Dear Family,

It is so fun to get on here and hear news from West Virginia and Florida! We are so excited about the boat! It looks awesome in the pictures. It’s even bigger than we were imagining it. We can’t wait to take a ride on it, and to hear everyone else’s adventures on it! We’ll have to plan a family sail, and all take it down to Florida and drop in on Kevin in his new home. If we do it in the right season it sounds like we could all live off of fruit.

We’re so glad that Nessa is doing well and getting so big! She looks different already from when we last saw her. We’re a little jealous of every one else getting to play with her so much. Jesse, Elizabeth, and Nessa, we are glad that you guys have had a chance to use our apartment. Don’t we have a great spot there?

I’m outside on my laptop, and two funny little quail- each with a goofy looking feather sticking straight up on top of it’s head (like a Cockatiel, but it’s only one funny shaped feather)- just came around the corner and are strutting past. There are so many quail around here that they are considered a pest. Its fun to see them though, with their long lines of little babies hopping along behind them. They make funny noises almost like monkeys. Speaking of monkeys, last night I had a dream that I had opened up a bed and breakfast where a bunch of monkeys served all the food and did all the housework. It became a huge success and people flocked to my B&B to be served by monkeys. But then towards the end of the dream there was a lady who didn’t like me, and she opened up a restaurant right across the street from me- and she also had all monkeys that did the serving, and she was trying very hard to steal my business. So, if any of you were planning on opening a bed and breakfast run by monkeys, make sure you patent the idea. I learned the hard way.

Our summer here continues to be wonderful. Yesterday Joel and I climbed a mountain (a smallish one) right behind the trailer. We are in the desert here, so it was very different from any mountain climbing I’d ever done before. We brought a large bottle of ice water, but by the time we got home, we felt rather dried from outside in. At the top we had a spectacular view in every direction. We took some pictures so we can show you. It was a little alarming how quickly a bunch of vultures spotted us and came to see if we looked like we might die of thirst any time soon. On the way back down I had my first serious encounter with large wild cactuses. 🙂 We’ve been enjoying the lake here so much. The shower in the trailer is almost never used because the normal way of cleaning off is to take a bath in the lake (they use biodegradable shampoo). We usually swim several times a day. Joel and I’s usual routine is to take a little jog, jump in the lake to cool off, and then have devotions on the deck while we dry out. It is a lovely way to start a day. We have also been trying each day to spend a bit of time on school work- me on my courses and Joel on preparation for next year.

I’ve been enjoying learning how to play in the water- Poortenga style. They are all avid skiers. Mom Poortenga has been skiing like a pro since she was ten. She can take off right from shore, have a long and skillful ski on a single ski, and land again without getting her hair wet. It is so impressive to watch. Mom and Joel’s skiing abilities were somewhat intimidating as I struggled to barely get up on two skis, from my awkward floating position. But I’ve been gradually improving. I’m getting more and more comfortable on the skis, and it is taking much fewer tries to get up and going. So that has been encouraging. Today I also tried knee-boarding and discovered that is very fun as well. And then to top it off- Joel took me tubing for a long, wild ride. Very fun!

It’s been nice having a more extended time with Joel’s family. I am getting to know his mom and dad much better I think than I did before. It’s so great to have just some quiet, slow time out here at the lake to chat and be together. We’ve been here about a week, and have one more week before going back to Abbotsford, when dad has to start working again. We’ve had some visitors too. Some of the Poortenga’s close friends have been out a bit and we had a fun doing stuff with them. And Andrew, one of Joel’s friends who was in our wedding (Liesl, you remember Andrew I’m sure- the one who plotted with you to destroy our wedding), came out for a few days which was also wonderful. He has done some amazing stuff this past year, and it was really neat to hear his stories.

Even though we are having such a blessed, wonderful time here, we think of you all very often and miss being there near you. We have been praying for you all.

We love you. ~Joel and Katie

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