Monday, June 28, 2010
First of all, in lieu of the regular class schedule, we participated in a conference, Kingdom Culture, that Bethel hosted the latter half of last week. Earlier in the week they invited some of the students to help out with different aspects of the conference. Natalie and I signed up to help usher and boy did we have a fun time. In this video we discuss our important duties as ushers.
Lucky for the conference attendees, Natalie and I didn't have to take any one out. It could have been messy.
Saturday we all took a trip 3.5 hours west of Redding to a town called Eureka. To be honest, the town wasn't that exciting but it was close to a bunch of cool sites. We stayed in an old Victorian Hotel. It was pretty but it reminded me of the hotel in The Shining, eek. Here's a pic of Sammy checking out the Victorian chair in our room:
Despite the creepy feeling of the hotel, they had some incredible entertainment in the Ball Room. Take a look for yourself:
Soon after the video stopped, the owner came out and shut the entertainment down. It was a bit too loud for his likes. Oops...
From Eureka we went down the "Avenue of the Giants," a 30 mile stretch of road through some of the biggest and oldest trees you'll ever see: the Redwoods. There are even Rewoods that date back to Jesus' time. Can you fathom that? Not only were there giant trees but there were giant slugs too. You might recognize this forest from Return of the Jedi! Here's some footage:
Here are some photos too:
From here we went and saw a very famous tree called "The Shrine Tree". It's a 700 year old living Redwood that has a hole big enough in the trunk that you can drive your car through it! We all hopped in Renee's car and slowly inched our way through. I think we had an inch of space on each side of the vehicle. The video I took wasn't that great but here's a photo:
The next day we drove out to see "The Trees of Mystery". Why they were called this, I still don't know... maybe that's the mystery. It was smack dab in the middle of the Redwood National Park. Here we saw another bunch of cool trees and even got to take a gondola through the tops of the trees to the top of the mountain. Here's a video of the park and some cool video of the gondola ride:
(I think Babe could use some underwear.)
Here are some photos too:
After "The Trees of Mystery" we were pooped and the Z3 headed back to home base in Redding. We had a full weekend and it was so much fun. I'd like to leave you with some incredible footage that Natalie took in the Redwood Forest. As you may know, this is the supposed home of Sasquatch, aka, Bigfoot. Many have tried to capture him on video but to no avail. Luckily, Natalie just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Watch at your own risk:
He's a bit "ganglier" than I had always imagined but man was he frightening!
We love and miss you all!!!
Clark for the Z3
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Hope you all are having a wonderful week. Here's a few tidbits from our last few days.
So, as mentioned in earlier posts, during the afternoons there are two elective sessions where we choose which classes we want to attend. I signed myself and Natalie up for a Worship Leader Band Session yesterday. Basically what that mean is we each would have the opportunity to rehearse and lead a song of our choice with Bethel's worship team (the guys on the Bethel cds!) and then receive feedback and critiques. We both had a few butterflies in our stomachs right before but we felt really good about everything during and afterward. Here's the "highlight reel":
Meanwhile, while mommy and daddy are at school, Sammy is having the time of his life with his new best friends. Today they all went to a water park and Sammy and the kids had a blast. We sooo wish we could have been there for his first water park experience. Here are some pictures, just look at that smile!
Not only has Sammy been having the time of his life, he's been learning some new tricks as well! Most of you are probably familiar with what I call his "wounded soldier" crawl. Well about a week ago he just woke up and decided it was time to start crawling for real. I think maybe he just wanted to keep up with the other kids better, who knows. So he's much faster now. He's also been cruising a lot and yes, he has been cruisin' for a bruisin'. He has a few bonks a day. Not only has he been improving his transportation skills but he's also developed a taste for vertical surfaces. In other words, he has an irresistible urge to lick appliances and cabinets. See for yourself:
Yeah we know, we definitely need to have a "boundaries" talk with him. :)
Sunday, June 20, 2010
We had a great Saturday yesterday. We went out to Whiskey Town with Renee and the kids for a few hours. We hung out at the Whiskey Lake Beach for a bit but it was too cold to swim for our likes. However, the girls and Micah had enough courage to do it. Here are some pics:
Then we went on a 2.5 hour tour led by National Park Ranger "Bobby". We got to learn about and see the home of one of the original pioneers/prospectors of the California Gold Rush. We even got to try our luck at some gold panning! Check it out:
As you can see, we had a blast. We all came up empty handed though. Natalie is convinced she might have found some gold. She was really in to it. She kept panning after the Park Ranger said it was time to go. I think she fell victim to the "gold fever". The only gold I got was Sammy's pee, all over my shirt. But he peed all over Natalie about an hour later so I didn't feel alone.
Our park ranger was so cool. He must have been in his 20's and he was like a kid in a candy shop. He would stop us every few yards to energetically tell us about a certain flower or plant along the trail. Here's Bobby:
There's so much beauty here that we often can't believe we're still in the US! Here's a pic of the view on the tour:
The drive out to Whiskey Town was beautiful. It was only 15 minutes of a drive from our house. Here's what it looked like:
This morning we went to a service at Bethel. It was fun and it confirmed my theory that they turn the music up way loud just for the school of worship. The church service wasn't nearly as loud. After some tossing and turning Natalie decided to drop Sammy off at their nursery: Kingdom Kritters. We're glad we did because when we came to get him after the service they gave us a written prophetic word for him and a Father's Day card he "made" me. Both of us were misty eyed as we read the word for Sammy and I was so happy to have my very first Father's Day card!!!
Today I think we'll lay low and rest. We'll leave you with a few pics and a video that will put a smile on your face!
Little Longhorns representing Texas:
Our little Boy full of Joy:
We love you guys!
Clark, for the Mighty Z 3!
Friday, June 18, 2010
Hope you all are doing well. We're having a blast. We are so glad to be here. Natalie and I often thank God for the many ways He prepared the way for us to come up here. To name just a few: the finances, the pastoral staff's blessing for me to leave for a month, Renee and her awesome three kids to take care of Sammy and a house to live in that looks like something out of a Pottery Barn magazine, seriously. We are so blessed.
Sammy slept through the night for the first time last night since we've been here. Praise God. It's a lot harder to let him "cry it out" at 3am when he's a few feet from your head. Sammy's day is pretty much filled with fun. He plays from the moment he wakes up till the moment he goes to sleep. Renee's kids have really raised the bar for Sammy regarding fun and entertainment. Natalie and I are afraid that when we go back home Sammy's going to go through some withdrawal. Here's a little video of his morning today:
I'm sure many of you have wondered, "What in the world does one do at a School of Worship for 3 1/2 weeks???" Well for one, we worship! Each morning we worship for at least an hour and then there's a speaker that usually goes for 1 1/2 hours. Often their is a ministry time following the worship related message. Starting next week, our afternoons will consist of elective classes. Things like instrument workshops, song writing classes, art classes etc... There's even a class on Hip Hop and Crump dancing. I don't think I'll make that one though I've suggested to Natalie that she should take it. Here's a brief video of this morning's worship:
Man, it's fun worshiping with hundreds of other worship leaders. The worship leader today was Jeremy Riddle (writer of "Sweetly Broken"). You probably couldn't get this from the video but the music is sooo loud. There are times I feel like the bass drum is inside my chest! Not that I'm complaining, but it's pretty crazy. I think they crank it to 11 because they know that worship leaders love it loud and no one's gonna complain!
After this morning's session we went to one of the pastors' houses (Kris Valloton) for a BBQ. Sammy made a million friends and stole a million hearts. While there, Natalie and I stumbled upon a seemingly harmless zip line. I decided to give it a ride. Unfortunately I wasn't prepared for it. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to sit or stand on the wooden plank so I sat. Unfortunately halfway through the ride my butt was 2 inches off the ground and I went through a pile of rocks and then slammed into a tree. Ouch. Convinced that I had done it wrong, Natalie wanted to give it a shot standing up. Unfortunately for both us, standing up was just as dangerous. Here's a little video of Natalie. I suggest watching it full screen. The chaos that ensues at the end is the result of Natalie flying into the trunk of a huge tree at 35 miles an hour and me jumping between the two of them to slow her down. God protected everyone but it was pretty scary.
So that was our day. We think we're going to go look for the Redwoods tomorrow. Love you all!
Clark for the Z3
Thursday, June 17, 2010
So, we've only been here a few days but they have been action packed! Really, being out here is such an adventure with God and it's so exciting to be a part of it.
Sammy is adjusting well and took two GOOD naps today without too much crying! Truly, that's a miracle. Please keep praying that he would get all the rest his little body needs. He's also the luckiest kid on the block with his own peanut gallery of entertainment. Renee's three kids absolutely ADORE him and they keep him laughing constantly from the moment that he wakes up until he goes to sleep at night. They keep saying "he's the cutest baby ever!" and we completely agree. The Eiland family has already been such a huge gift to us. Here's some pics that we've taken in the past couple of days.
Sammy at the airport (really tired) with Daddy.
Sammy playing in the backyard.
We have also had a really great time at school these past two days. So far Brian and Jenn Johnson have led worship in the mornings and shared (preached) in the afternoons along with a guy named Kris Valloton. We have been really encouraged by these guys. They seems really authentic and fun and they really really love Jesus. It's hard to believe, but there are 500 people in our school this summer and probably a 1/4th of those people are internationals!! We met a few people from England on the plane ride over there.
Next week we start our elective courses. There are about a million to choose from and it's SO hard just picking one on a given day when all that they offer looks so interesting. Next week Clark and I signed up for a "band session". Basically we are on stage in front of the class for 15 minutes. The Bethel band is playing with us while we sing the song of our choice. Then they critique you!! Yikes. This seems a little intimidating but we are looking forward to it.
Here are a few pictures of the other critters in our family for a month. We love them.
Till next time!
Natalie for the Z3