Tag Archives: yoopers

Playing Outdoors

The summers up here are amazing.  Save maybe a week or two of extreme heat (- where it may reach 90 degree weather), the U.P. really comes alive.  We survive, like many other yoopers, without AC, so the outdoors easily becomes an enormous playground.  The temperatures inside and out are often comparable.

The other day I was trying to think about why in all of the previous summers we didn’t spend as much time outside.  For the past couple of months, I can’t think of a day where we didn’t go outside to play or a week where we didn’t go swimming at the lake.  Then I calculated that for 2 of the 5 summers I was uncomfortably pregnant and the other 2 summers I was nursing an infant.  This was my first summer where I could be out and play.  The baby, Ty, is now running around and wreaking havoc so it is actually quite efficient to have the boys playing outdoors while the house gets a break and remains (somewhat) clean.

Manu and Micah have nearly completed their two weeks of swimming lessons over at Michigan Tech.  Tomorrow is their last day.  Manu has learned how to swim and can go quite a ways all by himself.  Today, Manu jumped off the diving board in the deep end without a life jacket and was able to then swim over to Israel.  Micah can also swim a few strokes on his own.  He is more dense than Manu so he can only swim underwater.  He can swim for as long as he can hold one breath.  Israel plays a game with Micah where he pushes him gently underwater and Micah touches the bottom of the pool and comes back up.  They have improved so much in such little time!  They are both well on their way to becoming triathletes…which is their ultimate motivation to learn how to swim.  In true yooper form, the boys (including Ty) enjoy going to the beach and swimming in the lake (Superior), even though the general population would consider it to be too cold.

The other day we headed over to Prince’s Point which is a beach area by Tech where Israel does his open water swims.  Chris came with us and the both of them suited up and swam the 1.2 mi swim to the flag pole and back while I played with the boys at the beach.  Chris made it back before Israel and we were watching Israel swim when we noticed that he stopped swimming for a while.  At that moment, we saw a fairly large bald eagle soaring over the lake.  It was so beautiful and we could clearly see the white on his head and tail.  It started circling around the lake and I was thinking to myself how neat it would be if we could watch it swoop down and catch a fish.  Israel by this time was kind of flailing his arms and really appeared to be struggling with something.  Come to find out, he was suffering from a bad cramp in his leg.  We immediately connected the two and realized that the bald eagle was actually circling Israel!  We found that quite humorous until Israel started calling for help and Chris had to go back in and swim to his rescue.

Eagle bait.

My “garden”, if you can even call it that, has really been a sore matter from the very first year I planted.  That first year, I had tomato plants, lettuce, green onions, Korean sesame plants (“keh-neep”), leeks (“boo-choo”), and roots (“doh-rah-gee”).  It wasn’t that bad.  The sesame plants took over, which is normally what happens – I equate them to weeds, but everything grew well.  But that was also the year where the self-same day we had planned to pick all of the tomatoes, the deer came over while we made a trip to town and ate them ALL.  You can imagine my shock when, after coming back from Walmart, I headed to the backyard with my basket to harvest all of the tomatoes and I found nothing but stubs.  They even ate the tomato leaves.  The year after that, I never planted anything.  I just let the garden go wild.  I ended up with green onions, “keh-neep”, and “boo-choo”.  The following year, I transported a few wild strawberry plants and raspberry plants into my garden.  The next year we were able to eat a handful of berries, mainly strawberries.  But this year the raspberry plants decided it was their turn to take over the garden.  They were able to withstand all of the weeds (-I had stopped weeding after the first  year), and much to my surprise, they flourished!  I consider it quite a miracle that my sorry garden was able to produce anything.

And finally, last but not least, we have spent many hours outdoors training for the Kuparisaari Triathlon that is coming up in less than two weeks.  The boys enjoy riding their bikes and running on our long driveway for their “workouts”.  Israel has been training to do the half-iron by himself and I have been doing mainly bike rides since I’m just doing the bike leg of the race.  Despite putting on ample sunblock, we are getting quite dark from long rides and runs. 

We also enjoyed a special visit from the Shins last weekend as they were passing through!  We had such a great time catching up and training together.  Tennille is doing the swim leg of our half-iron relay team and David is training for the Detroit marathon in October.  On Sunday, between the four of us, we biked 56.2 miles, ran 26 miles, and swam 2.4 miles!  This was the day after we stayed up until 3am talking.  Tennille and I then topped that off by doing a trail run the next morning (on Monday) through Hungarian Falls.  Good times!  True friends never let friends miss an important training workout…even on vacation. 

From all this working out, my thighs are getting ridiculously large.  But then again, I knew this is what I agreed to when I accepted this challenge.  So far I’ve done two 56 mile rides and I was able to do them sub-3:30 which was my race goal.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to go even faster on race day.  I’m not about to let my thighs get huge for nothing!  Totally looking forward for our friends to come up for race weekend!!   

Here are some memorable pics from the past month:
Fourth of July

Camp Sagola

Uncle Chris’s race in Wisconsin

And finally, cool animals in our big backyard…


Feeding Hummers

Back when my sister came to visit and we did our landscaping project, we put up 2 bird feeders amidst our rock garden. They were primarily for decoration because I didn’t want to have to deal with cleaning up fallen seeds. One of the feeders is for hummingbirds and a few weeks ago, we saw a few hummers buzz by looking to eat. So, soon after, the boys and I made a batch of hummingbird nectar (- 1 cup sugar dissolved in 4 cups boiling water and cool overnight), we filled the feeder and waited. It didn’t take long! Hummers have been coming nearly every day since. 

These pics were taken on 2 different days. 
They are all ruby-throated hummingbirds, the most common on this side of America:
beautiful male looking at me
female flying on top and male on lower left


drinking nectar!

Some fascinating facts about hummers (-the teacher in me cannot resist):
–  hummers are the only birds that can rotate each wing in a complete circle allowing them to fly in any direction – forward, backward, sideways, and even short distances upside down.
– they can hover perfectly still in the air by flapping their wings in repeated figure eights, much like a swimmer treading water
– their brilliant color comes from iridescence, not only pigment, so they can flash their colors or hide them by manipulating their movement contingent to light source…useful for picking up the ladies
– 30% of their weight is flight muscle
– their hearts can beat up to 1,260 beats per minute
– their tiny brains are proportionately the largest in the bird kingdom
– to stay warm/conserve energy, at night they are able to go into “torpor”, a metabolic rate that is 1/15th that of sleep
– the smallest bird in the world is a bee hummingbird – it weighs 1.8 grams and stands 5 cm tall

God never ceases to amaze me!  The more I see and learn about the things of nature, the more I appreciate the One who designed and brought them into existence…just for us!  In my humble opinion, I think everyone with a lawn should get a hummingbird feeder or two.  Totally worth it.

Playing Mother Goose

Last weekend, we went to Camp Sagola for UP Spring Retreat.  After church and potluck, Jeanette and I went for a relaxing walk by the lake that’s there.  We had a nice time chatting without the interruption of any kids or babies…until one came running straight towards us in the middle of the trail.  It was an adorable, fluffy, yellow baby bird of some sort.  We weren’t sure if it was a duckling or a gosling, but the webbed feet made it very clear that it was one of the above.  Jeanette and I weren’t sure what to do, but the baby bird just plopped right down next to us and wouldn’t leave.  We looked around for an irate mama goose or any other babies that naturally should be in the vicinity, but with no luck.  This baby was alone, shivering, and wouldn’t leave us.  To make matters worse, I knew that there was an eagle that lived right on that little lake.  We both knew this baby wouldn’t survive much longer without its mama.

We decided it would be best to take it with us and then find a wildlife expert to seek their counsel.  Immediately, I thought of Pastor Jim Nephew.  On our way to find him, we ran into our husbands.  They were not very supportive of our compassionate gesture.  Nethaniah’s response to our story was, “Haven’t you heard of the circle of life?”  Israel looked into my eyes and declared with conviction, “His eye is on the sparrow, Judy.”  They obviously weren’t there to see the desperation of this baby.  We didn’t choose the baby, the baby had chosen us!

We found Pastor Nephew and pulled him out of the afternoon meeting to tell him the story.  We learned it was a gosling and he told us that we should put it back where we found it.  He seemed quite sure that the mother goose would find it and he told us that the goslings often run around the beach area by the pond.  Even though we were still unsure, we trusted him and so we drove back to the site where we first encountered the gosling.  By this time, it had fallen asleep in Jeanette’s receiving blanket that we used to pick it up.  We found a nice spot in the area where the gosling would have a clear path into the water.  I got out of the car and placed the blanket with the gosling in it on the ground.  I opened up the blanket and nudged the baby, but it wouldn’t move.  I picked it up and place it on the grass.  It sat there for a while and then started shivering.  It was so hard to leave it there, but I knew that’s what we had to do.  I headed towards the car.  But then it began following me.  It sat right next to the tire of the car.  I picked it up and placed it back on the side of the trail but then right when I put it down and walked away, it immediately got up and tried to frantically follow me to the car.  Finally, I picked it up, placed it back on the grass, and just made a run for the car.  I jumped in and we drove off.  Jeanette watched from her rear-view mirror as the poor gosling ran as hard as it could, flapped its little wings, to try to follow us.  After a while, probably when it realized that it couldn’t keep up with the car, it stopped running.  We had left our baby in the dust.

This was such a heart-breaking experience.  I felt so misunderstood.  There was no way I could communicate with this baby that it was because we cared that we let it go.  A life in the wild being raised by its parents would be the best life possible.  It just had to endure this scary and lonely time for a while.  And likewise, God is often misunderstood.  When we feel abandoned and alone, when we wonder why He doesn’t wrap us up in safety and giving us the comfortable life we long for, and when the odds are against us, God longs to tell us that if we just endure for a while, it will be for the best.  He longs for us to trust Him.  He isn’t apathetic or too busy to intervene.  Every single circumstance in our lives has been weighed in the balance.  The amazing news is that God is never wrong.  He knows the end from the beginning.  He loves us with an undying love.

This baby has been in my prayers.  I do hope that it was reunited with its parents.  I’m not sure if we did the right thing, but I find comfort that God does care about our little gosling. 

So, Jeanette and I were mother geese for a day…and one day was much too long.

Everything is About to Change

Yesterday before I went on my bike ride, I checked the mail.  There was a flier hanging on the side of the mailbox so, naturally, I picked that up as well.  Little did I realize that this little act would be the impetus of change that we had hoped for only in our dreams.  Our marriage will be happier, our Wednesdays will be stress-free, the garage will smell better, and our cars will be cleaner because look who’s starting to make weekly visits out to us country folk:

Thank you for thinking of us, Greg.  We need to have you over for dinner sometime. 
You are a God-send.   

Our Newest Neighbors

Last week, Manu and Micah were playing outside near our large pine tree when they wildly exclaimed that they saw a nest in the tree.  My boys tend to think a lot of things look like nests.  I was quite skeptical, plus, I was busy evening out our front lawn where the snow plow had uprooted rather large chunks.  I gave my vocal affirmation and continued to rake.  Then, Manu yelled over to me that he sees a bird in the nest.  He really wanted me to come and see it and so headed over.  To my amazement, there was a bird sitting up high in a nest.  Not wanting to scare the bird family, I asked the boys to play in the other side of our house. 

About 15 minutes later, I put the two younger boys to bed, and Manu and I got our binoculars and camera to do some further investigation.  This time, there were 2 birds!  I thought it was a mama and her baby, but after doing some research, I realized it’s most likely a couple who is taking turns sitting on their eggs! 

When we first moved up here, there was a particular bird song that we would often hear in our yard.  We were sure it was coming from an owl.  One of the first things our friends told us when we moved up here, was to make sure we didn’t leave our dog or cats outside after dark.  It wasn’t uncommon for owls and other raptors to snatch up small pets.  Whenever we’d hear this hooting sound, I’d panic and make sure our pets were indoors.  Well, one day, a friend incredulously informed us that it wasn’t coming from an owl. 

They were mourning doves. 

And we are absolutely stoked that a young family of mourning doves decided to move in to our pine tree!


our tree in front of our house

our new neighbors:  still working on their names…

Facts about mourning doves that we’ve learned:
– they are also called the Western Turtle Dove or Rain Dove
– diet consists 99% of seeds
– they are generally 12 inches in length and average 4-6 oz in weight
– pairs are monogamous
– they are prolific breeders (up to 6 broods per season), but very high mortality rate (~50-70%)
– females construct their nests while males bring her all the materials
– clutch size is almost always 2 eggs
– incubation & fledging both take about 2 weeks
– males incubate eggs morning/afternoon shift and females take over during evening/night
– young are fed crop milk by parents
– dedicated parents, if threatened, may perform broken-wing display or other nest-distraction display
– primary predators are diurnal raptors including hawks and falcons
– it is the leading game bird in the U.S. with over 70 million shot annually
– it is Michigan’s official state bird of peace

We’re hoping we’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the babies once they hatch and also during fledging.  That would be so exciting!  They are such beautiful birds. 

Helping Israel Find His Roots

Sometimes I crack myself up.  LOL.  *SIGH* 

Okay so, to get him back for every wrong he’s done towards me, I just signed Israel Ramos up for a salsa-making contest that will take place at the public library on Cinco de Mayo.  He is so not the type that would want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at a U.P. public library with a crowd of yooper strangers.  HAHAHA!  But, I think he’ll do it.  He may not be excited to do it, but he’ll do it because he loves me.  I’m hoping that he will be able to represent his people (including his 3 boys) and take home the title of winning salsa.  Who knows, maybe this will be the tipping point for all of his culinary endeavors!  It may start with a corner salsa stand, then grow to a store front.  For all we know, he may become known as the U.P. Salsa Grand Master…. 

But in all seriousness, I’m hoping it will be a fun & special family memory and that it will instill in our boys the importance of Cinco de Mayo, and that contrary to popular belief, it is not synonymous to Mexican Independence Day. 

All our local yoopie friends should come too!


By faith, I will only have good things to report on Thursday evening…

PS:  This is what happens when Israel leaves me for a few days.  (He’s downstate for CAMPUS meetings.)  Too much time on my hands!  🙂

Raptor Report

Since moving to the U.P. from Ann Arbor nearly 5 years ago, we’ve changed a lot.  It seems like our college days and our first couple years of marriage were a blur of late nights, busyness, playing, and eating out.  I must admit, we had lots of fun – we always have.  But being up here, in the country, has really enriched our lives in ways that we would have never guessed.  I think I never want to leave.

One of the most unexpected interests that we’ve picked up is eagles.  We had no idea that the U.P. was so full of them!  We grew up being taught that bald eagles were on the brink of extinction.  Each time we’d see one, it was a big deal.  But really, at least in the U.P, they’re flourishing.  And with all of the driving that we do, we’ve made it a habit of trying to spot eagles. 

I think my favorite times I’ve watched bald eagles were by dead carcasses.  When you see a bunch of ravens congregated, you’re most likely to see an eagle too.  We’ve watched as a bald eagle would fly over to a carcass and the ravens would all respectfully step aside.  The eagle would take what it wanted as the ravens would anxiously wait.  Once the eagle flew away, the ravens would make a mad dash back back to their meal.

Once we saw an enormous golden eagle.  We pulled over by where it was perched on a lower branch.  We got out of the car to try to get a better look and to try to take a picture.  (Unfortunately, we only had our phone camera!)  The golden eagle looked at us as if to see if we were edible.  We decided we’d better get back in the car before it got mad and tried to attack.  It swooped down pretty close to our car as it took off and we were able to see how majestic and enormous its wingspan was.  That was the biggest raptor we had ever seen in the wild – or probably ever.

A couple years back, we watched a baby eagle and mom that could be seen en route to L’Anse.  We assumed that’s where its nest was because we saw the baby on the same tree for several weeks.  No matter how busy we were, if we were headed that way, we’d stop for a few minutes to see them.  Then, one day it must have spread its wings and flown away.

Most recently, we’ve been following the Decorah eagles and their three eaglets.  It’s been so exciting to watch them hatch and grow in the past few weeks.  Manu has affectionately named them the “Prettys”.  We’re looking forward to watching the babies learn how to fly.

This time of year (mid-March – mid-June) is known for the amazing raptor migration.  Dozens of raptors including eagles, falcons, vultures, and ospreys find temporary refuge atop Brockway Mountain (Copper Harbor) before they continue up the Keweenaw peninsula or as they venture across Superior.  Yesterday, we headed up to Brockway in hopes to see some of these birds.  The hawk counter up there told us we were a little too late and missed most of the traffic, but we were able to see a group of turkey vultures, some ravens, and a young bald eagle on the way back down.  We’re hoping to head up again during peak time which is late morning/early afternoon to get more action.  Here’s a link to more info. 

Here are some pics I took of a couple U.P. bald eagles (& a couple avid eagle watchers):   

Eagle starting to get bald


Using their new binoculars!

Eagle forgot to wipe its mouth after eating (or maybe saving for afternoon snack)

Eagle with frilled neck feathers

Crazy talons!!  Whatever it’s looking at, I feel sorry for it…


Eagle in flight

From the time I was young until now, it’s been more and more difficult to see caged birds.  There is something disturbingly unnatural about it.  After seeing so many magnificent birds flying free in the wild, I can only feel sorry for those birds who were either forced into captivity or those who never knew freedom.  If I could, I would put an end to all animal exploitation and commercialization.  Gets me sad just thinking about it…

I think there are few things in this world more beautiful than watching animals in their element.  And we have no one else but God to thank for that.  Do you see why I love living in the Yoop?

Trail Running at Hungarian

On Thursday evening, Dan and John came up from downstate to visit with us for the weekend.  We’ve enjoyed spending time with them.  We went to church this morning and then spent a few hours talking and hanging out.  But then, people started dropping like flies.  Right now, there are 8 people in this house and 6 of them are sleeping either in beds or crashed on the couches.  This is like deja vu from when I was a little girl and I would hate when everyone would be tired and take a nap except for me! 

So, to remedy this, I decided to post some pics from when Dan and I went trail running up through Hungarian Falls yesterday afternoon (while IR and John sat on the couch).  We saw a series of about 8 of the waterfalls during our run.  It was so awesome!  We had a great time exploring new trails and the falls are so amazing right now! 

The before picture…(this is like take 10)

Taking a breather to enjoy the view

Can you spot Dan?

It was freezing…literally.

We ventured over to the other side of the river and found some crazy steep falls that I never saw before!

We were glad that eventually we found our way back to where we started.  It was an awesome run! 


Dan, thanks for NOT being the “laziest man I know”!  haha!  I had a blast!

Now, I hope some of these people over here will wake up so we can play!!  🙂 

Meeting Mushers

On Wednesday, December 1st, we went to one of the free programs at our public library called, “Mushing in the U.P: A Family Experience”.  This mushing team from the UP shared with us about their lifestyle, training, and racing.  It was so inspiring to hear dedicated athletes who not only care so much about their amazing dogs, but have so much respect and appreciation for nature.  The team, which is co-ed, won 4th place in the Copperdog 150 which is an annual UP race.  They are currently training to race in the Iditarod which is a 1,150 mile dog sled race in Alaska. 

Some cool facts we learned:
– Mushers consider their dogs athletes.  From rest to training to diet, they only give them the best.  They start training as pups where they learn the mushing lingo.  But for this team, the dogs are family too.
– Many dogs wear booties during the races to prevent the pads on their feet from cracking.  Some snow can be very dry and suck all of the moisture from their pads.
– Sled dogs really love to run.  Mushers have a variety of ways to brake and sometimes need to resort to all of them.
– Each team on race day is required to have certain tools in their sled at all times.  This includes snow shoes, a stove, food, matches, and a sleeping bag among other things. 
– Most sled teams have many dogs that train.  But for races, they have their 1st string, 2nd string, etc. teams according to ability and leadership.  Their team has an older blind dog that is one of their strongest leaders!
– Apparently, very few things beat a moon-lit sled-dog run through a quiet trail in the woods.

They brought 2 of their 50 Alaskan huskies and at the end of their presentation took some of the kids on a dog sled ride on a trail by the library.  The dogs were so gentle and friendly!  Hard to imagine that they are such fierce competitors. 

We look forward to being spectators at next year’s Copperdog 150 which tours the Keweenaw Peninsula!  That race will be on March 4, 5, and 6, 2011. 

The leader of the Bauer team with 3 kids piled in front of the sled.  The 2 dogs pulled all of them with ease!

The 2 boys standing in front of the sled.

Here is a video clip of the memorable opportunity we had to meet and watch these mushers and sled dogs in action!

The Weather Outside is Frightful

I don’t think I’m a lazy person.  And I do think it’s “easy” for moms to be lazy.  There is just a ridiculous list of responsibilities that a stay-at-home mom has every day.  You got to be cook, maid, bathroom aide, wardrobe provider/stylist, barber, counselor & judge, librarian, chauffeur, nurse, playmate, a cow, and the one that encompasses them all, Mother.  Deciding to not wear one of those hats on any given day is easier done than said!  But in our daily struggles to stay motivated, God is always teaching us to overcome, to never settle, but to come up higher.  This is what I love about Him. 

In God’s Country, we have lots of snow, and I am not fond of letting the boys go outside to play.  It’s not so much that I’m afraid they will fall through a crevasse in the snow nor the fact that a coyote might come and steal them, although these two things are legitimate concerns.  It just takes way too much time and effort to get them bundled to go out.  Let me explain the grind:

– First, they would need to relieve themselves.  There is no way I am dressing them all up, if after 10 minutes, I have to peel it off for a potty break, and then dress them again…and then mop the house.
– Get dressed :  My kids are in PJs all day and night unless we go out.  And when we do, Micah insists on dressing himself, and he prides himself in putting everything on backwards and/or inside out.  From choosing an outfit to making the boys happy by having them match, it could take a while.
– Extra pair of long socks :  Whatever pants they are wearing gets tucked into the socks.
– Snow pants :  This is a water-proofing, snow-proofing necessity.
– Winter Boots :  These are high-tops and water-proof and they must fit a foot with double socks.  The boots should secure the tucked in pants from slipping out of the socks.  The inner layer of the snow pants with the rubber seam fits snugly over the boots.
– Winter Mittens :  We prefer mittens over gloves because they are much warmer.  Do you know how many times I need to readjust the mittens before getting their thumbs in the right slot?  
– Winter Coat :  This water-proof, insulated coat is hooded, zipped & buttoned, and the cinchable cuff velcro and wrap over mittens to hold them in place.
– Winter Hat/Scarf/Mask :  Regardless of what accessories we dress the boys in, they insist on matching…so we are often scrounging through our glove/mitten/hat/scarf tub.  If they decide to wear hats, they must also wear scarves.  If they go for their masks, then this is sufficient.  Their coat hoods go over their hats.
– Optional additions depending on how severe the weather and/or ezcema :  vasoline for their face, extra long johns under their clothes, and/or double mittens/gloves.

You think I’m ridiculous?  If a step is skipped, after one snow angel, we will hear complaints of being wet or cold.  With all that said, during the past few winters in the Great North, the times I’ve let the boys play in the snow are few and far between.  But I’m hoping this year will be different. 

I’m reading through Child Guidance again, and last week, I read the chapters called “The Book of Nature” and “Lessons from Nature”.  I should have known that I’d better get ready to make some changes.  Here are some points that spoke to me:

“The whole natural world is designed to be an interpreter of the things of God.”

“In the natural world God has placed in the hands of the children of men the key to unlock the treasure house of His Word.”

“The heart not yet hardened by contact with evil is quick to recognize the Presence that pervades all living things.  The ear as yet undulled by the world’s clamor is attentive to the Voice that speaks through nature’s utterances.”

” The glory of God is displayed in His handiwork.  Here are the mysteries that the mind will become strong in searching out.”

“Let the children learn to see in nature an expression of the love and the wisdom of God; …and all the events of life be a means of divine teaching.”

“Mothers…should not be so engrossed with the artificial and burdened with care that they cannot have time to educate their children from God’s great book of nature….  The character of God they may discern in His created works.”

These thoughts are remarkable.  We can trace every blade of grass, bird, animal, and tree that we see today back to the Garden of Eden where God spoke their original ancestor into existence.  Nature is a visible, tangible, audible link that we still have with our Creator.  Adam and Eve studied the mysteries of creation to learn more of God.  He still uses His creation to help us understand the character of God and His Word…even more so with children.  It will cause our minds to be strong.  It will teach us His wisdom.  It will cause us to hate sin.  It will make us love Him.  They are gifts!  And I shouldn’t be so engrossed with the artificial (indoors) and burdened with care that I don’t take my boys outside! 

I think it’s incredible how, despite all of the other burdens we carry, Jesus loves our children so much, that He doesn’t let up on us parents.  And being a Christian is a challenging journey.  There is always something new to learn and incorporate in our lives.  It also reminds me that time is running out.  We don’t have time to get comfortable.  Our children are growing before our very eyes, and the Lord is getting ready to return.  If taking an extra hour to take my boys outside will help them know Jesus more, I’m thinking it’s worth it.  Perhaps, I could just lose my mop hat altogether…or maybe I can just give it to Israel.