December 23, 2010
Greetings from the Robynes! It’s a beautiful snowy day with the kids out of school. We wanted to get out Christmas cards before the actual day, but alas, they’ll be late again so I’m sending an e-mail version.
Please note our new address: 3608 Division Rd., West Lafayette IN 47906. Yes, the move is shocking to all who know us, especially ourselves. When we first came to West Lafayette, we thought it was for three years at most and bought a house close to campus. Eight years later we accepted the fact that we might actually be staying awhile longer and then it dawned on us that we actually have the freedom to choose where to live. We had just started to look around when we pretty much stumbled upon this house. It had been for sale off and on for the past three years, and the owners were ready to sell at a very reasonable price. Fortunately friends of ours were interested in buying our house (yes, we’re still friends). So, while Glen was off gallivanting around on a Wesley Foundation mission trip to Zimbabwe, I got to do the packing, sign all the papers, and take possession!
We love our new home for its uniqueness, location, natural setting and history. This house has 5 bedrooms plus an office, 5 doors out, 4 bathrooms, 3 stories, 2 acres, and a wood-burning assist heater to burn our dead trees and help warm us in winter. There is no basement, very little attic space, and no garage though, so we’ve tried to get rid of anything that was just being stored. It’s way too big for us, but that keeps open doors to possibilities like having lots of guests or having students live with us as in the past (sharing one tiny bathroom with us).
Our new house is located on our favorite bicycling road 2 miles out of town beyond First UMC. We are 4 miles from Wesley Foundation, about 6 miles from our old home. That also makes us 6 miles closer to our families in Illinois!
Our house sits on two acres up a wooded hillside overlooking the Wabash River valley. An outdoor cat and her kitten stayed with the house. The kitten, now bigger than his mama, loves to go hiking with us like a dog but trying to sneak up and pounce on us. We have enjoyed frogs and 12 goldfish in the little plastic pond we inherited, birds in the trees and feeders, and at night, hooting owls and yipping coyotes close by. Plus we have the lease for 11 acres which are mostly wooded (overrun by invasive golden honeysuckle) with a few clearings and a creek. Many mornings find us out whacking trails and enjoying Jordan Creek whether gurgling with flowing water, dried up or frozen for hiking. We’ve camped out several times and look forward to more bonfires and camping expeditions with family, friends, and our ministries. The stars are magnificent, and all is pretty quiet except for the private jets and planes that land at Purdue’s airport.
With both kids studying Indiana history at school, I’ve enjoyed delving deeper into the history of our area. French traders, Wea, Kickapoo, and Mascouten tribes used to converge in the flood plain near our house to trade at Fort Ouiatenon less than a mile away. Every October the Feast of the Hunter’s moon is held at a replica of the fort. The Feast is a historical reenactment of life at the trading post in the mid-1700’s. I feel like I’ve come full circle. I remember attending this event as a five-year old when my family lived in Lafayette for a year. I credit the Feast in great part (second only to Laura Ingalls Wilder) with my long interest in history. Now my whole family gets to enjoy dressing up as our kids’ New Community School sells roasted corn and tea at the Feast.
I can almost hear the determined feet of William Henry Harrison’s troops headed up the Wabash valley to begin a battle with Tecumseh’s confederation of native Americans living just a few miles up river. I’m enjoying rereading books I had on Tecumseh.
We are reminded of another historical tragedy with signs for the Trail of Death leading past our house. Hundreds of Potawatomi were forced to move southwest from northern Indiana in the fall of 1838, leaving graves all along the way. I don’t remember ever hearing anything about this in Illinois history.
The other special thing about our new home is its long history as an early homestead in Tippecanoe County. Chuck Boonstra, one of our dear older First UMC members, grew up here. The old log cabin he grew up in is gone, but there are still old stone steps and the root cellar, as well as “Christmas” trees and hollyhocks from those Chuck’s parents planted.
Aside from the wonderment and contentment I feel living in this place, here are some other high-lights and low-lights from our year.
n Isaiah is 10, in 5th grade this fall, and Ella is 9, in 4th grade. They still attend New Community School, a smaller public charter school. Both are doing very well there even though we started a day late (oops).
n Last spring we were blown away when Ella won the Spirit of NCS award by the whole school (K-8). This fall Isaiah is on the school’s Science Olympiad team as the birds, maps, and biomes expert. We were proud of him donating his hair to help clean up the Gulf oil spill.
n Glen took a 3 ½ week Wesley mission trip to Zimbabwe, seeing lots of our old friends and making new ones. I was very sad not to get to go too.
n The kids flew to Colorado in August by themselves for the first time to stay with Glen’s folks.
n Both of our cats died this year…17 year old LaTerre passed away naturally at Glen’s side a few months before we moved, and I had 14 year old Sockie put down last month. Sniff.
n Our old Saturn died the same week as Sockie, which means we’re down to one vehicle, for now.
n Sharing our Lake Paradise house (near Mattoon IL) with friends and “auctioning” it off to members of our church for weekend and week-long retreats to raise money for Wesley. We hate for it to stand empty, but we rarely get there. Let us know if you’d like to reserve a time, with or without us!
n Almost 500 students came for our mega-community service project called Winterization this November! Glen and great student leaders spend many hours organizing this.
n I have been enjoying serving as secretary and now president of University Religious Leaders with lots of new opportunities for interreligious ministry on campus.
n Our parents are doing well and trotting the globe. Jim and Jan went on a Danube cruise with a side trip to Prague last summer. My parents travelled to Ireland, flying out immediately after my dad flew home from China (he still works there half of each year).
n We’ve enjoyed visits from friends at our new house…Brad, Davon, Keldon, and Hallie Cook (Lubbock TX), Christian Kakez-A-Kapend (Dallas TX/DRC) and Mike and Emilie Bishop (Seattle WA). My sister-in-law, Emelie, brought Grace and Nicholas from Urbana IL to stay one night. My Grandma Peggy (turning a spry 85 this month) came from Newman IL one day with my mom while Grandpa Bill was busy helping with harvest.
We hope you will join this list and visit us at our new Robyne’s Nest or Lake Paradise in 2011. We have lots of room! Wishing you and the whole world an Advent, Christmas, and New Year full of love, peace, joy, and hope… the Robynes
How to contact us: home 765-743-5080 Glen’s cell phone 765-586-0125 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lana’s cell phone 765-586-0124 email@example.com