Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Winter Solstice Cycle...

I think I must be getting used to winter here. I went outside the other day and it felt warm at 4 deg C or 40 deg F. It seemed like the perfect weather for a 30 km (19 mile) winter solstice cycle. But despite feeling warm my fingers and toes still froze during the cycle! :-)

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Christmas Newsletter...

The below was sent out to our friends and family around the globe. Thought I'd post it here as well - enjoy! :-)

Dear all our friends and family,

The past year has been a challenging one on many fronts. We began the year without knowing when we'd be reunited and are ending this year united in Indiana. God is good.

Candace continues to work as a full-time float-pool nurse at Daviess Community Hospital in Washington, our nearest big(-ish) town. She continues to grow professionally and learn skills in many different areas of nursing. She works on Same Day Surgery, the Med-Surg ward, the Behavioural (or psychiatric) ward, the Rehabilitation ward, and is now orienting on the ICU ward. Candace has also taken a second nursing job at a local nursing home. She will be working PRN (as needed) as and when she is able.

Murray continues to adapt to life in Indiana. It has not been easy and the past few months have been quite challenging, and this has been difficult for Candace too. Murray's green card arrived at the beginning of September but it was only towards the end of October that his social security card arrived – the social security card is needed in order to apply for jobs. Since then Murray has been looking for jobs but has not been able to find anything as yet. He has applied for several positions but has not heard back, which can be very frustrating. Murray is trusting the Lord to provide employment for him, so please keep him in your prayers. In the meantime, he has been kept relatively busy around the house doing chores, such as cooking meals, cleaning, washing dishes and doing loads of laundry. He is also being kept on his toes by Rusty, the newest member of the Crawford family in the USA.

Candace and Murray found out about Rusty, a three-year-old Schnauzer-Yorkshire Terrier cross, from their sister-in-law who works at a vet about half an hour away. Murray went to have a look and instantly knew that Rusty was the dog for him. Rusty loves to play and be patted, and to go for walks, but he does have some separation anxiety issues since he was abandoned for a while before being taken in by the vet. He is therefore feeling very loved and spoiled in the Crawford household! He is slowly getting used to our busy lives here and is fitting in nicely.

And now just a few more highlights from the latter part of the year. We have been privileged in going to Lincoln State Park in southern Indiana for the church camping trip back in September. It was a beautiful area to hike and explore and enjoy good fellowship and fun. We have also entertained Mercy Ships friends at our house here in Indiana (Come visit us Mercy Shippers!) and have also driven to Asheville, North Carolina, to stay with close friends from the ship there too. That was a really fun time hiking and exploring another beautiful area of the States.

Finally, a couple of prayer requests going into this New Year:
  • That Murray would continue to find his feet – and a job – here. That it would be a job that plays to Murray's strengths and one that makes him come alive.
  • We need wisdom regarding our future accommodation. We need to be out of the place we're renting by May and so we need guidance and wisdom as to where the Lord is leading us to live.
  • Murray would love to be back in Cape Town in March for his 25th consecutive Cape Town Cycle Tour (formerly the Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour). Please pray that things would come together and that this would be a reality.
Many thanks for your continued prayer, support and encouragement. Much love and God bless you this Christmas time!

- Murray & Candace

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Happy Christmas 2014...

To our friends and family and blog followers: Here's to wish you all a very blessed Christmas and a fantastic 2015! Thanks for your interest in our blog and do stay posted for more in the future. That being said, may you truly know Jesus' love this New Year! Much love and God bless, Murray, Candace and Rusty. :-)

It's Rusty the Reindeer!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Grove Park Inn...

After exploring Biltmore Estate, we went to see the Grove Park Inn. This impressive hotel has been open since 1913 and has hosted many famous guests. We also visited the hotel to see the National Gingerbread House Competition. There were many awesome creations made out of gingerbread, snacks and sweets. And so ends the blogs about our time in Asheville, North Carolina. Thanks Alex and Sharon for being amazing hosts!

 Very cool old car.
 The hotel towers over the surrounding landscape.
 Looking down towards the pool and gardens.
 View over the private golf course.
 Massive fire place in the lobby.
Christmas tree.
 And now some of the Gingerbread House entries. A Sleeping Santa.
 Fire engine in the Holiday Parade.
 Christmas package for soldiers away from loved ones.
 Cool riders.
Very interesting house.
 Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
 Bag End, Hobbiton. (One of my favourite creations.)
 Snowy slopes.
 Nut Mouse House.
Holiday Hospital.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Biltmore House...

We went to see the amazing Biltmore Estate on Monday, 8th December. Biltmore House was built for George Vanderbilt between 1890 and 1895 and is the largest private residence in the United States. The house itself has over 250 rooms inside!

 Candace and I with Biltmore House behind.
 The front of the House.
 The architecture is amazing.
 Sculpture under one of the pillars.
 Many sculptures adorn the outer walls.
 View towards the garden.
 The back of Biltmore House faces the Blue Ridge Mountains.
 The view from the back with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Vanderbilt's property went as far as the distant mountains!
 The south side of the House.
 Candace and I with one of the two lions that guard the main entrance.
 Walking back towards the parking.
This original pathway was made so that horses could pull a carriage. The horse's hooves would walk on the centre steps while the carriage wheels would be pulled on the sloping sides.
Corn bales on a field in Biltmore Estate.
 The four of us with the House behind. What a great visit!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Mount Pisgah...

Alex and Sharon took us along the Blue Ridge Parkway on Sunday, 7th December. We went to the base of Mount Pisgah and hiked a lovely trail to the summit. Mount Pisgah climbs to an altitude of 5,721 feet (1,744 metres) above Asheville and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. It was a good hike that gave beautiful views at the top.

 Driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Information board at the start of the hike.
 View towards Mount Pisgah as we head out.
 Rocky trail.
 Nearing the summit.
 The parking area where the trail begins.
 View towards Asheville.
 Downtown Asheville as seen through a 30x zoom.
 Ice-covered trees on the mountain across from us.
 Beautiful view.
 Ice on the trees at the summit of Mount Pisgah.
 The television tower.
The four of us on the viewing platform.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Adventures in Asheville...

Candace and I decided to do a road trip to visit Mercy Ships friends in North Carolina last weekend. (6th - 9th December.) We had a lovely time exploring the beautiful area around Asheville. We spent time hiking, hanging out with Mercy Shippers, playing games, and enjoying the culture and history that this place has to offer. The next few posts will chronicle this adventure.

 Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center.
 Displays inside the Visitor Center.
 Downtown Asheville.
 We celebrated Candace's birthday with delicious Nepalese and Indian food!
 Fun game of Settlers with Alex and Sharon.
 Awesome evening spent relaxing with former Mercy Ships crew members.