Category: Travel

Taking a break

Taking a break

Our retreat time over Kirstin’s birthday in September led directly into some much-anticipated vacation time. We rented a cabin near Lake Michigan and spent time catching up on sleep, reading, exploring area breweries and restaurants, and hanging out on the beach. One pleasant surprise of this time was getting to see the migration of monarchs along the coast. Another wonderful surprise was a visit from one of our former high school teachers who’s become a very good friend. While her husband and daughter participated in a nearby bike race, she joined us for a Sunday morning of good coffee, delicious bakery treats, and nourishing conversation.

Kirstin on the beach in Michigan

Our vacation time concluded with a few days in Goshen, Indiana with Rob’s parents, for the Goshen College homecoming weekend. A former professor of Rob’s had nominated him for the Young Servant Leader Award, so Rob gave a talk in chapel and was also recognized at an alumni breakfast.

Rob receiving an award from Goshen College

The month came to a close with even more travel, with Rob visiting friends in New York City while Kirstin participated in a writer’s residency in Maryland. The residency took place at a beautiful retreat center with a group of amazing people who write as a means of personal and societal healing. We also had a bit of time to visit Washington, D.C., including the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Franklin D. Roosevelt memorials. It was fun to have some adventures after a summer of hard work, but we’re looking forward to settling in at home for a couple of months!

Visiting the MLK Memorial in Washington
Family, renovations, farming

Family, renovations, farming

Between late May and early June, we enjoyed several opportunities to visit with Kirstin’s sister Alyssa’s family while they were visiting from Idaho. Alyssa and her husband Dave have two kiddos, and this was our first opportunity to meet the youngest who was born in March. They’re growing up so fast! We also grabbed a couple of days away to visit Chicago in celebration of Rob’s birthday, taking in a Cubs game and lots of good food.

Visiting Chicago

In between out-of-town adventures, we’ve been hard at work on another renovation project. This was actually the one that we PLANNED on doing this year before the community house project came along. Basically, we’re taking two rooms in the historic elementary school our organization owns and turning them into a new community space for all sorts of programming. Rob has a gift for designing spaces, and he had the idea to cut a hole in the floor between two levels and install floor-to-ceiling bookshelves made out of old barn wood. In addition, the old barns we had taken down at our friends’ property will be furnishing most of the wood for a new pavilion as an outdoor extension of the community space. Among other things, the pavilion will provide a space for our summer lunch program that provides a mid-day meal for any school-aged kid in our neighborhood. We’re also working hard to get everything rolling for the season at the farm. Thankfully, we have a lot of help from volunteers and contractors!

Pavilion at the Huss Project
California and New Orleans

California and New Orleans

This was definitely a month for travel adventures! As much as we enjoy winter, we were fortunate to escape the Michigan ice and snow for a bit. Kirstin went on a work trip to Commonweal in Bolinas, California, which is in a gorgeous spot right on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The gathering was part of a three-year project she’s involved in to network retreat centers across the U.S. and Canada. The project has been an incredible opportunity to learn about the work that so many good people are doing at the intersection of contemplative, spiritual practice and social justice. In addition to enjoyable work on this trip, Kirstin was grateful to see SanFrancisco at night by trolley with her friend Jean, who lived there for several years, as tour guide.

Bolinas, California
Bolinas, California

Right on the heels of the California trip, we headed back to the airport for a week of vacation in New Orleans. We’d gotten a taste of New Orleans a few years ago when we went there for a conference and had wanted to return for a deeper dive since then. We love seeing cities on foot, so we did a ton of walking, balancing activities that were educational and fun. We visited several museums, including the incredibly powerful Lower Ninth Ward Living History Museum and the Whitney Plantation. We also ate lots of good food throughout the city and saw some amazing music. It was a good winter rest to prepare for a busy year.

New Orleans, 2019
In New Orleans