Sunday, July 15, 2012

90 Days . . . Update

So far, so good!  It's been 30 days, and I'm still on track!  I've been immensely enjoying this time, and I know it sounds cliché, but I really have been learning so many new things.  Reading through the history of civilization, from Adam to Noah, and then from the flood through Abraham . . . then on into Israel's birth as a nation, and right now I just finished reading through the line of kings.  It never ceases to amaze me the kinds of things God pre-ordained to happen in his selection of kings, their reigns, etc.

Aside from the more prominent kings, (David, Solomon, etc.), I am amazed by the stories of kings like Hezekiah, who had steadfast faith in the face of imminent death for not only himself, but his people as well.  Or kings like Josiah, who began his reign at eight years old . . . and then lead one of the most profound returns to their covenant faith in Israel's history.  It actually says he threw a Passover feast like none before him.  Not even King David, or King Solomon had ever honored the Passover this way!  So many incredible things that paint a picture of such an incredible God.

What kinds of things has God been teaching you through His word lately?  Do you employ a specific method of study?  Have there been any systems that you've had more success with than others?  I'd love to hear your feedback!  I'm always looking for new things to keep me accountable to reading regularly.  :) 

Looking forward to continuing this journey!

Grace and Peace,

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friend Reunion: D.C.

If you ask my husband what his favorite memories of college are, he will undoubtedly refer to one event or another taking place between an intimate circle of friends from those years.  He was fortunate enough to grow and learn with the same group of incredible people throughout his four years at school.  Several of the friends ended up going on to marry, and while I didn't attend the same school, after marrying Nate, I was graciously adopted into the group.  These friends are really more like family, and through the years, we've made an effort to get together in spite of being spread out all over the country.  I really cannot be more blessed by their friendship!

This summer was especially fun.  It was the first time the entire group was together since we started adding children to the equation.  Boy was it fun to watch our kids interact!  There were so many other reasons this trip will be memorable for us . . .

The day before we were due to arrive, we got a phone call from our friends out in Washington D.C. who were hosting the gathering.  There had been a "land hurricane" (yes, you read that right . . . that's what the news sources were calling it, haha!), and they were left without electricity.  By the time they had called us, they had already gone without power for nearly 24 hours.  Thankfully, with kind neighbors offering the use of generators, they were able to save the $700 worth of groceries just purchased!  We were just praying the power came on before our plane landed!

We were able to fly out of Chicago with another couple and their daughter (also from Iowa) who were part of the "group".  This made travel lots more fun!  Thankfully, Olivia slept until we were nearly landing, which was fantastic!  All those great ideas from Pinterest on how to keep a toddler busy were filed away for next time.  :)

Upon arrival, we were dismayed to learn that there was indeed still no power, which meant no a/c.  Normally this wouldn't have been too big a setback, but we're talking Washington D.C. in July, in a record year for heat.  Factor in the ridiculous humidity, and it was pretty safe to say everyone was miserable.  Still, we were all excited to be together, and we made the most of our first night there, camp out style!

The next morning (Sunday) some very generous friends of our host couple let us stay at their enormous home.  They already had restored power, and air conditioning!  We were eternally grateful!  Here's a photo of the amazing home:

One of the perks of getting this group together is re-living college days.  For the guys, that means plenty of Smash Brothers and Mario Kart on the N64.  :)  Thankfully, after one night, and two days of being at the "other" house, we were able to move back to our kind friend's home where they were hosting our entire group.  Hooray for electricity!

While our main goal for this trip was just to visit, and enjoy each other's company, we also wanted to take advantage of some of the awesome things Washington D.C. has to offer.  We were able to visit the Smithsonian, tour the White House (very cool if you ever get the chance!), visit the Library of Congress, along with portions of our group going on to the National Botanical Gardens, and the Capital Building.

Going anywhere as a group meant we had quite the entourage!  Strollers, baby carriers galore, we were quite the sight!

Olivia was always up for another adventure.  She was my little Hollywood baby this trip - she cracks me up!

 Of course, one of the highlights of the trip for the kiddos was riding the Metro around the city.

It was such a thrill for them to "hold on" while the train was in motion!  So cute.  Our friends also made the trip memorable for the littles by indulging them in a giant bouncy house.  The kids certainly wore themselves out playing in it!

In addition to the other activities, we grown-ups got to have an evening all to ourselves.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner at a pub in Old Town Alexandria (definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me!), and then meandered around enjoying the scenery, old buildings, and general "quaintness" of the city.  After dinner, we were brave enough to venture over to the National Mall to check out the monuments by night.  Hoping for a cooler (and more enjoyable) viewing.  I have to admit, in spite of being absolutely drenched in sweat by the end, it was really enjoyable!

Needless to say, we created enough memories on this trip to last a lifetime, and the experiences shared only served to re-enforce the amazing friendships that have stood the test of time.  We feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of this group!

Nine adults, and five kids (under the age of 3!) under one roof, for an entire week.  What an adventure we had!  So thankful, and looking forward to the next time we're all together again.  :)