oh Tana

For a few weeks, Montana has had a small growth on her eyelid. It looks like a zit that needs to be popped. But she, nor I, really wanted to go squeezing her eyelid. Since I procrastinated on taking her to the vet (I know...bad mommy), we made the trip home and thought we'd visit the vet when we got back to MA. However, her eye worsened over the past 2 days, so we took her to the vet in Marion. They said immediate removal was our best option, so this morning, she went into surgery.

As we got out of the car and walked toward the vet's door, she started backing up and pulling us away from the office. It's like she knew. "Noooooooooo...they're going to hurt me!" We wondered if all the other dogs inside were barking warnings telling her to run away as fast as she could. She sat beside me shaking while Justin signed the paperwork. I know she's just a dog, but it made me really sad. I wanted her to understand that she would feel better after it was over.

A little while later, they called and said she was out of surgery and doing fine. And soon, she was ready to come home. We picked her up and, needless to say, she was happy to get out of that place. We didn't realize they would have to shave some of her fur around her eye, so she looks kind of funny. I don't know how we're going to keep her from scratching and pawing at it. Maybe we'll get one of those collars that looks like a funnel around her neck.

On the way home we decided that even though it cost all the money we got for Christmas plus some, she's worth it.

Truck n' Donuts

When I was little and we would go for a car ride around Christmas time, I would always look out of the window to see if I could spot Santa. I think it was because I believed he rode in the sky regularly... maybe to practice his Christmas Eve routine. With every shooting star I would gasp and hold deep secrets in my heart that my jolly friend might be watching over me tonight.

But alas, this is not such a road sighting, although you might see some similarities. Instead of Santa's transportation, you'll see a different red "sleigh" with bags in the back. In the picture below you'll see a red pick-up with a bed full of bags... trash bags full of donuts (or doughnuts, for you misspellers). When I asked the red-flanneled "feller" what he had in mind for these treasures, he replied "I give 'em to my cows." And then he entered his sleigh and rode off into the winter sky.
(Sorry for the blur. I was a bit hasty while trying to be inconspicuous.)

goin' to Carolina

Well, we braved the snowstorm that came quietly on Thursday morning and headed out on the road. Fourteen hours later, we pulled up in my parent's driveway. We encountered snowfall all the way through Massachusetts and there was snow on the ground until West Virginia. It was nice to get out of the car and not slip on ice or crunch down on snowy ground. Don't get me wrong, I would like to have a white Christmas, but it's nice to not feel like my face is going to fall off when I walk outside.

welcome (back) to blog world

My BFF and her hubby started a blog when they were visiting here last spring. I think we persuaded them it would be the best thing ever with all our happy blog talk. Well, they went home and the days, weeks, and months passed with no blog updates from them. We've seen this happen plenty of times. People start blogging, but soon find what I would call "blogger's guilt." It's that feeling like you have something that you should be saying, but it must be interesting, funny, witty, and perfect. Well, I think that's simply untrue. For me, blogging is just a fun outlet. I know that a few of you read it, so that helps, especially when I feel the need to update you on the latest weather reports. But overall, it's just kinda fun to say something and hope that it sparks conversation. (By the way, it helps when you say something back. So come on readers...COMMENT!)

Anyway, go visit the Alleys and show them some blog love.


I stand corrected. Christy reminded me that during our junior year in college, we experienced almost 2 feet of snow in Chapel Hill! I remember that snowstorm because we ended up having a snow party with a bunch of friends since class was canceled. I just forgot that it was that much snow. I wish all of my friends were here with me now to have a snow party...

snowstorm #2

A mere 3 days after our first 8 inches of snow, last night we received a new white blanket of 5-6 inches. Now it's raining and will continue into the rest of the night, which means ice tomorrow. A few days ago, I pondered, "Is this the most snowfall I've ever seen?" Today, that answer is a definite "Yes."

Oh, I wish I had a snow blower...

weather update

2:15 pm

3:30 pm


Let the blog-umenting (is that a word?) begin. Snow started to fall a little before 1pm and is now quickly accumulating. As I was around town this morning, even the locals were talking about the coming storm. I made my first I-live-in-a-place-where-snow-lasts-more-than-an-hour purchase today...a snow shovel. Last year, we used our landlady's shovel, but it broke. So, now we have our very own!

I'm taking pictures periodically so you can see what it looks like just outside our door.

The snow you see here is what's leftover from last time.


Pray for Justin. He's got a Hebrew exam in the morning, an exegesis (Greek) exam in the afternoon, and a translation of the entire Gospel of Mark due at the end of the day.

And it's supposed to snow tomorrow afternoon. Somewhere between 4 to 8 inches. Guess I'd better go buy some milk and bread...

winter wonderland

this is what we woke up to this morning.
snow in December...+10 points for New England


We had a great Thanksgiving with friends, new and not-so-new, from the school and elsewhere. It was a fun alternative since we couldn't be in NC with our family. I appreciate how God continues to provide a family wherever we are. In Psalms it says he "sets the lonely in families" and I have found this to be true as we have moved to such a faraway place. But, I'll never complain again about how far I am from home. A friend of ours is in Africa and she recently wrote about her students who travel for days to reach their families. It gave me a reality check and made me very thankful for the short 14-hour drive or 2-hour plane ride home.

Here's a few pics from our afternoon with friends as well as our Thanksgiving dinner with the college ministry. (Two Thanksgivings in one week is awesome.) Sorry, no pics from Thursday's party. Enjoy!

Kermit says...

"It ain't easy being green."

But I think we should still try. I told Justin awhile ago that our next home must have curbside recycling. Weekly, if possible. I know...funny right? You'd think I'd want two bathrooms or a fenced in yard (don't get me wrong, those would be GREAT), but I really like to recycle. Living in Massachusetts only promotes that in me, since they charge a $.05 "deposit" for every soda can and glass bottle. This hasn't deterred our Coke/Dr. Pepper addiction, so now, instead of throwing our cans in the recycle bin, they get collected in a bag that goes with me to the store. Grocery stores have big machines that take cans and bottles back. And in return, I get my $.05 back. (I didn't know this the first week we lived here, so my cans went out with the recycle bin. I "lost" a good 60 cents that day).

Yesterday, Christy (my BFF) and I were discussing how we'd like to live in a "green" house. No, not the plant-growing kind but the eco-friendly kind. You know, using solar and wind energy, with stylishly efficient appliances. And we'd drive our hybrid or electric cars around town (or walk if we lived in a place where that was the norm), use cloth diapers on babies, and eat organic food.

Today, I made a great purchase in my effort to become more earth-friendly. I was in one of my favorite places, Costco, and just happened to pass a display of energy-saving lightbulbs. I've looked at them before, but always passed them over thinking, "I'd like to get those, but the others are so much cheaper..." Well, today these were on major sale. A box of 6 that is usually $17 was only $3 after a big in-store rebate. Nice. The low price coupled with the fact that our landlady just told us she has a $500 electric bill (I'm still not sure that's true, but maybe it is. Since our utilities are included with rent, we never see a statement) made two boxes an immediate must-have.

When I got home, we immediately started Operation Bulb Replacement. We discovered that the bulbs we were using were severely over the recommended wattage for the fixtures. Since we live in a basement, I'm sure our landlady and others thought it would be good to make it as bright as possible. Basically, we were living in a room with 10 outdoor floodlights serving as indoor lights. Yikes. No wonder it would get so hot in here when the lights were on all day. So now, we're in our nicely lit apartment feeling much better about helping the environment and lowering the bill.

Why did I feel compelled to tell you all of this? I guess the media and celebrities are succeeding in their job at having earthiness as a hot topic. So, in the past year, I've seen more news spots and segments on how to "go green." And I think the Christian sub-culture is getting more involved, so that has its influences I'm sure. Today, as I was driving home, I saw a bumper sticker that said, "If you love the Creator, you should take care of creation." I thought, "Huh, good point." Sometimes we get so passionate about saving babies and animals forgetting that saving the Earth is important too. After all, where will the rescued babies and animals live if we destroy their home?

attempt #2: california roll

I tried again. It was a better rolling experience, but I still need to work on the rice to nori ratio. Also, I could use a better knife. My cheap-o ones aren't cutting it. ;-)

Inside-out, outside-in, what's your sushi preference?


It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Lewie, the beloved pet/family member of Holly's mom and stepdad, who died this past weekend. Our memories will always be a delight as this fun, affectionate, energy-filled dog brought so many laughs.

I remember 7 years ago when I accompanied Holly (my then-girlfriend) and her parents to pick him up. He was so, so small - as most Jack Russell Terriers are. And so when Lorna and Darrell decided to name him after me, I was unsure if I should be insulted. :-) Because of Lewie, I began to love dogs for the first time, learned how to give a dog a bath... and eventually, is the reason we adopted Montana a year later.

We jokingly called him "Uncle Lewie" whenever our dogs would play with him. And we cannot thank him enough for passing his along his trademark, silence-shattering ear-flap. (While staying with us one week, he taught our dogs to flap their ears whenever they woke up in the middle of the night.)

We'll miss you, Lewie... and we'll think of you with every ear flap.

So many blessings...

As I reflect on my time in the Dominican Republic last week, I find that there are so many things I could say in this post, but I'm so tired right now that I can't type it all! For now, I'll tell you that the week was nothing short of amazing. God did so many awesome things...the water center is open and being sold in Cielo and Nazaret, as well as the hotel where we stayed; the women's co-op is up and running in their new workroom; the women finished 250+ ornaments, each one carefully handmade and beautiful; a new building was cleaned out and painted for the Haitian community to have a place to worship; teeth were cleaned and/or extracted as the dental clinic crew worked alongside the Dominican dentist. And I could go on, but I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Thank you for your prayers. Justin and I are home for awhile until we pack up to head South for Christmas break. Love you all!

Sweeping Beauty

I realize tonight what makes this World Series win especially sweet. It comes after a long baseball season where Hol and I cheered faithfully from our couches, never making it to a game. But it’s also seen through the eyes of a little thirteen year-old boy who saw of the beauty of a magical world of baseball through baseball cards. My heroes from those days have since retired, but also have records tainted with questions, scandals and that one lost season to a strike.

Tonight, we celebrate as our team pulled it off and a classy group of Americans, Dominicans and Japanese players simply played the game. Congratulations Sox! See you at the parade!

Have you missed us?

'A' for Effort?

So, we've recently discovered that we like sushi. I guess my Asian-ness is kicking in. Anyway, here is attempt #1 at making it ourselves. Let's just say we'll be going for attempt #2 very soon. Does anybody know how long my opened package of nori will last?

Passion: Boston...so worth it.

I don't even know where to begin. The weekend was amazing. It was so refreshing, challenging, affirming, eye-opening...I could go on, but I'll stop. On Friday, we arrived at the BU Agannis Arena to register and I'll say, there weren't many people there. I asked one of the volunteers how many they were expecting..."1200 or so" was her response. My first thought, "ONLY 1200?!?" Glad I didn't say that out loud.

But seriously, I was at two Passion events in Nashville with over 14,000 people. Where was everyone? When I told Justin and our friend, Becky, the number, I knew they would be as shocked (and disappointed) as I was. BUT, there were two girls in line behind us who were so amazed and excited to hear how many were coming that their eyes lit up. They said they only have 12 people in their New England Conservatory Bible study group. So, 100 times that is ginormous. My Bible-belts, cultural-Christian mind needed to hear their excitement. I needed to realize that students in New England aren't as inundated as I was on my huge college campus with tons of Christian groups and opportunities for large worship gatherings.

After that swift kick-in-the-pants, I knew this was going to be a good weekend. Once we entered the arena, it opened with a great time of worship led by Chris Tomlin. I forgot how much I enjoy his music. From our seats, we had a great view of the students as they sang praises. When Louie got up to welcome us, he asked how many people were at their first Passion event. Almost every hand went up! It was awesome. That's exactly why Passion decided to come to Boston.

Throughout the weekend, God affirmed our decision to move up here. I was given a new heart for this city and its college students. There were students from all over New England excited to be together. We spent time praying for each other's campuses, cities, and for the world. Passion also brought a focus on social justice locally and around the globe. We collected socks and towels to give to Boston's homeless. We collected money for Blood:Water Mission to build wells in African villages. (They brought 6 tubes of water displaying each city on the regional tour...Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, DC, Dallas, and LA. Each city was going to be challenged to sponsor one well in Africa which costs $3000. When the total is raised, the water turned blue. Not only did we raise enough for our city's well, we raised enough for all of them! By Saturday night, all 6 wells were blue!) We gave toward Passion's World Tour and prayed especially for the event in Kiev, Ukraine.

The best part about our time, for me, was seeing so many students and joining with them as they praised Jesus. Remembering how important my college years were in forming my relationship with God and praying that it would be the same for these students was so good. It made me realize that being here is the right decision. I was starting to think maybe I didn't like this place and I was missing the comforts of home. But after this weekend, I'm sure without a doubt that this is the right place to be and the right time to be here.

Passion: Boston

In January 2005, Justin and I took a road trip with some friends to Nashville, TN for the Passion conference. We knew it would be full of great speakers, worship bands, and tons of college students. But we didn't know that it would play a role in our future.

While we were there, the leadership talked about their recent stops through Boston and New York. They focused on the need for Christians and especially those interested in working with college students. I still remember the huge display in their "Go Center" with the Red Sox logo in the background. There were residents of Boston and NY available to talk to you if you were interested in going. I remember being very hesitant to walk up to them or fill anything out. I remember Justin being the brave one filling out the interest form. I thought, "We'll never move to Boston."

As you can see, I was soooo wrong. Just a year later, we were headed up for our let's-see-if-we-can-really-live-there trip. Yes, our main reason for moving was because Gordon-Conwell was the right school, but in the back of our minds, we knew that God was drawing us to Boston as he had put it in our minds years ago.

What was the appeal? Well, some interesting facts about how important Boston is to the heart of college ministry:

  • 25% future heads of state being educated in Boston
  • 250,000 college students in and around Boston
  • 75-80 campuses in metro area
That's amazing.

So, we're here and we are working with college students. We both volunteer with a multi-campus ministry called The Hill. And, tonight and tomorrow, Passion is coming to us. Instead of one ginormous conference, they're going around the country this year. The first stop is Boston. Nice. So, we are really excited and looking forward to a weekend of challenge and renewal.

Please pray for the thousands of college students from the Northeast that will be coming. Even more, pray for those that don't know or care who Jesus is. We want to be used in God's plan to impact the lives of college students here.

Here's a link to the Passion blog and the video that we first saw about Boston.


The seminary has this wonderful invention called “Reading Week.” While it is most likely a ploy to give faculty time off, it serves as a well needed break. And we get one of these every month! But after having my first extremely sub-par performance on a Hebrew quiz…this student knows he has some work to do. And just so you know Biblical Hebrew is not easy…nor fun. Why? – you might ask.

  1. Right to left, instead of left to right. Re-train your brain.
  2. No vowels… just dots and lines…which means you read one word as a zig-zag (going left – see #1).
Now that I’ve gotten the alphabet down (or “alephbet,” for you pretentious Hebrew nerds), there’s hope. But I certainly invite your prayers as I play catch-up.

I’m also taking a class on the Gospel of Mark, which I took because I've read Mark much less than the other three. Not sure why though. This of course leads me to question for you, reader: Do you have a favorite Gospel (choose between Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)? What about that book appeals to you?

School contributions

Some of you (readers, family, and friends) have asked how you might contribute toward my studies at GCTS. It's a simple process, but rather than spell it out here, I'll give you more instructions on another page.
(And yes, they do accept Visa and MasterCard.)

Reunion fun

My class reunion, 10 years in the making, is done. We had a packed weekend of planning, setting up, and enjoying all of the reunion festivities. I will say that all the hard work definitely paid off. I had a great time seeing old friends, many of which I had not even seen or spoken to in 10 years! Justin was so great helping me and the others with the many tasks that came with the weekend.

As I've thought about helping to plan this event for over a year now, I realize that high school really was an important part of my life. I know most people would say they'd rather eat their own arm than go back, but I would have to say the exact opposite. As my friend Rhiannon and I were on the dance floor, we looked and each other and said, "I'd go back tomorrow." You're probably reading this and think I'm crazy. Maybe I am, but I really did love high school. Sure I had my share of drama with friends, boyfriends, classes, cheering, and everything else, but that's what made the fun parts even better.

I was a little nervous to go back and see everyone, but once everything started, it was really great. Someone observed that everything and everyone is the same, but the more I thought about it, the more I disagree. Everyone may have still gravitated toward the same friends, but I realized that that's only natural. You want to see the ones you spent the most time with, but not because you want to ignore someone else. Well, that's how it was for me anyway. After the surface conversations of "what have you been up to?", I found that once you delve deeper, you find that people have changed. Choices that brought spouses, kids, and jobs have caused change as well as things we'd never choose, like sickness or war.

I have no idea what my life will look like at our 20 year reunion. All I know is 10 years from now, I don't want to be the same. And my hope is that I will still say I'd go back and do it all over again because it was that good.

I'm how old?

I officially feel like an adult. I'm home in Trinity, NC to attend my 10-year high school reunion. I've been helping to plan this thing for several months and now I'm only a day away. There's much to be done, so I'll keep this short. Here's a history of the school for anybody interested. You'll find an interesting fact about a certain university in there.

(The bulldog is the school mascot, thus the reason for the pic)

I won!

Despite the looming storm, I had a great week in the DR. The women did an amazing job learning to make ornaments we hope to sell for Christmas.

And yes, in the battle of me versus Dean, I definitely won. It really was not as bad as CNN and all the news channels made it sound. The most amazing part was seeing the waves crashing onto shore. We could see them from our window and it was crazy. Later, we drove down to the road that goes by the ocean. It was blocked off because of all the coral rock and debris that had been thrown onto the street. Here's a video from that street and you can see how enormous the waves were.

So, thanks everyone for your prayers. I'm glad to be back in Massachusetts for now!


It's 9:30pm and the the storm has passed Santo Domingo. Holly says there's a lot of debris, but things are okay. Thanks for your prayers! (AND pray for Jamaica!)

Dean versus Holly

If you've been reading our blog lately, you've probably enjoyed a lot of stories and pictures from our recent experiences in the Dominican Republic. Since this place is still very special to us, it has become important to us to share these things here on this blog. This being said, this little country is about to get a powerful smacking from Hurricane Dean.

As I write this, my beloved wife is in Santo Domingo, which is nestled on the edge of the projected path. She arrived today for another week of assisting some workshops for the women of the community...and of course, she doesn't want to think about leaving.

Therefore I'm calling on you, dear friends, to pray for her. While I selfishly want to pray for her safety, I am asking you to pray for God's grace and glory to be evident to those whom she ministers to in the coming days, especially as our cherished community embraces for an impact as early as Saturday. Also pray for Deb, who has been planning these sessions for months.

Stay tuned for an update. I have a feeling that these next few days will be very, very interesting!

Six years ago...

...Justin and I celebrated our wedding day. And as luck would have it, my friend Mandy "tagged" our blog yesterday with a marriage meme, so here goes:

1. We met the first day of my freshman year at UNC (yes, that would be August 1997...wow). Justin was a sophomore and we were both at the CCC freshman picnic. He and I don't really remember this, but thankfully, my bff Christy does. He was on the list of cute boys that we listed as the reasons we would go to to CCC meeting that next week. That, and because we found other people that love Jesus, of course!

2. Our friendship grew for a couple of years into a wonderful brother/sister-in-Christ relationship. Then in fall 1999, things changed.

3. We had our first attempt at what was supposed to be a double-date (though I thought it was just a group outing, so I invited several friends...oops). We (if I recall, there were about 8 of us) went to eat at Applebee's and to see Peter Pan (play, not movie), which was showing on campus. Justin made sure to sit beside me at both.

3. After I clued in, we eventually began dating (in crusade-speak, we dtr-ed) on January 1, 2000. Y2K!

4. In our first serious "now-we're-dating" conversation, we shared about our own relationships with Jesus.

5. After 11 months of dating, he surprised me with a proposal and a ring. Nine months after that, we got married. We moved to Winston-Salem, got jobs, and had very little social life. Although, thanks Will and Christy for moving to Winston too. At least we could hang out with y'all 3-4 times a week!

6. A few months after we got married, we got a dog. Raising Montana became the first thing that we really had to work at together. Taking care of another living thing will certainly teach you about yourselves. We must have liked it, because now we have Neela too!

7. The longest we've ever been apart is one week. Thank you Lord for letting us travel together this summer!

8. Justin likes the fact that I'm Asian. I like that he's tall. ;-)

And just for fun...pictures. It's fun to see how we've changed (or not) over the years!

To the Sufferers

I've had this note stirring within for almost 3 weeks now. It started with daily readings of a friend's journal whose wife is dying with cancer, then the death of an extremely beloved coach at WFU and then culminated after last week's tragedy in Minneapolis. What makes these events send shock waves to those suffering is that we come so naked before our Creator and find him so powerful, so big, so majestic and sometimes...so silent. Our God is not silent, however. He speaks, and often whispers or shouts (depending on our stubbornness) that his actions are directed at waking up this dying world. So to the sufferers out there: Know that he is not absent, nor silent. Find a way to listen to him and seek refuge in the only one who understands the purpose of pain.

Video by Don't Waste Your Life, featuring John Piper (Desiring God)

Visiting the Farrells

Just to make our adventure a little more fun, we left the DR and flew to California. Our original destination being San Diego, we ended up spending a night in Los Angeles (without our luggage to boot!). Anne, Gabe and Makena picked us up on Monday morning and we headed 2 hours south to San Diego. Fortunately, our luggage made it safely, so we picked it up and arrived at the Farrell's home Monday afternoon. After lunch and a nap for all, we packed up and headed to La Jolla beach where we dined on In-N-Out burgers (our first) and enjoyed a nice stroll on the sand.

Tuesday, we slept in, ran to Target, played outside in the yard, and then headed south near the border to enjoy the Projekt Revolution tour...and especially Linkin Park. It was a great night for an outdoor concert and LP rocked...obviously. Wednesday, ears still ringing, we headed out to Seaport Village for lunch and some shopping by the water. With bellies full of fish tacos and Ben & Jerry's, we headed home for another nap. Later we had a fun mexican dinner with tasty margaritas and fajitas, yum!

Since our flight wasn't until the afternoon and it was delayed, we had the chance to see the church where Joe works. It was fun to see the newest place that the Farrells call home!

Thanks Anne, Joe, Gabe and Makena for a great week!

La Boda ("The Wedding")

Our apologies for not posting earlier. After the craziness of our last post, we did in fact make it to the DR. It was a long travel day, but we arrived safely at the hotel around midnight on Tuesday. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were filled with trips into Cielo to visit the community. We got to spend time with Luma, the little girl we sponsor, and her family. It's always amazing how much fun you can have just sitting in her home having silent awkward moments because none of you can really talk to each other. We eventually have a conversation about baseball. Her brother loves the Red Sox and is disappointed when he finds out we have not been to a game. How do we explain that it costs too much money when he thinks we're probably the "richest" people he knows? Anyway, it was great to be back so soon after our month of work.

The wedding was beautiful. I tried to capture some good pictures for all of you who wished you could be there. Carol and Joel are very happy!

Here we go again - part 2

Thoughts while sitting in the airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico:
You gotta love it when you're waiting to board your plane and all of a sudden you hear an enormous "BOOM!" (Since you can't hear my sound effects, trust me, it was a sonic-something.) Then, the lady who manages the boarding politely requests everyone have a seat while maintenance checks out a little problem. It's been about 25 minutes and we're still waiting. Awesome. (sigh.)

here we go again

So we've spent 13 days in MA and decided we need a vacation. Well, sort of. We're leaving once again tomorrow to return to the DR. We'll be there for a few days to wrap up some work and celebrate with Carol and Joel, who are getting married on Friday. Then, we'll fly to San Diego to spend time with the Farrells for a little fun in the sun. Yippee!!!

Back to Boston

After a delayed flight in Santo Domingo, then a canceled flight in Miami, we finally arrived in NC on July 3rd. We celebrated Independence Day in Marion complete with the Marion city fireworks.

Then, a few days with family and friends in Trinity and Winston-Salem. Later, we headed north stopping in Norfolk to see Will & Christy.

Then, we made the 14-hour trek to Massachusetts last Thursday. It's been great to sleep in our own bed after 7 weeks away. When we left our apartment, it was 45 degrees outside. We've come back to 90 degrees and sunshine! It's like the DR, only not as humid and not as many Spanish speakers.

Since coming back, we've enjoyed catching up with the Thompsons by our landlady's pool and grill. Summer in Massachusetts ain't half bad. Today, we accidentally missed church. We arrived to the church on time (a little before 11am) and pulled into the parking lot. We noticed that everyone seemed to be exiting the church. So, we sat and waited. Because we sure didn't want to be the people walking in when everything was over. As we were driving away, we saw the sign announcing the single service at 9:30am. Oops.

On a more fun note, we headed into the city today to hang out with Erin, who's just moved from Winston. We went to a really cool outdoor market in the South End, but all the vendors were shutting down because the wind was too crazy. Tents were blowing everywhere and it was a little dangerous. So, we proceeded to downtown where all the action was. Street performers, tourists, kids playing in fountains...so much to see.

Tomorrow it's back to work for both of us. We have much to do since being gone so long. Nevertheless, I'm glad it's SUMMERTIME!!!

More pics

Pics from Week 4

Pics from Week 3

Pics from Week 2

Week 1

Pics updated 6/11!

Week one has been a blast thus far. We've had a great group of 19 "Boomers" from Discovery Church in Orlando to accompany on, what is for many of them, their first mission trip. It's been great for us to reunite with many of our Dominican brothers and sisters, as well as meet some new ones along the way. God has been doing amazing things and we can't wait to share them with you!

We're here

We were 2 hours behind schedule, but made it down with relative ease. Our days have been spent planning and preparing. Our first team members arrived yesterday and the first group from Florida safely arrived a few hours ago. We hope to have pictures up soon, so keep checking in with us. Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement!

Now for a nap...

Gone in the morning

Don't tell them we're leaving. I'm not sure they can handle it.

In the mean time, we covet your prayers. Tomorrow we board our plane to the Dominican Republic where we will be for a month. Pray for our safety and health. Pray for the 12 high school and college students who will be joining us as we serve the weekly teams from the US. Pray for opportunities to be lights in a dim place. Pray for our hearts to be changed, so that we grow up just a little bit more and somehow become more like the Savior.

I leave you with this one thought from God himself:

    "Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days-- You would not believe if you were told" Habakkuk 1:5
It is this thought which keeps us humble in these days... that we are not the One doing anything. God has been strategizing and planning. Preparing our team for a month of service, preparing Dominicans to minister to us, preparing our passions. You see -- He's been doing this among "the nations" for thousands of years and yet it still holds a majestic, overwhelming reality, as if He just started today. God's heart is for the nations. May His heart be found in us.

the new look

Thanks to all of you who voted. He successfully kept the lumberjack look for weeks growing the longest beard he's ever had. Alas, it had to go in light of the coming month in 90+ degree weather. Farmer's tans are never good, especially on your face.

Since we left...

After a fun dinner with new friends, the Thompsons, on Friday (5/18), we packed up the car the next day and headed south. 14 hours later we arrived at my mom's house in Trinity at 1am on Sunday. Then, it was a week of visiting family and friends.

Here are just a few of the things we've been up to:
-Our first time in the new worship center at First Pres
-Dinner with my sis and her fam
-Shopping with mom
-NC BBQ and sweet tea!
-A quick visit to BBBS
-High school reunion planning (my 10 year)
-Mexican with dad and judy
-Visiting the grandparents
-Meeting with part of our summer staff team
-Renewing our lease with the folks renting our house
-Playing with Jason, Carla and the boys (twice)

-Seeing Pirates 3 with friends
-Chauncy playing with a frog (and no, she didn't kill it)

-Lunch with the Strattons (who are expecting their first!)

Then, we packed up the car again and drove west to Marion to see the rest of the fam. We've seen G-ma, parents, sisters, nephews, and a niece so far. We taught Eisley to go down a slide. And we took an afternoon to play in downtown Asheville.

Today will mostly be spent packing. Tomorrow morning, we'll head out early to catch our flight in Charlotte. Adios!

You're it.

It seems that someone invented a geeked out version of freeze tag for bloggers. Our friend, Nathan, "tagged" us. The game seems pretty harmless. Nerdy. But harmless. I’ll explain more below…

First, these are the rules:

  1. Each player starts with eight random facts or habits about him or herself.
  2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  3. At the beginning of your blog, mention the person who tagged you. At the end of your post, choose eight people to tag, listing their names.
  4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Okay… Eight random things about us:

Since moving to Massachusetts....

1. Because I work at home and Justin's class schedule is so spread out, we spend anywhere from 21 to 23 hours a day together (in one room). And we still like each other.

2. Because the seminary is so close, Justin only spends about 6 minutes in the car a day. In the winter, he spent more time trying to get into the car (b/c of snow, ice, etc.) than actually driving it. I drive alot more...grocery, pharmacy, gas station, bank, library.

3. Everytime it rains, we run to our door afraid of finding an impending flash flood. See previous post.

4 One of our favorite lunchtime meals is a Mr. P's "little pizza." And it only costs $0.79. If you want a funny story...ask Justin about his Mr. P's diet.

5. Since the season started, we've watched baseball almost every night. Maybe not the whole game, but at least the synopsis. You could literally watch something about the Red Sox 24 hours a day. I'm not exaggerating.

6. We watched the first five seasons of 24. We're waiting for season 6 to finish before we start to watch it. We have a marathon planned with some new friends when we get back from the DR.

7. We've both been asked, "(You're from North Carolina) So where's your accent?"

8. Additionally, we've both been told, "You must be from the South."

I tag: Kevin, Mary, Jason & Lauren, Will & Christy, Joe & Anne, Brad & Rebecca , Theresa & Andy, and Chris & Melissa.

Goodbye Lorelais

Yes, I AM blogging about a tv show. Gilmore Girls has long existed in our Tivo lineup. After giving up on many a WB/CW show, the snappy, witty Gilmores lived on. As with most shows about teenagers, moving on to the college years is usually a mistake (Dawson's Creek anyone?). So I commend the writers/actors/producers for ending it before I would choose to delete it from my season pass list. But I will miss the weekly ramblings of Lorelai and Rory's pro-con lists. Good thing there's such a thing as dvds.

Champion of 'Sweet'

Now, don't get me wrong. Dr. Pepper is definitely one of my top 4 sodas (1. Coke, 2. Sun Drop, 3. Cherry Coke, 4. Dr. Pepper). But their new commercials takes on a whole new level... no... genre... no... INDUSTRY of everything sweet. Honestly, I didn't have a problem with it until I saw a commercial where Diet Dr. Pepper (yes, DIET!) puts itself up against ice cream. ICE CREAM! And claims that it is a perfect substitute for that cold, traditional treat!

If this means I'm getting old...well...fine. But ICE CREAM!!! There is no substitute! And you know this. Let's see...we've had frozen yogurt (nope), sorbet (nope), "gelato" (yum...but NO!). Ice cream is irreplaceable. The best comfort food. The best thing to put in a truck with a special song that gets kids racing toward it.

And my ultimate evidence is the "float".

Floats are awesome. I haven't had one in years, but I love them. So what do you do when you want a Dr. Pepper float? According to DDP...Pour your DDP and then put a scoop of DDP in for that perfect float!?!?!?!?!

I certainly give it to them. They've taken on a worthy opponent. And being a fan of both clearly presents a problem for me. But it's really no contest. Not even close. It's like Montana and Neela playing the Tar Heels in an exhibition. Funny. But not even a game.

There's no substitute.

COW Alley

We just spent the last five days with Will, Christy, and Owen Alley. They took their 2nd week of vacation to come enjoy the sights and sounds of the North Shore. Of course, a nor'easter had to come our way, so they got the full treatment of NE weather. Despite the freezing cold wind and rain, we had a fun time. On Saturday, we visited Newburyport, a harbortown about 15 min. north of us. Sunday, we used our sweet library pass discount to go to the New England Aquarium in Boston. Ferocious wind and rain couldn't stop us from seeing penguins, sea turtles, and sea horses. We also dined at two of our favorite restaurants, Fortune Palace and Nick's Famous Roast Beef. Yes, I said roast beef. Trust me, it's amazing. Every night was capped off with a round of Settlers and a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

random things we accomplished: playing endless rounds of Need for Speed; introducing them to facebook and blogger (check out http://cowalley.blogspot.com); discovering that owen can sleep even when the floor above his head is being hit with the world's heaviest vacuum; teaching owen how to say "bonjour"

Here are some pics of our adventures. Most of them are of Owen, obviously.

Alley's visit

So much for the element of surprise

"Exiled Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky has said he is plotting the violent overthrow of President Vladimir Putin from his base in Britain... [read the rest]."

Breaking News...

You know you're in baseball country when the flashing red "BREAKING NEWS" box on the local news website says this...

Thursday night's game between the Seattle Mariners and the Boston Red Sox was postponed because of inclement weather and rescheduled for May 3 at 7:05 p.m.

I guess I'll learn how to be a baseball fan.

We're back...

...to the normal life after our great trip to NC. We had a whirlwind trip seeing family, friends, and getting some work done in preparation for this summer. We toured the better parts of Marion and Winston-Salem in our sweet mini-van. (yes, that's what you get when you rent a car during the furniture market...) And, I'm not sure if it was a good or bad thing that we experienced the 80 degree weather. Maybe both. Now we're back to the rainy 40s that will accompany most of March (so I hear). And, we may have our first snowy Easter ever!

Speaking of Easter, tonight I celebrated the traditional Passover Seder with my small group. It was an excellent reminder of what this week represents. How amazing that we can celebrate our redemption through Christ's death and resurrection by observing a traditional Jewish meal. May we all keep our thoughts on him during this Holy Week.

nor'easter #2

So, the weather report was right. We got snow and alot of it. At noon on Friday, there was nothing on the ground. By midnight, our car looked like this. And yes, that's 6 inches.

But we didn't let the nor'easter get us down. We seized the day since Justin's class was canceled and headed into Cambridge for a concert. Our friend Christopher Williams was in town and I had been planning on going for a month with Becky (she's the one standing in front of the car). So, the 3 of us drove to the nearest train station and took advantage of mass transit. Dinner from Veggie Planet (butternut squash on a pizza...so good...who knew?) and an amazing show with C-dub and Justin McRoberts was well worth the trek.

The Madness Spreads to the Youth

The Tarheels keep breaking hearts...no matter how young or old their heart may be. (Thanks to our friends at RhettandLink.com)


Seriously? This must be why they tell us March is the hardest month to live here. Teased with 70 degree days followed by freezing cold rain.


#1 ) New carpet down today. We were able to move bedroom stuff back in and will be able to sleep in our own bed tonight.

#2 ) The turkeys have struck again -- this time going after a kid. Assuming PETA will allow it, we may be having thanksgiving supper again soon...


**updated pics**

(The first 3 shots were early-on in the timeline of the flood. The last one is our bedroom when it was drying out and carpetless.)

That's right. Flooded. Our apartment has been hit by tropical storm "northeaster unpredictable illogical weather patterns".

The snow has almost ALL melted from hours of rain. Pray for us. We're tired.


The following email just came across my desk. It's funny enough to blog:

"As many of you have noted, there is a group of wild turkeys who have made our campus their home. Recently we have received reports that some of these turkeys are becoming quite aggressive. Campus Safety is researching our options for coping with this situation and will provide a more comprehensive response to the campus community shortly. In the meantime, please use caution encountering the wild turkeys – do not engage them, run after them or provoke them."

the girls

As always, the dogs are our best form of entertainment.

We put Neela's bed out so that she would lay in it instead of stare at us to let her on the couch. Somehow, this is how they ended up.

Laundry anyone? Justin likes to harass Neela. Case in point.