Manhattan Over The Years


I checked out a few books on Manhattan History at the library and then I began to notice places around town that were still similar to the old photographs. As I’ve been in the areas I took these photos see how they have changed over the years.

The old photo at the Zoo is from 1980, the sign has been updated and the zoo has expanded, but the location is still the same.


This is Varney’s Book store in Aggieville (out of habit I often call is Aggieland). Guy Varney first opened the bookstore back in 1890, yep 123 years ago. It shows up in photos of the town everywhere. It’s kinda like watching Back to the Future as you see the same family name over many generations. So the first photo is from the 1940s and the following one is from earlier this week.

Aggieville 1940and2013




This one is a similar shot of Varney’s from a different angle. First on is from 1930s, second from this week.


I split it here to kinda get a picture of where the old and new meet.

#aggieville today and 1930s. #manhattanks

Snap Shots: Late August 2013

From time to time I find we have photos that don’t have a them, they are just Snap Shots of life. So here are a few recent snapshots.

I took this because A. Laura looked beautiful, but also B. Her dress matched her cup perfectly.

Laura's dress matches her coffee cup.


Sadie Piper showing off her monkey bar skills. Pre-school workout.

Little AM Jungle Gym

I use the board to draw masterpieces such as this Orbit (Astros Mascot)

My Magnum Opus. #astros #mlb #baseball #houston

Cutest thing ever


I went on my first gravel road bike rides with the owner Big Poppi’s (local bike shop). It was a great time, it ended in Fort Riley near their Artillery Range.

First Gravel Road Ride #manhattanks #littleapple

I tried to teach Beckham some Greek one day, he likes the fish letter, also know as an Alpha.

When your dad is a pastor, after practicing spelling words for school, he tries to teach you Greek too!

Every morning we ride our bikes to the kid’s school to drop them off, Andria came over and joined us for the ride one day.

One more for the ride to school today.

Afterwards we went in search of a middle east town I’ve been told exist on Fort Riley, it was too hot to make it all the way, plus the gun shots and being on wrong side of danger sign was a bit concerning.

Tried to take these three on an adventure into Fort Riley this morning. The gun shots a mile in scared them back to civilization. #manhattanks

Laura pointed out that this sign only secures the school is safe from bullies on Fridays.

That's good to know except I just sent my kids to class and its Monday...

Girl is too independent for our liking, she wants to walk herself in, but we take her anyway. Becks on the other hand would prefer we stay all day.

Here is Big Poppi’s. Great shop.


This girl is loving school school so far. #manhattanks



With Annie and Emily in town we joined a sorority.

So pumped to join a sorority with @annie_prins @jdunning74 @emilypreston7

Ke$ha at Pi Phi

This is our adventure walk.

A bit past the "Danger Do Not Enter" sign. #manhattanks

I found some glasses on the street and wore them to see if I look more hipster like.


These are from our Snack breaks at cemetery.


Cemetery Snack Time

Found Sam and Nicola on campus today. I love the look on the girl’s face in the background.

Please, anyone, tell me what is going through the head of the girl in the background. #kstate #ksu

Boo after church Sunday Asked if we could never ever go to that church again. I asked her why and she said, “Cause they didn’t give me a snack.”

Boo: Can we never ever go back to that church? Me: Why? Boo: Cause they didn't feed me a snack. #wheredidwegowrong

Girl failed to take Jammies off before putting real clothes on.

I forgot to brush her hair. I forgot to tell her to put on shoes. I forgot to remind her to take OFF her jammies before dressing. But she did remember her sunglasses all by herself! #youngestchild

Laura saw this sign today.

Gave me a good giggle! #collegetown

We found the Big 12 Trophies!

Annie and Abandoned Bear were cuddle buddies

First Manhattan Trail Ride

First Linear Ride today. Found a train track that crossed the Blue River #manhattanks #kansas #littleapple @kansasphotos

Today I took my first ride on the Linear Trail, it’s the Manhattan Equivalent of the Indian Creek Trail in Johnson County. I’m thankful it exist, there are nine miles and a couple are paved, but most are the same crushed limestone of the Katy Trail. However, it did leave me missing the whole Indian Creek Trail system.

I’m always shocked people don’t take more advantage of that trail system in Johnson County, it is amazing. So the maiden voyage on the trails here was a good experience, here are some pictures from it. Above is some tracks that go over the trial.

To get to the trail I must descend a huge hill mountain that our house is on until I reach this trail.

I was disappointed to learn it wasn’t a loop and required some crazy riding through town to make into a loop. Most of the trail is on the top of a levee that protects the town from the Kansas River.

This is a suspension bridge for bikes and pedestrians

Manhattan has hollywood style letters on a hill, during my ride across town I visited the letters which are next to this water tower. In response to Manhattan, NY being called The Big Apple, Manhattan, Kansas is referred to as The Little Apple (thus the apple on the sign)

On the way ride I followed these mountain bike trails that lead me through the most mosquito infested rainforest like places I’ve ever been. It’s like the roaming plagues of nats times 10 so I kept riding fast.

This is below the now cement bridge, It intrigued me because of how many bridges had been built and torn down in history for that many support beans to be down there.

Also finally broke out the Wiffleball today, now it feels like home.

Finally got the #Wiffleball out after school today. #manhattanks #sunsetzoo

Chris is in town early and had his birthday today away from home so we had him over for dinner and Chocolate molten lava cake.

His first birthday away from home in Manhattan. Girls insisted he wear the hat.


A soldier, @tompkins_david made this threat against me today. Looks a bit like Sadie Piper's handwriting.

As I rode through town I was impressed by how much people are obsessed with K-State, logos are everywhere.

Wildcats everywhere in #manhattanks #littleapple #ksu #kansasstate

My trusty Surly Cross Check.

K-State Fan Appreciation Day

Laura and I graduated from Texas A&M and we loved it. Loved the community, the sports, the campus, everything. So it’s a little weird supporting a different university. With A&M’s move to the SEC last year it certainly makes this easier.

Kansas State University is also very similar to to A&M. Both were established as a result of the Morrill Act of 1862. K-State was the very first of these Land Grant Schools being established in 1863 when a private Methodist school Blue Mont Christian College was turned into a public university. Texas A&M wasn’t established until 1876.

Anyway, K-State has made it fairly easy to become a fan, this town loves the university and the teams are very welcoming to the community. Saturday evening they opened up their practice to the public and then let everyone down on the field to meet players and get autographs. The Dunnings and Beckham and I attended.

#10 from Houston, Donnie Starks is my new favorite player! #ksu #kstate #wildcats

I was wearing and Astros hat which stood out a bit in a sea purple. Donnie Starks #10 above stopped me to ask if I was from Houston since he is from there as well. Very nice guy and they all posed for this picture with Beckham.

Becks with Jake Waters. #ksu #kstate #wildcats

We’ve learned quickly with Collin Klein graduating last year there is a Quarterback Controversy. Beckham had his football signed by both of them. Above is Jake Waters who according to the guy in line behind us is most likely to start. He also added, “but Snyder is likely to go crazy old man and put in a 3rd stringer no one knew existed just to catch everyone off guard.”

Also Daniel Sams, both really nice dudes. #ksu #kstate #wildcats

This is Daniel Sams who is the other option. He wasn’t looking in this picture, but did right after this and my phone messed up. He was really kind to Beckham which made them both easy to root for this year.

And Becks scored a touchdown assuming its still one foot in for college football. #ksu #kstate #wildcats

The field was open to us and Beckham and I played a bunch of football. Catch, chase, tackle. Below is a video of Becks scoring a touchdown and of his tackling a dummy.


After we got home Beckham told me he needed Purple flip flops.

Here is Bill Snyder, line to meet him was insane so we just took a photo.

Manhattan Week One

Weird moment

July 31st 2013.

That’s the day we actually moved. That’s the day we woke up from our pipe dream to learn it wasn’t a dream at all.

That’s the day we wondered what we had just done to our lives.

God willing that is a day we look back on and say God has been faithful to build His Church and we have been blessed to watch Him do so.

Anyway, we’ve taken pictures this first we week like we always do. I know we take a ton of photos. I post a ton, I just love experiencing life and watching our kids and youth and others do so as well. Plus everything is better in photographs than they were in real life. Photos are even better than video for great memory purposes. Trust me: Go look back at old photos and tell me it doesn’t bring back great memories. So here are pictures of our first week in Manhattan.

The Creecy’s watched the Crazies so we could come up early and do some basic house readying. So Laura and I drove out of KC on the evening of July 31st. It was really sad, this idea that an era or an epic in our life had just closed. Not that the relationships had closed, but the place we had at Redeemer which was so much a part of our identity. Who we were was suddenly no more and we still don’t fully grasp we are now. The photo above we took of ourselves as a later reminder of the moment we God brought us to this new calling and adventure.

After that we ate at Taco Lucha, seriously the best tacos I’ve had outside of Mexicali, Mexico. We snuck into our new home and did some floor cleaning while talking with some people whom the owners had sent to clean the house as well.

After that we headed for Fort Shanahan, also known as home base. After that our faithful movers of Rudy, Chris, Sam, Zach and Dunning moved stuff while Tim Rackley did some carpentry work allowing for our fridge to fit.

The rest of the photos are not really in chronological order, but are from our first week here.

First time we had a room together so that we could read together.

Did a little Thrift Storing, Becks has two heads.

Sadie Piper found a horse to ride.

Berkley is pumped about this flower, she tried to pick it.

Brian: Berkley shut the door

Berkley: I don’t know how to

Brian: Try your best

Here are the results

Saturday we took our inaugural bike ride. We headed down to Varsity Donuts.

Took our inaugural bicycle ride today. Went to Varsity and City Park. #manhattanks #littleapple #varsitydonuts

Found this sign at the park. I simply do not understand the point of it.

I used this sign to understand what Becks is communicating to me. #manhattanks

On our last night at Redeemer we were encouraged by so many loving and kind words regarding our seven years of ministry there. At the end the elders prayed over us, I don’t have a picture of this, but I’m glad Hat took one.

Last dinner in town at the Reymonds. These two middlest were having a great time.

Since Summer was coming to an end we’ve felt tugged between get the house into some order and go have fun with kids in this new environment. Becks has been wanting to go fishing so went to the Rocky Ford Fishing Area. It is like 2 minutes outside of town, but feel like 100 miles away from civilization.

and we caught a bass

Same Bass

Hat had some much needed down time with Becks.

Few days after we arrived the Dunnings came providing some fun partners for kids.

Girl’s room is not done yet, but here is where they sleep for now.

We didn’t have a functioning kitchen for awhile so we ate out a few times. It’s been years since eating at Long John Silver’s. It will be years before we eat there again. It tasted good, but the grease can be a bit overwhelming.

This was the toilet seat the house came with.

Amy showing her love for Manhattan.

Jon making a chalk board wall while Andria scrubs some nasty black stuff off the floor.

The day we moved stuff into our house was also Presbytery. We hosted it. Which in this case meant Tim Rackley worked his butt off to organize a worship service and make bulletins and such. God willing next August when we host it we will actually host it.

I love this picture because the three of us have been talking about his moment happening for years. We didn’t know it would be the three of us standing on the rock back then, but couldn’t be more excited that it is.

This is the outside of our home. I plan to agent orange that bush.

Some friends who are totally worthy of accolades that I won’t give here 🙂 bought us a year pass to the zoo behind our house. We are very thankful and so excited about this. Sadie Piper’s favorite zoo animal is the “Ramingos” (Flamingos). She’s never been able to get this close to them before and was pumped.

These things are near the kangaroos, thought they made a good background.

Close up of same picture


Have I mentioned how great these Tacos are? After Presbytery Ubuntu, Tim and I had lunch with the youth directors of Oak Hills (Connor) and New Hope (Zach). It’s so wonderful to see these guys ministering in our presbytery.

The Zoo had a splash day going on when we walked over. One part of that was the mermaid that was present. She said she had been sitting there for nearly five hours (made we wonder how clean that water was).

The entrance.

At the cemetery we  recreated this picture that Andria and Morgan had taken a few months back.

Hat helped stain the kitchen table Laura bought on Craigslist. Our old one wouldn’t fit right in new house.

Here is Berkley full of joy. (Maybe someone accused her of stealing rhubarbs)

These two just looking cute while we fished.

Dorks being dorks.

The girls put on a dance show in the midst of the mess.

Boo Cuddling with the bear Carolyn got them.

This bear is getting fresh with Berkley, good thing the cemetery is close by..

First story time in new house.

It's good to be back together!

This is Beckham’s new principal, Nancy Cole. She was really really nice and from Texas (guess that is redundant).

Beck ham & Sadie Piper's new principal at Lee Elementary, Nancy Cole. She's from San Antonio Texas :-) and very kind! Unfortunately they are the Lee Longhorns.

Dunning with giant sling shot.

Link off to save Zelda

Berkley asked us if she looked like a statue and then did this. Hat can also make crazy eyes.


This is Tim. He is totally that guy who when he sees littering or graffiti or trash can blown over he immediately blames teenagers. He even acts like he is grouchy, but if you ever were in trouble or jail or needed a hand with anything he is also the first guy you’d call cause you know he would help. He did some carpentry and installation work for us the day we moved in that we never could have done ourselves. We were accidental twins on this day. Roxie Vos even taught him to dance the Macarena.


Here I am pondering how work gets done while eating some pizza.

That’s also the window they took off cause Laura wanted a couch that wouldn’t fit in any doors.

"Moving is hard work. How are we getting all this done so quickly?" -Brian Hough.

Since we “hosted” Presbytery meeting (it’s a gathering of all the PCA churches elders in a region for prayer and business stuff) we took them out to Aggieville (fantastic name of street with bars and food and stuff near campus, think north gate but bigger).

Fellowship in Manhattan

That’s all.

Best Realtor Ever? Andrew Kneisler


Whatever I tell you about Andrew Kneisler next will fail to rightly explain how pleased Laura and I were to have him as our realtor. If we are honest, we have never really trusted realtors in general. We still don’t, but we trust Andrew.

We bought our home in Olathe in October of 2006. Then the housing market took a bit of a dip and when it came time to sell this Spring it was worth considerably less than we bought it for. In the hope that we might get out of it without losing money we tried to do For Sale by owner for a few weeks.

That wasn’t one of our best ideas. What in the world do we know about selling a house? Or negotiating? That’s neither of our gifts.

Enter Andrew. We had met with him before we decided to do By Owner, and knew if this didn’t work that we would list with him. But here’s the deal: he was willing to give advice and guidance even before we listed with him. He’s not a salesman, or actually he is, he’s an excellent one, but he doesn’t come across as the pushy or slimy or selfish. Cause he’s not those things. He prayed for us, encouraged us, he had our back.

Practically, he’s everything you would want in a realtor. He’s the easiest person ever to get in touch with. And not his office or an assistant. Him. He answers questions straight forward. (We often asked him to “explain that like we are 6th graders”…and he did!) We always always knew what was going on, but weren’t beat down by details, he handled all that. He’s an optimist. He’s also been doing this a long time. He’s seasoned, but not calloused. We had some intense negotiations, but he problem solved. He was at our house any time we needed him to be there for repairs or questions. In short, he was 100% engaged!

So, do we EVER want to sell a house again? No, God-willing. But if we do, we are calling Andrew!!

Here is his website if you ever need a realtor in Overland Park, Olathe or anywhere near Johnson County, we can’t recommend him more highly!


First Day of School at Lee Elementary

This year is a new school experience for our family. Up until now our children have attended Heritage Christian Academy which had it’s benefits and perks. I loved having lots of access in the classes as a Pastor of Redeemer. I loved that there was prayer initiated by teachers in classrooms and a time of chapel during the week. There was certainly safety having our children at HCA that made us comfortable. We are thankful for the opportunity we as a family had by being involved at Heritage. Mrs. Preston, Mrs Hensarling, Mrs Cox and Mrs Williams all played a huge role in the discipleship of our children and we simply think they are amazing.

This year we are getting involved in the Manhattan Public School, which also excites us. Laura and I both attended public school growing up and God used friendships with Christians in the public school to bring me into His Church where I heard the Gospel proclaimed and the Word taught on a regular basis.


So this morning we began this new adventure at Lee Elementary School. It’s named after Mary Lee who was the Manhattan Librarian during the early 1900s. Unfortunately their mascot is a Long Horn, yes, like a UT Longhorn. hiss.

The school is very diverse which gives us a chance to learn so much about various cultures we simply don’t know. I think this will better prepare us for eternity with people from all the nations. Last year the majority of Sadie Piper’s class was cute little blonde haired girls, this year she is the only child with blonde hair. You can see Lee’s Demographics here, I’d compare to HCA, but private schools don’t reveal their demographics.

If I’m honest, we are all a little out of our comfort zone, but couldn’t be more excited to be used of God to be a Gospel witness here. We also think our children will flourish. We see this as a discipleship tool. It’s like getting into the pool with our children as they learn how to swim. They will sink, but we are their to keep them from drowning. I want them to know unbelievers, for us to pray for them, to serve them, to give to them, to even learn from them. I want them to understand temptation when I’m still there to help them think through it through the lens of Scripture.

But we know it won’t be easy and I know many have very strong ideas about education and think we are idiots for being involved in public school. We’re not offended by those views so feel free to keep trying to persuade us otherwise. But I also ask that you pray for us, pray for God’s wisdom, to our being diligent in the God given responsibility to disciples these Crazies. Pray that God would bring us into relationships that show His grace to those who need it, namely, everyone. One book the Dunning recommended that has been great so far is Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public School. I highly recommend it to anyone who may benefit from it.

The rest of this post is a little lighter. Below is the school from the outside.


This is Mr Perez, Beckham’s 2nd Grade teacher. He’s got 15 boys and 9 girls in his class so pray for him and his student teacher whose name we haven’t learned yet.

Mr. Perez is Beck's second grade teacher. Beckham you can see is nervous about school please pray for  God to use that anxiety to make him rest more in Christ.

On the right is Sadie Piper’s Kindergarden teacher Mrs McCormick, on the left is Ms Johnson her student teacher. Pray for them as they care for and teach this class of new students.

On right is Sadie Piper's teacher, Mrs McCormick. On left is student teacher Ms Johnson. #manhattanks

All the crazies enjoying cookies provided by the PTO

Back to School Night. Both gave really kind teachers and PTO hands out cookies.  Praise God. #manhattanks

How We Get To and From School Now:

One perk of public school is how close schools are. One mile in our case. But the route by car is kinda awkward so we found an alternate route. Here is how we got home today.

Step One: Ride bike through neighborhood.


Step Two: Ride bike through cemetery.


Step Three: Beckham chases deer through the cemetery (I magnified them so you could see).

Beckham Deer Chase

Step Four: Ride down dirt road


Step Five: Ride into Zoo


Step Six: Home Sweet Home.


Call Hall Ice Cream

We’ve been fixing up our 1956 built house this past week and on advice have been getting to know the town with our kids. It’s been great meeting people and just learning what our new home is like.

On the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan is Call Hall Dairy Bar. In it is fresh cow meat, eggs, free range eggs, milk and special Call Hall made ice cream.

It’s really really good. Like I’d rather have it than Blue Bell with the exception of their vanilla. That can’t hold a candle to Blue Bell’s homemade vanilla. Now to be fair Blue Bell has to be shipped where as this is made in the Dairy Bar. Just know that it is good and pretty cheap for out to eat ice cream.


Here is what we all got

Brian – Purple Pride (Blueberry best I can tell)

Laura – French Almondine

Beckham – Candy Crunch

Sadie Piper – Vanilla (always vanilla)

Berkley – Mint Chocolate Chip

Everything has the Power Cat logo on it.

Here’s how you get there from our experience.

Step One: Drive onto campus

Step Two: Roll down window

Step Three: Ask anyone where Call Hall is

Step Four: Follow those directions

Step Five: Enjoy


Finally here is a complete list of flavors, they rotate them so you can’t always get everything. The girls working there said Irish Cream is the best one. It wasn’t available that day though so we’ll definitely be back.

Lowfat Vanilla
16% Vanilla
After Dinner Mint
Apple Dapple (spiced apples & caramel fudge)
Black Cherry
Blueberry Cheesecake
Butter Brickle
Butter Pecan
Candy Crunch
Caramel Cash
Cherry Cheesecake
Cherry Nut
Chocolate Brownie Delight
Chocolate Chip
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Chocolate Chip Mint
Chocolate Chocolate Chip
Chocolate Malt Chip
Chocolate Razz
Chunky Vanilla
Coconut Fudge
Cookies and Cream
Eggnog (seasonal)
Espresso Ecstacy
Irish Cream
Leaping Lemon
Mint Fudge Swirl
Peach (seasonal)
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Nut
Peanut Butter Cup
Praline Pecan
Pumpkin (seasonal)
Purple Pride (Blueberry)
Strawberry Cheesecake
Swiss Chocolate Almond
Wild Thing