Saturday, September 9, 2017

Life in Upstate New York

Since moving to upstate New York, I have been getting used to living in the country again. 
 
I have to say...there's nothing like it. 
After living in California for five years and in Glen Burnie and Baltimore, MD for two years, I am SO happy to be in upstate New York now.  I have no problem with California or Maryland, but in the three cities I lived in while living there, there was always some feeling of threat or fear.  I wouldn't have thought of going for a jog in Baltimore where I lived because of the violence and gangs nearby.
 
The feeling that I always had to be careful how I looked at people (or didn't look at people) in Baltimore for fear of being labeled in some way was SCARY. 
 
Upstate New York (I am clear about saying "upstate" because it is nothing like NYC) is nothing like that.  In fact, I take our dog for a walk every morning and go running or bicycling each day too. 
 
The people in this area know everything about everyone else.  The people are easy-going and friendly in a casual, neighborly way.  I love that.  I've missed that the past few years.    
 
 
When we first arrived in New York, one of the kind members of the church here gave Dan and I tickets to ride the Minne-Ha-Ha, a steam boat on Lake George.  It was fun to tour the lake on the boat!   
 
 
 



 
 

 
We love the house where we live now.  In this picture, our dog Chula is running around.  She LOVES the open space.  It's much better to play fetch in the country than in the small city plot we had before. 

 
About a month ago, I was really wishing that I could have a rabbit, so I found one for sale on ebay and we bought him.  I named him Duffy. 

 
Chula really likes Duffy, but I don't think Duffy feels the same about her.


 
Dan made a nice hutch for him. 

 
We're loving life up here! 
 



Saturday, September 2, 2017

Honeymoon

😀As most of you can probably tell, I have very recently begun blogging again regularly. 
As I was going back through the posts I have written, I noticed one that I never posted. 
Our honeymoon!! 
 
And of course, who wouldn't want to hear about that, right?  :) 
 
So here it goes, though more than a year late. 
 
 
 
When we left our wedding in Dan's pickup truck, we drove back to the church where we had left Dan's car and switched over into that.  It made more sense to drive to Virginia in a car than in a truck. 
 
I had no clue where we would be spending the night, since Dan had took it upon himself to plan that all out secretively. 
 
We pulled into a long winding driveway in Lancaster, which went straight up a hill.  Almost at the top, we could see what looked like a mansion!  It was definitely a mansion, but was also an awesome bed and breakfast. 
 
Dan took this picture as we were cresting the hill and I had my first sighting of the Hurst House. 
 
 
 
The Hurst House was a truly beautiful place to stay!  We only stayed for that one night and then left early the next morning. 
This picture was taken at breakfast the following morning. 
 

 
Dan had planned everything out down to a T.  There was a gorgeous bouquet of roses waiting for me, as well as three different types of junk food snacks (he knows me so well!). 


 
At the Hurst House, we had our own private balcony, overlooking their beautiful lake. 

 
 
After we left the bed and breakfast, we actually went to church in Lancaster county at a Baptist church.  I've always thought it'd be odd to attend church the day after you get married, but something wouldn't have felt right if we had missed church.  We were both glad that we went.  It was a very nice church. 
 
We made the drive down to Shenandoah Crossings in Virginia where we were going to spend the week.  It took us about four hours or so to get there.  We were staying at the Bluegreen Vacation spot which was a sort of resort with cabins and yurts and campground.
 
We had this cabin all to ourselves.  It had four bedrooms and two bathrooms.  It was HUGE!
 


 
It was a neat place.  And because we were there in April, not many other people were around.  It was a historic area, so we went to see Thomas Jeffersons's Monticello home as well as James Madison's home.  We were planning to go on lots of hikes, but it rained almost every day that week. 
 
We were able to sneak in this short walk one day between rain storms. 


 
On the second day at the resort, we went to this required lecture about what Bluegreen Vacations was and all of the vacation spots we could go to. 
We really didn't want to sign up for a timeshare with them or invest into vacations with them.  We were given a deal at Bass Pro, which was why we signed up for it. 
 
Anyway, so we sat through the lecture and then had a tour of the resort and three different salespeople tried to get us to sign up, but we stayed firm and did not purchase anything or sign any contracts. 
Four hours later, we were free to enjoy the rest of our honeymoon.  Please don't think I am being rude when I say this (because our honeymoon was truly AMAZING), but those four hours were the worst part of our vacation. 
 
 We felt very pressured into making a decision to buy their vacation sampler package.  Despite our insisting that we rarely go on vacation and that when we DO, we certainly wouldn't spend thousands on a vacation, the salespeople were quite relentless. 
 
The best part about this sales pitch time was that there was a popcorn machine.  So I enjoyed that. 

 
After we finally got back to our cabin, we saw a horse and buggy and wanted to go for a ride. 

 
Our driver was the nicest elderly man.  He talked to us the whole trip. 




 

 
When our buggy ride was over, we explored the resort.  There was a historic house on it, and we looked at that for a little while.  We just peeked in the windows, since it was closed.  


 
The week flew by!  On our last day there, Dan and I played checkers.  They had this large checkers board and checker pieces on the sidewalk.  I beat Dan, which is why he is pouting in this photo.  :)


 
 
That was the end of our fabulous week!  One day, we hope to go back to that same resort for a vacation.  It really was a very nice spot! 
 
 


Fixer Upper No Longer!

I've been meaning to put my final pictures of our renovation project up, but kept on forgetting.  Though we no longer live in Baltimore, I like to look through these pictures as a reminder of the work we did, and also the fun we had decorating this fixer upper and making it a home. 
 
Of course, most of the work that was done can't be seen in these pictures...like completely replacing the radiators in the house, re-plumbing the whole plumbing system, and putting in new sheet rock.  
But the differences you CAN see in these pictures (like the paint colors, added closet, re-done hardwood floors) are well worth it. 
 
I will post the before picture, and directly underneath that, the "after", finished product. 
 
This is the front porch, before.
 

And this is after.  As you can see, we didn't do too much with it.  Replaced the window, put a security door on, and re-stained the wood door. 
 



The Front of the house before.  

After.  We painted the whole foundation of the house a darker color.
 

 
 
This is the dining room/stairway view before.
 


 
 And after.  We did a lot of paint scraping in here and then re-mudded the whole room (as well as the licing room).  After re-painting, we pulled up the nasty carpet (which had served as a paint drop cloth) and sanded and varnished the hardwoods.  Also, there was no light fixture before.  So we purchased the cute, old-looking lamp fixture and installed it. 
 

 

 

The Living room before.
 
 
The living room after.
 
 
View of the living room/Dining room before
 
 
And after
 
 
The kitchen before
 

 
The kitchen after


 
 
The master bedroom before
 

 
The master bedroom after.  This room, though it was the biggest room, had no closet.  So Dan made a large walk-in closet by shortening the room next to this one. 
 
Basically everything else, we kept the same.  

 
The middle room before.
 
 
The middle room after.  Yes, we picked a crazy color for the walls...it was the only paint we had, and we didn't feel like going and buying more since this room wasn't being used very much. 

 
The bathroom before.
 
 
The bathroom after.
Dan completely re-configured the set-up of this bathroom.  So he had to re-direct pipes and stuff.  And he built the vanity, medicine cabinet, and large shelf on the left as well. 
 

 
 
And THAT was our house in Baltimore.  It was fun to watch it come together.  I must confess, I didn't do much of the hard work; just the painting and sanding, pulling up carpet and things like that.  Dan is the mastermind behind all of our renovation projects. 
 
 
 
Soon, I'll begin posting a new renovation project pictures.  We purchased a house in New York and are going to be working this next year, fixing it up as well.  So stay tuned to my blog for more fixer upper pictures!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Musician

Every now and then, I have to post something funny I come across. 
 
I found these old videos of my husband trying to prove to me that he can read music. 
So funny!
 
 
video
 
 
video
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Blessed People

Well, we are very blessed people!  Our home in Baltimore was listed online for sale and two days later, an offer was placed and we accepted their offer.  It was exciting because we put a lot of work into that little home.  Our choice of style for the house was kind of rustic (re-doing the clawfoot tub and using it) and quaint (for instance, taking out all the carpet and re-sanding the hardwoods).  It was nice to know that our hard work paid off and other people liked the house as well.

We packed up everything into a Uhaul truck, our pickup and Dan's car and work trailer.  We made the trek up to New York with Dan driving the U-Haul while pulling the car on a dolly.  I drove the pickup truck hauling the work trailer.  We made it in on a Friday night quite late.
The next morning, several men from the church came and helped us unload all of the vehicles. 
It went very smoothly and quite fast as well! 

We have since settled in very nicely and adjusted to the area.  I am very much enjoying the country life again!  The slower pace of life is just what I have been missing. 

Dan keeps himself very busy with preparing sermons, fixing up things around the church and on the property, as well as getting to know as many people as possible in town. 

This past sunday was our kickoff of a morning service.  We called it "Restart Sunday" and advertised it in the community via passing out flyers and putting it in the newspapers.  It was an exciting day and we were able to have a nice picnic after the morning service. 

Since that Sunday, we have been keeping busy with follow-up visits and planning for the next few months. 
Hope all of you are doing well!  I will soon take some pictures with my phone and post them. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Life Changes

After teaching music in a Christian school for two years while my husband taught Spanish, Dan and I both decided that it was time for us to switch to something else.  Dan has known for years that he is called to preach, and my desire is to support him in that. 
 
So after months of praying faithfully about how to make the transition, we told our employer and pastor that we were looking for a church where Dan could pastor.  We turned in our resignations to the school and began searching for a church in need of a pastor.  After meeting the people at Calvary Baptist Church in Granville NY one time, I felt at home and loved.  It isn't all about good feelings, but there was a sense of peace that came over our lives.  We weren't worried about the future or where God would have us to serve. 
 
We put our house in Baltimore up for sale (more pictures to follow about that!)  and within two days, we had an offer on it for the asking price! 
The church in New York asked for us to come back and for Dan to be considered an official candidate for the pastorate. 
We went back to New York one more time, Dan preached, and the church then voted to have us come there and for my husband to be their pastor. 
We proceeded (last week) to pack all of our belongings into a U-Haul truck and we made the drive up to Granville New York last Friday. 
 
 
 



We are so excited about this opportunity to serve in upstate New York!