Archive for the ‘Life in Central IL’ Category

Mark has been hoping to get some of this bamboo for a long time!  Some friends of ours have let us know that we can have some of theirs.  Mark harvested a few baby shoots :)) last Tuesday and we planted them in mulch on our property the same day!

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Hi Friends!! It has been so long since I posted. Tonight we went to an amazing presentation by Josiah Hunt, the owner/CEO/director of Pacific Biochar (see pacificbiochar.com). He has been making biochar since 2007 or so. Having just 5% of biochar in your soil can increase production by 17-25%! It was a great presentation!

The presentation was at Hawaiian Sanctuary and is part of a yearlong series. This is the third one I have been to. 

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Rachel, Castro Valley, CA – 8/13/2014
I wrote this testimony on Saturday, in the middle of a contra dance weekend. (Contra dancing is similar American square dancing, but in long lines instead of in squares.)

I experienced Love’s grace tonight! Just before lunch, while contra dancing with 300 other people, I fell hard, so it seemed, on the gym floor. It took me a while to really be pain free, but I danced the whole day, anyway, and didn’t miss one dance (except for when I helped set up snacks). Every dance has one partner and lots of neighbors. With every partner and every neighbor that I danced with, I asked how they were. When they asked me, I answered honestly that I was grateful to be there, that God is so very GOOD and Life is great and I was thrilled and delighted to be dancing! By the beginning of the evening dance, I could tell the partner that I was dancing with before lunch that I was completely pain free! He and several others rejoiced with me in this freedom. I was also bold enough to voice the Truth to those with challenges that they seemed to be dealing with. God is sooo good!! I thank God for the strength and grace to dance and my mother for her support and prayers! Now as it is after 1 am, it is high time I went to sleep! There will be another 12 hours of dancing tomorrow!!! Much love and gratitude to God and the UNIVERSE!!

Epilogue: I was able to enjoy the dancing Sunday as well, again completely pain free. This alone was quite a demonstration as many dancers would sometimes tell me of their [seeming] pain. As mentioned before, I boldly shared the Truth with them and they told me that they appreciated the help.

Thank you so much for these GLOBAL, all-encompassing services!! I love them so much and I am sooo grateful that the time allotted to listen to the replay has been extended!! Thanks again!

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We had a beautiful Christmas morning at home (breakfast was apple sapote: sweet, tart, crunchy, & easy to peel). We enjoyed the online Christian Science service (www.christianscience.com) with the help of the Wifi from the community center. We enjoyed doing video calls with both Rachel and Mark’s family, also with the help of the Wifi from the community center 🙂
We went to a potluck that started around 11 am. Mark learned to change the oil on our truck while Rachel was in the kitchen cooking/food prep with Laura. As you can see from Mark’s plate, there were five vegan dishes (corn spoon bread, beets, beans, mashed potatoes, & oven-baked sweet and regular potatoes) that we enjoyed immensely. We ate around 4 pm. I made a raw fruit pie with
-a freshly ground pecan crust (thanks Evelyn!)
-mamay sapote
-egg fruit
-black sapote
-mamay sapote blended with cocoa powder
-star fruit and pecan sprinkles to garnish

The other guests left just before 7 pm. Our host John was very interested in the Bible, religions, and history and invited us upstairs and we got to chatting. We finally left around 11 pm. What a full and wonderful day!

Just a few pics of the raw fruit pie we made and our delicious dinner…

Love you all!!




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Latest news!

How are you? Blessings to you!

We are still in IL. We were in Hawaii from May 20 – July 29. We came back to pack our stuff and take it to Hawaii. Lately, we have been thinking we’ll just bring the packing to a close and build first and then bring our stuff when there is a place to put it.

We had hoped that we would be in Hawaii by now, but we are still here, and have yet to buy the plane tickets. I have done some research on the tickets and expect we will buy them soon.

Also, I think Mark will go straight to Hawaii from here (with a day or two in CA), but I need to share my gift of nursing at a facility somewhere. Facilities always need people for the holidays and we need some income.


ps.  I have just learned that our blog might show ads on various posts unless I pay an extra $30/year.  So, I apologize for the ads, distasteful as they may be.

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UP UNTIL YESTERDAY, our hope was for both of us to go to a nursing conference in Lebanon, MO on our way West towards CA and then onto HI after selling both vehicles and loading our stuff into a 20′ shipping container in CA.

YESTERDAY, Aug 15, we decided that it would be easier to ship everything if a 40′ container was loaded here in IL and the vehicles (a 14′ moving truck and a 6’x10′ trailer) were sold here.

This opens up a lot more possibilities, packing and sorting time, and flexibility for when we leave. This could be a good thing, but I have noticed that we do really well with goals in front of us.

We would both still love to attend the conference (Sept. 4-8). We would then come back, finish packing the 40′ container, and send it on its way to Hawaii toward the end of September.

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Today, Saturday, Aug 3, is our first full day in IL. Our good friend Bob Easton picked us up from Bradley University in the wee hours of the morning. Mark’s mom Evelyn picked us up from Bob’s place and we went to the Peoria Riverfront Museum to see the Ansel Adams exhibit.

I (Rachel) have never enjoyed an exhibit so much as this one. Mark also says this is one of the best exhibits he has seen. We loved reading all the captions for each photo! We loved how appreciative and supportive Ansel’s dad was. Ansel was bored in school, and his dad allowed him to go to the San Francisco exposition fair daily for a year as a 13 year old boy. Ansel also entertained ideas of being a concert pianist before he latched on to photography. His dad was supportive of both. As a 14 year old, he pleaded with his family to take a family vacation in 1916 to Yosemite. He went back every year of his life.

While at the Museum, we saw the 3D movie “Sea Monsters” about giant prehistoric water creatures. Very interesting!! We also saw 2 planetarium shows: “Perfect Little Planet” and “Night Sky in Peoria”.

Got home to the Singing Woods and greeted the property Mark grew up on. Got to the “Burrow” (the name of our bedroom where we sleep) and uncovered and made the bed. We are in Evelyn’s house now and it is time to make dinner. On TV is black and white big band songs, a fundraiser show. Mark looks asleep in the big mechanical chair. 🙂

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Yesturday’s full day

Yesturday was a very full day!  I wanted to share its bounty:

(Mark) talked with a hunter (who was going to hunt on our property) who was working on setting up a wind farm 

(Mark) began working on sorting a tub of books about dinosaurs

(Rachel) did a load of laundry

(Rachel) made a strawberry, banana, and horned melon breakfast smoothie

Sam Landis came over

We shared our breakfast, went for a walk in Robinson Park, found chicken of the woods and wood ear fungi and saw other fungi.  We enjoyed the hill prairie and the amazing fall colors.

Went to lunch with Sam and his sister Liz at Paneras.  Ate Mediterranean Veggie with extra veggies and avocado.

Came home

(Mark, Andy, Rachel, Evelyn) Cut down two trees, cut up the trees.

(Rachel and Andy) cut off dead branches until 5:15-5:30.

(Mark) finished sorting his tub of books until 5:15 and left to make dinner.

We ate pita sandwiches with stuffed with spinach, vegan coleslaw, and sweetened pickles.

(Mark, Rachel, Andy and Joy) Got dressed and left at 6:15 to go dancing (Civil War era style) downtown at the GAR hall (only two more rehearsals until Yule Like Peoria (Nov. 23) when we are all in period dress and hundreds of people are watching!)

Came home

(Mark, Rachel, Evelyn) Listened to “Honest Politics”, a panel discussion from TMC youth.

(Mark) Cut apples

(Mark, Rachel) watched “Standing Bear’s Footsteps”

(Mark) watched other TV

(Rachel) Blended 17 jars of raw applesauce seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg!

Went to bed after midnight 🙂

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We made it home!!

20.9 miles. Our mph range was 6-21. It was a gusty, blustery, windy day!! Mark never dreamed when he bought these bike clothes years ago that we would be wearing them, together, with a bike to match!


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