Saturday, July 28, 2007

My Wonderful Husband

My wonderful husband got me two GREAT gifts for my birthday! They were late arriving from Amazon, so I didn't get them until yesterday, but they were DEFINITELY worth waiting for! He got me Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final book in the series that I have been DYING to get my hands on. I'm already halfway through it and it is GOOD!

He also got me A Thousand Splendid Suns, by the same author as The Kite Runner. I can't wait to get them both read! Thank you, my precious one!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Random Collection of Thoughts

I have a couple different thoughts that are entirely unrelated to each other, but when all put here together may turn out to be a post of some substance. So here goes:

Last Sunday for church, we visited Justin's sister's church: Fellowship Church in Knoxville, TN. It was a great experience - good music, great sermon, friendly people. The sermon was about Colossians 3:17, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." The preacher made a point about how the Church today has kind of made a division between "church life" and "real life." We think that the majority of our daily lives are aspiritual and have nothing to do with God, and then our worship comes on Sundays in church or serving in church activities throughout the week. But he used the Old Testament law to make a point that when God gave the law to Israel, it wasn't just laws about church and morality. It was laws about every tiny detail of life, including relationships, food, work, real estate, sex, society, etc. God wanted to be a factor in every part of their lives then, and looking at Colossians 3:17, it's clear that He still feels the same way today. So the thought that many of us have that we can't have a life of service to God unless we're employed by a church is bogus. God wants us to be godly businesspeople, godly teacher, godly garbagemen, godly waitresses, etc. AS WELL AS godly churchpeople. Just something to think about in my own attitude toward serving God and how I approach my daily life. If you're interested, you can listen to the sermon at the church link I posted above.

I've never really shopped at Old Navy. I've been there a time or 2 with other people, but never shopped there for myself. They didn't used to carry sizes big enough for me. But now I've lost some weight, and several friends emphatically recommended that I should stop in and check out their clearance racks because you can find some good deals on cute clothes. So yesterday I went to Old Navy with my friend Charity, and I bought a really cute sweater for $4.34 including tax! Yay for Old Navy and shopping at new places!

We are now less than one week away from leaving for Moldova! People keep asking me if I'm nervous about it, and remarkably the answer is no. I'm calm and confident, I just really have great expectations for this season. Justin is losing some sleep over details, but God has shown Himself so faithful in answering our prayers. We'd still appreciate your prayers for our safety and for all our details to be worked out upon arrival - especially getting our 6-month work permits and finding housing. We've heard about one housing situation that sounds ideal, so we're hoping that will work out for us - Check the Moldova blog for more details about that once we arrive.

So I think that's all I have for the moment. I'll try to post on here at least one more time before we leave!

Edit: I remembered a couple other random thoughts I meant to put in this! So I'll add them here at the end.

We visited the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN, and I learned a lot about WWII history and the development of the nuclear bomb. I had no idea that was all done in Tennessee, just a few hours south of where I grew up! Very enlightening for me, although I hope not in a radioactive way... In the lobby of that museum, though, there are some little puzzles and brainteasers - take these 6 shapes and fit them together to make a square. I've always been good at this kind of thing, and so I solved them without a whole lot of trouble. My father-in-law, who is an engineer, was very impressed by this and said I should've been an architect because of my apititude for abstract thinking. Wow. Thanks!

One of Justin's and my favorite things to do is visit used bookstores. You never know the treasures you can find in used bookstores! We just got back from visiting Mr. K's Used Books & CDs in Oak Ridge, and I found 2 books that I've been looking for a long time (The South Beach Diet in paperback and Captivating by John & Staci Eldredge) for $10 total! But I digress. For the past several weeks, we've been scouring every bookstore we came across for a Romanian-English dictionary to help me learn the language. We eventually gave up and bought them online. But I digress again. Earlier this week we were in Barnes & Noble in Knoxville, and I was looking in the foreign language section trying to find anything to help me learn Romanian. I struck out, but I noticed a book on the shelf that looked like it was written by "Harrius Potter." I wondered if maybe this was someone trying to write a book as if they were Harry Potter, but the name was copyrighted so they used something close? But then I picked it up and "Harrius Potter" was actually the title of the book. So I flipped it open and the text was definitely in a language that I don't know. The inside flap, though, was in English, and I discovered that this was actually the first Harry Potter book translated into Latin. Then I looked back at the shelf I had gotten it from, and there were several other children's books translated into Latin, including Green Eggs & Ham. What is this about? Where is the market for children's books in Latin? Isn't Latin a dead language? I'm very confused by all of this... Does anybody else have any thoughts?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Stayin' Alive

Whew! It's been a whirlwind week, and now I'm finally getting a chance to slow down and breathe. I can't believe it's only been 8 days since we left Texas. It feels like 8 weeks! Our driving went really well - many thanks to all who prayed for us! It was REALLY easy drafting behind a U-Haul for 700 miles. Justin's the one who had it hard up in the truck, but I was just sailing along listening to my book on CD. (I highly recommend The Kite Runner, but it's very heavy and serious. Not a light read. I still learned a lot about the history and culture of Afghanistan, and it was a thought-provoking story.)

We spent 3 days in Kentucky at Justin's parents' house. We went out on their pontoon boat in the lake, did some unsuccessful fishing, and ate a LOT of yummy homemade food! The day we arrived, Justin's dad filled up his smoker with venison, dove, turkey breast, turkey sausage, and beef, and we managed to finish off most of it by the end of the 3 days.

Thursday we drove up to Chicago to visit my extended family. My grandparents, 4 aunts and uncles, and their families all came in to spend a few days together - it was a bonafide family reunion! I think we had about 25 people total, including all the children. Friday we went to downtown Chicago and spent a while at Navy Pier, visited a chocolate cafe called Moonstruck.
Saturday we drove to Racine, Wisconsin and went to the zoo there, then had a birthday/pool party at our hotel for one of my younger cousins. Sunday we drove to Willow Creek for church, and we met up with some college friends, Paul and Tara, for lunch. Paul is working at Willow as an intern, so we were excited to have this chance to see them again - I hadn't seen Tara since graduation in 2002! Then we drove back to Cincinnati, where my parents and sister live, and we'll spend this week here with them just relaxing a little bit and enjoying family.

Can you believe that in all of that action, I never took ONE SINGLE photo?! I'm a horrible person. My sis took some pictures, so hopefully I can steal some of hers and post them for your entertainment. My nephews are precious and wonderful, and I look forward to the next couple of days with them. They both have colds which I seem to have caught. But I slept about 12 hours last night and I'm feeling much better today.

On an entirely different note, we have started our Moldova blog! I'll keep posting on this one until we leave for Moldova on August 1st, and then I'll post only on that one. Keep this one on your links, though, because I'll come back to this one after our stint in Moldova!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

An Amazing Gift

I just had to post on here about the wonderful gift I received today! Today was the last day that both of my bosses and me would all be in the office together. So they took me out to lunch at Pei Wei (yum!), and they gave me this precious gift. They said it was from them, and also the choir at the church where I work took up a collection to buy me a gift to show their appreciation for all I've done for them in the past 2 years. As if that wasn't already super sweet, the gift they got me is gorgeous! It's a beautiful gold and silver cross necklace made by the renowned jeweler James Avery. I am so touched at this gift! Not only is it sweet and thoughtful, but it's also beautiful - something I would pick out myself. I've really been touched by everyone's sweet expressions of appreciation to me, telling me how much I've meant to them in my time here. It's nice to know you can affect someone's life for the better in the short time you have with them. I pray I can touch people the same way in Moldova!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Goodbyes Are Hard

Yesterday was our last Sunday to go to our wonderful church, and it was so hard saying goodbye! This church has meant so much to me in my walk with the Lord and growth in worship. I can't imagine ever finding a church home like this one. I almost lost it hugging the Music Minister goodbye, but thankfully I managed to keep it together.

But I know I will lose it altogether when I have to say goodbye to my dear LifeGroup. They threw a goodbye party for us last night, which was sweet and wonderful. Here's the crowd that was there:
From left: Clay (wife Michelle was working), Robert & Mollie, Matt & Rachel (with baby Kezia), Zack & Gretchen, Justin & me, Andrew & Shelly, and David & Michelle.

Thankfully, they are such wonderful friends that most of them will be helping us load up our truck Saturday afternoon, so last night wasn't goodbye. However, they have been such dear friends to us, and walked down this road with us in the first two years of our marriage and surviving grad school. How hard to leave them now! But I know that the Lord has more in store for our future and for theirs, and thankfully I know that this goodbye is only temporary, for we will all dance together on those golden streets for all eternity! So although this goodbye is a grief, we don't have to grieve as those who have no hope... Blessed be the name of the Lord!