Quick update

Highlights of the last few days:

•Seeing a very dear old friend from high school, and discovering that not only do we have children the same age, we also have the SAME children–same temperaments, same discipline issues, same food preferences….and we have the same parenting styles. And we found that, while our life trajectories have been VASTLY different from each other in the last 20 years, we have struggled with some of the same things. It was good to get to spend more than a couple of hours with her, and to realize that we could still pick up where we left off. Thanks, Retta!

•Driving down through Shenandoah National Park–simply gorgeous.

•We were able to definitively rule out one of the places NOT to stay in Roanoke, VA. The downtown Ramada Inn, which has a very tempting coupon in the traveler’s coupon book, is NOT a place we recommend. Just in case you were wondering. As Ian put it, “GRO-dy!”

•Driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway–WOW!

•Being welcomed to my sister’s new home by her and her brood of boys. Their new house is so comfortable, and it is clear they are in a good place in every sense of the phrase. We had a big pizza fest and musical evening with them and some friends of theirs. What a great time!

•Kirk and David (my brother-in-law) and all the boys are on a men’s camp-out for the weekend, so Barb and I have stayed at home, weeping and having no fun without them. 😀 We were forced to repair to a local pub for dinner with some of Barb’s girlfriends, then to go see “The Devil Wears Prada”–a hilarious chick-flick in which Meryl Streep is having WAY too much fun. We stayed up a lot later than we should have, and I ended up sleeping in until 10:30 a.m.!!!! I haven’t done that in…let me see, how old is Tobin? EIGHT years. We ran around town this afternoon, doing errands and checking out the local antiques scene (not enough selection, and not cheap enough!) Tonight our mission is to make crab puffs. We may also do some homeschool planning.

•Tomorrow night, after the boys are back, we will have a celebratory dinner, celebrating the fact that, after MANY months of two-mortgaged prayer, the Kelleys have sold their house in CO and now own only ONE house. This is an excellent thing, and is worth a large scale celebration.

One of the things that has been a marvel to me on this trip is how God created such an incredibly VARIED world. This place is like no place I’ve ever been. As was Washington, DC, as was Pittsburgh. Here the rhododendrons grow wild everywhere, along with other things I’ve never seen before. There are towering deciduous trees, and an under layer that is lush on a scale I’ve never even seen in Minnesota. The mountains here are not tall, but they lay in sharp folds, creating driveways and streets that have 15% grades, and roads that meander like creek beds. The doors in this house are open all day, and the air is of a cool mugginess that I’ve only ever experienced at the shore. It is no wonder that when Europeans first came to the New World, they saw it as a new land of promise.

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