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May 14, 2012: I always have good intentions of keeping this blog up-to-date, and then of course, I never follow through! There is so much now that I could write, but with a little 18-month-old finally crashed on his short-lasting, precious naptime, I will have to be brief.
Wow, what a busy spring we are all having! A multitude of new babies throughout the fellowship, people moving, people traveling, young couples getting married (congratulations!), and lots of little children to be trained and loved... I think everyone would agree with me that this has been a busy time throughout the whole Body!
Daniel, Isaiah and I made the trip to Norman in late March, and had a lovely time. It was so nice to get a chance to visit with every family in Norman! We have missed the Body there so much since we moved, and we are thankful to the Lord for giving us some time with them. Especially with the Daniel's family!
Then, in early April, Bill passed away, and we joined the many that made the trip to Delhi to be a part of his memorial service. We had a great time getting to know some of the brethren from Illinois a little better, and spending some precious time with the Daniel's family again. We are so excited that they will be coming up for both weddings! Speaking of being busy… they sure are! Isaiah did pretty well on the trip, but really collapsed on the way home. We took a long route through upstate Vermont, and though it was a beautiful drive, we somewhat regretted the extra minutes by the end of the trip. He was so tired and frustrated from being in the car seat.
Which brought us to a phase this past month, during which the Lord has been really teaching us and revealing to us ways we can grow up even more in the area of child training and family order. It has been challenging and soul-changing, as maturing often is, but yet we are already seeing the fruit of obedience. Praise the Lord! I cannot express how thankful we are for the teachings of the Body, especially in the area of family order and child training. It is amazing to me that, even if we don’t understand something, if we are faithful to do it to the best of our ability anyway, it WORKS!
Isaiah is really doing so well. He is growing up, and learning so many new things. He can’t talk yet, much (though he does say several words here and there). He appears to be storing up a lot of information for some future time. He has a complicated vocabulary of grunts, sound effects, hand signs, pointing and other means to get his point across very well :-). He is trying to learn his letters, also. We have some of those magnetic fridge letters, and he has already learned what several are and can say them. It’s so cute! He’s on his way to being toilet trained, though, of course, that is a slow process. I am just proud of him that he’s doing as well as he is, for 18 months! He loves his toy cars, his books, going outside, playing ball with the dogs, trying to play basketball with Daddy and Uncle Daniel, and is generally keeping busy with “boy” stuff. Oh, and he also does a wonderful job of helping me around the house!
We just got ducklings and chicks last week. The ducklings particularly are getting big very quickly! We got five Welsh Harlequins, an unusual but very pretty breed, and supposedly the females are excellent egg layers. The chicks are only a few days old, but also doing well. We have 27 in total: White Rocks, Production Reds, Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons and Silver Laced Wyandottes. It makes for a very pretty flock, even now. They were in our house in boxes all week, but even I, the animal lover, drew the line in the sand and said “It’s time!”. The ducks in particular are so messy, sloshing their water everywhere and making the house stinky. They moved into the barn on Saturday, the ducks and chicks in their own brooder with heat lamps, and they’re doing great.
We have been busy planting the garden, also. I am a little behind on planting some things, but I am hoping we will still have a good harvest. I even hope to do a bit of canning this year! The kitchen and living room windows are full of trays of seedlings—spinach, squash, lettuce, tomatoes, pumpkins and herbs, and I’ve planted peas, potatoes, kale, beets and onions so far, with corn, green beans and garlic to come. I especially look forward to the fresh garden tomatoes—yummy!
I hope you are all having a lovely spring! May the blessing of the Lord go with you today and always.
December 19, 2011: We’re trying to keep warm here at our new home in the frostbitten hills of western Maine! It was about 5 degrees the last couple of nights, and the two woodstoves are burning away! It makes our house so cozy to have the curtains drawn and the stoves burning on these chilly December nights. For those who are interested in seeing our new house, we have inside and outside pictures (taken earlier in the year) up now on our Shutterfly site: http://danielandrebecca.shutterfly.com/ Email us anytime if you want to view the site, and we’ll give you the password!
We had a blessed trip to Delhi last weekend. It was too short, but with Daniel’s lack of vacation time, it was all we were able to do. The Lord truly touched Isaiah, and he was so peaceful for the long drive down and back, and slept very well in the car. We were so thankful! It hasn’t always been that way…. Anyway, it was a joy to fellowship with the brethren there, short though the time was. And especially to spend a little bit of time with Bill and Carol. We love them so much. We also saw one of my aunts in VT, and that was so much fun to visit with her! Daniel has yet to meet all of Mom’s sisters, and we hope we get the opportunity to visit with the others soon.
Now it’s back to “normal” life! (Although life is never dull with a 13 month old, two large dogs and a new house!) Which reminds me of the dreadful incident that took place the day after we came back from our trip: I was just getting out of the car at Dad and Mom’s house. I went around the car to get Isaiah, I couldn’t believe it… the doors were locked! And the keys were sitting on the console. I rarely lock the car, so I must have hit the automatic lock with my elbow when getting out of the car. I started to panic. I had locked my own son in the car! I was about to break a window, but I called Daniel and he calmed me down and helped me to be a bit more rational. It wasn’t a very cold day and Isaiah had his coat on, so he was comfortable. He was only upset that I wouldn’t get him out. My brother was home that day and tried to break in, but no avail. We called the police and they called a wrecker. The fellow was nice enough, but not incredibly skilled at breaking into cars (not to mention that our Honda is very difficult to do anything underhanded with… it has a very sensitive, loud alarm system and the locks are designed to be difficult to lift from the outside). Isaiah was sobbing with big tears running down his cheeks and the fellow was sweating as he kept trying to grab the unlock post with his wire. But it finally worked after about 45 minutes in the car, Isaiah was removed from the car, none the worse for the wear, only very upset. Well, the Lord protected us and I believe we are not permanently scarred by the incident :-). However, I will always try to remember to put my keys in my pocket when leaving the car!
May you all be richly blessed this holiday season and coming new year!
December 1, 2011: We’re so incredibly behind on our blog posts, it’s ridiculous! I had written one in August and asked Daniel to put it up for me (because I haven’t figured out how it works yet), but he forgot, and so… There’s no use on trying to catch up, but I will try to mention the gist of what we’ve been up to this summer and fall of 2011. What a busy, busy year!
The last entry was in July. We had made a trip to Maine in late June, and Daniel got a job at TY Lin International in Falmouth, ME. On July 19 th, we loaded up the moving truck and car and headed out. My brother Daniel flew out to help us. What an adventure! The Lord was definitely with us. A long drive across country in the dead of summer with a moving truck, two cars, two large dogs and a car seat-despising, teething 8-month-old was not (and still isn’t) my idea of fun. We had barely left Norman and were cruising through OKC when the baby hunger pangs hit, followed by a dirty diaper minutes later. I changed the diaper while stopped in a traffic jam on an exit ramp. Yes, I did. And it wasn’t quite done being changed when the traffic started up again, and there were semi-trucks honking at us. My brother was driving our car at the time, and the reality hit him of the challenge before us--I think he was ready to quit the adventure then and there.
After our inauspicious beginning, we did okay. We were even able to find some times to enjoy ourselves. We fellowshipped with the brethren in Miami, walked several miles to the St. Louis Arch (in 95 degree evening heat with an insane humidity level), visited the U.S. Air Force Museum and ate breakfast at Presque Isle on Lake Erie. Well, we ate McDonald’s McMuffins, which can almost count as breakfast. Hey, we had a free voucher from our motel. We spent our last night and Sunday morning in Troy, visiting with the brethren there. It is so neat to have brethren scattered across the country, and to be able to stay and visit with them!
Since our arrival in Maine, God has proved faithful in so many ways. We were able to live with my family until we bought a new house. We moved into our new home near the end of September. Our new home is in Casco, Maine, only eleven minutes from my family’s house. The Lord has blessed us with a lovely place! It is on a dead end, off a dead end…a 1978 ranch built on a slope with a daylight, finished basement. It’s an ideal setup for having guests (yes, that is a hint! :-) ). We have almost 5 acres of land, and a small pasture with a very solidly built barn, originally intended for horses. We’ll see how the Lord leads us to fill that barn in the days to follow. I am using all my best arguments to persuade Daniel to get milk goats again, like I used to have before I married, but Daniel is the sensible one among us, and wants to see Excel spreadsheets with detailed lists of the benefits and disadvantages. I can’t compete with that logic.
We are busy and happy. I am painting a good deal and decorating the house as the budget allows. Daniel is settling in at his new job. Isaiah is growing and thriving. He just celebrated his 1 st birthday a couple of weeks ago! He is such an incredibly busy, smart, opinionated, affectionate little boy. God is giving us wisdom on how best to train and mold Isaiah for His glory! We sure couldn’t do it on our own! He’s been walking since right after he turned 11 months old. Wasn’t that a shock for Mommy, who naively wondered once upon a time while he was crawling how things could get much harder. Now I know. But it is all good!
We have both decided together that we will make an effort to keep up better on our blog, so…. Look for more entries in the weeks to follow. God bless and keep you all!
July 9, 2011: Well, it seems that an update to our blog is in order--especially considering all the big changes that are in store for us in the near future! After two and a half years in Oklahoma, Daniel, Isaiah and I will be moving to Maine this summer. Actually, we will be moving in less than two weeks! A few weeks ago, we took a step in faith and traveled to Maine for job searching. Before the airline tickets were purchased, Daniel had no job interviews lined up. Within a couple of weeks after we purchased them, he had four interviews. The Lord blessed stepping out in faith. After being in Maine and meeting several different employers, all of the interviews resulted in a job offer! TY Lin stood out as the best company to work for, and they were eager to hire Daniel--thus, he starts work in Falmouth, Maine on August 1st. We still do not have a house (though we have our eye on one, but we are still praying about it). The plan will be that we will stay with my family until we can move into a place of our own.
Anyway, the caravan pulls out Tuesday, July 19th. My brother is flying out here to help drive us back, which will be a blessing. Three adults, a baby, two large dogs, two cars and a moving truck full of stuff (we are pulling one car behind). It will be quite the sight, I’m sure. We are excitedly anticipating the future, and what the Lord has in store for us, but we’re also going to miss everyone down here so much. We have been so knit in here, that it is hard to say goodbye. Though it certainly won’t be goodbye permanently! We are already planning our next trip out here, and it seems the travel between fellowships is much more frequent than it used to be, so we look forward to fellowshipping with many of the brethren in Oklahoma in the future. We are also looking forward to being among the Maine brethren. For me, it’s kind of like going home. Yet, it feels like I have two homes now!
There is only one thing about down here that I won’t miss. It was 109 degrees for a high today. It's often above 90 still when we go to bed. My dad told me when I spoke to him this afternoon that it was 62 degrees and raining in Maine today. I am rejoicing at the thought.
March 17, 2011: (written by Rebecca)
I find that having a baby really changes the meaning of “busy”! I have a lot to fill my days now, and I am very grateful. It is wonderful being parents! Isaiah is doing very well. He’s such a big boy! He turned 4 months old on Monday and is almost 16 lbs and about 26 inches long. He is a character, for sure. His personality is really beginning to shine through—he vocalizes a lot, cooing, gurgling, complaining, even screeching for fun (he just learned that one, and I hope it is a quickly passing phase). We think he might talk early. Both my brother and I did. He is also interested in using his hands. He can grab things quite adeptly and sticks everything in his mouth. He desperately wants to learn a method of independent locomotion, instead of depending on people to carry him about, but so far has been unsuccessful, thank goodness. All in all, he is a very happy, alert baby and it is such a blessing to have him added to our family.
Although Isaiah is primary source of busyness right now, we have been looking forward to a new phase in our lives—moving east. As of yet, no jobs have turned up, but Daniel has been applying recently. We are also on the lookout for the right home. The plan is to move sometime soon, but it all depends on things falling into place. We appreciate all the prayer we can get. It’s a big step, and one that requires much direction!
Down here, life goes on as usual. Jon and Allie had their baby, a girl named Emma, three weeks ago. Everyone’s babies are getting bigger. Babies that were just helpless newborns a few months ago are now on the verge of walking! I marvel at the swift development of little people. Just the other day it seems we were amazed at Isaiah’s first smile, and now he is laughing regularly and doing so many more new things! He loves to talk on the phone with Grammie and Grampy (my Mom and Dad) and visit with Grandma and Grandpa and his aunt and uncles. He loves our dogs. In fact, Chloe elicited quite the giggling fit the other day, after she licked Isaiah’s cheek. Which, incidentally, is a big-no-no, but somehow she managed to sneak one in anyway.
Everyone is preparing their gardens, but with the imminent move east, we have decided that we won’t be doing our garden this year. On one hand, I am disappointed. There is something about the spring weather that gives one the itch to go out and get dirty! But it is also a nice excuse to not put forth the effort a garden requires. I have not gotten the hang of gardening out in the southwest. We had a pretty dismal garden last year. We did get some nice potatoes and tomatoes, though everything else was a disappointment. The tomatoes simply produced well because of sheer quantity… though the bugs and blight did get quite a few, I’ve found that if you have enough plants, you will get tomatoes, so that was my strategy last year (I don’t recommend seeking my advice about gardening). I love working outside, but the heat here is a bit unbearable at times. I am used to 75 degrees being hot, and here, everyone is still wearing sweaters at those temperatures.
Speaking of which, it is hot here today! It is 82, according to our thermometer. I think we just skipped spring and moved on to summer. And, according to the calendar, it is still winter. How odd! Since we’re moving anyway, I was rather hoping to depart from Oklahoma before tornado season hit again, but I’m not sure that will happen. There’s nothing like the thrill of loading everyone in the car and flying down the road with a wall cloud on your heels. Or losing your power for two days and having everything in your freezer melt, because of a tornado wiping out the power lines a few miles north. Good times.
Well, I thought it would be best to put up another blog entry before folks give up on our website altogether! Once again, we apologize for the sporadic posting. Most of my life is spent washing diapers and trying to keep a little person happy. Oh, and dishes—must not forget the dishes. I am sure any young stay at home mother can relate. Things will only get busier for me from here on out!
January 8, 2011: Well, we haven't exactly been keeping this blog up to date. So many things have happened! Isaiah John was born at 6:41PM on Sunday, the 14th of November. He weighed in at 8lbs, 2oz, and was 20 1/2 inches long. The labor went very well; we followed techniques from our Bradley childbirth class which we felt served us very well. Isaiah and Rebecca are both healthy and doing well! Isaiah is growing quickly, he's almost 8 weeks old already. He keeps us pretty busy! Isaiah is already over 13 lbs, and much bigger than he was at first. He's alert and active, already able to roll over, and smiles at us (when he's full, rested, and dry!). It takes a lot of effort to keep the house in order, the dogs and chickens taken care of, and Isaiah happy, but the Lord is giving us the ability.
For pictures of Isaiah, check out our Shutterfly site!
We sent out a letter on New Year's, recounting our past year. I'll repost it here:
Greetings! We wanted to take some time to let you all know what has been going on this past year. It’s been a busy one for us! As many of you know, we have the joy of our new son, Isaiah John, who was born into our family on November 14 th. Just one day after Rebecca’s birthday! All through the pregnancy, Rebecca felt very well. However, she battled mild gestational diabetes and slightly elevated blood pressure during the end of the pregnancy. We’re not sure why she had issues with those things, as she felt great and was very healthy otherwise! But the Lord was faithful to bring us through that time. It is so wonderful to have Isaiah with us, part of our family. He is 7 weeks old, and developing more of a personality every day! Of course, his favorite thing to do is eat. He also loves to stare at things, like the ceiling fan or out the window. Cheap entertainment! He has just started to smile at us, when he’s well-rested and full!
Before Isaiah was born, we spent some time taking trips. Last January, we spent a week up in Maine with Rebecca’s parents and the church brethren there. Daniel got his first taste of a Maine winter! In the spring, we went to Branson, MO and spent the day at Silver Dollar City. We also spent two nights in Miami, OK, visiting church brethren there. Later, in August, we took a 9 day trip to Yellowstone National Park and Colorado. We even hauled the dogs along with us! That was an interesting trip, in more ways than one. Seriously, though, it was a beautiful trip and we are so thankful that we were able to take a final trip together before the baby came. We spent several days in Montana, on Lake Hebgen in a small cabin without running water. During that time, we explored Yellowstone (as much as is possible in three days… we needed two weeks!). After this, we drove slowly down through Colorado and spent some time in Rocky National Park. On our way home, we visited Daniel’s great-uncle and great-aunt in their cabin near Buena Vista, CO. The beauties of God’s creation are amazing. We have many pictures and videos (and wonderful memories) that are a testimony to that fact!
At home, the springtime was punctuated by the tremendous tornado outbreak of May 10 th. Tornados passed within 10 miles of us, both to the north and to the south. We were left without power from the damage for two days. There were a couple of other close calls with severe thunderstorms (both tornado and large hail storms). It was quite an eventful storm season! The Lord protected us through it all.
The rest of the year was quieter, but still busy. We spent a lot of time preparing for the baby, including running to a multitude of garage sales, shopping at the stores, and doing jobs around the house, to get them out of the way before the baby was born. We also spent a lot of time exercising our extremely active Lab mix puppy, Chloe, which we got from the OKC shelter in February. She just turned a year old in November. We still have a small flock of 12 chickens here, though we lost quite a few of them to coyotes and heat stroke over the past year. We love having the animals around. They keep life interesting!
Of course, the biggest news of the year was the arrival of little Isaiah! He is truly a blessing to us. Having a little son to care for is teaching us much about God’s love for us... God loves us as His children! And we love Isaiah so much.We pray you have all had a safe, joyful and profitable year! God be with you, and we hope we will see you all soon.
In site-related news, I recently started a statistics blog (primarily about sports right now; I could put other stuff in as well.) It's my first foray into a full CMS-based site architecture; I may eventually migrate this site to a similar structure for ease of maintenance. It was fun learning how to manipulate Wordpress! The new site is at http://godismyjudgeok.com/DStats/.
September 11, 2010: (written by Rebecca)
Fall is on its way to Oklahoma, but it sure is taking its time! Last week, we awakened to a cold house with windows open, and it was in the 50’s out! It hasn’t been down that low since spring. It stays very warm here at night. But today is back in the 90’s with a very high heat index. On Wednesday, we received the remnants of a tropical storm and parts of the state were deluged in rain. We received only about 3 inches. I think the weather can’t make up its mind. But I am looking forward to fall for more than one reason. Fall is cool and crisp; fall means we can turn the air conditioning off—yay! No more stale, dry, recycled air! I don’t complain, though. It was such a blessing over the summer to have a cool home. Most importantly, though, fall coming means that our baby will be here soon! For those who have forgotten, or never knew, the due date is November 18 th. So we have just over two months left to go. I just realized, also, that I had never posted on the blog our 20 week ultrasound results. Daniel and I are expecting a boy! With all the boys being born down here in Oklahoma, I can’t say as it was a huge surprise to everyone, including us, but it is sure a blessing. Now we just need to find a name….
Last month, Daniel and I trekked across the Western U.S. and spent several days in Yellowstone, as well as time in Colorado. It was a great joy to spend a vacation together (our last as an only couple for many years). We had a great time. It seems we did underestimate a little just how long it would take to drive from location to location. With frequent potty stops for a pregnant woman, frequent exercise breaks for two active dogs crammed in the back seat, and frequent stops for eating, we were often getting into our motels very late in the evening. I am also distinctly aware now that there aren’t nearly enough pit stops in Wyoming. In fact, there is nothing in Wyoming, except Yellowstone National Park, and you have to drive all the way through the nothing part of it to get there. Yellowstone was unique and beautiful though, and we really enjoyed it. We got some great pictures and videos--the pictures we put up on Shutterfly, for those who haven’t seen them.
This week Daniel and I tried our hand at entering some things in the fair. We had 19 pictures, a baby sweater that I made, a dozen of our hens’ eggs, and some bread. We went in last night to see how we had fared, and we were rather disappointed with our pictures. Of all those, we only ended up with 2 honorable mentions. Daniel said in years past, we would have placed much better. There are a lot more people entering pictures in the county fair recently, and good pictures, too. But we didn’t leave entirely empty-handed. I won first prize for my baby sweater and second prize for our eggs, so I was happy! Daniel’s family won quite a few ribbons, and so did some of the other people in the fellowship, particularly the young ladies. I know everyone has fun entering, whether or not they win many ribbons.
There is plenty of other news around here, too. Plenty of baby news, particularly! Little Jonathan, Uriah and Ashley’s son, is getting big fast. As is Noah, Matt and Erica’s little boy. We are eagerly anticipating a new arrival any day: Jonah and Ariel’s third baby. She is not due for 2 more weeks, but showing signs of going early. Jon and Allie, who are also expecting, just moved temporarily to Miami to live with her parents while Jon is starting his clinical rotation in a local hospital in the Miami vicinity. Sounds like they’ll be permanently back in Norman just in time to have the baby. Several of the families from down here are planning a trip to the Northeast soon, or are currently on their trip to the fellowships in that area. Daniel and I will probably not be making another visit up there until we move. Our goal date to move is sometime next spring. We are praying the Lord provides direction in this. It is a big step with a lot of details to be worked out. Plus, we will have our baby at that time, which can complicate the moving process! Any prayers would be a great blessing to us, if anyone has our family on their hearts! By the way, our congratulations and prayers are with Joe and Morgan, the newly married couple! May God bless them! It is such a joy to see more and more young couples growing up, getting married and walking together in the things of the Kingdom.
Well, that is all the news I can think of. After such a long time between posts, however, I may have forgotten a thing or two! May God be with you all this fall, and I hope you will be hearing from us a little sooner next time!
June 25, 2010: (written by Rebecca)
I do have to apologize, for it has been so long since we updated here! Our goal is to update once or twice a month, but it hasn’t been happening, as you can see! There is too much to write in one sitting, so I will try to post the more recent events and let the others take care of themselves for now! I would love for Daniel to write a post on the tornadoes we had here in Norman and the surrounding area in May, so he hopefully will do that very soon!
Anyway, where to start… I guess it has been so busy down here I haven’t thought much about the website! We have had a lot of company recently. We had the wave in April, and then we had more families in May and June. My family came the first week in June and we spent a wonderful time with them! It was so fun to have them here. We kept pretty busy, but not “right out straight”, as they like to say in Maine! We got to visit several families together while they were here (but not as many as we would have liked!) and also spent one day down at the Wichita Mountains in southwest Oklahoma. The scenery is so different down there, and it is interesting for newcomers to visit. We saw lots of bison this time, which was neat. It was SO hot there, though!
Back in May, we had some tornadoes (which Daniel will hopefully elaborate on). The first outbreak came on the 10 th of May, and one bad one sliced through a few miles north of us, cutting off our power for almost 3 days. And let me tell you, having your power out with no generator when it is in the 80’s and humid makes for some pretty intolerable conditions! Fortunately, Daniel’s family still had power, so we brought much of our frozen goods over there to put in their freezer. I spent one whole day there, to stay cool. Our fellowship neighbors bought a generator and ran it at all the different houses to keep their food cold. But I felt so badly for the folks who got hit hard (no one in our fellowship). Those poor people lost their roofs and several lost their homes! Thank the Lord very few lives were lost. For how sudden they came and how fast the storms were moving, it truly could have been much worse. I have posted some pictures on our Shutterfly site of the storms. Check them out here.
My pregnancy is going smoothly. I have come out of the 1 st trimester (thank the Lord) and feel great (I am 19 weeks this week)! I am eating us out of house and home right now. I probably get up once or twice a night sometimes to get a snack, because I get too hungry to sleep. But I never can eat a lot at once. I think the baby is going through a growth spurt. And I have been feeling the baby kick a lot this past week and a half! It’s such an incredible feeling! It really brings it home that there is a little person inside of me. An active little person, I might add. :-) I also hear Uriah and Ashley are getting very close to having their baby—possibly this week! I hope to be updating this in a couple weeks with the exciting news.
Our little “farm” is thriving nicely. Well, now it is. We had a marauding creature of some kind, probably a coyote or fox, and it was stealing hens from under our very noses, in broad daylight. The rascal. So we had to keep them locked up for a while. One of our hens also hatched out two cute fluffy little chicks last week. There is another broody hen (whom I call “Auntie hen”) that has taken it upon herself to help Mama hen raise her chicks. She’s their babysitter, and it is so cute to watch.
I suppose that is a long enough update for now! I hope to be on here more regularly in the future. There’s not much else I can do during the day, in these wonderful oven-like temperatures. But I’m not complaining! Maybe…
April 26, 2010: (written by Rebecca)
I know some of you have been asking for updates on the blog (not mentioning any names ;-) ), so here you are!
First of all, I have to update on baby news. All is well. I am feeling good most of the time, and not so good some of the time, but it’s just encouraging to know all is well with the baby, so I don’t mind feeling a little sick. The food aversions have been difficult, especially to me, when I normally would eat practically anything, but I can’t complain! It’s been a great pregnancy so far.
I do have to write how my first prenatal visit went! Daniel took me to my appointment last Wednesday and it went very well. We got to meet my new midwife and she asked a lot of questions and chatted with Daniel and me for a long time. We both really liked her personality and her professionalism. I think we are going to get along very well together. I am so thankful to God for providing this opportunity for us, and seemingly the best of both worlds---hospital and natural birth. So on with the appointment… she tried to find the baby’s heart beat with the Doppler device, but was unsuccessful. At that point, I was a little worried, and quite happy to have an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy and measure the baby. Words cannot express our wonder and delight as we waited in the dark examination room, and then saw our little baby come into focus on the screen! It was flipping, jumping, punching and kicking, like a little wiggle worm! So cute. She said that is why we could not hear the heartbeat, because it was moving around too much. After a couple tries, it was confirmed that I measured right on what I thought I was, at 9 weeks 6 days. Which would put me at 10 weeks 4 days today. So that was an exciting day for us!
Also, we have had a different kind of excitement down here in Norman the past few weeks. So many brethren came down all at once to visit us, and it was wonderful to see everyone! Daniel and I had the opportunity to have two different couples over for meals, plus to hang out with his family and visit with some of the other visiting brethren. God is slowly and steadily working out His plan of drawing His people together from all parts of the country into a Body that is even more connected by godly relationships. We felt rather empty last Sunday, without all our company with us! I hope we will be able to see more of you soon.
Personally, Daniel and I have been very busy. Daniel had his P.E. (professional engineer’s license) exam about a week and a half ago and it seemed to him that things went very well with that, but he won’t find out the results for another 11 weeks or so. They have to closely scrutinize all the tests to prevent cheating, which causes a long delay in the results. Once that has been passed, it’s just one more step towards what God has for our family in the future! Now that that is over, we have been doing lots around the house. Spring gets you in the mood for cleaning and yard work, I guess! We painted our hen house last weekend and did other odd jobs around the yard. Our lawn (or, more accurately, our weeds) are growing like crazy right now. It’s sunny, but not too hot and we had a very rainy few days last week. Spring is most certainly here. In my opinion, it’s the best season in Oklahoma (other than the tornado chances, of course). There are no bugs, like in Maine, but it’s pleasant and sunny and not too hot until the end of May or June. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last too long.
I guess that’s about all for now! I thought the website was due for a good long update. We will continue to post as we can. God bless!
April 19, 2010: Last Friday, I finally took the PE exam. The Lord really blessed the test; I feel it went well. The morning (general Civil topics) was straightforward; I had time to go back and check my work. The afternoon (specific Transportation topics) was more difficult; besides, I was getting tired by the late afternoon. It's over with, at least! Now to wait 12(!) weeks for the results.
The last few weeks we have had a wonderful time out here in Oklahoma with all of the brethren visiting from Maine and New York. It has been such a fruitful time for the Kingdom of God.
An interesting recent happening was the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. Quite an impressive phenomenon!
Image credit: Marco, Fulle, Stromboli Online.
Wow! The images are simply astounding. There is lots of lightning produced by friction within the ash cloud. Combine that with the glow from the actual crater, and it's a glorious sight. The Eruptions Blog discusses the volcano in depth, and here is a compendium of links on Eyjafjallajökull.
On another front: how does one pronounce Eyjafjallajökull? The New York Times broke it down: Iceland Volcano Spews Consonants and Vowels.
March 23, 2010: Well, I thought I'd update again, and let everyone know how we're doing. We're doing great, and we have big news to share! I found out about a week and a half ago that we are expecting a baby! It was such wonderful news; we are delighted. The estimated due date is November 18th, but I have not been to my midwife's appointment yet, so I will certainly update later on. We are truly thankful to God for this honor of having the responsibility of raising His child according to His ways and purposes. What a blessing to have another member of the Body of Christ on it's way into the world! Physically, I am doing well. My symptoms are very mild, but of course, I am very early yet. I am sure I have plenty of joyous reminders ahead of the baby inside of me! :-) I will be updating the blog as we know more. To all of those who have heard the news, thank you very much for your prayers! We love you all!
March 3, 2010: Time hurries by so quickly now! It is surprising how quickly… My last blog entry was almost 2 months ago! I apologize for the delay. I have been busy working on our Shutterfly site, to get it presentable for viewing. Plus, all the boring things that keep ordinary people busy—housework, studying, shopping, etc… Daniel is studying for is P.E. exam right now. The test is in mid-April. After that takes place, we will be looking more seriously for housing and work options in Maine. Right now seems to be a promising time to look for a home up there, so we are waiting on the Lord to see what He would have for us. It is a big step, but one we feel the Lord has in our future!
On another note, we have had some company down here in Oklahoma! Sean, Callie and Grace were here for 13 days (they were delayed by snow in the D.C. area). We were very happy to have them here—they stayed with us for 6 days, and I enjoyed every minute of it! It was so nice having a baby in the house… Gracie is so sweet :-). We are expecting more visitors over the next few months, and everyone is eagerly looking forward to it.
Spring is coming, slowly but steadily, to Oklahoma. We are enjoying the longer, warmer days, after the cooler, wet weather. Though the natives are insistent that it has been a snowy winter, I can’t entirely concur ;-). However, I have enjoyed all the extra snow, despite many (believe me when I say many) comments about me bringing snow with me, praying for snow, etc. I do not flatter myself that my prayers were the reason the snow came so heavily to Oklahoma this winter.
Matt and Erica had their baby boy, Noah, 8 days ago, which is wonderful news! I haven’t seen him yet, as they were unable to make it to meeting on Sunday (there’s this thing… babies often refuse to realize nighttime is for sleeping!) Also, Jonah and Ariel announced a new member of their family, due around the very end of September, I think. So many new additions to the Body of Christ! Besides the babies, there hasn’t been much more happening down here lately. We were in Maine for 9 days in mid January, and the Hughes were there for 3 weeks, due to weather delays. They were joking up there that Randy was going to have to start looking for a job!
In daily life, we have been preparing our garden these past few days. Planting time is much earlier out here. We got some compost on it and we are going to rototill this weekend. Then I am immediately going to start the early seeds, like peas and kale. It is almost too late for those, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. I have started some plants inside, and they are doing well (except when I put them on the floor in the sun, my puppy thought that the seedlings looked like a wonderful patch of dirt for digging in… *eyeroll*). Our chickens are doing well, though we lost 2 to coyotes a few weeks ago. We live on the edge of a large portion of uninhabited land, which means we have quite a few wild animals roaming near the property. I am also busy training our puppy, Chloe. She was housebroken in only 4 days, which was a huge blessing, believe me! Now she is learning various commands like stay, shake hands, leave it and the like. She is a very good puppy, but a bundle of energy, especially if she doesn’t get her two daily walks. Last evening, Daniel and I were sitting in the living room peacefully—I was playing the piano and he was doing the computer. Josie was sleeping quietly in her crate. Then there was Chloe, running madly in circles around the living room like someone had set fire to her tail! She just had to work off all her excited energy! (I got her to calm down after a minute…)
Well, that is about all! Thanks for reading, and I will try to update much sooner next time!
February 5, 2010: Daniel and Rebecca's Photo Site at Shutterfly is now up and running! Go there to check out the latest pictures. The password is the same as we use for the protected part of this site (Only1... ). It's easier for us to update and change the pictures there than here. We'll still keep all of the wedding photos in the protected area of this site.
Well, we've had a busy few weeks. We first traveled to Maine for a week to visit family and brethren there--it was a wonderful time! Check out the photos at our new Shutterfly site. Then, we had Sean, Callie, and Gracie stay with us for 6 nights. That was an excellent time as well; it is so good to fellowship with our brethren in Christ.
January 6, 2010: (Written by Rebecca)
Greetings! It has been a while since we updated…below is the recent news from Norman:
Winter has begun! All of us here in Norman were treated with a delightful surprise when we received a blizzard on Christmas Eve! (Well, some, I think, did not find it so delightful as I :-) ) The Will Rogers International Airport in OKC received some 14 inches, though I can’t imagine how they measured it, the snow was blowing so wildly all day. We had wind gusts up to 62 mph! Daniel and I happened to be out in the storm, as he took me to work for ODOT’s Christmas Eve party. They chose to let the employees go early because of the storm, so we left about 10 am and stopped at WalMart on the way home (which was packed, despite the storm… I guess bad weather makes no difference on Christmas Eve, even in OK!). The sleet was stinging and lashing us like we were being attacked by a host of BB guns! It was crazy. And of course we had to park about 3 parking spots from the very farthest one away from the building, since that was the only one available. Thank the Lord we arrived home safely. We heard that later that afternoon, there was a huge pileup of cars on the interstate we took to get home. God is faithful to His people, and we are so thankful for His protection.
So we made it through the storm okay. I was impressed by intensity of the winds, not by the snowfall totals. It was a real blizzard! Everyone else down here was just as surprised by the quantity of snow that fell, but that was just an ordinary snowstorm amount where I come from. I was also impressed (albeit negatively) by the lack of snow removal that takes place here. Two weeks later, nature is still taking its course. Only the temperatures have barely reached above freezing most of those days! You can imagine what our un-plowed, un-sanded gravel back road was like! (And we went sledding down the road on the hill, which didn’t help the traction on the road surface, but it sure was fun). I suppose I have different expectations of how fast snow and ice should be removed, etc… but to folks out here, it’s more about survival in a case like this! Daniel said everyone expects the snow to melt right away. This storm has not been so convenient for everyone.
Still, it was just wonderful to have snow on the ground again. It felt like home! Everyone else seemed to flow with it just fine too… only a certain someone (not mentioning any names) emailed me in the middle of the storm and encouraged me to stop praying for a snowstorm and start praying for sun. I do want to announce that I was not praying for snow… only wishing very hard :). And several people pointed at me and said “It’s your fault!” that first Sunday we were together at meeting! Evidently it was the biggest storm in maybe 20 years here in Norman, and it happened the first year I was here!
Despite the weather, all is going well here. We passed New Year’s Eve with the brethren in our home church, having a fellowship meal and informal worship. Praise God! That was so enjoyable! It is wonderful spending time with the brethren. And, as Jim said, there is no better way to bring in the New Year than worshiping our God!
Daniel and I celebrated our 1 st wedding anniversary yesterday (January 4 th). We both can’t believe it’s already been a year since we’ve been married! If the time moves so fast now, how fast will it move in 20 or 30 years? God has been so good, words can’t express. He is strengthening us, maturing us, teaching us His ways… it is a joy to be married to someone who shares the same zeal for the Lord and walks in His principles. It is truly a wondrous thing to be part of the Kingdom of God!
We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and we can’t wait to see many of the Maine brethren in just about a week and a half! God bless, all!
December 18, 2009: Bowl Preview posted.
December 17, 2009: We're trying to get over the flu, here. We realized that some had not seen our home, so we've put together a panorama from October to show what it looks like when it's actually green. Most everything is brown out here, now. White with snow is a rare occurrence in these parts!
(click for a larger view)
December 9, 2009: Final regular season Yards per Play College Football Rankings updated (okay, there is still the Army-Navy game, but I don't really care....) I added a few new tweaks.
December 3, 2009: My latest college football rankings are now out, with new additions! I added adjustments for interception rates and penalties, so it is no longer pure yards/play adjusted for opposition.
November 28, 2009: Goodness, I just realized how long it’s been since I posted an update on here! September! A lot has happened since then, but I’m guessing many of you have an idea of what’s happening via my Mom.
Fall is ever so slowly creeping into Oklahoma. It was in the 30’s the other night, but we’ve only had two frosts so far! Mainers, try to compute that statement. It’s already past Thanksgiving, and we’ve only had two frosts. However, all the leaves have blown off the trees and cool air is supposed to move in soon. I had noted to Daniel recently that the main difference between Oklahoma winters and Maine winters (besides the snow) is that the normal for Maine is cold, with a few warm days thrown in. The normal for Oklahoma is much warmer, with a few cold fronts moving in here and there to chill everything down! I keep expecting the Deep Freeze---for the weather to get cold and stay cold, but it isn’t happening!
This month, Daniel and I celebrated our birthdays for the first time as a married couple. Daniel’s is the 23rd of November and mine is the 13th. On my birthday, we went to see a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” at Rose State College. They did an admirable job with the play--- music, casting, props---everything was well planned and executed. We really enjoyed it. It was such a special time to spend our first birthdays together. The Wednesday before my birthday, we drove down to the Wichita Mountains and spent the day. What different country it is down there! I’ve finally gotten accustomed to the area around Norman, but the Wichitas seriously looked to me like a scene out of a Western! Such broad, rolling plains, interspersed with treacherous hills and piles of rocks. There were some trees, along with small canyons and gullies. Everywhere, as far as the eye could see, there were brown and pink granite boulders. We took a walk, had a picnic lunch, hiked Elk Mountain, then drove around the park, observing the wild bison, longhorns and elk. We also made a stop at “Prairie Dog Town”, which, incidentally, was Josie’s (my dog’s) favorite destination that day. (Imagine several acres of prairie covered with dirt mounds and walking, crawling, squeaking rodents, reaching right up to the road, and you can imagine her delight!)
(Link to larger image.)
All down here in the Norman fellowship are doing quite well. Debbie M. is on the road to recovery after knee surgery. Scot is on his feet again and doing well, though I believe his big Thanksgiving dinner was postponed until his newly-shifted stomach could handle it! Uriah and Ashley are delighted about their new baby on the way, and all the other moms and dads-to-be are doing great! We’re so blessed by the hand of our Father on the Body down here… the Spirit is truly moving in our midst.
There is some traveling for Thanksgiving going on this week… we spent the week caring for the Mark and Pat’s animals (two goats, a rabbit, a dog and two cats) while their family made the trip to New Mexico to spend Thanksgiving with Mark’s newly-widowed mom. Daniel and I celebrated Thanksgiving at his parent’s house, accompanied by two of Tom’s brothers and sundry cousins. We had a joyous day, with tons of food and four kinds of pie! It was very enjoyable to get to meet some of Daniel’s extended family.
I’ll have to add another entry soon about my thoughts on Maine and Oklahoma. They are so much fun to write, and yet I seem to go a long time between each one! Life isn’t that busy, that I should keep forgetting to update the website. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving (we’re praying for all those up in Maine who spent Thanksgiving with the flu :( )! We’re counting the days until January 16th, when we head for Maine once again!
November 24, 2009: The next week of the Yards Per Play College Football Rankings is out! Interestingly, Chase Stuart over at Pro-Football-Reference unveiled a new system for NFL teams yesterday that looks strikingly similar. We seem to have been on the same track at the same time.
November 20, 2009: I have put up my new ranking system for college football: the Yards Per Play College Football Rankings. More details later.
November 9, 2009: My brother Michael's new computer game is coming out tomorrow! This game has been in the making for about a year and a half. Michael is the co-lead programmer for the project along with a guy in France; their development studio is Crystal Empire Games. The game itself is called For the Glory:
The game itself is a historical strategy game--the player leads a country through history (from 1419 to 1819), managing the finances, politics, economics, and military of the nation. Thousands of historical events happen along the way, making the game one of the best ways to learn history I know of! For the Glory is a rebuild of the original Europa Universalis II game, with many changes and improvements added by Michael & co.
I used to play Europa Universalis II; I played that game far more than any other ever (it was easily my favorite of all time). I owe quite a bit of my historical knowledge to the historical immersion of the original game, and from what I have seen the For the Glory is far better. The game will be available here in a download only form.
Here is one of the press releases:
Take up the reins of your country, guide domestic and foreign policy, navigate thousands of historical events, engage in various struggles and lead your country to prosperity – all in the name of glory!
For the Glory offers full historical immersion, with a completely new in-depth experience with over 10000 historically accurate events. Take charge of the mighty Habsburg Empire, the aggressive Swedish
state, or the seafaring Portuguese. Build up your empire through trade, diplomacy, colonialism and war.
Interact with real historical events and persons to determine what path your nation will take. Nothing is written in stone, and while a wise leader may choose to follow the path of history, you may also take advantage of opportunities for change.
- You can play as over 180 countries, on a map covering the entire world
- Era spanning 1419-1819
- Experience unparalleled historical immersion with over 10000 historical events
- Unparalleled mod-ability: unlimited timeframe and up to 1000 countries
- Improved and modernised interface
- Adapt your playing style to the personality of your nation’s various historical monarchs
- Multi-player up to 32 Players
Anyway, I thought some of you all would be interested!
September 26, 2009: An addition to the Cooking page: an excellent Caesar salad dressing!
September 25, 2009: I've worked a lot on sports statistics in my spare time, and thought I'd share a bit. I set up a fantasy football scoring system based upon some in-depth research into player valuation (see Advanced NFL Stats and The Wages of Wins). Basically, touchdowns are a very poor way of evaluating a player's contributions (it's just the last of 99 yards) and turnovers are worth about -60 yards. Each play run is worth about -2.7 yards. The result of this is here: the Fall Classics League Player Ranking. This scoring system attempts to quantify each player's actual contribution. The defense, kickers, and punters are not quite so rigorously analyzed (it would make defenses worth too much). Anyway, that's a pretty fair ranking of NFL players so far this season.
I also worked on the statistical theory behind player projections. Beware, the math is rather ugly--but here is what I created so far: Toward an Adjusted Plus/Minus Projection System. Oddly enough, in the last few days we had two seminars at ODOT that delved deeply into statistics: one by Dr. Andrew Smyth, who discussed the statistics involved in taking motion data from multiple sensors on a bridge and synthesizing a dynamic model of the bridge's response, and the other by Dr. Dennis Mertz that discussed the statistics/probability behind the LRFD system of design, which is what we use. Dr. Mertz's presentation will be available soon, fully recorded. He is one of those who created the code we use--the concept is that we will make sure the bridge's resistance is at least 3.5 standard deviations above the load, creating a consistent "reliability" across all bridges (formerly, the reliability was far more up-and-down). Another discussion of this subject is here: AASHTO LRFD Bridge Code Calibration (pdf) .
Okay, I guess that's enough statistics for today!
September 24, 2009: Rebecca's first installment about life in Maine:
Why Mainers Love Maine: Part One
The Long Winter
When you look at it rationally, there’s no reason to want to live in Maine. Visit it, yes. But live there? Still looking at this situation rationally, there are many drawbacks to life in Maine. At least, they appear to most as drawbacks, but the locals would deem them assets. You see, Mainers are generally the type of folks that would be just fine if they never saw another tourist wandering the quaint streets with a camera, designer sunglasses and a lobster shirt. They would be equally pleased if developers from Massachusetts would cease building elegant summer homes perched precariously on the rocky ocean shoals. But they are resigned. Maine is Vacationland, and it is her fate to be subject to those traveling in to cool their toes in her frigid waters and rest their weary bodies in her many camps and summer homes.
The number one drawback to people “from away” is Maine’s winters. In fact, those from the southerly regions really seem to be almost afraid of Maine’s snow and cold! Having grown up in Maine, all I can say is: winter is winter. Winter means snow, cold, ice build-up on roofs, snow plowing, salty roads and the like. A storm is a common occurrence. Nobody frets unduly, cancels school unnecessarily or holes up in the house for four months. They just put on the snow tires and keep doing what they do as best they can. In the advent of a large storm, like over a foot and a half of snow (incidentally, I get a pleasant chuckle out of those who talk about a storm of six inches in awe-struck tones….I’ve always considered that a dusting), those who can’t get out of their driveways shovel out, plow out, or get into work when they can. All it takes is a matter-of-fact approach. Nevertheless, there are a few things to know about surviving a winter in Maine. Attempting it without being prepared could mean problems. (Note: these are not in any particular order of importance.)
First of all, remember that cabin fever is a real malady. I’ve experienced it myself. It’s brought on by a week or two of consistent snow and ice, and exacerbated by cold, windy conditions and short, dark days. Throw the ordinary active family into the mix, and cabin fever is the result. One day, my family and I, held hostage in the house for two weeks during a period of extreme bad weather, waiting for it to stop snowing, began to endure the symptoms of cabin fever. They include: being easily irritated with family members, restlessness, pacing, staring disbelievingly at pictures of flowers and grass, and seeing snowflakes falling when you close your eyes to go to sleep, among other symptoms. The best cure, if you are able, is to throw on a jacket and mittens and brave the cold weather and snow outside until your lungs start to burn.
Secondly, if the storm is any less than completely debilitating (which is extremely rare), then you will have to take a vacation day off from work if you intend to miss work because of snow. You will get no sympathy.
Another thing of which to be aware: the town snowplows will have absolutely no consideration for your driveway or mailbox. They will block the first in and knock the second down without a moment’s hesitation. Their only loyalties are to the town. And if you want your mail to be delivered the day after a snowstorm, you must dig out your mailbox. This is not as easy at it seems. With all the snow from the storm plowed up against it, half the battle is finding the thing to begin with. Then comes a long, vigorous exercise session of chipping, chopping and shoveling snow and sand, which is as bad as it sounds. All the work is very rewarding, though, and builds character. (This is what my parents told me.)
The fourth thing to know is that roofs, unfortunately, are not invincible. They fall in. That is why it is important to scrape your roofs of snow and ice. Don’t think it can’t happen to you…
The fifth thing is, make adequate arrangements for your outdoor animals during the cold winter months. Parents, I recommend not giving into your kids (like mine did) when they beg you to bring the chickens in the house overnight while it’s 15 below zero. This is really bad for the house atmosphere. It requires air fresheners in the following days. It also spoils the chickens for any more outdoor living.
There is so much more important, yet random, advice that I could share with you, from personal experience. Like how to avoid chimney fires (be proactive---don’t rely upon someone driving by to stop and inform you that your chimney is spouting flame like a blowtorch). Or how to avoid frostbitten toes (wear wool socks and L.L. Bean boots, of course!). Or how to make it through a mud pit on a snowmobile in April (gun it and hope for the best). Or how to prevent your goats from climbing up on the 6 foot snowdrifts, jumping out over your 5 foot fence, climbing up more snowdrifts onto your two-story barn roof and frolicking up there, thirty feet in the air, for all the neighbors to see. (The answer to that is obvious: don’t have goats. And yes, that really did happen…)
Yet, I can tell you, truthfully, that winter without snow really does not seem like winter at all! Winter, snow, cold and back-breaking labor all seemed to walk hand-in-hand, and now…. Believe it or not, I miss it.
I miss tracking the snowstorms….and measuring the snow with a yardstick… I miss coming in the house all bundled up, with a red nose, watering eyes and icicles in my hair. I miss waking up in the wee hours of the morning to the sound of snow plows going by the window, and jumping out of bed in the coolness to peek out and see the snow drifting down in the curtained light of the street lamp. I miss the excitement of getting candles and canned food for the “Big Storm”. Yes, I sometimes even miss staggering down the ladder after a long weary time chopping ice off the eaves with a hammer.
But mostly I miss the quiet stillness of a traipse through the woods after a snowstorm…snow drooping down the pines and spruce until their boughs touch the ground….snow, thick on the ground, untouched by human foot, with the feathery tracks of little birds and squirrels patterning its surface….snow mounded on the rocks and fence posts like white caps all askew. I miss the hush of a world enveloped in whiteness, which has no beginning and no end.
Winter in Maine is harsh, difficult and also very beautiful. The season essentially lasts from late November until sometime in April, with a chance of frost possible from September until late May. Mainers consider it to be part of life. They might complain about the snow and cold, about the plowing and the shoveling, but that is only their way.
Down inside, they love it, too.
September 20, 2009: Another new album has been added: Maine 2009 photos. The photos for the two weddings on that trip will be uploaded separately in the protected section--but they aren't there yet.
I recently read again an interesting piece of literature few may know about (I'm not sure)--Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Celestial Railroad. It is an excellent "update" for Pilgrim's Progress, a scathing allegory about the modern church. (Well, modern in 1846, at least.) Don't worry, it's not as long as the original....
September 19, 2009: We're trying to get some of our photo albums up. First up is a small one--our County Fair Photos for 2009.
September 12, 2009: Rebecca's post-trip summary:
Well, we are back from our trip to the Northeast and had a grand time. I predicted that Maine would have their warmest week of the year when we were there, and it turns out I was prophetic. At least in that sense! Their weather had been in the 60’s and 70’s and raining (or about to rain) since May, and then they jumped to the 90’s the week we came up. In addition to the heat, there was humidity that made almost you feel you were walking around underwater. However, I can’t complain. We got my brother’s room (only one of two rooms with AC) to sleep in, and my brother had to sleep on the floor in another room. Coming back home after living in Oklahoma for eight months raises one almost to the status of celebrity, so I found. It was a lot of fun!
Well, our brief itinerary was this. We arrived in Portland Saturday evening around 7:30 (flew from Dallas—what a long day!) Sunday morning was spent with the South Paris brethren at the meeting at the VFW Hall. Sunday night through Wednesday, we were busy visiting brethren, my old neighbors and the ladies that I used to work with at the library. Thursday and Friday we spent with my parents. Saturday and Sunday were the weddings and a time of fellowshipping with all the saints from miles around. And we left early afternoon on Monday! That’s all. (Actually, I have no idea how we could have fit any more into nine days without some sort of supernatural divine intervention, but it really was great!) There’s nothing like a good fellowship wedding to bring rejoicing. Especially this time, with two weddings! There were brethren from Delhi, Middletown, Troy, NH, Norman, Miami, Kingfield/Albion, South Paris and Bridgton. It was really a great time. The Lord has done a special thing in our midst, bringing the Body together as one. Andrew and Shelley and Caleb and Erin had lovely weddings, with much extended family present. At each, the focus was on the Lord, and it makes the “wedding experience” so different when it’s not all about those getting married, but about their Lord.
The two days we spent with my parents, we went to the coastal area around Portland. For those not well acquainted with Maine, that area is not exactly the best representation of unspoiled Maine coast life, being the most highly populated area on the coast, but it is still beautiful. The first day we ate out at one of our favorite restaurants, DiMillo’s. It’s actually on an old ferry moored in Casco Bay. We walked around the Old Port and visited Portland Headlight. Actually, I received the full southern Maine tourist experience. Rather humbling for a person who was born and lived in Maine and nowhere else for 20 years.
The following day, we took the island ferry out into Casco Bay and back. This particular one made stops at Little Diamond Island, Great Diamond Island and Long Island, picking up and dropping off residents and visitors. I haven’t done that since I was a little girl, and we all enjoyed it immensely. Here is a description of our trip:
It was hot and humid in Portland, but just a little way out to sea, the air was cool and moist and smelled strongly of salt and sea. It became so densely foggy that we could only see a few yards in front of the ferry. The fog was like a pale gray curtain draped around the boat, isolating it from all around it. The sounds of our voices were deadened by the fog and mist, which imparted to us an almost eerie sensation of being separated from mankind. Separated for a few moments, as in a world within a world. Just then, the captain blasted his foghorn, making us jump. Just in front of us appeared the churning wake from a small lobster boat, swinging out of our way to avoid getting plowed to bits by our boat. The fog broke soon after. There were glimpses of blue and green and rays of sunlight breaking through the mist.. The call of the herring gull and the clang of buoys again reached our ears. The islands emerged, in their ordinary places, dotted with cottages and bright with sunshine. Great was the expanse of blue-gray ocean that stretched away from us, reaching to the horizon.
It was wonderful to see the ocean again, after being in the Midwest so long. Honestly, though, we did not visit the ocean that often even when I lived there, as we were a 40 minute drive away. It was easier to ride bikes to the lake.
I suppose I should mention now that, for those of you who remember my post about Oklahoma, I intend to write one about Maine very soon, to balance out my first opinions. Although (as you can no doubt tell), I love Maine, I am also aware of her many drawbacks. I shall write about them very honestly, and I hope it will give everyone who has never stayed there any length of time a good idea of what Maine is like.
Well, there is the lowdown on our trip. To all those whom we left behind--- we miss you! God bless you! To those down here with which we have been reunited--- we are glad to be back and God bless you, too! We love all the brethren, Daniel and I, and are amazed by the Lord’s goodness in placing us where He has.
You’ll be hearing from us again, soon!
August 1, 2009: We've been under the weather, here--colds are going around. Apparently, Oklahomans can't take weather in the 80s and rain in July. It's been a crazy weather pattern the last week or two, rather like (*gasp*) Maine, only 10 degrees warmer. There were some impressive thunderstorms here recently, and I actually figured out how to take some lightning pictures. I went with a 2 second exposure, ISO 200, and f9.0 aperature. A few bolts were so bright they washed out the photo, but I got quite a few good ones. Here are a couple:
(Click to enlarge)
In my spare time, I've been messing around with statistics, usually related to sports. Projections systems, in particular, are my interest. I put together a projection system for baseball, using batted-ball-type splits (ground ball, fly ball, etc.) to project the current season... primarily because we're playing fantasy baseball. Interesting math, I find it.
An updated Sports page is now up, and should be added to as we go along. Now, we've got live feeds up from many sources. Currently, baseball is the focus. Somehow, I (an avowed non-baseball fan historically) have started paying attention to baseball. I wonder what's changed in the past year? Oh....
July 21, 2009: Another post from Rebecca!
Our Trip to Colorado
What a lovely, hot, toasty summer it has been so far! (That statement is for the benefit of those in the northeast section of our country who are wondering what all this hogwash about global warming is all about.) Well, it is hot out here (if 105 can really still qualify as only hot), but we’re bearing up pretty well. This Oklahoma summer has been an adjustment for me, for sure, but the central air has helped my adjustment period considerably. That, and our trip to the cooler mountains of Colorado....
Let’s see---I was going to tell everyone about our trip. I’ll try to condense it into a couple of paragraphs (which will never happen). We went to Colorado over the 4 th of July. It was somewhat up in the air whether we were going to even go or not, because we were originally going to stay at least part of the time with Daniel’s great-uncle, who owns a cabin up in the mountains, but his wife had health problems and they were late in getting up there. We decided to go anyway, but stayed in motels instead. We left on Thursday the 2 nd, after lunch, and drove through western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, on our way to New Mexico. Texas was so amazing! It was nearly completely barren. The only sign of life was the occasional barbed wire fence and oil rig, pumping lazily in the shimmering heat. The terrain was comprised of sagebrush, yucca, and dry gullies, spreading away forever and ever to the horizon, as far as the eye could see. Every time there was a road sign for a creek, I looked eagerly out the window, but I never saw any water. It was the first time I have ever driven over so many bridges over nothing in my life. In fact, I took nearly as many pictures in the Texas Panhandle as I took in comparable span of time Colorado. Daniel asked me why I was taking so many pictures of nothing, and I said, very honestly, “Because I have never seen nothing before!”
We stayed the night in Raton, New Mexico. The second day we spent making our way slowly up to Leadville, Colorado, at about 10,000 ft in elevation (the highest town in the US, I believe). We took our time and stopped at sights along the way, so we did not get there until bedtime.
On Saturday, we drove up Independence Pass, the only way to Aspen. I do find it hard to believe that that road was the most accessible route the surveyors could find to Aspen. It seemed like they tried to make it as hair-raising as possible. The road was a sheer drop-off, and of course, guard rails are for sissies. At least, that is the Colorado mentality. The only place there was a short section of guard rail was where there was a huge sheer cliff and the road on the edge was crumbling away from erosion. Daniel, unused to driving curves (see my last entry about Oklahoma roads) was a little nervous. I offered to drive, but he seemed to think he’d rather be nervous and be in control of the wheel, rather than be terrified with me at the wheel. My dog, Josie, who had been up to that point completely unimpressed with the Rocky Mountains, suddenly, as we were going around the steepest grade and the most incredibly dangerous drop-off, figured out how to roll down the power window with her paw. There she was, hanging out over the edge, her tongue lolling, gazing at the valley below, surveying the trees like little dots, and the river looking like slender thread winding it’s way through the open expanse. I pulled Josie in and Daniel locked the windows as a precaution. The summit of Independence Pass is on the Continental Divide. The views were spectacular. It was like some Alpine scene, with sharply defined mountains spreading off into the distance, fading into blue-gray hazy shapes on the horizon. In between them lay high valleys of beautiful, rolling meadows, covered in tiny yellow and blue flowers and gushing streams of melting snow dropping through the crevices of the rocks. We visited the Independence ghost town on the other side, an old mining town that has been abandoned since the 1870’s. From there, we turned back and drove through Buena Vista to Daniel’s great-uncle and aunt’s cabin. We spent the whole afternoon with them. God blessed our visit, and I was happy to get to meet them and their youngest daughter and granddaughter.
That night, we drove to Colorado Springs, about two hours away. We were determined to see some fireworks, as that was the 4 th, but once we entered the area around Colorado Springs, it was raining and our hopes were lowered. Of course, it was raining and dark and neither of us had ever driven around Colorado Springs, so we were a little confused. We were also starving, and it is dangerous when I get hungry. I get very cranky (I know it is difficult to believe about me, but it is so J) We were so starving, we couldn’t decide where to eat, and didn’t know where to look because we were in a strange city and didn’t know where the restaurants were. We finally ended up at a Sonic, ordering chicken sandwiches. At that time, it stopped raining, and we started hearing fireworks going off around the city. Most of them seemed to coming from a certain area, and Daniel (who loves fireworks) decided he was going to track them down and we’d eat our supper while watching them. So we struck off, with our tantalizingly hot sandwiches between my feet. Daniel was eyeing the fireworks, and driving it what seemed to be the same direction. We tracked their origin to the Broadmoor Hotel, a big resort on the east side of the city. To the Broadmoor we bent our steps. We got a little sidetracked (I won’t say lost), but finally found signs for the Broadmoor. We drove down this long dark boulevard, around traffic circles, the fireworks exploding all around us, just out of sight behind the tall trees. The Broadmoor Hotel loomed in the foreground. We pulled over and parked, reached for our chicken sandwiches, raised them to our lips and gazed up toward the sky. We never saw another firework. That was the grand finale and they were over. Disappointed (and, yes, I was really starving by this point), we drove to an overlook, hoping to catch sight of a stray firecracker, and ate our sandwiches by a parking lot light.
The next day we spent driving up Pike’s Peak. It really is an incredible experience, especially when the mountain is fogged in and there is a thunder-sleet storm rolling across the summit. Yes, indeed, those were the conditions. When above the tree line, we were driving through a mass of gray cloud so thick in places, that we really couldn’t see the edge of the road at all. I asked Daniel if he was nervous driving, remembering our experience on Independence Pass, but he said he couldn’t see the edge, so he wasn’t nervous. I must say, I sometimes don’t understand him. I thought not being able to see the edge was a lot scarier. I don’t want to sound obvious, but it does seem that if one cannot see the edge, the chances greatly increase that one could drive over the edge. By praying and driving slowly, we made it to the summit, where we were carried by the flow of human bodies exiting the Pikes Peak Cog Railway into the large gift shop. There we were entombed for a very long time, practically nose to nose with over a hundred other people, waiting for the sleet to stop whirling and the dense clouds to part.
It was 37 degrees, sleeting, raw and damp up there on Pike’s Peak, and it’s the only place I have been in since Maine that felt anything like home. It put me in a very good mood. But, thank the Lord, we didn’t have to travel up there just for the experience of driving through clouds---the bad weather moved on, the clouds parted, and we actually saw a view after all! By this time, my good mood was slipping, as I was getting a very bad altitude headache (we were 14,000 feet up). We drove down very slowly, popping our ears the whole way, and spent the rest of the afternoon in old Colorado City and touring a cave in the area.
On Monday we left Colorado Springs, waving goodbye sadly to the mountains as we hit the vast and unending plain east of the ranges. From there, we drove through Kansas. Just so everyone knows, I will never call Oklahoma flat or treeless again. It is mountainous and forested, compared to that Kansas. That state seems to be primarily one big wheat field. I don’t want to put down Kansas as a state, nor her people, for I’m sure they are people of integrity and uprightness, but I found the ceaseless flatness and the fact that I could count the amount of trees I saw in a given hour on the fingers of one hand to make for a very boring drive. I come from Maine, where trees and water are so plentiful, they’re a nuisance. In Kansas it is just the opposite. Water is treasured, and trees are cultivated with great care. Did you know that there is an enjoyable game profitable for passing the time, and it really can only be played in Kansas? It’s called “Count the Miles to That Grain Elevator on the Horizon”. I consistently guessed fewer miles than it was, because I found it hard to grasp that one could really see as far as we could.
We got into Oklahoma around our bedtime and some folks nearby were welcoming us home from our trip with fireworks (no, it was no one we knew!). While we were unloading our luggage, poor Josie, already worn out, was so scared by the loud sounds, she was trying to crawl into the space under the car seats. The only problem with that was---we have no space under our car seats. We got everything dragged into the living room and left it there. Thus, we, including Josie, fell asleep with our pillows over our heads to block out the sound of those fireworks, and were grateful to be home safe and well.
Despite the few little adventures that belong to any trip, we had such a wonderful time in Colorado, and I’m so happy we had a chance to go! God’s creation is so magnificent, it is impossible to describe in plain words. Even our 1500 + pictures don’t do it justice! Still, I hope to get Daniel to upload an album of the best pictures of our trip sometime within the next week or two, for all of you to view.
I hope you are all having as enjoyable a summer as we are, and God bless you all until next time!
P.S. To all those folks from Oklahoma who I may have miffed by speaking so about their home state in the last entry, I do apologize. :-) There really is nothing wrong with Oklahoma at all. It’s a great state!
June 19, 2009: Note: the views expressed herein are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of this website.
Life in Oklahoma: How Oklahoma is Different from Maine
For those who are wondering what Oklahoma is like from the perspective of a transplanted Mainer, here you go:
It’s hot. It’s windy. There aren’t enough trees and too many tornados.
Actually, no, I’m just joking. There are many differences between Maine and Oklahoma, but those are the most significant. Being that Oklahoma is a southwest state, and Maine is as far northeast as you can go, there’s bound to be changes in the geography and weather, as well as cultural differences. The following is my take on it.
Besides the weather being unusual, and there being fewer trees, there are some other things I noticed about Oklahoma right away: All their roads are straight, and either go north to south, or east to west. Drivers get disoriented when a road curves—they grip the steering wheel with white knuckles. Also, Okies blame lakes for getting in the way and messing up their grid system. “If that lake wasn’t there, I could get to town five minutes faster!” Everywhere is fenced in with barbed wire. There are no Dunkin’ Donuts. Not one. The only seafood restaurant is a Red Lobster. Everything is so big! They rarely build tall buildings. Why bother when there is always space to build out? Space is something of which Oklahoma has no shortage. The soil is orange---well, most of it, and their hills (at least in Central OK) are usually little alterations in the terrain.
Other things I have noticed: Every time it rains, it thunders too. People here think that any snow that whitens the ground is a blizzard. Everything in the stores is written in Spanish, sometimes before the English. They have no pine trees, to speak of. Rather than the road-kill being coons and porcupines, there are possums and armadillos. Since I’ve arrived, I have yet to see a live armadillo, but I’ve seen a whole fleet of dead armadillos. Can anyone tell me what a group of [live] armadillos is called? I have no idea. (I’m guessing it’s not a “fleet”...)
Instead of the hicks chewing tobacco, wearing flannel shirts and tall lace-up boots, and arguing about sizes of deer they shot, the Okie hicks chew tobacco, wear overalls and rubber boots and argue about the length of the horns on their longhorn cattle.
Okies have different accents, even though they say Mainers are the ones with the accents, we all know them to be wrong. Mainers have no accents. Okies actually pronounce their “R’s”. Everyone knows “R” is an optional letter in the alphabet! They also have a personal pronoun of sorts that is used for everything---y’all. Y’all can indicate an individual, a family, a group, a state, or even a country. It can also be possessive, in the form of “Y’all’s house, or y’all’s kids... etc. In the event of a large group of people, which must be recognized and encompassed in speech, the term “All y’all” is used.
The Okies have a problem with exaggeration. They call ponds, lakes; streams, rivers; and little trickles are streams. Any ditch that has water running for at least one month out of the year has a name. They have no natural lakes, so they build them all. On the off chance it snows or ices out, nobody plows. They wait for it to melt.
I don’t want you to think I am making fun of the fine state of Oklahoma---not at all.... but did I forget to mention what the state vegetable is? The watermelon.
But honestly, I don’t mean to denigrate Okies. There are some wonderful things about the state, though it certainly does differ from Maine. They have the most beautiful clouds anyone has ever seen (there’s actually space to see them here!). They may not have any winter storms to speak of, but at least folks can get out and do things even in the middle of winter, and not get cabin fever waiting for spring. Which reminds me---did you know that spring generally comes in February? I always thought February was the dead of winter. The people here are very nice and outgoing. They’re not as reserved as Maine folks. There are more churches out here than in Maine, too. We’re in the U.S. “Bible belt”, I believe.
On the subject of religion, many Okies (no one I know!) believe in a special religion. It’s called OU football. Only they meet on Saturdays, rather than Sundays. They even have their cars painted in OU colors, and there is a prescribed time of mourning when the football team loses a game.
Another benefit to living in Oklahoma: it has great clothes-drying weather. You can hang your clothes on the line after lunch and they’ll be bone dry and wrinkle free by supper time. (Which reminds me---here, dinner is lunch and supper is dinner. That’s taking some getting used to.)
Okies may not be toughened against cold, snowy winters and clouds of black flies (you should have heard the brethren who recently returned from Maine when they spoke of the mosquitoes and black flies. There was true respect and awe in their tone.) They may not know how to eat their lobster. Yet, they are sturdy in their own right. They are hard-working and generally friendly, conservative folks that get done what needs to be done and don’t complain much. There are many unsettled agricultural areas and the love of the land still fills the hearts of its people. Their cities are nice, too. The Norman area is well-built and clean and tidy. There is even art and culture here, in the form of concerts, museums and plenty of great restaurants (do those qualify as art?).
Of course, the brethren in the fellowship here are wonderful. I have enjoyed to no end getting to know the folks here. I have realized in moving here that there are no real differences in location, culture or even language when we’re walking in God’s Kingdom! We all love Him and want to serve Him, and His Spirit unifies us in His love. Praise the Lord. May He continue to unify and strengthen His Body! I had better end this, before I get too carried away.... God bless y’all.
By the way, I did forget to mention the most important thing of all.
They have no Red Sox.
June 18, 2009:
Life in Oklahoma: Part One
It seems, since Daniel and I are nearing our 6 month anniversary, that it is a pertinent time for someone to write what has been going on with us! Unfortunately for those reading this, it can’t possibly be communicated in written words how wonderful it is to be married, nor how much God has blessed the two of us this past year or so (or since this whole betrothal process began!). Let it only be said that we are exceedingly happy, extremely blessed, and delighting in the present, as well as looking forward to what God has for us in the future.
Well, let’s start at the beginning. Daniel and I spent our first night after the wedding in North Conway, and the next morning, flew out of Manchester, NH to Natchez, Mississippi for our wedding trip. Some of you may wonder why we chose Natchez, of all places.... Honeymooning in mid-January does limit one’s options, particularly since neither Daniel nor I like to ski. (I did not think it wise to learn how on my wedding trip, either...) After some discussion, we chose Natchez, since it was smaller and quainter than some other more highly-traveled cities in the South. And it had a lot of history, which Daniel and I both are both interested in. Our plane landed in Jackson, MS much later than anticipated, because of delays. It was pouring when we picked up our rental car and left the airport. Imagine leaving an icy, snowy winter in Maine and New Hampshire, and a few hours later, landing in warm, rainy Mississippi! It was very strange. (I had never flown in my life until then, so it seemed almost unreal to travel from one place to another so quickly!) From there, we took the Natchez Trace Parkway to Natchez, about 85 miles away. It seems that most of the deer population in Mississippi finds it enjoyable to hang out on or around the Natchez Trace Parkway during that time of year (we started on the drive about 10PM). We spent the entire 85 miles scouting desperately for pairs of glowing eyes, as the deer jumped the road or browsed along the edges for mile after mile. I think we saw at least 150 deer, and very possibly more—and only 1 other car.
After a late and tiring night, we arrived to Dunleith Plantation, and spent the rest of our stay there relaxing and getting to know one another. It turns out we really enjoyed Natchez, although the winter may be the only comfortable time of year to visit. The rest of the time I believe it has a climate similar to a South American jungle. The area had live oaks in abundance---monstrous trees with a wider span than some houses, and many times taller. (You can see a picture of the largest tree we found on the website.) The oaks were alive with long draping sheets of Spanish moss and little ferns growing on the wide limbs. Things were actually green and blooming in January (besides the pine trees)! We toured several antebellum homes, walked around the Mississippi River, visited Vicksburg National Military Park, took a carriage ride and, most importantly, ate plenty of good old Southern cookin’! Yes, Southern food is good. Very good. (Most of it is deep-fried, that’s why. They even deep-fry their pickles. Who knew it could even be done?) We stayed at Dunleith the first four nights, and another smaller bed and breakfast the last night. We flew out of Jackson again that Saturday and landed in Oklahoma that evening. I was in my new home.
After we arrived, we were naturally very tired, and I was eager to see the new house, so we ate a quick supper at Daniel’s family’s home, and headed to our house. We live 4 ½ miles east of Daniel’s parents, very close to Lake Thunderbird. We encountered some difficulties upon our arrival. Our pipes were frozen, as the well was only housed in a shed with no door, and it was down in the 20’s that night (yes it does very occasionally get below freezing in Oklahoma). We were out there working on that until midnight, and had to get up for fellowship meeting the next morning. The pipes were partially thawed out by the next day, but we were now faced with another problem. The water was a definite orange-pink---dyed from the strange colored dirt they have around here. The well company had just flushed the 25 year old well out, and the sediment had not yet settled. The results were undrinkable, almost unusable water. It was somewhat discouraging, but we were grateful we had water at all. We had to obtain our drinking water from Daniel’s parents and our fellowship neighbors for almost two weeks. That eventually cleared, and we began to get more settled. The following weeks were spent primarily at Wal-Mart, except at bedtime, when we came home to sleep. We bought everything that can be imagined, and more. Did you know that new houses actually don’t have things like rubber bands, paperclips, and clothes hangers just lying around? I really had no idea that people actually went out and bought magnets for their fridge. In my experience, they have always just appeared. Not for us---we had to buy and borrow them. And of course, everyone that we have known was so kind and generous with their gifts, it helped us out immensely. God has provided all we need, and so much of it through family and brethren, and it was and continues to be a blessing to us.
Those initially hectic weeks were followed by a time of settling in to our new house and learning how to live as a couple (which is not very difficult when married to the most awesome man on earth J). My first phone bills informed us that I had spent about 30 hours the first couple months on the phone, and most of them were to Poland, Maine. If calculated in averages, that would mean I spent about one hour of every day on the phone, or about 1 ¼ days of every month with a receiver to my ear. Needless to say, Daniel is grateful now that he had the foresight to purchase an unlimited long-distance plan before our wedding! During the past months, we have had plenty to do around the house: we had to finish the skirting and trim on the trailer, haul away junk (a lot of junk), dig up and plant a garden, install a clothesline, plant grass seed. Plus of course, we had all the inside work that needed to done, as well. A few weeks ago, I finally persuaded Daniel that he really desired 25 chickens running around our yard, and that it would be really fun to build a chicken house for them. Both of those things aren’t exactly true, but he fell for it anyway.... So we received our chicks in the mail, and just got finished building them a hen house and covered wire run. Did you know that a hen house built by a structural engineer is sturdy enough to also double as a tornado shelter? I didn’t realize that fact either, until I helped Daniel assemble ours. When I built my animal pens and sheds in the past, I always used scrap wood from the dump and leftover screws from other projects. This hen house is built with real wood from Lowe’s, and it’s solid. The next time the tornado sirens go off, you will find me in with the chickens.
By the way, for those who are curious, we haven’t actually had a tornado pass over our house yet. Last month we had a wall cloud, though, which is what creates tornados. We were on a way home from Wednesday night meeting 35 minutes away and stopped at Tom and Sharon’s to wait out the storm. It was a bit unsettling to me, but no one else was very concerned. Out here, a tornado is something akin to a snowstorm in Maine--routine, expected, and somewhat disabling for a short amount of time. I think the Okies are more afraid of cold winters and blackflies than they are of tornados!
The past couple months, we were also busy fellowshipping with lots of brethren that traveled down to visit Norman. My family also came to visit. They flew out here the end of April and spent five days here. I had so much fun spending time with them and showing them all around the area! Which brings me to one of the greatest blessings of moving to Oklahoma—the brethren here. What a blessing they have to been to me! I love them all so much. I feel like I have known them forever. Daniel’s family has been wonderful. Sharon drives me wherever I need to go, and we’re invited over there anytime we can come, just about.... Not to mention the devotion of all the people to the Lord and to His work. It is an encouraging time visiting with and getting to know those down here; building relationships, just like I have in Maine with the Body there. I feel there is a greater unity overspreading the Body of which we are a part, and I am honored that Daniel and I have been called to be that small piece in the greater picture.
I have some things to finish before evening, and my husband arrives from work. I am the new “guest blogger”, according to Daniel, so look for another update from me soon! May you all have a wonderful rest of your week, and receive all the blessings which the Lord has in store for His beloved children!
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3: 20-21
Old Blog Entries (August 23, 2006 was the beginning of the blog).