|Welcome to my “Gigi”’s delinquent blog. I’m only part of the reason she’s so far behind . . . but I think I’m the favorite reason. :)|
Though the calendar says it’s May 28, I’m having a very hard time believing it. The past two months since my last post have all but evaporated. As we return to Boston after spending Memorial Day weekend camping at Myles Standish State Forest with 100 family campers, I'll begin reflecting on how God has met us. And to ensure that this is not an overwhelmingly long blog post, this will be “Part 1.”
My last blog was written from California, during a two-and-a-half-week west coast junket. That time, which began with a meaningful marriage conference at The Journey Church in El Segundo, California, ended with the marriage of our nephew Mark Herbst and his bride, Angie. What a wonderful celebration it was to join with most of the extended Friesen clan (including all of our immediate family except Derek and Julie) in honoring Mark and Angie's commitment to Christlikeness as singles and now as a married couple. The setting, on the beach at Dana Point, was spectacularly beautiful, and Angie's grandfather was inspiring as he boomingly preached their wedding service with passion and conviction that would belie his 80-plus-year life. It was truly a celebration of all that is good and we were thrilled and honored to be there.
Cousins . . . celebrating the wonderfully God-honoring marriage of Mark Herbst and his bride Angie.
|Gabe and Brandon enjoyed the lively coastline during the ceremony.|
Besides the wedding, the highlight for us was being with our kids and, of course, Brandon. He is one very fun little guy and we're all kind of mesmerized as we watch his curiosity unfold in discovery. He doesn't miss a thing, and in his own language, narrates life as he sees it. We had a blast being together.
Back home Monday, April 2—briefly—before heading to Harrisonburg, Virginia, to spend Easter with Lisa. We had been wanting to get down her way and this presented the best opportunity schedule-wise, so off we went on Good Friday. We had a great time with her, just hanging. A little shopping, a little yard sale-ing, a little running, a little entertaining. A lot of talking and laughing. Easter Sunday, full of sunshine, blue skies, and fragrant blossoms, was packed with joyful celebration, starting with our traditional breakfast of almond puff pastry fashioned in the shape of a cross and followed by gathering with the church. Her church included the singing of many traditional Easter hymns, which connected us with memories spanning the decades. We hosted dinner for a number of her FCA leadership team and over a delicious table, and enjoyed sharing family traditions celebrating this significant Holy Day and faith stories from each one's life. The grand finale was an Easter egg hunt in her yard; we never really outgrow the delight of that childhood event! Couldn't have been a better day, affirming the hope-giving resurrection of Christ! We wrapped up that trip Monday, returning home that night with hearts full of gladness that we had gone.
|Lisa and some of her FCA volunteers celebrate Easter together.|
Engagement Matters was the main event of the next weekend, April 13-15, and we were thrilled to have a sold-out conference with 22 couples (six of whom came in from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and California)! The California couple stayed with us and we thoroughly enjoyed having Kevin and Rawni in our home. Many conversations were had throughout the weekend regarding making “the second most important decision in life,” and we were impressed with the process these couples were engaged in to confirm God's best.
|Engagement Matters was packed and inspiring.|
We love Engagement Matters weekends, and this one definitely will rank among one of the best ever. So many thoughtful, engaging couples, striving to hear from the Lord regarding their potential marriages. Great questions. Great interaction. Great "aha!" moments. Our passion for this weekend grows, especially as the disillusionment with marriage increases. Marriage really isn't the problem; selfishness and an increasingly skewed view of God's design for marriage are.
Taking advantage of being "in town" for EM, we spoke for a Friday Date Night at North Shore Community Baptist Church the 13th (always love partnering with them), had 3 of our EM couples for dinner Saturday night (great time!), and on Sunday evening met with a sweet high school group lead by Dan and Lois Frasier who have been using Paul's Discussion Guide for Letters to My Daughters over the past several months. That was especially delightful as we interacted with them on the impact of Letters on the decisions they were making regarding relationships. Though packed and at least somewhat exhausting, we valued every moment of the weekend.
|Dan and Lois Frasier lead this group of teens through Letters to My Daughters using Paul's new discussion guide.|
As tempting as it was to sleep in on Patriot's Day, the lure of the reenactment of the first battle of the Revolutionary War on the Lexington Green . . . and the promise of 60 degree temps at 5 am (the ungodly hour of this historical event) and the fact that we had two Californians staying with us, all combined to compel us to pile in the car at 4 am and be among the thousands to experience this unique event. It had been several years since we had gone, and truth be told, it's one of our family traditions that our girls would just as soon have skipped (after the first time.) None expressed regret that they were not with us this year. Even so, we had a great time and memories were made. :)
|Kevin Munsey and his fiance Rawni flew out from California for Engagement Matters and we hosted them at our home.|
We had the honor of speaking at the 1st Presbyterian Church of Ipswich the next weekend. What a delightful group of people came out Friday night and Saturday to wrestle with "The Irony of Intimacy." This church, which we attended from time to time when we lived on campus at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, has a long history of faithfully preaching the gospel and it was a joy to reconnect with them.
The weekend also was highlighted by reconnecting with some dear friends. Helen Challener drove from Glenville, NY, to spend several days with us. Time with Helen is beyond fun. She makes us laugh like few others and that's just one of the gifts she brings. Another dear friend, Dave Bullock, also drove in. Not by car . . . but on his Harley, from Milwaukee! It had been too long since we last saw Dave and his son Al, so it was a joy to go to church together and then catch up over a plate of fried clams in Essex. Great weekend.
Just before heading to California on the 27th, we celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary. That's starting to sound like a really long time, but in all honesty, it doesn't feel like a really long time. We are blessed.
|Our engagement photo in March 1976. :)|