Monday, July 27, 2009

my Jesus

I just heard an interview with Todd Agnew on K-Love radio. It really got me thinking about some things that were on my mind this weekend. Todd Agnew wrote a song called My Jesus and it has been somewhat controversial. Some people think it's rather judgemental and others love it. I loved it at first, and then a friend opened my eyes to why it could be perceived as hurtful.

Listen and see for yourself, but also know this. I don't know much about Todd Agnew, but in the interview this morning he opened up about where this song came from and I was intrigued. He said he wrote it about seven years ago based on some things going on in his heart, but never intended for anyone else to hear it. He'd play it for others very rarely, and only when he felt God was really leading him to do so. Eventually, it got put on an album of his, but only because of God's prompting. It's also helped him to realize he (and all of us) must work to encourage the Church, as it is the bride of Christ. His song has no place if it is a complaint or a quarrel, only if it is useful in turning himself and others toward Christ and protecting his bride, us. He mentioned 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17, in which the temple is meant to be not just us, but the Church as group or whole.

Matt and I have struggled with finding a place in our church in Wichita Falls. We've wanted to get involved and we've tried a little bit. We tried to join a young adult group a couple years ago, for instance, but it turned out we were too old for it. They said "young marrieds" were welcome, but it was really for college-age people. We didn't really fit in. (When did it happen that we got that far from college-age? It's amazing what a few years can do!) We haven't found a niche there, but we do really appreciate the pastor and mass there.

On the other hand, we've made friends and enjoy spending time with couples from other churches and people we know from Matt's work. I've also joined a Bible study with girls from several churches. Relationships with these people have built us up and challenged us spiritually in much the same way as we would hope to have happen from relationships with fellow church members. Yesterday I shared with Matt, if we really believe what we say we do, that the Church is One Body, then we really are connected with people from (the) Church even if they don't go to our church building. In fact, we are connected with the Body of Christ all over the world! We have Christian friends in Japan, Spain, Germany, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Michigan and more. That's awesome!! It feels really good to know we can be active in this unity of Christ followers and diminish division in the Church. As for the song, I hope we can take it not as an insult or offense (no one wins here), but just as a fellow believer opening his heart about a struggle. Let it be a way for us to nurture each other, not tear one another down. Anyway, this is just what's on my mind...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Aahhh, the cottage

I have been meaning to write this post for a while now. We've been back from Michigan for over two weeks, but we really miss it and this little cottage has a lot to do with why.

I wish I had a picture of how the cottage used to look to compare this to. Mike and Cindy, if you have one, you should send it our way. It would be fun to put up here:)

Anyway, this is our oasis, our getaway, a very special part of home. It's been in Matt's family for years and we are hoping with all our hearts and savings that one day we can own a place on beautiful Birch Lake.

We came to the cottage after Brian's wedding and after a few days of camping with my family (which, sorry, I didn't get any pictures of...if anybody has some good ones, please send those our way, too:). It was rainy and cool, but we were still really glad to be there. One day we took a drive, in the new car of course (lots of turny country roads=lots of fun in a low-riding, fast car!), over to Torch Lake. Torch Lake is nearby Birch Lake, and it is the most beautiful turquoise blue! The cloudy day in the picture above didn't even give its color justice.

Matt says I take this picture every time we are at the cottage, but can't you see why? The birch trees are so beautiful there!

Since the water was cold, we went down by the bay to look for petoskey stones. The bay's shore was actually really high, so the rocky edge was covered with cold water. We looked a little further up the beach, and Cindy and I found lots of pretty stones, but no petoskey ones. I never have found a petoskey stone, but I know lots of people who have. When we went to downtown Elk Rapids, some of the stores had polished petoskey stones that were just gorgeous.

Matt and his Dad.

Matt and me.

Cindy and Mike.

This is the shore of the East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay.

After our beach adventure, we went to Evening On River Street. They close the street from traffic and open it up to people for a little festival every Wednesday night during the summer. We sampled nearly every street vendor (some yummy, but very hot, blackened white fish with coleslaw, pulled pork sandwiches, eggrolls, ice cream...) and listened to some nice live music. It was a lot of fun!

Even though it was still chilly the next day (the wind made it rather bitter), we had to go skiing! We didn't know if the sun would come out while we were there, so we suited up in wetsuits and dove in!

I've been trying to get a video of Matt skiing to upload, but it's not working. I think the file is just huge and it's kinda freezing it up. I let it try to upload for over 30 minutes. I guess you'll just have to use your imagination to put this picture into motion:)

The front lakeside view of the cottage. Isn't it tranquil? Even while there are great neighbors, it's so peaceful there that it feels like we're the only ones on the lake.

Lined with pines.

Ever since Matt was little he's been getting his picture taken with the crooked tree in the summertime. This year is no different. Several years ago, though, I started getting allowed in the picture, too.

Good Keilen family friends Bob and Sandy joined us for the fourth of July weekend. Here are Sandy and Cindy talkin' it up and bundled up on the porch.

This amazing sunset almost looks tropical, doesn't it? When you look closely, you notice the branches are evergreens though:)

My heart melts. The sun did come out Friday and Saturday of the 4th weekend. The weather turned gorgeous. And after a long day of skiing, tubing, sunning, and way too many holiday cookies, this is the sunset over the dock. We started a fire and watched the fireworks all around the lake.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Brian got married!

Brian is Matt's little brother (okay, not that little - he's 24 years old and taller than Matt) and he got married!! We were a little shocked last summer when Brian called (while we were in Colorado for Beth and John's wedding no less) to say he was engaged. Our first excited question: to who? We didn't know Brian had been dating someone and certainly not that seriously. He told us the whole story though (they had known each other throughout college, dated for a time, and had started dating again about six or seven months before their engagement). We met Kristen for the first time last Christmas and New Year's, and got to see Brian and her more during the days surrounding their June 27th wedding. The more we meet Kristen the more we like her!

Above, Matt and Mike take the plunge as we all go shoe-less for the beachside wedding.

The wedding was on the shore of Lake Michigan at Van Buren State Park in South Haven, Michigan.

Here Brian, Matt, and the minister wait for Kristen's entrance.

Kristen with her Dad, Brett.

The beautiful bride.

And the very happy couple, now Mr. and Mr. Brian Keilen!

The wedding party with Ashley, the maid of honor, and Matt, the best man.

If you've never been to Michigan, this fresh water ocean is paradise. Brian and Kristen chose a beautiful place to get married, one of my favorite in the world. And -for the Texas record- let it be known that, no, it does not snow in Michigan in the summertime. It was 90 degrees this day! (Although I'd take Michigan's summer high of 90-ish over Texas' summer high of 113-ish any day!)

Bri-guy feelin' like a stud on his wedding day - that's exactly how it should be!

Um, I swear I really am wearing a dress. You can see a tiny tid-bit of it's strapless neckline low-center. I didn't realize the picture would turn out like this:)

The mother and father of the groom, Mike and Cindy, now with a second daughter-in-law.

Our little section of the Keilen clan.

I didn't take many pictures at the reception, but this one is of the famous Maier family toast. Some of you may remember something similar from our wedding and anybody on the Maier side remembers it from theirs. I don't actually remember what Tom or Terry usually says in the toast. It seems like we're usually laughing and trying to figure out what they're talking about. It's basically a funny, mildly embarrassing welcome to the family:)
Welcome to the family Kristen and congratulations to both of you! Happy marriage!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Girls' weekend

In mid-June, I hopped on a one-way flight to Michigan (since I would later be meeting Matt with the car) for a Girls' weekend with Mom, Marcy, and Lisa at Lake Missaukee in Lake City, MI.

We had such a great time on our trip! We stayed at Mom's boss' cottage, which had plenty of room, a nice patio, and a great beach. Friday night, however, started with wine, not the beach. Above Marcy and Lisa attempt to open a bottle of wine with a very vintage corkscrew. Getting the corkscrew into the cork was not too bad. Getting it out without any help from the device itself was a challenge we decided was best conquered outdoors.

Conquer it, they did, quite proudly:)

The first night we talked outside on the patio for hours. The "pineapple bombs" Mom and Marcy made helped keep our energy up:) It was early in the morning before we called it a night.

It was still a little cool the next day, so we spent the morning inside playing Speed Scrabble (Beth, I'm hooked now and hooking others:) and group crossword puzzling. After a quick trip to the store for dinner-making-supplies, we spent the rest of the day at the beach!!! We soaked up the sun, played a little ladderball, and sat knee-deep in the surf with our lounge chairs. Aaahhhh.

Me and my twin.

A view of the lake.

Here we are as dinner is grilling. We were grilling BBQ chicken on skewers. We also had Marcy's Spectacular Baked Cauliflower and some other sides I can't remember at the moment. The night before I made Thai chicken (basically your recipe, Beth), and on Sunday we had BBQ ribs! Mmmm. We ate pretty well!

We had lots of good laughs!

And some good sunsets, too.

Thanks Marcy, Lisa, and Mom for such a great time! I miss you already and I hope we do this again every year. I love you!

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Maybe I've been out of the loop, but until today I had no idea Wichita Falls recycled anything! When I first moved here I scoured the phone books looking for a recycling center and found nothing. Several Wichita Fall-eons have shared similar dissatisfaction with the lack of recycling around here. Eventually I found out there is a center on base and have been happily using it ever since. Today as I was leaving the grocery store, however, I noticed this poster in the foyer for Clean & Green Wichita Falls. As it turns out, Wichita Falls recycles all kinds of thing! I'm actually kind of proud of you, WF. It almost makes me feel bad for my and Matt's banter about "Shit-ita Falls" on our road trip back here this week.

Anyway, for those of you in WF the link above tells everything and everywhere you can recycle, but you may also find the following links helpful:

Curbside recycling for organic materials (including kitchen food waste! - I wish I had this at my apartment. Maybe I can make that happen...).

Recycling glass and paper in blue and green dumpsters around town.

Wichita Falls Sanitation Department.

Now if we could get a deposit on cans, just think how many people would join in this recycling business! Still, I know there are many people in our neck of the woods that would be happy to collect your cans without deposit because they take them to Bell Processing and get paid for the metal. Carolyn -if you're out there, thank God for Bell Processing. Your business really supports the poor of this community! Sometimes it make me want to leave a bag of metal cans on the side of the road for someone to pick up to take there.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

We got the car

If you know Matt you know the Ford Shelby GT Mustang has been his dream car for a long, long time. It all started when Matt was growing up and his Dad, Brian and him worked on a couple of cars in their garage and drooled over them the whole time. Matt's Dad, Mike, has had quite a few Mustangs in his day, most of them before Matt was even born. Matt remembers wishing Ford would start to make Mustangs like they used to again, instead of the '80s and '90s versions that looked more like Escorts than Mustangs.

Well, a few years ago Ford started to do just that with their new GTs and in 2007 they brought out a new Shelby GT with lots of nods to its 40-year-old ancestors, the Shelby Mustangs from the '60s. Matt was in heaven to say the least. He would spend hours looking up stats and pictures of the new Shelby GT, and teaching me all about the history of Ford racing and how it partnered with Carroll Shelby and all that Shelby is doing now. Once the car came to showrooms, we would drive over to Ford late at night (when they were closed of course because we couldn't afford to buy the car) to peek through the windows.

The amount of time Matt spent looking at Shelby cars on Ebay and elsewhere would fluctuate depending on what else he had to do. This summer he started looking again. Looking became more serious when he got a raise in June, and then more serious yet when he found an '07 Shelby GT in Round Rock, Texas 10 minutes from Uncle Gary's house. According to the car's report, it had only one previous owner and no history of accidents, only a steady report of timely preventative maintenance and care. Matt's melting. Matt crunched some numbers and recalculated the budget. He checked the insurance rates. Yep, that raise would cover it all if we could get it at our predetermined price point. So 3 1/2 weeks ago we drove to Round Rock, did a little negotiating, and BOUGHT IT!!!

I can't believe we bought this car! It's awesome though and sounds amazing! Sitting in it and flooring it as you come up an on-ramp on the highway feels like you're in the Bat Mobile, which is pretty cool to say the least.

Here's the proof, alright. Matt really has his Shelby Mustang. It's number 3934. He's probably going to want to name our first child Shelby after the car...

I don't know what much of this stuff is, but it looks pretty intimidating, don't you think?

This picture is taken behind our apartment building, just outside the old garage we park the new car in. The green door goes to the garage.

I love that grill. I think it's almost the best part of the car, second only to your head slamming back on the headrest when you shift to second on the highway and are at 60 mph before you even know it.

Matt's Mustang alongside his Dad's '67 Mustang convertible.

These two pictures are in front of Mike and Cindy's house. There's a saying in the Keilen family: "The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys." How true, how true!

It was great driving this car around Michigan. We have many more pictures of our trip to post soon!
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