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Archive for the ‘Life together’ category

As you may have already read on James’ blog, Calvin hosted the second biennial Festival of Faith and Music this weekend.

Besides being a wonderful weekend of music, conversation, community, challenge, encouragement, celebration, etc., it was especially significant for me in that it marked two years since James and I met at the very first Festival of Faith and Music. What made it particularly special was that so many of the people who were there that fateful weekend in March 2003, were back this year – Steve Stockman, Dave Dark, Dave Bazan, Ralston Bowles, and Nick Purdy and Josh Jackson from Paste among others. Two years ago I was meeting most of them for the first time. This year it was a grand reunion of friends.

Two thoughts occur to me:

So much can happen in the span of two years!!


The Spirit works in mysterious ways, and I sure am glad she does.

Yes, it’s true. After two months of drought, I’m blogging again. Don’t expect a deluge, however. Things are pretty busy these days.

So in the last two months we’ve moved into our new house (photos here – click on the rooms to see them) and have been having a great old time furnishing it. We’ve also found that owning a house zaps a lot of time. It’s quite something, really. We had a lovely little housewarming party on September 25 thanks to the amazing generosity of our great realtor Linda.

Also my sister Erin got married on October 2. It was a freezing cold day for an outdoor wedding, but at least it was sunny and the reception was in a cozy, closed-in shelter house complete with a fire in the fireplace. The bride was glowing all day. It was a great celebration!

And we continue to pull together all the last-minute details for our own wedding celebration on October 22. I’m really looking forward to it, but I’m also looking forward to it being done and our lives finally slowing down a bit. It’s amazing what a hectic, busy month September was! We’ll be honeymooning in northern Michigan (Bellaire, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Mackinac, etc.) – a location neither of us has been to. Should be a good time and beautiful that time of year. And even if it rains all week, it will be a whole six days together with nothing else to do!

In the meantime, James is improving his computer programming skills and looking for work – full time or freelance. If you need a web developer and have any leads, please get in touch with him. He’s set up a portfolio (with all his contact info) over here.

That’s a summary of the news from the last two months. I’ll post after our October 22 event if not before!

p.s. No word on James’ green card yet. The vigil continues…

Last weekend James and I traveled to Des Moines, Iowa to visit my sister and her fiance. We enjoyed our time with them and seeing where they live and work and go to church. On Saturday we made the 45 minute drive to Pella, the town where I grew up. I lived there from age 6 to 16 although it’s now been nearly 15 years since we moved away.

Going back to Pella is always a rather surreal experience. I’ve been back 6 or 7 times since we moved; the last time was 4 or 5 years ago. So many things have changed, and yet there is always plenty that remains exactly the same. The latest additions since I was last there are the Vermeer windmill at the Historical Village and the Molengracht plaza. (We got to have lunch with dear friends who live in one of the condos above the Molengracht. Beautiful place!) Various parts of Pella – especially the two schools that I attended – are still frequent settings of my dreams, something that made going back and seeing the actual locations yet more surreal.

Another factor this time exacerbating the surreality even further was the Harley-Davidson convention that had taken over much of downtown. It seemed that Sturgis up and moved to Pella. Weird.

In any case, it was great fun showing James around the town where I spent most of my childhood and adolescence. And of course getting to indulge in the joy that is Jaarsma Bakery. Ah those Dutch letters

My baby is home!

James flew into Chicago yesterday. Immigration and customs all went very smoothly. Our I-129f is now on the way to Detroit to await our AOS application. Alas, James’ Air India flight was an hour and a half late and very slow in deplaning and as a result we didn’t beat the thunderstorm but rather ended up in the middle of it. 🙁 So there we were in torrential rain and lots of lightning with flood and tornado watches being broadcast on the radio. It would have been a lovely storm if we hadn’t been trying to drive in it! I don’t do at all well driving in bad weather, so we got off the highway in Portage, Indiana and stayed at the Days Inn. The weather was much better this morning.

So now James is unpacking and trying to find places to put his stuff in my little one-bedroom apartment. Hopefully it’s only for a few months since we’re in the process of looking for a house to buy. We’re doing our first looking for real this Wednesday night!

We also got word yesterday (via text message) and this morning (via email) that James’ brother Matthew is going to be coming this weekend too. Very happy news! So now we get to look forward to having both James’ mum and brother here for a few days.

Several times yesterday James made comments like, “You don’t have to take me back to the airport,” and “I live here now.”

The “rest of our lives” starts now.

I got to spend Valentine’s Day with my honey this year. And we were joined by 19 of his closest kin.

I had met James’ parents, his brother Matthew and his sister Susan on my trip to England in November. This time I got to meet more of the extended family at a combined birthday celebration for Matthew and James’ mum and “meet Kari” party which took place at James’ parents house in Tunbridge Wells. I must say I enjoyed the event quite a bit; fun conversations, and everyone was very kind and hospitable. The food that James’ mum prepared was amazing – what a spread! Overall it was a great party. Thanks to all involved!

We also made a trip to Cambridge on the 17th where we spend a bit more time with James’ Grandad (paternal) who treated us to a wonderful lunch at a rather chi chi hotel as well as tea at his flat later in the afternoon.

James and I did get to have our own Valentine’s celebration with dinner at the Sizzling Wok (great Thai food near the Reading University campus) on the evening of the 13th.

I love you, babe!

…it becomes necessary to delete the duplicates. Well, in the case of CDs anyway, it just makes sense.

To that effect, James and I have been working through our CD collections to eliminate duplicates. As a result we have a few for sale. Let us know if you’re interested.

It’s now officially official: James has asked me to marry him and I’ve accepted his proposal. And I now have a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring as well!

I spent last week in the UK – my third trip there but first since I met James. I met many, many of his friends and finally met his parents and sister and brother as well, all of whom were wonderfully welcoming and whom I am excited to have as my own family very soon.

I had a terrific time getting to know the family and spending time with quite a few of James’ dear friends (he sure knows how to pick ’em!). We had a busy week with trips to Bath, Bournemouth, Brighton, Oxford and London and stops in Portsmouth, Tunbridge Wells and Tudeley.

Highlights of the week – in no particular order – included a stunning Radiohead show at Earl’s Court in London, choral evensong for Advent at Magdalen College chapel in Oxford, lunch at the Vauxhall Inn in Tonbridge with James’ parents, curry in Brick Lane (London), dinner at Graeme’s, the gathering at the Global Cafe where I finally met in person loads of folks that I had only previously met online, lunch with Matthew (James’ brother) in Portsmouth, discovering Brighton, Blackwell’s bookshop in Oxford, Salisbury Cathedral, and dinner at Loch Fyne in Reading followed by James’ proposal.

Pictures of the trip (including a few of the ring) can be viewed here: