Spring is here!

It is beautiful outside and you can finally tell that spring is here!

It is amazing to see the differences from last year in the same season.

We planted and worked on the front garden beds of the house very late into the summer. For more on this see





Some of the plants we transplanted or moved did not do well or never bloomed. New plants we bought were the “rejects” of the end of the season at the garden centers. I was worried that although they were all perennials they would not show up again this year.


I have been waiting anxiously the last few weeks to see the plants come up from the ground. Just this past week I saw the bleeding hearts we bought last year actually have bells on them! We never got that last year.



Also our oriental plum tree we planted when we buried Sienna (for more on this see?) is actually blooming with delicate white blossoms.



So what has been the major change?

Well first, we had a much milder winter in 2015. This means we have had more sunny days and not as hard or long of a frost. Also, because of this, we had less salt. Salt is used to melt the snow and the snow ploughs use it throughout the winter to clear road. This year the astible and peonies planted near the road are growing like crazy, no blooms yet, but they look so healthy because they are not salt damaged.


Second, since last summer we have removed several trees and branches. Our property is found in a very wooded valley. Our house can be 5 degrees cooler than it is even 2 minutes down the road. Because of this it is difficult to get blooms on plants or their growth is stunted by the lack of sun and lower temperature.


But where we planted or vegetable garden, Luke cut down quite a few large branches, this is why our plum tree is doing so well, it has more sun. Also, because we have had more sun earlier this year the plants in the front of the house have received plenty of sunshine as the trees are just now beginning to bud.  So most plants are receiving full sun or partial shade instead of the late summer full shade.


It is exciting to see all of last summers hard work paying off and to learn what grows better in this environment. We just recently planted our vegetable and herb garden, this summer we have added several more rows and many new plants so it will be fun to see what we end up with.




Busy season

So as I have suggested after our trip to NYC life got very busy, but I did not take the time to really explain how or why. So here goes:

When we got back from Spring break the countdown before the end of the semester began. That means I was in major grading mode as drafts of  research papers were being turned in again and again.

Also, at the end of April Luke and I were guest speakers at church while our pastors were away. We did a Sunday explaining and introducing our role as the global outreach directors, what our church’s goals are for missions, and introducing missionaries our church would be supporting.

This was a large task and before this Sunday I had been in many emails back and forth with missionaries from around the world getting information from them about their ministry and if they will come back to the United States, scheduling their visits.

Starting this past week I also have begun leading a Wednesday night series of interfaith dialogue. We are looking at world religions, their beliefs, and coming to understanding about the differences. Again, this takes time to prepare.

As for school? This is my last week of teaching. As of this weekend I will be grading final tests and compiling final grades for submission. Last weekend and all this week I have been grading final research papers.

In the next few weeks, after reorganizing this semesters content I will be preparing for our end of the semester meeting with my colleges in early June.

We are heading into a busy summer season of family and missionary visits, and as usual the gardening and summer festivals. It is an exciting time of year even if it is a busy one.

Day 4: End of the trip

So finally, the end of our NYC trip.


On our last day we got up early, picked up coffee, and walked to battery park at the end of Manhattan Island. Here instead of taking the many-tourist boats to Ellis Island, we caught the FREE commuter ferry to Staten Island.


This provided us with a up-close view of Lady Liberty without the cost and lines to tour her.


We were able to take the less than 20 minute ferry one way turn around, and get back on the other way.


On the ride back we had not only another close-up of the statue of liberty but also a panorama of the downtown skyline. It was well worth the hour boat ride.



We then hurried back to our hotel and packed up our bags. With suitcases in hand, we checked out of the hotel and hit the subway.


With only an hour or two before our train ride to Poughkeepsie, we were able to visit grand central station, and get street views of Madison Square Garden, the Empire State building, and Chrysler building.




This was our attempt to make up for the shortened bus tour the day before. It was a lot of exercise and a little chaotic, but worth the extra time before heading out of the city.

We got to Penn Station just in time to get some Jamba Juice to cool us off from the uptown run around, then get in line for our train.

The trip back was relaxing and easy.

We thoroughly enjoyed our busy New York City adventure.

Next: to catch you up since then.

Day 3: Dinner and a Show round 2


After our semi-down town tour we decided to go back to chelsea market for dinner. We had a few bites of lobster roll and shared some clam chowder but found both not to be enough food for actual dinner. So Luke walked over to a traditional Italian deli for a sandwich and I got a lamb pie.


sign next to the Lincoln Preforming Arts Center showing current ballets, plays, and musical being preformed

Once we were full we took the subway back to the hotel, got changed then headed back up to Lincoln Preforming Arts Center.


We were lucky that the subway terminal was very close to the arts center. Both of us were in awe of the setting, the well lit center was beautiful at night. As we walked to the Vivian Beaumont theatre we turned our heads to see we were right next to Juliard!

The theater itself was also amazing, a square theatre we once again found our seats much closer than we thought to the stage. The orchestra pit was directly below us.


But the best surprise was that once the musical started the stage  expanded towards us covering the orchestra pit. We were so close to the actors and stage it was incredible. The way the musical had been set up some actors left on your normal stage right and left but many exited to doors under the stage near the orchestra pit.

The musical numbers were well done and acting was amazing considering the person playing the king was Ken Watanabe, know for Memoirs of Geisha and The Last Samurai. And the women playing Anna Kelli O’hara won a Tony for actress in a musical  for 2015.



But I was most impressed with Ruthie Ann Miles who played the lead wife of the King Lady Thiang, her songs were deeply emotional and authentic.

It was much more of a drama than for Luke’s liking and we both could have done without the ballet number depicting the Saigon twist on Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but it was all very well done.


After a wonderful early birthday treat we got out of the theatre at almost 11pm! We were shocked at how late the musical went. We walked a few blocks then decided on a late night snack: Gray’s Papaya hot dogs. We both had one hot dog with mustard and onions and I got pineapple soda.

pictures is from earlier in the day when we drove by on the bus tour

We then walked across the street to the oldest subway terminal in NYC to get a ride back to our hotel. It was a wonderful end to our last evening in the city.


Day 3: Downtown Tour and a Surprise

Sorry again, it is taking so long to re-cap a trip we took more than a month ago, but life after spring break got very busy.


On day three we started off by walking down to south street seaport. Here there are  restaurants and tourist spots along the water. But we went to check out the discounted ticket spot. A small store front TKTS shows you what broadway shows have discounts for same day tickets. Several of the more expensive multi-tony award winning musicals we wanted to see were on the board.


We asked about prices  and were quoted the best seats for the best prices. Luke decided then to surprise me and bought us tickets for The King and I as a early birthday present.

The seats were front and center 7 rows back from the orchestra, and we got them 40% off, which means we paid what it would have cost for one of us to get that seat regularly.



After, we went back to our hotel to strategize our downtown tour.  We bought a group-on online that gave us a discount for a hop-on-hop off uptown, downtown, and a night double decker bus tour for one day.


It was a little cold and windy on the top of the bus but it was best for viewing. We drove north up the upper east side following part of Central Park. Along the way we saw the Lincoln preforming arts center, where we would be going later that evening for our musical.


We came up around the top of the park and into Harlem, passing the Apollo theatre and several other landmarks. Then turning South we headed back towards the park and museum row.


We decided to get off at the New York City Museum, which was free with our bus tickets. Coming inside to warm up we enjoyed a few floors of touring exhibits everything from portraits of early settlers, to a display documenting the protests and social changes in the city through time. The most interesting aspect of the museum was  a 30 minute video which narrated the history of the city from its time as a dutch colony to post 9-11.


Then we planed to head to the Rockefeller center. But the bus took more than 45 minutes to get to us. Once we got on museum row we trudge through rush hour traffic.


We were told that the buses would start their last tour at 5pm. What we were not aware of was that the buses would return no matter where they were on the tour at 5pm. So by the time we got done with museum row, we were headed back to times square. This gave us no chance to explore central park or see the Rockefeller center.


By that time we realized it was getting late and we needed to get dinner, go back to the hotel, change and head back up for our evening musical.

More on our evening to come.