Thursday, August 30, 2007

Season of blessing

Only 10 days till the wedding! Last week we got an unexpected blessing from our church in Pasadena. We were at Bible study Tuesday night, intently thinking about the story of Joseph in the Old Testament, when there was a knock on the door and half the church walked in! They threw us a surprise shower, and it was a special treat to be able to enjoy it together! They prayed for us, then we had cake while the kids played in the backyard, then opened gifts--and Bob got to open this time. :) Here are some pictures:
praying for us
We are grateful for such a loving church family!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A new beginning

We have a new apartment! It feels good to finally be in the place that will be 'ours' to call home after the wedding. Bob moved in on Tuesday, thanks to the generous support of some able-bodied friends.

We also drove around town picking up our new couches from their respective previous owners. One of the couches (the sofa-bed, no less) had to come through someone's porch window, which was quite a feat. Bob asked his care team to pray that God would provide some quality used furniture that was not too expensive...and God answered that prayer to a T with the couches! We arranged to buy them last week, and both owners were willing to let us wait a week to pick them up until we could get into the new apartment. Another blessing!
The moving crew

We got all of Bob’s boxes in, and thanks to shower and wedding gifts, already have almost all the essentials for the kitchen! We celebrated having our first meal in the apartment—frozen pizza is not gourmet, but it was still significant.

We had hoped to also pick up our mattress on Tuesday, but there was a mix-up with the store that delayed it. It worked out well though, because getting the couches took longer than anticipated so getting the mattress would have been a challenge. And it was delivered to our house the next day, so Bob only had one night on the floor. We are both excited to have a much better mattress than either of us have been sleeping on previously—Bob has nick-named it ‘heaven’.

testing out the mattress in the store

God is good! We still have lots of boxes to unpack, and other furniture to look for, but we look forward to many of you stopping by sometime!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Retreating with the monks

This week we went to St. Andrews Abbey for 2 days to have some time away to pray and plan for marriage. A bit ironic, perhaps, to go to a monastery for marriage preparation, but the setting was exactly what we needed. The Abbey is in the high desert, just about 1 hour from Pasadena, so it was hot, quiet, and barren. A great place to focus on God.

We planned out our time, since there were several things we wanted to discuss and pray about. We joked on the second day that with the schedule and the sessions, and the plans we were making it felt like a Christian conference...only it was just the two of us! We decided it was so effective though, we might make brochures and recommend the plan to other couples. :)

We took time to discuss and plan what our spiritual life and devotional time together will be like, prayed about our marriage, and even hiked up a nearby mountain path to sit under a desert bush and pray about God's vision for us. It was powerful to see the desert landscape and feel the sand and the heat while we reflected on others like Moses who experienced God's call in the desert.
...and by the bush on top of the mountain where we prayed

We even set some personal and couple goals for ourselves, so you can ask us how we're doing in a couple of months! We also attended the morning lauds and evening vespers services which are such a key part of the rhythm of life at the monastery. Despite the fact that it was somewhat challenging to follow the service, it was beautiful to hear the songs and join with them in worship.

We hope to make this short retreat an annual event to seek God's direction and assess where we are at. We highly recommend this, and would be happy to encourage you or point you to some good retreat centers if you want to seize the opportunity too. Or even if you just want to check out the great cacti. :)