news at church: the mission outreach project team met last week to pray for a place to team up with. Please keep them in your prayers as they will meet again this week to continue the prayer/brainstorming sessions. They plan to arrive at a unanimous agreement of where to begin their partnership. Also, Sunday evening was Trinity's live worship service for the month and we did all Christmas songs! We reinvented O Come O Come Emmanuel and Joy To The World - everyone seemed to enjoy them. It was great to end this year with that team on such a good note.

Nov 27 - Dec 3

It's officially beginning to look a lot like Christmas! This week we put up our little charlie brown Christmas tree and decorated it with little blue and green bulbs (of course we have our one ornament from Bar Harbor that says "Our Bar Harbor Honeymoon").
We also pulled out our Christmas CD's to listen to while baking Ken's Mom's "Chocolate Crinkle" cookies. We had a blast making six dozen of these sugary cookies - no they weren't just for us! We invited five couples to our home on Sunday evening for a Christmas White Elephant party! It was a really fun - Ken ended up with an ice cream maker, and I with some Mary Kay gift packs! Although the gift I really wanted (an awesome photo album box) was stolen from me. :( (L to R: Daina, Damien, Kate, Sam, Jen)

(L to R: Rick, Kerri, Daina)

On the topic of Christmas, this week at work found me busy getting all the services for December completed. So far I created the 9th and 16th in full, and have a general outline for the 23rd, 24th, and 25th. I'm glad Christmas is my favorite time of the church year - it makes working on these services really fun. The 16th is a special one for a few reasons: 1) My parents arrive that morning from Arizona and will be there for the service! 2) The "new team" that I created is leading the service and we have an awesome rendition of O Come O Come Emmanuel, and we're also singing a song that Ken and I wrote together! We're really excited for this service. I've also been working hard on finding the perfect spot for the National Youth Camp 2008 and am working on putting together the camp schedule. It's a challenge, but is really fun too! It looks like the camp will run from April 25 - May 2 in Havelock North. The theme is going to be "Global God" and we will be looking at how different everyone is from each other, yet how in Christ we're united together as one with all Christians around the world!
Youth nights are going really well for Ken - he's really found a good balance of fun, games, Bible study, etc for these students and is engaging all their senses as we are going through the seven miracles of Jesus in John. Each Friday begins with free "game time" that incorporates some sort of running around to get out their energy. Then we go into the study portion watching the miracle on video. Then we break into small groups to dig deeper into the meaning of the miracle, ending with another group gathering to discuss the main points. Well, this Friday was the feeding of the 5000 with the bread and Ken had a fish toss! He brought actual dead fish to church and had the kids compete to see who could toss the fish farthest...except they had to toss it from their mouth, holding the fish tail in their teeth! Ewww!! But an activity that everyone found pretty amusing! They will never forget that Bible study!
Friday night marked the final youth worship team practice as well - we led worship Sunday morning and it was awesome! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! The youth did a great job with their leadership, their singing/instrument playing, and their drama. It was such a blessing to see six weeks of hard work pay off in a great way worship service for the first Sunday in Advent.
Other exciting news: Ken has decided to accept the position at Bible College New Zealand and will begin teaching one course there in February! And I accepted the casual work for Lutheran Support Ministries, working on library upkeep and retreat ministries.
We are also really enjoying the warmer weather and sunshine that spring has brought - Ken is getting out and running a lot (I ran with him a few times, but not as much as he did - he's reached the 50 minute point!) We're trying to get ready for a 100K walk in April. It is called the OxFam Trail and all proceeds go to end poverty. It is a 100K walk in 36 hours with a team of four people. Please pray for us as we look for two other team-mates to join us! We have to have them by the end of December...We also went for a great hike on Monday for four hours in Otaki. The hike itself was quite the adventure as the trail abruptly ended at a cliff edge where the trail literally slipped off! But we were able to bush-wack a way around the cliff edge to continue the hike. It was pretty awesome!
Doesn't this just look like something out of a movie??!

The trail slipage

So we went this way

A fun bridge to cross

Can't get away from the cows!!!
Hope that the start of Advent is a blessing for you as we all prepare together this month for the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, as well as the advent of His second coming as He promises, to take us home to His heavenly eternal kingdom.