New Grandsons! Our big news from 2015 is we have two new grandsons, bringing us to three grandsons, each with their own unique temperament. It is a thrill to have them all live in the area. Ain is a very busy boy, now approaching 2 ½ years, constantly commenting on life, asking questions, and exploring. Ebron Asher Pool was born in March and is now 9 months old, a charming boy who is very relational. Wyatt Aubra Hash, born in June, is now 6 months old, both enjoying life and also evidencing a serious and determined side as he seeks to get around their home.
All of our girls and their husbands are doing well. Matt finally found his forte in IT support and is loving it. Betsy is home with the boys, but also finds time to blog regularly, is training to be a doula, and is very involved in our church. Josh continues to grow as a personal trainer at Genesis Health Clubs, which is starting to build a much larger facility. Amy’s piano business is keeping her busy, along with other odd jobs. Brandon finds delight in making his son light up and continues to work hard to provide for his family. Megan is adjusting to her life as a new mom and is working part-time.
Extended family – It was a delight to have a very full house at Thanksgiving, with almost all of Cathy’s side of the family. There were 10 of us staying at our house plus up to 9 of our girls, spouses and children that joined at times. We drank lots of coffee, ate lots of food and enjoyed catching up with one another. Five of us ran in Lawrence’s Thanksgiving run.
David’s celebrated his 60th birthday in June with an open house.
David’s annual meeting of the Association of Western State Engineers took us to Arizona. Our stay included time in Flagstaff where we explored some of Cathy’s roots that were early settlers of the city. We were able to find the beautiful original homestead well off the path north of town. We also visited Lowell Observatory.
David’s job as chief engineer of Kansas’ Division of Water Resources continues to involve a 90-minute commute to Manhattan (Kansas) most days. The year saw significant progress in settling interstate water disputes with neighboring states, implementing legislation from a busy legislative session on water issues, and a major “impairment” report related to a national wildlife refuge in Kansas.
Cathy continues to teach science classes to Lawrence homeschoolers as well as nearby Gardner.
Our Church– Our church has been in transition the last couple of years, becoming a network of smaller churches meeting in principally in homes. This year, we sold our building and changed our name to City Church Lawrence. We seek to focus on the emphasis of the Scriptures related to how we should conduct our life including doing good works in the community.
This and that – We hired a yard service to take out 50 red cedars and David re-planted a large section of the back yard that was basically bare soil. Late in the year David hit a deer totaling his car without harm to himself. Not much progress on our health web site (maybe next year).
Book (and Audible) recommendations
David – The Martian (good movie; a bit of language); The Emperor of All Maladies; The Sheep-Pig
Cathy – Boys in the Boat; Ender’s Shadow; Far From the Madding Crowd;
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
My wife and I wish you all a Merry Christmas. Below and attached is this year’s Christmas letter to family and friends. Click this link to see a pdf: Christmas letter 2014. The first page is a set of images shown below; page two is text highlighting the year’s news: two more grandchildren coming in 2015, our work lives, our books recommendations and more. Enjoy.
The year’s big news: two more grandchildren coming in 2015! Our first grandchild, Ain, is approaching 18 months, a busy boy. Lord willing and the ultrasound is right this time, he will have a little brother in March. Recently we learned that Megan and Brandon are expecting their first child in June.
Our work lives
David’s job – David’s challenging work as chief engineer of Kansas’ Division of Water Resources continued to be intense but rewarding. The office made the transition to Manhattan this summer. So David is making the 90 minute commute about 3x/week (he telecommutes day a week or so). David has found he can be fairly productive on the van the agency is providing. So far the Division has retained key experienced staff and been able to recruit some good, young staff as well.
The interstate battles continue. David was able to attend oral arguments before the US Supreme Court this fall in Kansas case against Nebraska. With the conclusion of the last of 5 arbitration trials, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado have finally started working on negotiating some disputed issues, developing three agreements for 2014-2015 as they work toward longer term solutions.
Cathy continues to teach science classes to Lawrence homeschoolers as well nearby Gardner. The three classes she is teaching keeps her busy. After developing PowerPoints for her Advanced Biology and Biology over the last 2 years, this year she is doing physical science (with Amy’s help).
Our daughters and their husbands – Everyone is well. Betsy is gradually cutting back on her work outside the home with her growing family. Amy’s piano business is becoming well established and she is doing some part-time work as a “virtual assistant”, and she has a growing number of people following her blog. Megan works part time for a local radio station, KOFO Country, writing and reading the news.
Vacations – We got away quite a few times this year, mostly to our timeshare in the Branson area including a time in June with the girls and their spouses. We also enjoyed our annual 4th of July trip to Gene and Sara’s cabin on Long Lake in Wisconsin. Finally, we also did a Texas trip with David’s work that included San Antonio and Houston/Galveston.
We continue to make health a priority by regular exercise and eating well. David’s morning exercise routine has had to change due to his commuting. Fortunately, the office in Manhattan has a shower and he has been running more regularly and was able to take a minute off of his best 5k of last year. We have started a web site on how we stay healthy (org) with favorite recipes, exercise suggestions, and more.
Book (listening) recommendations:
David – The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (D. Brown); Tale of Two Cities (Dickens); Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and …the Space Age (M Brzezinski).
Cathy – Elephant Whisper (L. Anthony); I am Malala (Yousafzai); and Invention of Wings (S. Kidd).
A sonogram at 18 weeks said that our first grandchild was supposed to be a girl. But the first words from our daughter Betsy was, “It’s a boy.” We thought she was kidding but Matt immediately said, “No, it’s a boy alright.” See Now the grand-parenting fun, spoken of by many of my friends, is here.
FYI, Cathy and I posted our 2012 Christmas newsletter on our web site: dcbarfield.org. It includes highlight from our full 2012 and our big anticipation for coming year: we will be grandparents (expected in June).
We have also and updated our page on healthy recipes, adding many new recipes and organizing them better.
Finally, we have also updated our list of favorite at-home exercise routines at http://dbarfield.org/healthdiet/exercise/. The benefits to heart, muscles, brains and overall health are profound and well worth it.
This posting will take a brief break from “my journey to improved health” series, which will re-start very soon, for an important announcement (which may help explain why I have not written for 5 weeks or so):
Over the last three month, all three of our daughters have become engaged to marry.
Weddings are coming on July 2 and October 10 of this year and June 18 of next year.
See more details and pictures on Cathy and my blog at:
At the time I first heard the song, my three daughters were ages 8, 6 and 2. While not called to raise the Son of God, I nevertheless empathized with Joseph’s questions and request – his plea to God to enable him to love the child, his request for guidance in that work, his feelings of inadequacy.
As I heard the song, I prayed the same prayer and I trusted God as Michale Card envisioned that Joseph did.
A few months ago, my youngest daughter turned 20. So now, instead of all under 10, they are all over 20. And yet even now as I hear the song, I continue to emphasize with Joseph’s prayer. My role is different to be sure. In some ways, our relationships are more complex than ever. But the desire is the same: to understand the role God has given me at this stage of their lives and love them in that way.
In my quest for advice on this stage of life, I came across Paul’s words to the church at Thessalonica where he describes his treatment of them, likening himself to their father:
1 Thessalonians 2:10 “You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.“
So I ask God for help and wisdom on how I can encourage and comfort and challenge these adult children to be all that God has made them to be.
Dear Father, let it be.
(A note from my experience: go heavy on the encouragement and comfort; light on the challenge.)
Arriving in the Philippines and initial days, December 16, 2008
Cathy and I just arrived in the Philippines for our 30th wedding anniversary vacation and to see our daughter who is teaching here. We arrived late Sunday night.
The trip involved flights from Kansas City to Minneapolis, a 13.5-hour flight from Minneapolis to Tokyo and 5-hour flight from Tokyo to Manila with some time to transition from one plane to the other. A lot of sitting time over the 20 hours of flying.
In Manila getting through immigration and customs went fine. The only snag in our trip was connecting with Betsy in the mayhem at the place where people get picked up at the airport as we did not have any way of contacting each other. We did not get to bed until 3:30 am local time, almost 30 hours since we left our home.
One first impression of Manila: its transportation.
Manila is city of about 10,000,000. The number of modes of transportation is very diverse. In additions to cars, trucks, buses and the like, there are a great number of small motor cycles, often with multiple passengers, and a form of transportation that is unique to the Philippines but used extensive: the Jeepney. They were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II and are flamboyantly decorated, with many passengers. They are somewhat a symbol of the culture here.
While here, we will leave the driving to others as the rules of the road here are also a bit unique. Their road capacity is much less than they need and so the rules of the road are fluid to maximize carrying capacity. The bigger the vehicle, the more space it takes and the greater priority it has. The small forms use about any available space, yielding to larger vehicles as required. So where they are 4 marked lanes, you might have 5 or 6 actually lanes of traffic – the shoulders are fair gain as well. They use their horns very regularly to make their presence and intention known. So you must be constantly paying attention. I am amazed there are not more accidents but they are quite careful to avoid this.
The view from where we are staying
We are staying in an apartment next to Betsy’s that is near her school. It is outside the main city in an area that is a mixture of city and country. Attached is a photo of the view outside our window the morning after we got here.
Betsy – teaching at Faith Academy
Betsy is our oldest of three daughters. After graduating with a degree in elementary education from MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe in May 2007, she decided that her first year teaching (and then subsequently her second year) would overseas before getting settled into American life. She has been at Faith Academy here in Manila teaching Kindergartens of missionary families.
She loves to teach these young students. While challenging at times, she has found it rewarding and also enjoys her fellow teachers and experiencing another part of the world. For more, see her blog at: http://betsybarfield.wordpress.com/.
More from the Philippines, December 21, 2008
We had a great week with Betsy in Manila. Cathy spent two and half days helping her in her classroom. I was able to go up for much of a day and to get a tour of the school. We also spent some time visiting one of the ministries that Betsy and others there have participating in area squatters that includes a children’s home for orphans and neglected children, a school for these children and other needy children of the area, and more.
Overall, the week in Manila was very relaxing.
On Saturday we traveled to one of the favorite island resorts of the Philippines, Boracay. It is known for its beautiful beaches and excellent snorkeling/scuba diving.
Sorry to be so fixated on modes of transportation but it is one of the more interesting differences with this part of the world and most others. To get to Boracay, in addition to a taxi and plane ride, we had two “trike” rides (it is basically a side car for passengers and luggage strapped to motorcycle) and a ride on a Bangka boat.
It is beautiful here. We spent some time on the beach yesterday and today. We used sunscreen liberally, not wanting to repeat a mistake of our honeymoon when we got sun burnt the first day on the beach, esp. as we are very near the equator here.
Tomorrow Cathy and Betsy are going to do some para-sailing and then we are taking a sailboat ride to a location where I can some snorkeling. There are about 30 scuba diving companies here. I plan to do what is called a “discovery dive” where they teach you to scuba dive and take you on a first dive in a relatively shallow water (30 feet).
There is a lot of great food here as well. It was great having breakfast on the beach this morning.
We will be here 4 nights and then go back to Manila for part of a day and then go north to the rice terraces. More on that later.
Fun on the beach at Boracay, December 24, 2008
We have had a couple of great, active days here in Boracay on Monday and Tuesday.
In addition relaxing, the enjoying the beach, eating some good food, shopping, etc, we decided each of us would do one thing we had never done before. Cathy and Betsy preferred to stay above the water whereas I wanted to do underneath of it.
Monday was Cathy’s birthday and she decided her special adventure for the time here would be para-sailing on her birthday. Betsy joined here as well. While they were a bit apprehensive of being lifted 300 feet into the air and held up with a sail, they did beautifully and enjoyed the 15 minutes in the air without getting wet during take off or landing.
After this we rented a sailboat with crew and had a very enjoyable 2 hours cruise around the western side of the island and stopping at a two areas good for snorkeling. David greatly enjoyed this first underwater adventure, seeing a significant number of different small and colorful fish species as well as various plants on the rocks on the floor at these locations.
For supper on her birthday we enjoyed a meal at a nice Indian restaurant.
Boracay is known for its scuba diving, with 30 scuba shops on the relatively small island. On Tuesday, I had my big adventure, a “discovery dive”, a first adventure in scuba diving. The instruction and experience was great! It may not be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. The pictures below show me ready to go, practicing our skills in the shallow water before going deeper (which we did a lot of), and at the conclusion of my first 30 minute dive. It was incredible; like being in a large salt water aquarium. There were so many different fish species I could not keep them all in my head.
I enjoyed it so much I did a second dive in the afternoon. This time I bought an underwater camera so I could capture some of what I saw (although I know it will not do it any justice).
Today we returned to Manila. Tomorrow we go off to the northern part of Philippines known for its rice terraces. More on this later.
Hiking in the mountains of Banaue, December 29, 2008
On Thursday we headed to the northern part of the island that includes Manila to the rice terraces. They are spectacular. As is often the case, our pictures don’t really give you much idea of the scope and beauty of the area. I am not sure that anyone really knows for sure but the locals say they have been here for about 2000 years, used to grow rice (and at times, other crops) over the centuries.
You don’t build rice terraces in dry places. So as we started off on our hike, there was a light rain.
Unfortunately, Cathy slipped, fell and sprained her ankle. The injury was complicated by the need to climb back up the way we came. Even with my help and the help of one of our guides, it took us a while to return to the top where we could get a ride back to our hotel.
We have an appointment with the doctor when we get home to see what the damage is. The rest of the group continued on with the other guide we had hired (they suggested two in case something like this might happen).
Despite the injury, it was still an unforgettable time.
On returning to Manila, Betsy and I did some final shopping at the Green Hills shopping area.
As I write this, I am taking a break from packing (after finding some crutches and ACE bandage for Cathy, no small feat in this part of the world (no pun intended), as well as getting us better seats on the plane, ordering wheelchairs at the airport, etc).
It has been great trip. We hope to see many of you soon.