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Archive for 2010

Yay, Yay, Ashley’s Home!

by on Dec.17, 2010, under Ashley Bingle, Richard Bingle Family

Ashley arrived home from Calvin today to spend Christmas break with us! We are very happy she’s here!

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Give Thanks

by on Nov.25, 2010, under Richard Bingle Family

Sometimes when things don’t go our way, we don’t get what we want, or something truly bad happens in our lives it is hard to be thankful. Yet we as a people, a family, and as individuals are truly blessed. We live in a country that values freedom and liberty, has abundant access to the essentials of life, keeps us safe, and offers us opportunities for growth and for pleasure. We are surrounded by an extended family that loves and supports each other. We have the things we truly need and much of what we want.

We are so much more fortunate than much of the world’s, nation’s, and even our own towns’ populations. Let us give thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving!

— Rich

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Halloween 2010

by on Nov.25, 2010, under Richard Bingle Family

It seems that some updates on Bingle events are falling in the cracks, some much further than others, so I am attempting to “fill in” one of those cracks…

This year not only did Rich dress up (with some borrowed items from his friend DJ) for dress-down Friday (the one before the Halloween weekend) he was able to board a haunted pirate ship (a two-story elaborate façade obscuring most of the house) diagonally across from our church for a party later that day. Since members of our church own the house, the party was made up of their friends, business acquaintances, and some church members. Rich successfully hid in plain site for quite a while as our church pastor complimented his costume and approximately some 20 minutes later realized who he was. The ship was much more impressive in person but there is a short youtube clip hereof what it looked like in the daylight. At night it was lit up and had various moving parts, but you get the general idea. The amazing part is that this all folds down and stores nicely in the garage, so I’m told.

Ashley attended Calvin’s masquerade party as a “marooned sailor” (the key being the maroon shirt).

Amber and Alyssa decided that since they were too old for the Chick-fil-A costume contest they would just concentrate on our youth group party’s contest. In a decision between the two of them for the “most creative” category, Alyssa won that prize.

Pictures have been in the gallery for a while, but since most of us don’t search through the gallery to find new pictures in our spare time, I figured I should let you know they were there.


Now to start figuring out what we will be next year…

— Karen

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Wayne Swaisgood 3/31/1930 – 11/1/2010

by on Nov.02, 2010, under Wayne Swaisgood

Wayne Swaisgood passed away on Monday, November 1st, 2010.

Uncle Wayne always had a story to share, often from his childhood growing up on the farm in Ohio. We were blessed to be able to visit him often since we moved to Florida and he treated our girls as if they were his own grandkids.


He will be missed…

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Calvin College

by on Sep.03, 2010, under Ashley Bingle

Hello from the Great North… okay, from Grand Rapids, MI! I am currently at Calvin College, sitting in my third floor dorm in Bolt-Heyns-Timmer (359 is right near the corner of Heyns, farthest away from all the stairs/exits in my building…). I moved in on Monday for Passport IV, which is the last of the summer orientations before the entire Freshman class arrived on Wednesday for the real orientation. Quest is a three and a half day program for all the freshmen divided into 45 teams.

Mom and Dad helped me stack my furniture so there is room in a corner for the couch and next to the dresser for the fridge and TV. It feels pretty spacious to me, for the most part and I like being way up high in my bed. I even have a little shelf to sit on the corner of my bed and hold my alarm clock.

So far I have learned my dorm chant (We’re BHT born and we’re BHT bred, and when we die we’ll be BHT dead, so ra-ra for Bolt Heyns Timmer, ra-ra for Bolt Heyns Timmer, ra-ra for Bolt, Heyns, Ti-mmer, yeah!), which we will use on Chaos Day, next Saturday. I have also explored most of the exits for getting out of Heyns and Timmer, there is really no reason to go through Bolt or their basement yet, because I would need to go through the lobby and there is a straight path from the lobby to their other exit, so using it would not make much sense.

The kids from my orientation group will also constitute one of my fall classes (at least for the first seven weeks of the semester) and we have been bonding pretty well, with help from our OL (orientation leader), Steven. We have been having a fun time, generally, although some of the talks are not very interesting or helpful, we have had fun activities, like bowling with another group and The Great Ball Challenge (picture scavenger hunt/campus tour). I am going down in an hour, to meet my Quest group for dinner.

Last night we had a floor dinner, or at least tried to, before we did a bunch of activities with just our floor, our brother floor, the whole BHT dorm, and had a pizza party with all the freshmen. Now I know some of the girls on my floor a little better from hanging out with them then.

I have met most of the freshmen that are also planning to be Computer Science majors, though I only remember three of their names because I met them before the group get-to-know-you activity.

Tuesday is when classes start and I will have four and a half, SPAN 121, CS 108, CAS 190, PER 108, and IDIS 145 (Prelude, the half-semester night-course that meets once a week). I have all my textbooks and my planner and I am not sure what else to do to get ready, besides finding all the rooms they will be in, but I have two more free days to do that in, so I am feeling pretty prepared. We’ll see how that changes after my first classes.

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DR Mission Trip: July 31 – August 7

by on Aug.18, 2010, under Ashley Bingle

As part of their traditional summer schedule, our youth group sends students to FITS and Great Escape (which Amber and I attended back in 2008) as well as brings high schoolers on a week long mission trip. Previously, groups have gone to Tijuana and El Florido, Mexico, as well as Puerto Rico, but this year one of our leaders, Jessica Andes, used a contact she had with a college friend at Kids Alive to take ten students, 5 boys and 5 girls, to the Dominican Republic.

We traveled all day Saturday to get to Montallano (near Puerto Plata), where we were staying, and on Sunday we went to a Spanish speaking church in town. In the afternoon, we went to the beach as a nice rest before all the hard work the rest of the week at the Park Care Center in Caraballo.

Monday we split into teams that pulled wood off the hardened concrete supports in a block wall, pulled nails out of the wood to be reused, put the muddy black dirt back into the ditch dug to hold the wall upright, and moved rubble down into an area that was to become the pigpen.

Tuesday morning started off with the same jobs of moving rubble and dirt until we were told to drop what we were doing and bring all the shovels and pickaxes down to the river because a large container truck needed to get across to deliver playground equipment. When it had first arrived, early in the morning before we got there, it had gotten stuck trying to go up the steep incline where the road comes back up out of the water, so Brian (the Team Leader at Kids Alive) and two men and a boy from Carabello used our pickaxes to make the road flat enough for it to come across.

There are 94 pictures on the Kids Alive Flicker of our group and the shipping container, and you can see us all standing around watching them pickax. We felt kind of helpless then, but the hard work was still to come when we unpacked the completely full container into the cafeteria before having a late lunch and then heading to a different part of the river to swim, as a nice surprise break. The pictures show the different types of supplies that came with the playground equipment (which we found in the very back): desks, chairs, whiteboards, medical supplies, school supplies, and full backpacks.

If the truck hadn’t arrived, we had been expecting to work with concrete on Tuesday, but since we stopped work after we had finished with the container we went to work on concrete the next morning. The boys used the wheelbarrows to make a pile of 15 loads of gravel, 15 loads of sand, and 15 ninety-pound-bags of cement, which they helped one of the workers, Sandy, mix. While they did all the shoveling to make the pile, the girls sorted a bunch of the supplies from the container, and moved the medicine, hygiene products, backpacks, and food into some of the classrooms. When we finished, we took a short break, until we felt guilty, and went to help the boys with the concrete.

Because we were pouring a staircase on Wednesday, we needed to put the concrete into buckets, which were then lifted and poured by the boys and the workers. It was a very messy job, and our shoes and pants got very dirty, though our shirts stayed slightly cleaner.

Thursday morning three people got to help build the far end of the block wall, and the rest of us tied scrap pieces of re-bar into a rough grid for the foundation of the pigpen. When we were done tying the re-bar, everyone worked to shovel 20 loads of everything for more concrete, before we stopped for lunch. Sandy mixed the pile while we ate and played with kids for a little while. When we came back we began loading wheelbarrows and taking them along the winding, downhill path to the pigpen. Finishing that job took the rest of the day, but it was nearly the end of the hard work.

Friday morning one group pulled more nails from the wood we had used on the staircase, while another group sorted the wood with no nails in it, and I helped Jessica carry 100 concrete blocks to finish building the wall that had been left unfinished so we could unload the truck over it. Before lunch, we had an hour or two to play with the school kids in the yard, who were then given bags of food and sent home. Just before we headed back to the house, we moved all the backpacks again, into a van that would be taking them to Haiti.

That evening we took a trip to a different beach, which was much less crowded, for worship songs and some snacks. We stayed up a little extra late that night because our flight was in the afternoon so we had all morning to clean up, pack up, and rest up.

The plane only took us back to Miami, where Dad and another father picked us up so we could avoid an overnight layover. Our van made it back to church at exactly 11:30 PM, but the other vehicle stopped for gas, so they got in at midnight.

Even with all the hard work and not so much time to play with kids (though we probably rested a lot more than we realized), I had a lot of fun trying new things, like eating sugar cane, tying re-bar, riding in the back of a pick-up, and learning new things, like how to mix concrete, play frisbee baseball, and say “beautiful” in Spanish. We learned to live without many of our modern conveniences: no air conditioning, hot water, TV, cell phones, or internet, though we did have mice, ants, and lizards. We saw how well equipped the house we were staying in was by Dominican Standards: bars, glass, and screens in the windows, electricity (most of the time) and fans in the house, running water and purified water to drink. The Haitians living on one side of the village, were significantly less well off than the Dominicans right across the river, and we were told that living in the DR was a big step up than on the other side of the island, even before the earthquake. Still, all the people we came in contact with were proud of what they had, even while desiring better lives for themselves. We would ask little children what they liked to do and they would say, “play, learn, and work”. The trouble down there is a shortage of available occupations for the workforce and obstacles preventing higher education that would open more job opportunities. I am glad I had a chance to experience this adventure and get to know the people I shared it with. My memories of the Dominican Republic will stay with me for a long time.

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Foggy Goggles

by on Aug.10, 2010, under Donald Bingle, Donald Bingle Family

Yep, I’ve got another story coming out.  This one is called “Foggy Goggles” and it appears in Steampunk’d, edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg.

Steampunk is a science fiction niche that imagines that the future had occurred sooner, or to put it another way, that the tech of today had all been invented in the 19th Century and was powered by steam.  Wild, Wild West and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are among the movies that are often cited as being steampunky.  Certainly the collectible card game, Doomtown, and it’s rpg game companion, Deadlands, have steampunk elements, with a heavy dose of horror.

Anyhow, here is a picture of the cover:


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(Sea) Lions, Tiger (Sharks), and (Polar) Bears, Oh My!

by on Jul.15, 2010, under Richard Bingle Family

No, this post isn’t about a trip over the rainbow, but rather a recent visit to Sea World Orlando.

The wife of a friend from work is employed by Sea World and was gracious enough to offer to get us into the park a few weeks ago. While we had been annual passholders for a few years when the girls were younger, we hadn’t been to Sea World for several years and eagerly accepted the offer.

I won’t bore everyone with the gory details. Suffice it to say that we saw and did almost everything (including sea lions, tiger sharks, and polar bears) and stayed until the park closed. We all enjoyed the coasters (Kraken and Manta) and the shows (we saw them all at least once). Our favorite show was the night-time Clyde and Seamore sea lion show which spoofs all of the other shows you’ve seen that day at the park.

Since our visit to the park, the girls have taken to playing dolphin & trainer in the pool and we’ve all taken to nodding/shaking our heads vigorously to indicate yes/no (from a scene in the Clyde and Seamore show where a trainer accuses one of the sea lions of eating some fish and the accused sea lion emphatically denies he hasn’t (although he did) and the other sea lion confirms the accusation).

Thanks for the great day, Judy!

— Rich

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Gentlemanly Horrors of Mine Alone

by on Jun.18, 2010, under Donald Bingle, Donald Bingle Family

My story, Gentlemanly Horrors of Mine Alone, has been posted as the 9th story in NYT’s best-selling author Mike Stackpole’s Chain Story Project.  Each of the separate stories in the project is by a different author, begins in the setting of the Wanderers’ Club, and refers to the story before it.

To access the table of contents for the Chain Story Project, click here:

To go directly to my story, click here:

Please don’t repost the story anywhere, but feel free to post both links and/or tell your friends on Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal, LinkedIn or by email, newsletter, or Pony Express.  If you are tech savvy, you can also grab the boxed graphic links from my website.

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