Christmas 2008

Christmas has been full of family this year. A few months ago, I thought we would be spending Christmas in our apartment in Massachusetts unable to make the trip home for the holidays. But since we were able to move back to Winston-Salem, we have been blessed to have much time with all of our family this year. It has been a year since we've been to Justin's hometown and at least a year since we've seen some family members. We are pretty worn out and it still feels surreal that we're even here, but it's beginning to feel like home again.

More updates to come. Baby Lewis is expected to arrive in a few short weeks!


it's beginning to look a lot like...


Today, we put the crib together. It was just as I imagined it would be. Both of us staring at the instructions, the hardware, the pieces, and thinking..."where does this go?" But we did it. We only had to redo two parts. And we didn't kill each other. :-) Oh and I wanted you to see the art painted by my stepmom's friend, Shirley. Isn't it so cute?! She's going to do more once we get all the furniture in place.


(Previously titled: "18 hours of wind and rain")

It took much longer than expected to reach our destination,Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Symptoms of freezing rain followed us for half of the journey as trees leaned over the road and mocked our attempt to navigate the roads safely.  Kevin and I were trying to be smart and leave earlier than Holly in the Penske truck, but a 45 minute detour in Fishkill, New York, caused us to slow our pace and meet up the the Holly and the pre-Beahms for lunch, which provided time for us to exchange incredulous stories from the road. 

Though the temperatures rose as we moved South on Hwy 81, the rain was relentless - save for an hour or so.  Somewhere in hour seventeen we saw the beautiful words, "Welcome to North Carolina."  Finally, we breathed a sigh of relief and made our final stride toward home.

Kevin made the trip enjoyable with good conversation as we worked out the complexities of why dirty words are actually dirty (or not). Of course, he also provided the soundtrack; one unexpected song came from Old Crow Medicine Show, called "Wagon Wheel" and it captured the theme of the journey well:

Headed down south to the land of the pines
I'm thumbin' my way into North Caroline
Lookin' down the road and I pray to God I see head lights
I made down the coast in seventeen hours
(17! I wish!)
pickin' a bouquet of dog wood flowers and I'm
hopin' like Raleigh I can see my baby tonight

The song humorously illustrated our desperate desire to land in our driveway, unload the inflatable mattress and pass out.  Oddly enough by the time our heads did hit pillows, we couldn't stop laughing about just how peculiar and frustrating the day had been.  Sometime around 3 am we fell asleep and then awoke the next morning to unpack the truck with the help of local friends.

"Home" might be the best and worst word for us in the coming months.  We are indeed "home" but we feel like we can't REALLY unpack because we're trusting God to call us to a job somewhere (maybe here).  Yet as long as we're here, we look forward to time with family and friends and of course preparing a home for our little girl. (pictures of the nursery are forthcoming!)

This morning we went to church where a visiting pastor encouraged us to remember how God uses broken people for his purposes.  As we celebrate the "coming" (aka "Advent") we see beauty through brokenness and humility.  I look forward to witnessing how our great God will reveal his plan for us and how our little expectant family can expect to see Him lead us wherever He might.

[Holly has more updates about our house and baby showers, but for now, we're checking in from "home."]


On Thursday, I was given my first baby shower.  It was so fun to share a sweet time with some girlfriends and celebrate our baby girl's impending arrival.  Thanks Becky and Erin for hosting!  Y'all are the best.

what's in a name?

We've yet to decide on a name. We have lots of ideas and have received many suggestions. We have two books full of names and I have bookmarked in order to check it regularly. Since we don't have an official name, people have taken to calling her different things that they like.

Claire Huxtable, Belky, Lynn Jr., Millicent, Mildred, Hilda, Penelope, Gracie, Jerusha, Delilah...

Don't worry, we do have the ones we like and dislike somewhat narrowed down. But I think we may be one of those couples that waits until we see her before giving her a name. In the meantime, we're open to your suggestions. However, we do have some "criteria" if you will.

  1. You must know she's a girl upon hearing her name. Thus, no androgynous names.
  2. It needs to sound good when spoken with a southern twang.
  3. No weird spellings. We don't want her to always have to tell people how to say/spell her name in school.
  4. It should have a good nickname, however, we don't want to name her and then never call her by her real name. Too many of our friends say, "Why didn't my parents just name me _____ if they wanted to call me that?"
  5. The initials should not make anything weird. _ _ L
  6. The first name will be the name she is called. No going by the middle name.
  7. It should be unique, but not too unique.
Okay, now that you know the rules, have fun and suggest some good ones. The winner gets to change her diaper.

a great day for pumpkins

pumpkin roll

pumpkin baby

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! We have so much to be thankful for.

packing progress

we're up to our ears in boxes...some of us more than others.


So we're 9+/- weeks away from meeting our baby girl. Apparently, this is supposed to instigate my instinct to nest. However, our impending move is causing quite the opposite effect. I like to call it "un-nesting." We currently have 50 or so boxes, some packed and some not, sitting around our already cramped apartment. Oh yeah, by the way, we're 3 North Carolina.

In the next three weeks, we have to:
take a few finals (Justin)
write a paper (Justin)
sell a car (we have a buyer. just need to close the sale!)
pack (mostly Holly, but both)
finish birth class (all 3 of us)
finish up part-time jobs (both)
pack some more
spend time with friends
eat at our favorite places
play in the snow (i hope!)
shovel snow (Justin, he hopes not)
say goodbye
make the 14+ hour drive to Winston-Salem

For now, my nesting energies will have to be stored up for when we get to NC and then we'll be super-nesters.

Should I be worried?

In approximately 3 weeks, I will have submitted all of my final work for seminary. I will be a graduate of a fine, evangelical seminary. I will have a Master's Degree and the satisfaction of retaining a substantial amount of information. I will be able to offer a local church a eagerness and passion for serving and teaching.

But... churches don't seem to be hiring like they used to. Apparently giving is down and the "church job market" is taking a bit of a hit.

I'm not worried. But should I be?

In light of curiosity, I hope you enjoy this little parody of contemporary issues around the job market projections for 2009:

welcome friends

Over the past month+, we've had lots of visitors. Well, "lots" if you consider the fact that we live really far away from most of our friends and family. First, there was my mom. For some reason, I don't have a single picture from her visit. Probably because we spent our entire time in the car or in the mall! Hers was no scenic trip. It was a mission to spend time with me, her pregnant daughter, and outfit me with maternity clothes. Thanks Mom!

Next was our friend, Mary. She just got back from 2 years in Kenya. Now she's in Philadelphia and headed to med school. After a quick trip to Providence, RI, she took the train up to Boston to see us. It was a fun time of catching up on life after a couple of years of being in totally different places. Here's a pic of us at Frog Pond on a typical rainy day in Boston.

A week or so later, I was on a plane to the DR to visit my Dominican friends and do a little work on my last trip before life changes dramatically. It was a wonderful time of planning and dreaming for the ministry.

Upon returning from the DR, I turned 30, then welcomed the Alleys back for their second visit since we've been here. It was fun to see them especially since Christy is pregnant too. We're ahead of them by 2+ weeks. We compared bellies and pregnancy woes. Christy and I have always said we're twins. I convinced her to go to the same college, so we could do everything together. Little did we know that we'd be having babies at the same time as well. Though, she did one-up me by having Owen already. Anyway, we had a great time. We ate $3.99/lb lobstah (thanks for cooking, Will), went on our first trip to Ikea, played in Boston, watched baseball and movies, and wished once again that we lived in the same town.

Last, but not least, we just finished up a long weekend with the Coopers. Brad and Rebecca are friends from our days at UNC. It's been at least 2 years since we've seen them in person. They decided to take a little vacation and come visit. We enjoyed Newburyport, Boston, and Salem together. On our day together in Boston, we met up with some other friends, the Nielsens (who are now in NJ) and the Pfieffers (Bostonians that we don't get to see very often). All in all, it was a fun reunion. Rebecca and I noted that Brad and Justin revert back to their college personas when they're around each other...cracking each other up, quoting movies, and talking about superheroes.

Thanks Mom and friends for coming to see us. Y'all are the best.

Cravings? Nah.

I wouldn't say that she's had cravings... but it is 10:19 at night and we're making chocolate chip pancakes...


I like birthdays...even if they're 30th ones.

So, it's been awhile since I've blogged. Lots of fun things going on in the Lewis house. First, I'll share about my awesome husband who secretly planned a surprise birthday party for me. Mandy and I both turned 30 in October, so our hubbies threw a joint party inviting all our mutual friends. I was pretty shocked. Justin (and Drew) did a great job at throwing us off. So when Mandy and I walked into our apartment to find everyone jumping out shouting, "SURPRISE!!!", we were pretty excited. Thanks hubbies for celebrating us.

Then, after I got back from the DR, we celebrated my actual birthday by going to Halibut Point State Park in Rockport, MA. It was an amazingly beautiful day with the leaves changing and the ocean crashing against the rocks. Montana and Neela loved running around on the trails. Later, we went to dinner at the new Japanese steakhouse. Our fellow diners were also celebrating a birthday. The girl was turning 11 and had 8 of her closest friends plus her parents and little sis. Justin and the girl's dad were the only men sitting at the table of 15. But we had fun chatting about adoption (they had adopted their girls from China) and raising little girls.

Enjoy the pics of both the party and the park.

The "Bump" - month 6

Sorry for not providing you with pictures for some time. 


And the one below is of Hol at one of our new favorite places: Halibut Point.  [Notice the special way that the jacket must be unzipped from the bottom.]


Thanks for cheering for us and our baby girl.  TTYL. 

Your BFF,


Month 6

Here she is...our little squirmy eggplant:

Ready... Aim...

Dear readers, at the request of my bride and offspring-carrier, I would like to share a very important "FIRST" for yours truly.

Holly and I decided that we should embrace an opportunity to learn some things in preparation for our anticipated January arrival by volunteering in our church nursery. Holly worked with the wee little kids, while I assisted in the toddler room.

not the actual pee kidNow, I've learned through some friends how troubling potty-training can be, so when I heard that one of the boys in the nursery (a 20-month old) was potty trained, I was greatly impressed. Then the time came when he did a little wiggle and dance to let us know it was "go time". At this point, an older child might say "I need to potty" or something along the lines of "Hey you! I gotta go!" But my co-worker took the hint and asked if I wanted to help the little lad out. So I grabbed the portable "potty-seat" that his mom brought and off we went.

Once we were in position I didn't know if a "one" or "two" would be in order. I asked. He said nothing. Then he began to tug on the toilet paper on the side, cluing me in to the fact that this might be a "two". (Apparently I forgot about aforementioned pee-dance that happened 2.5 minutes earlier.) So I do what seems best and sat him on the seat.

Nope. That wasn't right.

This, dear friends, was evident when the little stream found its way several feet away onto me - shirt, pants...and pride.

For some reason I said in the quickest and most encouraging way, "wait!" And so...he did. (And I was already starting to be impressed again for I know that can be tough...when you really gotta go!)

In this opportunistic moment, I picked the champ up, turned him around and leaned him over Mr. Unnecessary Potty-seat when he resumed his performance perfectly.

After all was said and done... and the wipes had cleaned up both of us... I popped around the corner to illustrate my accomplishment to Holly. When the sympathetic laughter subsided, I proudly returned to my task of toddler-duty. It wasn't a complete and total failure, I must add. I learned a lot: 1) The pee-dance is for the pee, 2) Any time I can make Holly laugh at me for my ignorance is a good step toward working out the kinks in the inevitable system.

Thankfully, my research tells me that girls will not have the sit/stand paradox.


For those of you interested in how the growing is going...

big appetites... for big veggies.  but this is ridiculous.
we were gifted this zucchini last night from our new friends who have a garden.  

notice we only received half.  and ours was the smaller half.

Papaya and Storytelling

I promised not to overkill on the "fruit by week" images... so here you go: Month #5. (For those that need help with gestational math, that leaves 4 more to go.) From what I have heard and felt, it has been a fun start. Our little girl has been kicking her momma quite ferociously and I can just imagine those little one+ inch feet one day being in her mouth, sinking in the sand, kicking her first soccer ball...or kicking the teeth out of the boy who thinks he can get too fresh.

My last four classes have begun and I am eager to share them with you:

  • Narrative preaching,
  • Jewish world in the New Testament,
  • Theology of the Pentateuch,
  • Exegesis of Hebrew Poetry

I'm most excited about becoming a better narrative preacher, that is, a storyteller of the biblical stories. For those who know me well, you know that I can sometimes tell a story well and then sometimes...not so much. My brain is wired in this odd way that comes out when I write or speak. Some things are blurted out that shouldn't be - words that don't exist, things that happened differently in the replay of my memory, or forgetting crucial details of the story. ("Did you see Dark Knight? There was this scene on a building where he was pulled out by a plane!" = "WHAT?!!") The victims of this predicament have been jokes, anecdotes...and now sermons.

Part of the problem is that my brain is simply attracted to the wrong details. I can't tell you how many times I have had a full conversation with someone, then tried recounting it to Holly and she says, "so wait, you didn't ask if she got the job?" or "what did they decide to name him?" This is where yours truly establishes a goofy posture and a blank stare begins as if the moment might pass without causing either party embarrassment. (Never such luck.) This, sadly, no longer surprises Holly...only to make my new/old friends suffer until my wife notices the trainwreck coming and then reaches for her fork to poke into my thigh. So far this has been moderately helpful, but I'm hoping that a class in "narrative preaching" will cause some of these tendencies to reverse, or at least slow to a general awareness.

This of course reminds me of my favorite comedian Brian Regan, who you might find on Comedy Central with the following bit that embodies this moment precisely. As such I leave you in his two-dimensional company.

don't drink the water...

Last Friday night, we were out to dinner with friends when Justin's phone started ringing. He didn't recognize the number so he didn't pick up. Then, our friend Michael realized his phone was ringing too. We quickly noticed it was the same number ringing at exactly the same time. How odd is that?

We checked voicemail and it was an automated emergency alert from GCTS. "The Hamilton Town water supply has tested high for levels of perchlorate. Do not drink tap water or wash vegetables and fruits. It is safe to bathe. We will notify you when the water is safe to drink."

What??? Well, what does that mean? Are we going to die? Can I wash dishes? What about my dogs? Brushing my teeth? Argh.

Keep in mind, it's 8:30 on Friday night of a holiday weekend.

After a little internet research, we discovered that high levels of perchlorate can be harmful to humans, especially pregnant ones. Boiling water or using a Brita doesn't help. So, I called the doctor who said she'd never heard of it, but I could get a thyroid test since that's apparently what the perchlorate affects. Other than that, drink bottled water.

Yesterday, the phone rang with another automated message stating that the water was now fine. Apparently, 6 consecutive days of testing has shown normal levels. But, I think I'll stick with my overabundance of Poland Spring for now...

in case you were wondering

A few of you have been asking, so here's a recent pic of the growing bump.

I've started feeling little movements.  Not so much the fluttering like it's sometimes described.  More like mere pokes or nudges that make me think maybe I'm just hungry.

Speaking of hunger, it seems to have picked up the pace again.  I thought I was rid of the need to eat every two hours, but lately I've been hungry shortly after I eat a meal. Yesterday, I even had two lunches!

And there is more to Lewis life than baby stuff.  We're enjoying our last couple weeks of summer.  The weather here is amazing.  Makes you forget that winter exists.  We've done some sightseeing in Salem and Rockport as well as taken the dogs on countless walks and outings to play.  This week we'll be helping a few friends move in and out of different places.  We're also going to join a community group with some folks from church and I'm excited to have church friends again.  September comes soon enough bringing school, changing leaves, and hopefully a visit from my mom.  I'll miss summer for sure, but I'll be glad to get rid of these mosquitos!

She's a girl!

Well, assuming our ultrasound tech lady is as proficient as we think she is, we'll be having a GIRL!  It was pretty amazing to watch the little form come up on the screen.  You can totally see the spine, arm and leg bones, hands and feet.  We'll find out next week if everything looks as it should.  (But we didn't see any third arms, so don't worry grandparents!)

So, if you put your right ear to your right shoulder and look at the whitest part in the center of the picture, you'll be looking at her nose.  From there, you can make out the eyes and face.  I think she's posing.

Sweet Potato we are at week 18.  In 2 days we'll (Lord-willing) discover the sex of our little sweet potato. 

Holly's been feeling fine and we're past the morning (and afternoon and evening) sickness... which is awesome. 

I still have a few weeks to finish one distance class and do a bunch of reading.  No job news yet either.

7 years

There's a story in the Bible that describes how the people of Israel ought to treat each other.  It's not so much a story as a law... but the point is the same.  Every 7th year, the people are to forgive each other their debts.  There's no limit to this forgiveness... you are free to be as generous as you can be.  God's law was not to have debts repaid before the 7th year, or get people out of debt -- but to teach his people extraordinary love.

Yesterday, we celebrated 7 years of marriage. 

7 years of laughing, crying, traveling and loving.  7 years of preparing for many more.  I asked Holly what if she had any special highlights along the way.  Her answer: "Right now." 

I don't think she was referring to our dinner on the porch overlooking Salem Harbor... but of a world of uncertainties that awaits us as parents.  It's exhilarating and petrifying, but right now is the moment to live in.  Right now is the year of extraordinary love - forgiveness, freedom and joy.

I think this is what God was trying to communicate to his people.  "You are a people of a generous Covenant.  Loved by me - your Creator.  Be generous to one another and be my symbols of promise so that the world might know me."

Thankfully, marriage is teaching me this. 

Thankfully I know an extraordinary love in her... someone who is Jesus to me every day. 

travel recap (sorry, it's kinda long)

So, I kinda forgot to update you on our travels.  The trip a couple of weeks ago was definitely a whirlwind.  We started our trip with a 7-hour delay in Boston.  Yikes.  Let's just say that 7 hours in Logan Airport...not my favorite thing.

Once in Raleigh, we got our rental car and headed to Archdale.  From there, it was dinner with my parents and grandparents.  We went to barbeque, of course.  It's #1 on our list of foods we must eat everytime we're back in the South.  Topped off with banana pudding, blackberry and strawberry cobbler and ice cream...yum!  Hanging out with my grandparents was nice.  They've been married 62 years this year.  Isn't that awesome?  I love them.

The next day, we spent with my mom on our first venture into the world of maternity clothes.  I admit, I was a little skeptical.  I kept picturing moo-moos and tent-like flowy fabric.  I'm glad to say, I was wrong.  I never knew that clothes with no buttons, no zippers, and elastic waists could be so nice!  Next it was dinner with more family and then a minor league baseball game.  The Hi-Toms won, but I have to say the highlight for me was watching my 6-year-old niece roll down a hill over and over.  Ah, to be a kid again.

Saturday, we headed to Winston to meet up with Justin's parents who came into town for a night.  We eventually found ourselves in BabiesRUs where we checked out carseats, strollers, and baby furniture.  The more interesting thing was talking to all the salespeople who were men.  I had no idea there were so many males in the baby stuff world.  One of the guys is the father of the largest twins born in NC a few weeks ago.
Two babies totaled 23 pounds!  Double YIKES.

That night, we went back to First Pres for our friends' wedding.  
It was so fun.  We saw tons of old friends and loved watching Austin and Erin commit their lives to each other.  Their wedding was full of personality, a favorite part being Austin's rendition of "When Love Comes to Town" as the bridesmaids walked in.

Sunday, we had breakfast with the folks (notice how we eat alot when we're with family?), then we were off to church.  Lunch with friends who were all back in town for the wedding, then a nice visit with the Hamers and we finally got to meet Kathleen!  It was so great to see them and to hear how life is with a newborn.  Later, we headed over to the Ledford house and had a little time to catch up.

And just like that, our time in NC was over.  We got up the next morning and drove to Raleigh, boarded a plane, and landed in Orlando all by 1:20pm.  We went to lunch and headed straight to The Gathering to meet with Larry to talk about the possibility of starting a ministry in NC.  Dinner was with Mary Beth, a longtime friend from Winston, and her fiance, Eric who live in Florida.  They're getting hitched in October, so we had to check out Eric to see if we approve.  Fortunately for him, we do!  :-)

Okay, I'm getting tired and thinking you're probably tired of reading this, so I'll speed it up.  We spent the next day at a men's ministry luncheon, in meetings (Justin) and working (Holly).  A dinner party graciously hosted by the Sterchis, Lindsay and Elliott's parents, was thrown so we could see some new and old friends from the Orlando area.  It was great to stay with Kent and Michelle and to meet E & L's puppy, Ridley.
He's a few months old and has humongous paws. They're planning on taking him down to the DR soon where he'll have fun chasing chickens and little kids, I'm sure.

We also got a chance to see Nick and Sarah who have been married all of 5 hours now.  Since we couldn't be at their wedding, we were at least able to spend some quality time talking about the ins and outs of marriage.  After that, we were back to the airport and on our way home.

2 states, 3 cities, 3 beds all in less than 7 days.  Whew.  I think I need a nap y'all.

This week...

In keeping with last week...


Yes, that's an avocado.  If it were Dominican, it would be bigger.  And just in case you're wondering if the little fruit could taste it, in week 16 the taste buds are forming. 


Also, if you're worried that our blog will become overly consumed with fetus-related information... don't be.  But a once-a-week fruit might be a fun way for us all to watch the little one grow.

Little Orange

Today, the little growing being in my wife's belly is as big as this: [picture not to scale.]
How crazy is that!?

In related news, "Little Orange" just made it onto the list of possible names. (Only we don't know if it would make a better boy name or girl name...)


So, newly planned as of last week, we're headed to NC on Thursday.  It will be a quick visit to see family and celebrate Erin and Austin's wedding.  Then, just to make it extra fun, we're heading to Orlando for a quasi-job interview for Justin.  Pray for us as we travel and for God's wisdom as we figure out what's next.

southern comfort

Sadly enough, you can't get this up here.   Fortunately, we have a good Southern mama who sent some our way.

a new home for Luma

One of the coolest parts of working with Mission Emanuel is watching new homes be built for families in the community.  It's like "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" only with block houses and no trip to Disney World.  Justin and I were so excited to find out the first project of the summer would be working on Luma, our sponsor child, and her family's home.  We knew they had started building a house awhile ago and were continuing to work on it, block by block. But it was not even close to being done, so the help from the 55+ youth from Alabama was much needed.

Throughout the week, as the family quickly moved into temporary housing until the house was finished, we were able to actually see the conditions they were living in for over five years.  I must say, it was much worse than I had ever realized.  As the old, pink, wooden house was being destroyed, the most disturbing thing to see was the giant termite nest in the corner.  It was as big as a basketball and positioned right over their beds.  As the crumbling pieces of wood literally broke off in the hands of the men tearing it down, I had to fight back the tears.  I was overwhelmed with sadness that they had been living there for so long, humbled by the family and the fact that they had never asked us, their "rich" American friends, for help, and also filled with joy that they were going to have their new home with new beds in just a few short days.

Needless to say, they are thrilled with their new house.  All month long I could see such a difference in their demeanor and expression.  I feel better when my house is simply clean, so I can only imagine how much it has changed their lives.

please don't be mad at me.

It's shameful really.  I've been back from the DR for two and a half weeks and not a word has appeared on our blog.  About the DR, that is.  It seems every time I sit down to type, I find other things to work on or I simply realize that I'd rather be sleeping.  (Sleeping and eating are my two favorite activities as of late...obviously.)  

So, I hereby commit to you that I will be a better blogger over the coming days.  I have so many things to share about our month and about the amazing things God did in so many lives.  Bear with me, those of you (ahem...grandparents) who would rather know about the ups and downs of pregnancy.  I'm sure I will have many-a-post discussing diapers, baby names, and what-the-heck we're supposed to put on the registry.

Tattoos and glory

Yes. Two posts in one day. Don't hate me, but after last night's magical performance at the All-Star game's home run derby, I can't help myself. Ladies... you should read this any way.

After my love affair with baseball became rekindled a couple years ago (courtesy Red Sox) the game became marred with cheating and substance abuse. To put it simply, my heroes were erased.

Last night baseball (and I) got a new hero... and not because he can launch a ball 500+ feet. Not because he broke the single round record with 28 home runs. Not because he honored his 71 year-old friend and former coach to pitch to him. Because he represents everything wrong-made-right in baseball...and life.

Today, baseball journalist Peter Gammons wrote about Hamilton and others like him, "We are reminded that baseball can help us remember what we stand for, not against, what we believe, not what we fear, and that while we learn from the past, what we all want is to open the door to the future."

Baseball...and millions of kids need a Josh Hamilton. And this tattooed North Carolinian -- with a stained past and a bright future -- might just be this kid's newest hero.

Read his story here and cheer for him tonight.


So I know I am supposed to be blogging about the joys of waiting for my baby to come. It's tough because I know a lot of you wonderful bloggers want to know daddy-to-be's feelings, while others are hoping that there is more going on in my life than talking to my wife's belly. (and yes, apparently at the fourth month the fetus can hear and begin to learn sounds. It's supposedly like talking underwater. I can't imagine the confusion at birth hearing everything louder and clearer!)

But here's a little anecdote that has nothing to do with baby.

I don't consider myself as a facebook person with a ton of friends. I mean, I have my fair share, but suddenly when I look at the little news feed section, or birthdays, I'm thinking…"do I really know this person enough to receive all these updates about their life?" So I imagined out loud with Holly about ways I could "tighten" my friendworld. One brainstorm idea: when someone tries to befriend me that I am ambivalent on finding out how applications they just installed or who else they've befriended, I could send back a little message with some explanation why I use facebook and that they shouldn't take it personally that I am not going to "accept" at this time.

Upon hearing this idea, Holly retorted, "You would be a total tool if you did that."

Yep. She's right.

And I love her for being that honest with me.

a little announcement

Baby Lewis to arrive January 2009!!!

Thankful for Skype

Yes, we are alive and well. And thanks to Skype, Holly and I see each other every day. She is still in the Dominican Republic while I am about to finish a couple weeks of class here at GCTS. This will officially be the longest run apart from each other in our almost-7 years of marriage. Skype has made it a bit easier, but it doesn't change the fact that I've been reduced to a pseudo-bachelor lifestyle.

In other news, I am now officially 6 months away from finishing my degree and the job search will be on (actually it is already gearing up). Hopefully God will plant us back in the South, but then again you never know where we will end up with our future in His capable hands.

Now in the the Not-News:

  • it's summer I realized that I am used to seeing a certain rediculous series on USA (The 4400) but just found out it was canceled. It may have been the nerdiest thing I have watched but I got a little addicted to the story line (people abducted by the future who have been given special abilities to save the present). Thankfully I have Heroes to offer a completely similar but different in the Fall. And Hancock to provide the next big superhero alternative.
And now for a little interactivity, do you have anything big planned for 4th of July? Where we're from we try to catch a firework show and sit back and say "oooh" to all the cool ones. Will that happen this year? Hmm... not sure yet.

Justin on TV? First of all – this is NOT this Justin! And I'm guessing this is supposed to be some kind of video casting website, as in "this just in".

Today I went there and found some amazing southern trucker who has figured out how to combine trucking all day with online interaction, smoking, swearing, swerving, music sharing, and storytelling. Check it out: What a great way to avoid loneliness and have 295 people watch your driving! (He just said when he gets to 300 viewers he'll drive naked.)

I'm not really a big vidcasting fan yet, but we do enjoy some Rhett and Link from time to time.


So, I was recently tagged by my friend.  I'm supposed to write the name of my memoir in 6 words exactly.  I've been thinking on this one for awhile, which is really silly.  I keep thinking my title must be witty, spiritual, insightful, honest and perfect.

Why?  I have no idea.  I guess I put the pressure on myself because I think the title of a memoir must reflect the life it represents.  So I must want my life to be witty, spiritual, full of insights, honest, and well...perfect.

I've never really taken the time to think about what I would write about my life now or even my latter years.  So, since I don't have mine...what would your memoir title be?  Maybe I'll use yours.

Pics from the family visit

We had an amazing time with Glenn, Norma, and Haley. We went to Newburyport, Rockport, and Boston seeing lots of sights along the way. My personal favorite was Rockport. I think we'll be going back soon to have lobstah-in-the-rough.

Thanks Glenn, Norma, and Haley for coming to see us!

Surprise Visit... sort of

Late Sunday night (a week +1 day ago) I began to inquire of the final plans Holly had in mind for my birthday celebration. (See below for her gifts to me.) She loves surprises. Everything has to be one - gifts, parties, ...people coming into town. I am fond of not knowing a few things, but sometimes you just want a heads up - to see what's coming at you.

Through my gentle prodding I guessed that people were definitely coming. And then narrowing down the potential culprits I got her to give in: My parents and sister! I know they were disappointed that I found out, but the "heads up" gave me time to soak in the amazing gesture of planning and sacrifice that goes in to such a trip.

First of all, they brought me a few surprises: (1) Cheerwine and (2) Cheesecake - not the be eaten together, of course, but we did anyhow. I especially have enjoyed my Cheerwine because I have had a craving for it since the airport security guy took it away from me over a year ago...

Then, we had a chance to be super-touristy in these past few days: driving around the North Shore, walking through the historic Bear Skin Neck of Rockport, touring Fenway Park, and eating lobster (finally)! That makes for a lot of tired feet, but a happy family.

I just dropped them off at the airport and apparently (to top off their amazing trip here) they saw Henry Winkler at the airport. AYYY! (pictures to be uploaded soon.)

a nice addition

Just wanted to show you the latest addition to our walls.  For you non-Tar Heels, this is the Old Well placed in the heart of UNC's campus.  Springtime makes us yearn for sunny days in Chapel Hill.  So, this is a nice reminder.  The photo was taken by our good friend and fellow alum, Locoya Hill.  He's a photographer working in San Francisco.  I bought this print for Justin's 30th birthday gift.  I wanted something timeless and special.  This was perfect.

Thanks Locoya!

Check out his other work at LMHill Photography.

Birthdays are better with baseball

Thanks Keith for helping us out with the tickets!!!

1 more day

He has one more day to revel in the life of a twenty-something.  Tomorrow, it's on to a new chapter and a new decade.  Surprises await!

One more year

Tyler, we're as excited as you are that you'll be in Chapel Hill for another year. Thanks for staying.

¿Hablas Español?

Justin is not the only student in the Lewis house.  I had my first Spanish class today.  It's been 10+ years since I studied Spanish.  Should've studied in college, but that's a long story.  Anyway, our friends, Elliott and Lindsay, are in Guatemala studying Spanish.  We talked to them the other night and they recommended that I take classes from their same school.  They offer an e-learning program where students use Skype to meet one-on-one with a teacher.  Two hour sessions for the next 5 weeks.  Awesome.  And all for less than a class at the community college.


That was my reaction when I checked the forecast for today.

Partly sunny.  High 82.

Happy Patriots Day

Tomorrow is a state holiday.  Last year, I had no idea what was going on.  Everyone kept talking about Patriot's Day and Marathon Monday.  I was so confused.  Turns out, the 3rd Monday in April is a big deal up here.

It's a day of remembrance of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the Revolutionary War.  There are re-enactments, followed by pancake breakfasts.  Thus, the sign.

And to celebrate modern-day heroes, we have the Red Sox playing a midday home game and the running of the Boston Marathon.  It's timed such that Sox fans leaving the game can walk through Kenmore Square and cheer on the runners.

Yay Boston.

tough break

Chances are those of you reading were actually pulling against us. After all, a significant number of our friends and readers don't bleed the same hue of blue like us. It's okay. Really. No hard feelings.

When Kansas started pulling away you could see it - two great teams. One was better. And tonight there's a great matchup for the title. Some may call it justice. Justice for Roy leaving Kansas. Justice for being "overrated" all year. But clearly that's not the case. It was a great season, full of very worthy opponents. We watched kid named Tyler break some records. He might even stick around another year to break some more.

And even at the end of the season, I hope we were classy. I think our coach was. I think our players were. And aside from that one shameful fan, I think our fans were.

And now it's baseball season! The Red Sox are up against some tougher teams this season. As for the aforementioned class...when it comes to the Sox, that ship sailed some time ago. Of course that won't keep us from cheering them on for the next 7 months.


Meet Luma. She's our sponsor child through Mission Emanuel. We met her four years ago on our first trip to the DR. Over the years, we've gotten to know her and her family. She's grown from being really shy and running away from us to now playing with us every chance she gets. When I went to the DR in January 06, I saw that she had an accident. She had been hit in the eye with a baseball. The second picture was taken a few weeks after the accident. Her eye was pretty sensitive to light and hurt quite a bit. After doing some investigating, I found out that she was being taken to the hospital and receiving treatment for it regularly.

Upon returning last summer, Justin and I saw that her eye had healed, but there remained a white cloud over her eye. She says she can see, but not very well. After talking to her parents, we found out that she actually needs a corneal transplant. It costs a lot of money and there is a really long waiting list. We talked with her mom a couple of times and prayed together. It was really hard knowing there wasn't much to be done, but wait.

In August, I went with Jack and Javier (ministry directors) to the Elias Santana Hospital in Los Alcarrizos which is about 45 minutes from Cielo. We were checking out a potential site for a playground build coming up the next year. The hospital also happened to be the opthalmology hospital where Luma had been receiving treatment. So, I asked Jack and Javier if they could find out more about the transplant process. After talking with the administrator, they found out that the DR is no longer harvesting their own corneas. They get them from the US. That's why the wait is so long.

BUT, she said if we could get our own cornea, that might be a different story...

So, where do we find a cornea???

I asked a few people and did some internet research, but basically came up short. It seems you can't just get a cornea on the eye care aisle of CVS.

Fast forward to March (three weeks ago). I'm eating dinner with the group from Ohio State. One of the two adults on the trip strikes up a conversation and mentions that he might need my help with a situation. Jeff proceeds to explain that when he was in the DR last, he met a child who needed a corneal transplant. After describing the child, I realized it was not Luma he had met, but another child in the community. Upon returning to the States, he raised money to help pay for the surgery. But he, like us, wondered where to get a cornea. He said he thought to talk to his dad who is a member of the local Lions Club. He knew that the Lions donated eyeglasses and thought they might be a good resource. During their conversation, his dad tells him, "Oh yeah, the Lions ship corneas all over the world."

As Jeff is telling me all of this, my mouth was gaping open. I was so amazed that we were even having the conversation. I proceed to blurt out Luma's story and together we decide to take action. He needed my help tracking down the child he met and I needed his help with getting the donated cornea. Since we got back, he's been in touch with the Lions Eye Bank in Ohio. I've been in touch with the hospital in the DR. Basically, we just have to get the children in for a consultation and schedule the surgeries. Then, the Ohio Eye Bank talks to the Dominican Eye Bank and the corneas are put on a plane.

Are you as amazed as I am?

There's more. See, the Ohio State trip itself almost didn't happen. The group was originally supposed to come during the spring break week with Wake Forest, Florida, and Massachusetts groups. At the beginning of the semester they found out that the school had changed the week of spring break. So, we canceled the trip.

Then, we talked and reconsidered. In order for us to host a group in the DR, we needed at least 20 people to come. We knew this would be a challenge since only one person from OSU was definitely interested in coming. And she was the one organizing the trip. But eventually they did get a group of 18 and the trip was on. One of the 18 was Jeff. The week before they were supposed to leave, he got sick and almost didn't come.