Tag Archives: adventure

Adventures in Wyoming

Road Trip with an Emergency Room Stop

If you have been following my Instagram or Twitter, you know Brian and I traveled with my parents to Wyoming to visit Mom’s side of the family. On the way, we stopped to visit my grandpa in Loveland, Colorado, where he has been recovering from a fall and broken leg. Unfortunately, he fainted during physical therapy and we had to have our first visit in a nearby ER. After hours of tests, the medical staff determined that he was fine and sent him back to the rehab center.

Going to the emergency room


While in Laramie, we took a few hours to have touristy adventures, visiting the Pyramid of the Plains and hiking at Vedauwoo. In a couple places, Dad and I climbed around on rocks while Mom and Brian stayed near the trail and took pictures of us.
Brian & I at Pyramid of the Plains

Pyramid of the Plains plaque

Vedauwoo Warning

hiking, rock climbing, Wyoming

Hiking, mountains, Wyoming

Hiking, rock climbing, Wyoming

Hiking, mountains, Wyoming

Hiking, mountains, Wyoming

Coffee & Books

During an afternoon coffee run, I took my parents exploring and found a lovely, homey coffee shop and secondhand bookstore in a hipster-esque neighborhood of Laramie. If you are in Laramie, check out Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse.

Night Heron Books & Coffeehouse

Night Heron Books & Coffeehouse

Night Heron Books & Coffeehouse

I had such a good time visiting with the rest of our Wyoming family that I didn’t mess with taking photos while we were with them, so feel free to use your imagination to see that part of our trip!


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Lows & Highs: Goodbyes & Adventure

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.

 Sometimes Adventure Brings Goodbyes | StairStories.com

Over the past week, I began sharing a big, life-changing announcement with family, friends, and coworkers. They had mixed responses and I am experiencing again what it is like to tell people news that is exciting for me but sad for them.

The Sad Part

I resigned – with two weeks’ notice, of course – from the fun, fascinating English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher assistant job I have had for a year and a half. I have enjoyed working with students who do not speak English as a first language, working with a sweet (though constantly changing) department of ESL professionals.

The Happy Part

On Friday, I accepted the one job in town that I want most of all, the job I trained for, the job I muscled through three years of grad school for: College instructor.

Starting January 26, I will embark on a new adventure of teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). I am thrilled to have a job that fits my education and experience as well as the opportunity to work with students from a wide variety of countries and cultures.

Besides the job – naturally the best part of this change – I also get to work at Barton Community College, an institution I really like. I will freely admit that I am biased about the school. Over the eighteen-ish months I have lived in Great Bend, Brian and I have built a lively community of student friends through the Campus Christian Fellowship we lead with our friend, Clay. To support various student friends (and because we find it entertaining), we have attended concerts, plays, volleyball, basketball, art shows, and graduation festivities. I am looking forward to being on campus and being even more involved in campus life!

How has your week been?


Filed under life, milestones

Lows & Highs: Exercise & Dirt

Low: This week, my low was the exercising-so-hard-I feel-like-I’ll-die feeling when Brian decided to rev up the pace on our Saturday morning walk. There are no pictures, but I was definitely hot pink, sweaty, and out of breath when we finished shaving a whole minute off our usual minutes-per-mile pace!

High: We celebrated Fathers’ Day with my family and I taught Eli how to use his new sand toys. He may have also learned a “fun game” from Aunt Abby that involves using the scoop to catapult dirt and sticks across the grass… he was going to put them in his mouth, though!


Look how big Eli has gotten!


One happy toddler!

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Lows & Highs: Mission Trip

Low: There were numerous, random delays on our road trip from Memphis to Kansas but we made the best of it. With the help of Waze on my phone, we avoided one stretch of road construction but there was not a good detour around a second one. While we crept along in the two-lane construction zone, Brian noticed there was no traffic in the oncoming lane on the other side of the concrete dividers and guessed there was a wreck. He was right and we eventually came upon the scene of a semi versus car accident on a bridge with no room to get around in the narrow lane. We drove past about ten miles of cars stopped in the other lane, grateful that we were not headed that direction. 2014-03-21 18.32.38
High: My high this week was seeing what God did at Bible club on Whittier! It is so very easy to get attached to the kids in the few days we get to enjoy them. Also, I love seeing our college student team grow spiritually and emotionally during the week.


Craft time is always hands-on, even for the leaders!

2-5 year-olds in a train!

Leading the youngest kids’ group (2-5 years) is like I imagine herding cats is. Sometimes we could get their attention by hollering, “Let’s make a train!”

Yoshi, Abby, Courtney

Yoshi (left) and Courtney are two-year-old who got attached to several of us and like to be carried around. It’s hard to see in this photo, but Courtney and I have matching purple eyeshadow.


Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Bible Club Update

We began the week with 18 kids and reached 34 when we moved to a later start time on Tuesday. On Wednesday, 61 kids showed up to play and do crafts and hear Bible stories! It was almost (read “totally”) more than our team could handle but it was marvelous chaos. 

On Thursday, our last afternoon of club, our team of ten – plus Sarah, our StreetReach staff member – prepared extra craft supplies and made plans for around the same number of kids. Things seemed to be running smoothly with 58 kids listening to a story about following Jesus and making salvation bracelets. Suddenly an ice cream truck appeared (no kidding!) and had them all distracted and running to it, even though most had little or no money. Andrew talked to the men in the truck and they moved on. We eventually were able to corral most of the kids back to their activities and the bracelets sparked some good conversations about following Jesus. 
There are more stories to come, but it is late and I am tired. Here are a few of my favorite Bible club moments:


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Lows & Highs: Car Repair

Low: I tried to fix a car and my attempted repair did not work… On the bright side, I am confident I did not make it worse! One of our college student friends could not get her car to start on Thursday, so I tried to help by asking the same diagnostic questions my dad has asked me when my car wouldn’t start. I checked her answers with my dad and then met her at the college with my tools. The battery cables and terminals were corroded and I was able to clean off one but the other would not loosen. The car still would not start when we tried to jump-start it, so it had to wait for someone more experienced than me.

High: Brian had a math educators’ conference on Saturday so I had a girls’ day with the same friend. We highlighted each other’s hair, watched a movies, and had a fun time chatting.

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.


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Lows & Highs: Snow Days

Snowy neighborhood 2Low: Last Wednesday, I broke one of my contacts (the rigid gas-permeable type) and have had to wear my glasses for days. I finally had an eye exam today with my new optometrist today, so the contacts are on order!
Snowy neighborhood 1

High: Today is our second snow day in a row here in Great Bend. The school district and college preemptively canceled classes on Tuesday and then it snowed all day, blanketing the town with at least five inches of snow… granting us a second day of “snow vacation.” We have spent the past couple days doing laundry, keeping the house tidy, and watching mini-marathons of West Wing and Quantum Leap on Netflix.
Brian in the snow
I also like to bake when I am snowed in, something Brian had not yet experienced with me. In all, I made Apple Pie Streusel Muffins, roasted chicken, tamale pie casserole, and peanut butter cookies.

Apple Pie Streusel Muffins

What were your lows and highs from the past week? Do any of them involve snow?

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Mismatched Crazy Hair Day

At the high school where I work, this is spirit week in preparation for our homecoming basketball game on Friday. Monday was Mismatched Crazy Hair Day, so I wore my hair like this.

Crazy Hair FrontCrazy Hair Side







For reference, it usually looks like this.

Highlighted Hair

I received a variety of responses and determined that today’s hairstyle was not crazy in many other people’s perspectives.

Male teacher: Oh, you got a haircut.

Female teacher: Hey, I like your hair! You should wear it that way more often.

Male student: Nice hair, Mrs. Howe!

Female student 1: What is up with your hair?
Me: It’s for crazy hair day.
Female student 2 (to her classmate): You shouldn’t say that. What if she was actually trying to look nice?

My favorite anecdote from today:
In one class, a female student mocked my hair derisively in Spanish to the girl across from her while I was standing in plain view near their table. After a minute, I continued circulating around the room to help students and overheard the other girl inform the mocker that I actually speak and understand Spanish. The first girl was shocked and grew a little quieter after that. I simply smiled and continued helping students with their assignments.


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Plans change… so I have a word of the year

Until today, I did not think I would have a particular word of focus for 2014 even though I have for the past three or so years. It was not an entirely intentional decision, but nothing seemed to jump out at me as “undaunted” and “enjoy” did for 2012 and 2013. I was fine with that and chose not to force it or make a big deal about it. As I wrote recently, traditions change and that can be a good thing.

I have recently been noticing and paying special attention to the abundance and fullness of God – both who He is and what He provides – in every day life. I considered “enough” but it did not quite communicate what I have been seeing. Instead, my word for 2014 is “plenty,” which comes from the Latin word for “fullness.”

Plenty Button
Won’t it be exciting to focus on God’s abundance and fullness for a year?!

Do you have a word or theme that you are paying attention to or studying? I’d love to hear about it in the comments or you can post a link if you’ve written about it somewhere else.

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October Highlights

Where Does the Time Go?
Somehow October flew by and I have not been very inspired or prolific when it comes to writing of all sorts.

CCF Cookout
At the beginning of October, we had a CCF cookout complete with hot dog roasting and s’mores!
CCF Fall 2013 Cookout
Eli’s Birthday
Our nephew, Eli, turned one and we were able to visit the weekend before. He is curious and strong-willed, and very expressive. He went through a phase (and maybe is still in it) where he stared blankly at anyone trying to take his picture with a camera or phone. On this visit, though, I flipped the camera view on my phone so he could see our image while I took the photos and he had fun making these faces!
Eli Makes Faces

After five minutes, Eli figured out exactly where the camera lens was. Smart kid!

After five minutes, Eli figured out where the camera lens is. Smart kid!

Taking selfies with a cute nephew – Embarrassing or excusable? Vote in the comments!

Fall Break, Parents’ Visit, Snow
My parents came out to visit while Brian and I were on fall break. We wanted it to be a relaxing weekend for all of us but Dad and Brian finished their one project (replacing the furnace filters) and also tackled replacing bathroom outlets, removing and adjusting door hinges, and repairing a kitchen drawer support. Mom and I cooked, tidied, and did manicures.Mom & Abby Manis

We did squeeze in a fun dinner-and-games night with our friends Pennie and Clay, a movie night, and a yummy Chinese buffet lunch, too.
October snow!I had hoped to take our guests on some walking adventures through our local zoo and the nature preserve, but the first snow of the season arrived on October 18 and canceled our outdoor plans.

Pumpkin Patch
For one of our weekly dates, Brian took me to a pumpkin patch and corn maze. We wound our way through the maze and found all the markers, then took photos with some of the biggest pumpkins I have ever seen! Brian’s thumbs-up in the collage is because he ordered sweet tea at lunch and the waitress left him a glass and a pitcher full of tea. He was a happy guy!
Pumpkin Patch
The CCF group helped serve snow cones at the college’s Halloween party. Brian was Mayhem from the Allstate commercials and I was Flo from Progressive. Rounding out our group of leaders, Clay was Jake from State Farm, Pennie was the Orbitz “clean it up!” girl.
Halloween 2013
Mayhem & FloFunny story: I sketched the lettering for my Flo apron on paper and then transferred the outline onto the apron and painted it in acrylic. When I was about halfway through painting (starting at the E and working backwards), Brian came over for a look and frowned.
“What’s wrong?”
“Um… you forgot the I.”
“What?!” I had a tiny bit of space between the S and V so I squeezed in the missing letter and moved on.

It so happened that my sister was on speaker phone when he told me and she thought it was hilarious because I am usually good at conventional spelling and she was a more phonetic speller as a kid.

Share your funny (mis)spelling story or tell about your Halloween costume.


Filed under celebrations, milestones, photos, stories