Archive for January, 2007

Cooking Williams-Sonoma Style

I can honestly say that last night was the first time in a year and a half of marriage that Erin made a meal that was inedible. That’s pretty good, wouldn’t you agree? Here’s what happened last night:

Erin saw a recipe in the new Williams-Sonoma magazine for chili-garlic prawns with Chinese noodles… sounds pretty good, huh? So we went shopping for the necessary ingredients, which included a bottle of chili garlic wok sauce. Well, we found a bottle of chili sauce with garlic and thought, “Hmm… sounds like this is the right stuff.”

Boy, were we wrong.

I came home from putting gas in the car last night to find Erin with a distressed look on her face. The first thing out of her mouth was, “I think I made a mistake – I can’t feel my tongue and my lips are burning.” I did what every loving husband would do and said, “Oh, I’m sure it’s fine – let’s eat!” After a few bites my mouth was on fire, sweat was breaking out on my forehead, and I was starting to agree with Erin that this meal may not be edible (especially since I needed to be able to talk that night to lead our church home group!). So, after cooling down our mouths with some cereal (I distinctly remember a twinge of jealousy as Erin plastered her lips to the SIDE of the milk jug in a desperate quest for relief) we looked at the recipe again and discovered that – of course! – the bottle of chili garlic wok sauce was for sale exclusively by Williams-Sonoma for a mere $12. We obviously chose the wrong sauce – but you can bet that we’ll try a bunch of other options before we pay $12 for a bottle of sauce!!

I love my wife – I love that she enjoys discovering new recipes and trying them out. I really am looking forward to our next new dish… although I must say that if there is any mention of “chili” in the name of it I’ll be double-checking the ingredients and keeping the cereal nearby…


Adventures up North… brr!

This weekend we have traveled to Evart, MI by way of Valparaiso, IN. While we were in Indiana the guys from Red Umbrella and Sevenglory put us up for the night. It was great getting to know them and just hanging out with other people that understand our lifestyle.

We then traveled to Evart, MI and are “camped” out at Spring Hill Camps. The moment we drove up and saw an out-of-this-world tubing hill with five snow machines surrounding it and a 1,000 ft. zip line mounted at the top we knew this wasn’t your average “winter retreat”. This is a camp on steroids!! They have a paintball course, four ice rinks for broomball, a heated indoor swimming pool, a gym with bungee jumping (you jump as high as you possibly can on a trampoline while being attached to bungees to help give you a better lift), and a huge billiard room including foosball and ping pong tables. And of course all the tubing you could ever ask for… and these are just the winter sports=}!!

I’m inside where it’s nice and warm typing up this blog and doing some reading. I had my fair share of outdoor activities today as Jeremy and I did a 7 mile run this morning in 12 degree weather…. brrrrr! Actually, it really wasn’t that bad – we were bundled up and kept a good running pace. The sun was out and there really wasn’t much wind…so thank you Lord for a great day to run and the ability to do it! As I write this Jeremy and the guys are outside by the tubing hill judging the tubing races. Then they will join in on the 3 on 3-basketball tournament to warm themselves up a bit. Honestly, I can’t believe… well maybe I can… that Jeremy has enough energy to play basketball after our run this morning.

Downhere really enjoys playing at these kinds of events where we can actually stay in one place for more than a day and get to know some of the kids. We are all staying at a house on the campground… that’s when it really feels like the “downhere family”. We had fun last night staying up late and playing poker with sugar packets=}. That was maybe the second time in my life that I’ve ever played that game so I didn’t have much of a chance at winning. Plus my poker face is way too dramatic…

Downhere is the worship band for the weekend and the stage they get to play on is like none I’ve ever seen. Someone brilliant has designed a stage set that looks like a graphic equalizer and is synched with the sound. So when Jeremy hits the bass drum or Marc hits a high note the lights go all the way to the top. Check out this picture… let me tell you “We Will Rock You” turned into WE WILL ROCK YOUR SOCKS OFF!! They would turn those lights off for the worship sets so it wouldn’t distract from worshipping the Lord. (Oh and by the way – on either side of the stage are huge Apple ear buds with lights shining from them…so cool!)

Tomorrow we finish up here and then head off to Traverse City, MI to do a concert. So please continue to pray for safe travels. We have a 14-hour drive to tackle on Monday to get home in time to see Jack Bauer save the world=}. Later!

Playing with the Legends

This weekend was quite a whirlwind. Downhere played in Pine Bluff, AR for a benefit concert for people suffering from Lu Gehrig’s disease. And not only did they play but they got to “headline” the show (which means they played last). They had two of the founding fathers of the Christian music industry, Phil Keaggy and Randy Stonehill, open for them (although they were really just playing first – those guys don’t “open” for anyone!). Randy is an excellent singer/songwriter and wrote songs like “Shut De Do”. He is quite a goofy guy and really does a great job entertaining and including the audience. He has been active in the Christian music industry for over 35 years now. Phil Keaggy is probably one of the top 3 guitar players in the world – and is also a singer/songwriter. If you are ever in the same town as Phil then I suggest you catch a show and marvel at the gift God has given him. He’s been around for about as long as Randy. Jeremy and I watched both of their sets not only because we enjoyed them, but out of respect, as they have led the way for Christian artists today. It was pretty cool! Oh and as a sidenote – the venue they played in held a museum of celebrity artifacts and one of the “display” items was Johnny Cash. Yes, The Man in Black himself – a life-like version of him playing the guitar and singing. You could push a button in front of him and he would start strumming his guitar and singing “I Walk the Line.” It was kind of creepy and kind of amusing all at the same time – I felt like his eyes followed me as I walked past (sort of like the Mona Lisa).

Since it was a benefit concert we didn’t feel that it was appropriate to do a World Vision presentation. We DID decide to have the table set up just in case anyone wanted to learn about it or even sponsor a child. And since Dave and Jess (our sound guy and road manager) are expecting in June, I will be taking care of selling the merchandise. So Jess is giving me tips here and there in preparation for that. That will add more responsibility for me on the road, of course, which I am really looking forward to. The volunteers we had for the evening were part of the CMA (Christian Motorcyclists Association). They were so helpful and easy going. Oh – and they all had on their leather vests and everything…it was great=}.

We stayed in host homes last night and since this was downhere’s 3rd time to play in Pine Bluff Jeremy and I stayed with the family he has always stayed with. Scott and Kelly were so generous – we stayed up and talked until 1am eating carrot cake and getting to know each other better. I guess the last time Jeremy stayed with them he had just proposed to me so they wanted to hear my side of the story and find out all about me. Then Kelly made us a delicious breakfast at 8am and dropped us off and now here we are, back in the van again. Thanks to Circleslide for letting us borrow their van for the weekend as ours is in the shop for some major repairs.

So tonight we are leading worship in Franklin, TN (Jeremy’s old church), which is nice because then we get to sleep in our own beds=}. I guess that’s it for now. More updates to come. God Bless!

It Still Fits!!

If you read yesterday’s post then you would know that I got the opportunity to put on my wedding dress again today for the Nashville Bridal Show! I had so much fun!

The people that photographed our wedding had a booth set up and had me stand out in front to greet people and usher them into the booth for more information. I had such a great time chatting with people and answering their questions and talking about my wedding day. The photographers, Suzette and Kevin, had me bring our album to display. Plus… they had a 24 x 26 framed bridal portrait of me hung up along with several others (here is the picture of me next to the portrait…crazy=). I also had a mother come up to me with her little girl and say her daughter wanted to have her picture taken with me…so funny! I should’ve brought my Cinderella party business cards with me…bummer. So anyway, it was a fun and memorable day for me and I am so thankful for the opportunity.

This morning after Jeremy dropped me off he when for a 9 mile run around downtown Nashville and is well on his way to the marathon. Then when we got home this afternoon he biked with me while I did my long run. I felt so good too! I did 5 miles in 1 hour and 9 minutes. So please continue to pray for good health, strength, stamina, positive attitude, endurance, will power…and all those kinds of things and we’ll continue to update you on our progress. Thanks for stopping by! Off to bed now.

Every Woman’s Dream

Tonight my wife is carefully laying out the necessities for tomorrow – white satin gloves, a tiara, a Swarovski crystal choker, and, of course, the veil.

No, Erin’s not getting married again tomorrow – I won’t allow it.

What I WILL allow is the opportunity for her to wear her wedding gown again. She has been invited by our wedding photographer to come be a “greeter” at their booth at Weddings the Bridal Show in Nashville tomorrow. It seems that in the past year and a half they have been getting rave reviews about her bridal portrait – every bride-to-be they sit down and talk with comment on this picture. So they thought “Why don’t we bring the real girl in for the day?!?”

Erin is thrilled.

I am too – for her. Once again, the difference between man and woman is being displayed here – if someone I HIRED to do a job for me a year-and-a-half ago called me up and asked me to come stand in my tuxedo for 4 hours on a Saturday for free (they ARE giving us another print of one of our wedding photos, just for the record – a very nice and probably fairly expensive “thank-you”) I would have told them they had fallen off their rocker and hung up.

But for my wife – this is a dream come true. And rightfully so, I guess. Picking out the dress was probably one of the biggest and most important decision of the whole wedding process – I can understand how it would be fun to wear it in public again. And she’ll look FANTASTIC – that’s a given. It even somewhat appeals to the monetary part of me – I mean, we payed $xxx.00 for this dress to only wear once?!? Are you kidding me – yeah, let’s get it out again! But would I do it – would I get dressed up again? Not a chance…

Not unless my bride was standing next to me.

(You’ll hear her side tomorrow)

We’re really doin’ it, Harry!

Well, it’s official – Erin and I will be participating in this year’s Country Music Marathon here in Nashville, TN! Erin will be running the 1/2 Marathon, and I’ll be doing the full. From the looks of it we’re going to be able to run the first 10 mi or so together before the 1/2 marathoners split off to finish their race.

I’m looking forward to the challenge of training for another race. For me, this one’s going to be a little different because I’ll be running at Erin’s pace for the first half or so – I’m not going for a PR (runner’s slang for “Personal Record”). Rather, I’m going to be using this race as part of my training to complete an Ironman race (more to come on that in future posts). But for Erin, this is going to be a landmark race – what a great challenge to tackle! She’s doing great on her runs already – we’re practically doing hill training EVERY day out here, as there’s really no flat road in Spring Hill!

We’re also trying to encourage as many people as we can to join us. If you are unaware, a 1/2 marathon is a 13.1 mi distance, with the full being 26.2 mi. If you’ve never run a marathon before and haven’t been running consistantly for the last few months, getting in shape and ready for the full is probably out of reach by now. However, being prepared for the 1/2 is DEFINITELY still an option. So far Erin’s dad is planning on joining her to do the 1/2, Erin’s got a girlfriend or two from church who will running it with her, and my roadmates Glenn and Dave will be doing the full (although I think they’re going to be shooting for faster times than I will be, so I’ll probably just see them at the start and later on at the finish!). If you are at all interested in challenging yourself to do something like this, leave us a comment – we’d love to have you be part of the team! It’s always more fun when there’s more people involved and you can train together…

Time for bed – an integral part of training is proper sleep… no wonder I love running! 🙂


Christmas in Canada

Below are some pictures from our time in Canada over Christmas with Jeremy’s family. We had a number of classic Canadian Christmas experiences: pond hockey, caroling in the snow, party crackers (the ones with the free hat and toy inside), and the 17-year staple: the Quinn crossword puzzle on Christmas morning! Enjoy – we’ll post more pictures later…

Here we are with our gingerbread house – made from scratch. It took nearly a whole day to complete. In the picture (L-R) are: Melissa and Steve, Julia, Erin and Jeremy.

We played Skip-Bo with Stephi Mutch (seated far right) one morning – she managed to beat us all! But we had a great time hanging out with her and looking at some of her pictures – she’s got some great old-school ones of the downhere boys!

Thiessen “Von-Trapp” family leading the caroling at the Caronport Christmas Eve service.

Jeremy and his brother Dave accompanying us=}.

What a lovely bunch of coconuts!