Back in the Saddle

It was a romantic getaway which will not soon be forgotten. Though a bit bleary eyed and tired from the red-eye back from San Diego on Sept. 5, adrenaline kicked in the minute my knight in shining armor picked me up at Logan and whisked me away to a surprise destination. I love surprises! On this beautiful Sabbath, with clear blue skies and San Diego-like temperatures, I figured out about halfway there that Perkins Cove, Maine, was our destination. Hank Bazijian’s summer rental would be ours for the next few days...and a more perfect few days could hardly be found.

Paul had driven up the day before to ready everything: from placing flowers on the table and food in the fridge, to bringing our bikes, he thought of everything. And so our magical getaway was underway and I still smile to think of how special the days were.

We walked miles, in daylight and by moonlight; we rode our bikes both north and south; we bought lobster for $4.00 a pound from a local lobsterman right off the pier for dinner two nights in a row; we swam at Ogunquit beach and floated down the river as the tide was receding. We read, rested, and relaxed. We had a night at the Ogunquit Playhouse and loved seeing “Singin’ in the Rain” performed.

We did what we regularly encourage couples to do and it was reviving. It was a great exclamation point on a full and wonderful summer.

Flowers were in place when we arrived at Hank's rental. :)

Fresh lobster and fresh corn...what more could one want?

We biked to York the first day, and in the direction of Kennebunkport the second day.

We drove to the Nubble Lighthouse and its beauty took our breath away.

We returned to a full counseling schedule on the 9th and we’ve been back at it since. We spoke at BCEC’s Mom to Mom program on Friday night, the 11th, and were encouraged not just by the turn out of women, but of their husbands as well. The rainy, raw night did not hinder them from coming. It was so good to see how God is using Fannie Ng’s leadership in that ministry.

The silver lining of Friday night’s rain-out at Fenway was getting to go to the rescheduled game Sunday late afternoon with Paul and Dawn Amico. Any time is a good time at Fenway, but it's extra sweet when we win—and that night, we completed a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays. Perfect weather, perfect shut-out, perfect free parking. :) Hard to improve on!

Paul and Dawn Amico joined us at Fenway for a great night of baseball.

The stacks in our house indicate that it’s been a long time since we’ve been home long enough to really get things in order, so whenever we haven't been counseling, speaking, or otherwise engaged, we’ve been sorting, cleaning, and organizing. Progress is being made, but I'm pretty sure we’ll never completely catch up. The relentless parade of paper continues.

While I order the inside of the house, Paul is working hard on the outside. In addition to doing a lot of yard clean-up, we’ve had our house re-roofed—all of which has prompted “are you moving?” questions from our neighbors. We've assured them we're not that we know of...but that the jobs needed to be done. We were very impressed by the roofing job done by Arthur Fletcher and his team; they were neat, efficient, and quick.

We spent a very fun evening with Guy and Barbara Steele at “Tech Squares” - MIT’s version of square dancing. Far from the “Oh, Johnny, Oh Johnny Oh” square dancing of family camp, Tech Squares is very....MIT-ish. Serious. Exacting. Calculated. And very friendly and supportive. We really did enjoy the evening, but at least one of us is very glad that our schedule precludes us making a weekly commitment to the club. :)

We also launched our tenth season of working with the Patriot couples Bible study on Sept. 17 and are so thankful for the core of Christian couples left on the team after a significant exodus of a number of faithful attendees from past seasons. We were very sad to see David and Kassidy Thomas, Heath and Beth Ann Evans, Billy and Tamika Yates, Wesley and Katie Britt, and Matt and Lauren Cassel all leave the team since last season, but we've had a strong showing the first two weeks of the study.

Out to California we flew for a multipurpose trip. The first big event was attending the very God-honoring wedding of Nathan Aleman and Julie Younger. Nathan grew up coming to Family Camp at Campus by the Sea and eventually served on staff for numerous summers both at CBS and in New Hampshire. It was a joy to celebrate their union and to have a reunion with many CBS friends. The best reunion was of our own family as all our kids gathered to honor Nathan and Julie.

Many CBS friends gathered to celebrate Nathan and Julie's wedding.

Kari, Gabe, Julie, and Lisa enjoyed all being together for the first time since last Thanksgiving.

Bright and early Sunday morning, we drove down to Monterey and had the privilege of preaching at Stone Harbor Church. Lead pastor Johnny Potter and his wife Lori are our best friends from our seminary days at Gordon-Conwell and we’re always delighted to have opportunities to partner with them. Besides the morning services, Virginia spoke at a women’s brunch, Paul spoke at a men’s meeting, and we both spoke Sunday night to a gathering on the subject of “when life doesn’t go the way you thought it would.” Monday we continued serving by meeting with a ministry team to discuss family and marriage ministry, and that night we spoke for a couples'event. Our time was full and very good. Between all that speaking, Lori and I managed to squeeze in several great walks.

Johnny and Lori Potter and Suzanne and David Overton labor faithfully together at Stone Harbor Church.

Our final ministry opportunity on this trip came Tuesday night at Jesuit High in Carmichael, California, when we addressed their parents’ forum. What an honor to address the parents of this very prestigious all boys Catholic high school. We spoke on “Raising Sons with Conviction and Character” to a full room and seemed to be appreciated and well-received. We challenged them to set the bar for their sons to be "men of standing" rather than submit to the “boys will be boys” mentality that is so pervasive. Some good questions followed our presentation which made it even more relative to their specific concerns. We felt God really met us in the evening.

The question and answer period following our talk at Jesuit High was lively.

The Pat Barr and Don Padilla families are on the leadership team for the parents' forum at Jesuit High (and also happen to be dear friends through Campus by the Sea.)

After spending our last night at the warm and wonderful “B and B” hosted by Kari and Gabe, we made our way back to Boston Wednesday, the 23rd, on a non-stop day flight, which really provided an office in the sky. It was really a nice change from our typical economy flights with multiple stops and red-eyes.

We’ve just completed our first Engagement Matters weekend of the 2009-2010 “season.” Though the turn-out was small, the weekend was great. We had very personal interaction with each of the couples and they expressed great appreciation for the helpful content of the program. In addition to EM, we spoke at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Topsfield on Saturday night and had a wonderful time with their sincere and enthusiastic congregation. Especially as marriages continue to be challenged, our audiences seem very hungry to be fed encouragement and good teaching specific to marriage.

And so our passion grows. Godly, Christian marriages are so potent and effective in impacting this world for Christ. And crumbling Christian marriages do incalculable damage to the cause of Christ. We just want to be used to help make a difference for His sake.