Monday, 30 May 2016

Shakamak State Park...

Candace, Riaan and I visited beautiful Shakamak State Park on Wednesday, 11th May. This is the closest state park to where we live, and it was my first time visiting this peaceful location. We parked the car near the children's play area and went for a lovely hike. We walked along the edge of Lake Shakamak, through an oak forest and pine plantations, and passed an old abandoned coal mine. We saw lots of wildlife and nature and I was particularly pleased to spot my first pileated woodpecker, one of the largest woodpeckers in America! Here are some photos from our lovely adventure.

 Pretty red caboose in nearby Jasonville.
 Entrance to Shakamak State Park.
 It felt like we had the whole park to ourselves.
 Candace and Riaan hiking along the shoreline of Lake Shakamak.
 View over the water.
 Walking through pretty wooded areas and small creeks.
 Family selfie in the forest.
 Gnarled old tree.
 Interesting shape of this tree trunk.
 Pileated woodpecker!
 The abandoned coal mine.
 Love forest scenery!
 View over Lake Shakamak.
 Scarlet tanager.
 Northern banded water snake.
 The snake swimming away.
 Small skink.
 Crossing the walkway over the lake.
What a great day at Shakamak!

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Baby snapping turtle...

Just after leaving home last Tuesday, 10th May, Candace and I came across this baby snapping turtle sitting on the gravel road. We had to stop so that I could capture a couple of nature photos. I've blogged before about a juvenile snapping turtle that I came across last year, but this was the first baby snapper that I'd seen.

A closer view of this little snapper.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

First Mother's Day...

Candace celebrated her first official Mother's Day this past Sunday. (8th May.) I made her breakfast in bed and we had a lovely day together. We also went to a family supper in the evening.

I've been so impressed with how Candace has slotted so smoothly into motherhood - especially after all that she went through initially. She is a wonderful mom to our little son. Here are a couple of photos of Candace and Riaan taken on Mother's Day. :)

Love them so much!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Severe Thunderstorm...

One of the risks with living in the Midwest are the storms that can come through, often accompanied by hail, strong winds, and the odd tornado. Candace, Riaan and I had a bit of a scare on Saturday night. (7th May.) 

We were down in Washington for a worship evening, and once the service had ended we were about to leave, when a man made an announcement that a tornado had touched down in Wheatland (the next town over - only about ten miles or 15 kms away) and was headed our way.

I knew there was severe weather moving through the area, but I didn't expect anything quite like this. We all went down to the half-basement of the church - which is a very strong and sturdy structure - and we could see out through the doors (they're glass) up the stairs on the one side. The sky was an eerie green colour and then we heard something like a train coming our way. 

There was complete whiteout conditions outside as heavy hail and strong wind stormed over us. I could see leaves and debris blowing around. People ran away from the windows. We both thought it was a tornado. I was holding Riaan and Candace grabbed the diaper bag and we, along with other people, sheltered against the interior wall of the basement. We could hear the severe weather sirens going off outside. (They sound very similar to what an old WWII air raid siren sounds like, and they serve the same purpose - seek shelter immediately.) 

The storm only lasted for a couple of minutes, but when we went back to the doors there were leaves everywhere as well as hail the size of US Quarters all over the ground. The road was totally flooded with water. The vehicles parked in the road weren't damaged, and after another hour or so (once another storm had passed) we headed back home. 

It just shows you how quickly a thunderstorm can turn nasty. While we initially thought it was a tornado, it was just an incredibly powerful hail- and thunderstorm. We are thankful we weren't on the road when the storm hit! Photos here show the aftermath of the hailstorm.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Picnic and Park Fun...

After the dedication service, we went to the East Side Park in Washington where we had a fun picnic with family and friends. My expat friend from the UK and I even enjoyed some cricket action. I think we might have got some strange looks glanced our way, though! We all then went for a lovely walk around the lake. It was a great afternoon!

 Cricket in Indiana.
 Forward defensive.
 Crawford family photo. :)
 Miller family photo.
 Walking around the lake.
 Northern water snake.
 Turtles sunning themselves.
 Precariously balanced.
 Swimming snake.
 Rather scary!
 Another view of the lake.
 Pied-billed grebe.
American robin with its nest.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Riaan's dedication...

We celebrated Riaan's dedication service at Harvest Community Fellowship on Sunday, 24th April. Candace was able to share her testimony of God's goodness in the days after Riaan's birth, and I read a couple of passages over Riaan's life. The congregation, along with family and friends, then prayed for us as a family moving forward. It was a really special time for our little family. :)

This is my command - be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
(Joshua 1: 9)

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1: 5 - 11) 

 Sharing the above Bible verses.
 With Sean, the pastor.
Friends and family praying over us.