Lessons from a Borrowed House

Swedish house

Have you ever needed to borrow clothes or shoes from someone, maybe because you were caught in the rain or spilled something down the front of you, but it didn’t quite fit? You’re so thankful because someone was willing to loan you something in your hour of need, but at the same time you’re uncomfortable because it isn’t really right. It works in a pinch, but it just isn’t you. I can think of several Continue Reading →

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Merry Christmas 2016

Once again, it’s been much too long between blog posts. We appreciate your patience and understanding. This transition has been intense and demanding on our time and our energy. It seems there hasn’t been enough of either left at the end of the day to sit down and put it all into words. Today isn’t the day for that either. Today we simply want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and assure you all that Continue Reading →

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Finding Time, Finding Treasure

We long for a time in our lives when outdoor adventure, travel and exploration will be “normal life” and not just vacations. We are actively working to pursue that dream, but we’re not there yet. In the meantime, there’s dance class and meetings and stopping for groceries on the way to pick up one and drop off the other. Don’t misunderstand, there’s beauty and value in the season we’re in now and we don’t want to Continue Reading →

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First Birthday on the Road!

Peter had his first birthday during our stay in Houston. Despite the amazing experiences we were having as a family, I’d be lying if I said my mom guilt didn’t kick in over not being able to give him a first birthday party surrounded by grandparents and other family. Mom guilt is a tricky, dangerous thing. Our friends really stepped up and helped us make it a fun birthday. We had cupcakes and ice cream, Continue Reading →

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Trick-or-Treat!

The first real American Halloween for our kids! It was such perfect timing that we were staying with our friends, so we were in a family-friendly neighborhood and had another family to go trick-or-treating with! What a fun night! The hardest part for our little princess was deciding which princess costume to choose. No surprise, Cinderella won in the end. Since we correctly assumed that Peter would fall asleep after only a short time, he Continue Reading →

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Old El Paso

Southbound again to another border town. El Paso is very rarely on recommended road trip lists and responses when we included it in our itinerary ranged from confusion to fear for our safety. No one shared tips for things to be sure to see, but we got a few suggestions of places to avoid. Admittedly, El Paso would probably never have made our list if not for a big claim on our hearts: friends. Good Continue Reading →

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The Impact of Hurricane Sandy

Travel Route

While Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast, we were high and dry in the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico. Our media exposure was limited and while we’d heard there was a big “superstorm” back east, it took us a few days before we understood the impact the storm would have on our route. Recalculating route… Recalculating route… Our plan had been to start heading north just east of New Orleans, visit some friends in Continue Reading →

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Camping in San Diego

Welcome back! My apologies for the recent blogging hiatus. I realize it wasn’t clear whether the blog would continue to recount the rest of our adventures even after we have returned home. I will continue writing it for myself even if no one continues to read. But I hope you will, because there’s still about a third of our trip left to share. Now that our kiddos are semi-recovered from jet lag, it may be Continue Reading →

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Santa Barbara

In Santa Barbara we were hosted by the Parsons, some of the sweetest, most encouraging, most hospitable people we’ve ever met. Also some of the busiest – though they always seem present in the moment and you never get the sense that they’re overwhelmed or stressed when you’re with them. Someday I would like to learn that skill. Among other things, they oversee the Former Soviet Union region for Young Life and spend a whole Continue Reading →

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A San Francisco Treat (ding, ding!)

Our next stop was a visit with Staffan’s cousin, Olof, his wife Brandy, and their sons Henrik and Lukas, who live outside of San Fransisco. As we drove south from the Albion River, following the directions on the GPS toward their address, we suddenly found ourselves approaching the Golden Gate Bridge! Except just before we got on it, really thick clouds rolled in and we couldn’t actually see very much of the bridge. It was Continue Reading →

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Crater Lake

Sparkling and radiant blue and surrounded by rugged cliffs, Crater Lake is instantly captivating and breathtakingly beautiful. We visited Crater Lake National Park on a sunny Saturday and spent the day exploring the park and once again marveling at God’s amazing handiwork. We drove the loop around the lake, which seems to be very popular with cyclists, and stopped at various overlooks and view points. The lake appears so different from different perspectives, including an Continue Reading →

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The Devil and a Crazy Woman

Leaving South Dakota, we continued west into Wyoming. The plan was to drive to Devil’s Tower, spend a little time exploring there, then continue on to Gillette to camp for the night. We had plans to meet friends in Billings, MT for the weekend. Native Americans and other early settlers developed many legends and folk tales around the Devil’s Tower landmark. And it’s not hard to understand why. When all the surrounding area is rolling Continue Reading →

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There is this Silence in the Badlands…

Any Rich Mullins fans out there that recognize this title as a line from his song “Calling out your Name”? I must confess that other than this song lyric, I’d never even really heard of the Badlands. They weren’t along our original planned route, mostly because we didn’t know they were there. But we’re so glad we changed our route to include this beautiful area! After days and days of driving through seemingly endless prairies, Continue Reading →

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Mall of America

We’re not exactly mall enthusiasts. This shouldn’t really surprise anyone. But when we happen to be in the area of America’s largest mall, we had to check it out. And when this mall has a program called “Toddler Tuesdays” and we have toddlers and happen to be in town on a Tuesday… done deal. So we decided to brave the Mall of America. And we had a great day! Picture in the parking garage. I Continue Reading →

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Chi Town

Though there was an 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms the whole day, we spent the Saturday of Labor Day weekend in downtown Chicago, pleasantly enjoying the other 20%. Chicago is a city with a lot to offer… so what to do with one day, during which it will most likely rain, and two little ones? Traveling with toddlers, less is definitely more. So we sat down the night before to go over our options Continue Reading →

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Experiencing the Body of Christ

I think I can safely say, without exaggerating, that we have recently experienced one of the starkest contrasts between churches available in the U.S. today. We have committed to attend church on Sundays during our time on the road. This is important to us for many reasons, but we also feel it will add to our overall experience to meet and worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ across regions, backgrounds, and denominations. This Continue Reading →

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Sometimes Asked Questions

Thought I’d take a pause from where we’ve been and what we’ve done to talk a little bit about what daily life is like for us these days. If you’re curious, I’m writing this from the Badlands in South Dakota, and still have posts coming about our travels in Chicago, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. I’ve started writing this post several times, trying to figure out the best way to share a slice of our life on Continue Reading →

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Unexpected Michigan part 2: Holland and Grand Rapids

Holland, Michigan is a beautiful little college town, home to Hope College, Western Theological Seminary, and a state park on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Holland State Park campground was our next destination and our home for two nights. Our friend Jeff works at Western and once we checked in and set up camp, we drove into the town to see Jeff and visit the campus where he works. Afterward we walked through town, Continue Reading →

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Unexpected Michigan, part 1: Brighton

I confess. I did not expect to like Michigan all that much. It’s not that I expected to dislike it, it’s just that it’s never been someplace that I’ve longed to go. Before our trip, we were sharing our planned route with some friends and they said, “Why Michigan? Do you know someone there?” The answer was yes, we do. But I understood the feeling behind the question. What’s in Michigan? So imagine my surprise Continue Reading →

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Oh, Hi! Oh.

State #2 and week #2 on our grand adventure led us to Ohio and more visiting with old friends. We stayed outside of Columbus with Deb and her family, friends from our Kirkwood days. Deb likes to take credit for Staffan and I getting together, and she certainly played a role (though I like to think we would’ve figured it out ourselves eventually!). Besides, I think she enjoyed the whole process almost as much as Continue Reading →

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