Browsing the blog archives for July, 2011.

The Crew


I’m still not exactly sure how the four of us all ended being “hang out with each other every night of the weekend” friends.  But that of course was the old days.  These days we’re scattered, across the country really, and our visit are few and far between.  But we still know how to act like teenagers and stay up till the wee hours of the morning when we gather.

God has blessed me incredibly with such good friends.  The best kind of friends, really.  And they’re not limited to these four, but this post is limited to them.

We started our weekend with a picnic by the river.  Andrew and Sierra chased away the geese anytime they got close.

We went to the Italian Gelateria in memory of our trip to Europe.  Incidentally, none of the people on this picture (save me) were in Europe.  One was on the other side of the camara, one was at the other end of the crowded room, and one had left our presence already (sniff, sniff).

This picture is here to make you think we went sailing all weekend.  We didn’t.  I hope to say that some day, though.

The crew minus Jay and Jolynn who had taken the train out to be with her family

There’s Marie – the practical, down-to-earth, easy to-talk-to one.

Jolynn – the impulsive, fun-loving, inspiring one.

Monica – the sensitive, caring, good-listening one

& then there’s Mary Jane – the one who has way more life experince then any of us.  The one who advised us on husbands.  We all ended up with pretty good men, too.  :)   She feels so much older and wiser (probably cause she is) and we always love to hear her opinion on a matter, be it chuch, husbands, hard things, etc.

Sierra gets acquainted - or is she dancing - with the manaquin.

And maybe I should say something about the husbands.  I’m so thankful that the husbands enjoy each others company.  They all come from different backgrounds, except for the two brothers, but they seem to like gathering as well.  I have to say that they are all men truly after the heart of God.  That was Mary Jane’s first qualification for our husbands.  Another one was “good with finances”.  I think most of our men are Dave Ramsey followers or something equally as radical.  check.

A lovely child, this one is.

I’m so thankful for the friends God has blessed me with.  They’re friends that challenge and inspire me.  They’re friends that fight for me and care.  They’re friends that pursue God and THAT is what makes the friendship so worthwhile.


About the Town


Duane’s Nephew, Tracy, was here for a week and so we had an excuse to get out and enjoy the city.  Not that we need an excuse to do that, but somehow when we have visitors we’re more motivated.

We biked the river loop (my name for the route that goes up one side of the schuykill and down the other) the one night.  We were biking on the woodsy, parkish, west side and I commented to Tracy that you can almost forget you’re in the city.  He thought it looked totally city.  His perspective was that this is city because cities have parks.  My perspective is – grass, trees=country.  It was a lovely ride, though.

Saturday morning we went out and enjoyed Old City.  Old City Pizza for lunch, Old City T-shirts for souveniers, Ben Franklin’s stomping grounds, and staring at the British and American soldiers at the Mall.

Two of Duane’s cousins came to visit Saturday afternoon and joined us (along with a bunch of church friends) for fireworks at Race Street Pier.

Me and my peoples.  Love how Maria is holding pretty tightly to the watermelon.

And this would be the relatives – Nephew Tracy, Nephew Eugene, Cousin Bernerd, Cousin Larry, Cousin Rosalyn, and Cousin of the cousin Colleen.  :)

Our view of the bridge from the pier.

And this would be the crowded Race Street Pier.  Shannon, Duane, & I were discussing our strategies of escape, should a stampede happen.  But someone pointed out that we’d probably be at the safest place since we were at the complete opposite end of the opening to the street.

And we oohed and ahhed over the fireworks like we always do.  It was a pretty good show.

We had a block party Sunday.  Quite interesting.  Met a few more neighbors.  Could have gained 10lbs if we’d accepted all the food the neighbors were offering.

We ended the weekend with a walk on Kelly Drive Sunday night with some good friends who we haven’t had the chance to be with much lately due to crazy schedules.  Was a good end to a fun packed weekend.

And today, the actually Independance Day, we feel like doing absolutely nothing.  We’re chilling in the AC.  I might convince Duane to go for a walk or bike ride with me yet, but books and AC sound pretty inviting tonight.

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SSD 40


It all started. . .  way long ago.  Eight years ago for Duane I believe, but only 2 1/2 for me.  I read the book that started it all for Duane – Inside Out that winter.  We also watched The Soul Care Experience video series that winter.  Brother-in-law, Jason, had been at SSD 30 something, the previous fall.  And our hearts were stirred to attend ourselves.  Then, that summer I met the author and his wonderful wife by complete surpise at work.  They were looking for some good food and I was in the business of serving good food.  A couple emails and two years later. . .

"I want to talk about what it might mean for us to turn our chairs toward each other and pour out the life in our hearts into our brothers and sisters, and to let them pour into us." -L Crabb

And for a week, under the teaching of Larry Crabb, in the presence of an incredible group of believers, we attempted to “turn our chairs”.  I was so blessed by so many people that week.

When asked to share our “red dot” the first evening, my mind when into a tailspin.  See, my “red dot” at the moment, wasn’t very pretty.  It was three weeks to the day, that Duane’s mom had passed away, and I was pretty much a mess.  I tried to think of something less messy to share about, but nothing was coming together, because the fact was, I was a mess that night.  But in the middle of that mess, I was hopeful and so at peace, as well.  A paradox, if you don’t know Jesus.  That night, I was at a place of extreme grief and sorrow, but also hopeful about life, because we had just had one of the most encouraging weekends with some dear friends in Atlanta.  So that’s kinda what spilled out that night in a few short sentences.  Later on at break, Larry said to Duane and I, “this is gonna be a good week for you guys”, and even more hope settled in a place deep in my soul.

And yep, he was right.  It was a good week.  If I wanted to, I could “data dump” on here, but it would be pointless, cause half of it probably wouldn’t make sense.  So instead, I shall highligh a few of my favorite moments.

-There was the one breakfast I shared with a dear lady who “heard” my story and understood.  And who cared for me enough to tell her story.

-Then there was the lady who literally teared up when Duane & I told her the story of his mom’s sickness and death.  Her tears somehow validated my pain.  Not that I needed it validated, but confirmed that, yes, we did go through something very difficult and worthy of many tears.

-My spiritual director whom I want to move into the house next door.  I want to be around her more.  She stirred up good stuff inside of me.  And goodness, she could read me.  Maybe I wear it all on my face.  But I did really enjoy being in her presence.

-Larry & Rachael Crabb.  I loved the classes – seeing him interact with people.  The small little moments of personal interacting that Duane and I had with him.  And his beautiful wife, Rachael.  I loved sitting at the same table at meal times with her and hearing her tell stories.

-Campfire night.  Up on a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley.  Gorgeous sunset.  Smores.  Camp songs.  Good stories.

– the worship times.  So meaningful.

– Game nights.  A fun way to relax and enjoy each other.  We had some crazy nights.  “One, Two, lets play zoo.”

– And the things I learned are endless.  Except that I hardly feel I can say that I learned anything.  I feel like I’m still chewing over and “learning” the things God was revealing to me that week.  Things like:  what it means to be truly feminine (so much to learn); learning to dance with the Trinity;  becoming aware of my spirit of entitlement (my demanding spirit);  the fact that I don’t like to move forward in mystery – I prefer to have things figured out.

We feel blessed, Duane & I do, for having had the opportunity to go to SSD.  And I believe it was God ordained that we attended this particular one – SSD 40.