musings on a Valentines Day…

Our first Valentines Day is a little blurry in my memory. I know that I made myself sick with worry (really, I barfed. TMI, I know, TMI.) I wanted to get theBean, my fiancee a gift. A good gift. Something that would perfectly describe my commitment to her, encompass all of my undying love & devotion, & make her absolutely positively sure that she was making the Right Choice by marrying me. I wanted all of this to be communicated in the gift I got her. And I wanted it for under $50 (Which was a lot of money back in the day… But I digress.)

I don’t remember what I bought her. Neither does she. Funny. And I’d gotten so worked up, anxious, stressed, and worried. What I do remember is that she kissed me good after I gave her the present, & that I never wanted it to stop. The kiss that is. But it had to because theBean couldn’t (still can’t) breathe so good through her nose.

I knew I loved her, & for some reason, she loved me back. I didn’t (don’t) understand it, but I am not one to argue with a stunningly beautiful woman who wanted to pledge her undying love & a lifetime of devotion to me. Go figure.

Something that I’m thankful about is that theBean doesn’t need presents to make her happy; they’re not her main “love language.” (Go to that link. Learn about love languages. Talk to your loved one. Listen to what makes them feel loved. Do it.)

Granted, she likes bling, appreciates kind gestures like flowers & cool looking cooking pots, but what she wants is me.

Me. That’s a tough one. Because I know the depths of my heart, the levels of junk I’m capable of. The things I’ve put her through out of my immaturity, selfishness, and brokenness.

And still, what she wants is me. My attention. Approval. Support. Encouragement. Ears. Commitment. Good words. Touch. Eye contact. Heart. Acts of service. Cleaning up around the house. Pretending I know what I’m doing in the kitchen/bbq.

Today, she asked me to be her Valentine. Again. Still. I said, “Yes. Will you be mine too? Forever and ever and ever…?” She agreed.

I watched her drive off to work, & as she started to pull away, she rolled down the window & said, “You’re all mine, baby!”

Like I’m a prize worth having. Like she still means it. Goodness.

My heart is full, & I am so thankful for the favor of God on my life that He would give me such a woman.

A Life In Review…

I really enjoyed our trip to Virginia, especially looking in the rear-view mirror… & in light of the breakneck pace at which the school year has begun (for at least the older two) has been matched by a growing weariness that I know is not unique to me & mine…

At the same time, rather than just put my proverbial nose to the grindstone & push through, I’m trying to examine life & see what can be changed about it – the things that I’m committed to do, be a part of, oversee, carry on, etc. Instead of doing it all, I’m trying to evaluate self & remove that which can be removed, or at the least, shelve what can be shelved. (Removing is permanent; shelving is putting something up until later.) I’m finding that I, too, am a notoriously poor self-evaluator, or that I am incredibly optimistic about all that I can do in a week’s time. Or a days. And butting up against the ‘doing feelings’ that cry & whine whenever I try to balance my life by leaving a task undone, nagging for just “15 more minutes.” Especially when it’s not a ‘want to do’ but a ‘need to do.’

A couple of things have happened in the last week that have gotten my attention, & have prompted a more introspective house cleaning of the scoey machine…

  • Last week, in a classic heart to heart, theBean brought to my attention the fact that I seem to have the same issue that Zay has (you can read about it here…) – yes, its that I must think that I have superpowers with what I had committed myself to.

    And the problem, it seems, is that I don’t see a problem… & this time, rather than try to bluster my way past theBean, or dance around it, or try to use the remote to “mute” her (BTW: I don’t recommend this. The sheer act of pointing a remote at one’s spouse has proved, multiple times, to be ill-advised…) So, instead of doing those things, l listened. And I asked her advice. And some of what she said made sense to me… while other things seemed so, so wrong. But, going on the premise that I may not see stuff as accurately for my emotional, physical, & mental well-being & health, I asked Jesus about what she’d said. And got a peace about it. Sigh. The times, they are a-changin’. (Thanks to Robert Zimmerman for that.)

  • Second, I heard from my brother, Moe – seems he’s been diagnosed with some version & degree of HCM, which is a fancy way of saying that something in the heart doesn’t work & the results of that can be catastrophic… It was his birthday & I had called him to talk about the kind of things that brothers talk about on birthdays as we age… & to hear this was a shock.

    More shock, though not alarm – this HCM can be hereditary, so Brother & I are both trying to get appointments for our own EKG… only to find that the next opening with the next available doctor in the Greater Reno/Sparks metropolitan area is 29 September. Sigh again.

    No panic, no frustration, just ‘meaning of life’ type introspection, couched in the fact that priorities & responsibilities are shifting… from without & from within. And that’s ok.

  • a few things…

    Had coffee & good talks with Shontell’s brother, Kristopher yesterday… we coffeed locally, at a place owned by a guy named Jim, not one of them coffee chains. We got to hang for a couple of hours, & the only interruptions we had were from Jim pouring beans into the roaster right behind us… throughout our entire coffee-ing. Made me think of the Age’s job in Minden as KOTR (King of the Roaster‘s) for the Siren Coffee Chain…

    Over the last couple of days, we’ve seen some interesting things…

    Driving from Blacksburg home to Christiansburg, we saw a motorcycle pulling something. I was intrigued, so I pulled up to find that it was a hollowed out log, like a log from a theme-park log ride, with a dog in the back of the log. A dog wearing aviators glasses. A dog named “Ruby.”

    Now, it’s not that I’m a dog lover, or that I thought that the scenario of the guy pulling his dog was especially cute, or that my mother-in-law’s name is Ruby…

    On the same drive, we saw Bo & Luke Duke, as well as the General Lee, sitting outside of Cooter’s Garage. ’nuff said.

    Went to the Salem Avalanche game last night – the “Salem Men’s Choral Group” – old guys in their 80s & 90s, in tuxes – sang the National Anthem, which was cool. The best part was that they walked (& walk-ered) onto the field to GNR’s “Welcome to the Jungle…” Truly.

    I’m thankful for our daily discussions with Chuck – every day, I’ve/we’ve spent at least 90 minutes in conversation – & have received a lot of input. Things that stand out to me so far as I process internally & in this virtual arena…

  • Making sure that I know, recognize, & live within my limits (& rhythms) in the areas of time, relationships, energy output & investment (among others) is a key for me…
  • Being able to lead oneself is imperative for personal & relational growth… Knowing what to say “Yes” & “No” to. Not living by my whims, taking on a victim’s mentality, blaming others for my issues, choices, etc. “Leading oneself” might also be called self-control, self-discipline, self-governing, self-boundaries… & it’s not a rigid, militaristic way of life, but is a “fruit of the Spirit” way of life.
  • Feeding my soul is necessary for life in its fullness.
  • Feeding the soul of my relationship with theBean is necessary for that relationship to thrive.
  • The kind of relationships I want require that 2 people are both feeding into them; are taking responsibility for their own selves; not looking for the other to fulfill or complete me… Not being taken advantage of. Not being used as a ‘means to an end.’
  • If I don’t stop & grieve, I can’t grow. This means grieving where I’ve experienced loss: death, of friendships, unfulfilled dreams, hurts, disappointments, friends moving, etc. My observation is that we (Americans) & we (the American Church) don’t grieve much. Or well.
  • Jesus is more concerned with me, the person, & in the process I’m in, & how I “play with others around me”, than in anything I could ever do, any role I ever fulfill, any output or accomplishment that comes from my life.
  • There are things that I would still be doing/living even if I didn’t have the job I have; remembering that, & trying to stay congruent by ‘doing/living’ those things now, is something I’m pondering.

    I have a couple of travel uniforms – meaning, I wear the same pants & shirt… funny, but comforting. My ‘new’ jeans. White T. Sweet black support socks (to keep the blood flowing instead of pooling in my feet.) Blue polo. Comfy black slip ons. My 1 belt. Yeah. It’s all laid out, right now, ready to go. Only 24 hours & I’ll be on a jet plane with my girlfriend, coming back to my family. And the life that I love. And am thankful for. Sigh.

    Thank you.

  • Saturday & Sunday

    Saturday was largely a driving around day – drove to Floyd & borrowed some internet to post the “Friday & Floyd”. Then headed out to the Blue Ridge Parkway to drive the beautiful Blue Ridge Hills, & also to check out a couple of the viewpoints that the locals love so much. On our drive, we visited the Villa Appalaccia Winery, & also the Chateau Morrisette. The “Villa” is set in the Blue Ridge Hills like an Italian Villa – very beautiful, the kind of place that theBean thought would be a great place to visit for a picnic lunch, complete with the gingham patterned tablecloth to sit on. Incredible views, & a small, cozy, family type atmosphere, where they grow all their own grapes (a rarity) & work the vineyards themselves.

    The Chateau was the opposite of the Villa – & is the biggest wine producer in Virginia (180,000 gallons/year.) They import from Oregon & California, & have a tour, a tasting, & a 4-star restaurant to go with it (which we didn’t eat at.) It was a tourist attraction :), & it was fun to see – ran into people from Massachusetts, Ohio, & Maryland on the tour (the New Clairvaux tour was better…) We enjoyed going at a snail’s pace, both on the tour, & on the drive home. We ended up with some breathtaking postcard-like pictures, & also a sense of accomplishment at finding just what it was we were looking for on the drive, even though there were NO identification signs anywhere…

    There are a lot of difficult things about being gone from home – the hardest is being away from our kids – they are troopers & for the most part can navigate through just about any & every situation, but it is still really heartbreaking being separated, even for this short 10 day time period – it is hardest when they’re in a point of need: when Pasty gets hurt at football practice & needs some bandaging up; when Joey needs a bit of directional attention; when Weez wants to celebrate her undefeated soccer team. Knowing that we have to (get to?) be here for this time makes it easier for me, but not so much for theBean… or for the kids. Sigh.

    Sunday – we got up & went to church at The Bridge a Foursquare Church located on the Crosspointe Campus…. It made me miss being home more than ever; theBean & I talked quite a bit about this… esp. how church really is about people – the people that we know & have relationships with… real friendships that have gone through the wringer of pain, hurt, grace, & healing together. People that we love. Can’t wait to get home :).

    We were feeling a bit melancholy, missing the kids & missing our church family, so we went to Blacksburg for wings & Starbucks… found the “best wings in town” at a place called Sharkey’s. Not sure if they’re THE best, but they kick butt on Buffalo Wild Wings, & they had a great patio where we got to sit so we didn’t have to watch the Olympics. :)

    Spent an hour or so walking downtown Blacksburg, definitely our favorite spot of all the favorite spots, & camped for a bit at the Kent Square Starbucks – theBean took a few more pictures of the Square & its outdoor seating area…

    Thanks for your prayers – we really need them.

    We’re going “low-key” tonight – do the laundry & the dishes, vacuum, & maybe watch a little TV. We’ll hang around the campus – I might shoot some hoop later on.

    Friday & Floyd…

    We’ve been smitten with intermittent internet – which of course means that when I want to get on & check for pictures of Weezer’s soccer game, or set my fantasy baseball lineup, or check out the Blue Ridge Highway vineyards, it’s not available. Usually, it’s only dysfunctional for about 2 hours at a time, but today we’ve been experiencing a higher level of unavailability. Sigh.

    NOTE: I ended up posting this on our way to the Villa Appalachia Winery – found some free internet advertised, & borrowed it for 10 minutes. Thanks, Al Gore.

    Yesterday, we took the afternoon to head the 22 miles on 8S to go to Floyd, Virginia. Floyd only has 1 stoplight, but it is quite the Mecca for music & the arts – the entire downtown (all 3 blocks) is set up for street musicians – with little brick cul-de-sacs & benches set up for visitors & locals to wander by & listen. In our 20 minute walk, we came upon 3 separate art galleries, where many local artists have their work displayed. Sculptures, photographs, paintings, & drawings.

    All of the businesses we visited, from the coffee house/bookstore combo (The Black Water) to the Oddfella’s – restaurant offering French cuisine with an Appalachian flavor – there were musicians playing – some from Floyd, but many who were driving in from as far as 100 miles away for the Friday night happenings.

    The main ‘event’ in town, the one that Floyd is famous for happens at the Floyd Country Store, & is called the Friday night Jamboree. People started showing up for the 6:30 event at 3:30; fortunately, theBean & I were able to get a helpful running commentary from the regulars – a group of very welcoming, friendly people, who explained in detail what was going on to us & the other 1st timers.

    From 5:30 on, the Floyd Country Store shuts down the back ½ of the store, & sets up a dance floor around a mini-stage. There’s also about 200 chairs around the dance floor – we made our way to our seats about 20 minutes early & it’s a good thing, as the whole room was filled. At 6:30, the STATEMENTS (a band made up of 4, 16-22 year olds) led off the evening with the customary 1 hour of blue-grass gospel music, which people can sing along to, but that no one gets up & dances to. The songs ranged from “I’ll Fly Away” to “Amazing Grace,” & there were lots of songs about heaven & what comes next. Before you start bemoaning the experience that we ‘got’ to sit through, let me tell you: it was one of the most incredible musical performances I’ve witnessed personally. There was phenomenal flatpicking on the acoustic guitar, mandolin & banjo. Guys growing up in other places in the US might hope to become guitar heroes. Here, in the Appalachians, they aspire to master the banjo. And as hokie as you might think that sounds, it was really impressive to watch, & a privilege to be a part of. Wow!

    After an hour of gospel, band change – 2Old, 2Young – 2 old guys, 2 young guys. I was informed that this was “the dance band,” made up of violin (fiddle) stand up bass, guitar, & 5 string banjo. This is when the dancing started – the clogging & flat-footing. It is accentuated by the noise made by the taps on the bottoms of shoes. Incredible, with an occasional square dance thrown in.

    It was fun for me, knowing the history & a bit of background about those that settled in the Appalachians: largely Irish & Scottish immigrants. It was easy to hear the influence of ‘Celtic’ music in the bluegrass; then, watching the clogging/flat-footing, you can see the similarities with Irish step-dancing. People of all ages, 3 to 90, danced solo, danced with partners, danced in 4somes. They danced with their arms by the sides, & the guys often had their hands in their pockets. Really, a sight to behold.

    We hung out for a couple of hours, then went for a walk in the rain – back to our car. I had something in my right eye that turned it blood red (no, don’t think it was peroxide. This time.) So we went home to watch the Olympics.

    Every day, including Friday, we’ve spent a chunk of time in counseling, talking through & about how we communicate. I think that we’re both seeing that we are growing from even where we were 1 year ago. And we’re understanding each other. It helps to get an evaluation from someone like Chuck too – someone that knows us & has for years. He encouraged us that we’re doing really well in how we’re working through our stuff – as people, as a couple, & as a team. For me, I want to grow… to know & love God more… to know & be known by others; to love people.

    We have talked about church as well – in general, & with some specifics (which is fun, because Chuck knows our local context, Hillside, too.) And to hear his observations about us & Hillside… that we’re following a ‘simple call’ to a “long obedience in the same direction.” I thought that was cool, as that’s the book I’ve been revisiting this week, & have recommended to about 4 people in the last month – & to have him use that as his analogy, & to have him recommend it to both of us to read was a point of encouragement & confirmation that we’re on a good track, albeit one that is different than many; a unique journey, one where’s there’s not many footsteps of others to follow or to walk in.

    And that’s ok.

    Musings on a Thursday…

    Coffee tastes better in a “for here cup” than in a “to-go cup.” The Starbucks @ Kent Square also has a great atmosphere that makes the coffee better. Truly. And just around the corner, hidden away, is a great cookie store called Crumb & Get It. TheBean had a chocolate/chocolate-chip, warmed up, along with her Grande Pike Place. I picked out some of the chips; think that they were bittersweet chocolate, instead of the semi-sweet (read: Nestle Tollhouse) that I’m used to sniping at home. A great store. Thanks for the heads up on it Shontell.

    Something that has popped up a lot in my studies & preparations (reading Job, Galatians, & the 1, 2, & 3 Johns; & works by Eugene Peterson, and Henri Nouwen, and Jerry Cook, et al) has been the idea & need of people to be known & understood… & how this ‘understanding’ is often tied to ‘agreeing’ with someone. Can it be that there is ‘understanding’ without ‘agreeing’? I think so, but it seems that the two often get tied together… & thus conflict arises & develops where one strives for ‘agreement’ in the name of ‘understanding’…

    On that note – one of the major challenges for me (& for the Christ-follower in general) is to learn to differentiate between “agreement” & “acceptance”. We often equate ‘acceptance’ of a person, (esp. those that are different than us in their morals, values, choices, political outlook, preferences,) with ‘agreeing’ with the person. And don’t want to be associated with the person’s views, values, etc. that we DON’T agree with, so there’s no acceptance. And we end up hanging out with or including only those that agree with us. E.G. It’s the bone that the religious legalists had to pick with Jesus – in that He hung with people whose lives were disagreeable to their idea of propriety – one’s that they didn’t agree with. And couldn’t see how Jesus could accept them knowing the points of obvious disagreement, that Jesus HAD to see. To me, its a life-calling for everyone that wants to walk in Jesus’ footsteps: extend acceptance, w/o condescension or judgment. At the least, it’s food for thought.

    Even though there is a lot of ‘down’ time, we’re filling it with silence (reading &/or thinking,) hanging out in beautiful, warm spots on the VTU campus, & having shared experiences, (ala the baseball trips, walking the Blacksburg Farmer’s Market, cruising the “Mall”, sitting at TOTS, & having long talks about nothing & everything. It’s feeding & watering to the soul, & is a blessed respite for the two of us.

    As time goes by, I become more & more aware that good friends are to be treasured.

    Again, I’m reminded that Reno is a great place to live. Hmmm. Contented sigh.

    Craving movie popcorn for the last couple of days. I think I need.

    Day 3

    Started the morning with some link sausage & eggs, covered with whipped cream. Either my taste buds are wacky now, or I’ve discovered one of those little joys of how certain foods go well together, even when they may not be usually paired together. Went to my 1st solo appointment with Chuck – hit the ground running (ok, talking) & really enjoyed the conversation… it really was a time of ‘connecting the dots’ for me – esp. in light of the EHS materials that I’ve been going over for the last while.

    Finished up & had to process – lots of processing – lucky for me, the gym was open, so I went in & ran around for about an hour, shot some hoop, & checked out the ‘weight room;’ decided “No Thanks!” on the weights & shot some more. It was sweltering in the gym – which is almost the perfect atmosphere for what I was doing.

    After getting cleaned up, theBean & I went to WalMart to return some defective hair product, then headed back to our favorite spot that we’ve discovered so far: the Starbucks @ Kent Square. TheBean picked up a magazine or two from the VTU student union building, & I dove back into A Long Obedience… We hung out outside until our parking stub had to be re-validated.

    By that time, we were pretty hungry; & I was craving wings – & thought that I’d seen an ad for a Buffalo Wild Wings somewhere in Blacksburg. We didn’t know for sure, but were both feeling pretty adventurous – & decided to try & deduce where a Buffalo Wild Wings SHOULD be, & then go find it. We both agreed that the best place for such a business would be in close proximity to the campus in order to take advantage of the ‘locusts’ – kinda like you see around the UNR campus.

    So, we had a plan, & a general idea, & started driving. Did a couple of switchbacks & U-Turns, & found a street that looked promising – boom. There it is. Total search time: 10 minutes. Nice. We are awesome.

    The first night, we’d gone to Salem to catch a Carolina League, “High” Class A baseball game; tonight we wanted to try something different, a trip to Pulaski for a Rookie League game. Drove about 20 minutes to the I-81 exit, & then drove through town, looking for the park where the game would be held. It was only 6 p.m. but the streets were totally barren, like everyone had been raptured but us. Nothing & no one anywhere. We drove for about 30 minutes looking for the park, driving up & down insanely steep hills, through neighborhoods that made me wish I warn’t so ‘city-fied’. Finally, we found a service station, & a nice guy named Doug that pointed us in the direction of the park. Took 5 minutes to get there.

    All I can say is that Calfree Park, home of the Pulaski Mariners, is as far from the Salem experience we had, as is the east from the west. Wow. For theBean, who loves people watching, we entered a gold mine. It was “Halloween In August” night at the game, which meant lots of people dressed up in all sorts of costumes, with a Mayberry flair (& I mean that in a good way.) Other highlights from the night:

  • There was 6 feet difference between the general admission seats & the box seats.
  • One of the “Reserved Box Seats” was called the “No Red Sox” Box. No fans of the Sox were allowed inside it.
  • The ball game seemed to be a social highlight, so there was all kinds of strutting going on, from the teen girl squad, to the pseudo-jock crowd, to the good old boys, to the ‘looking back at the glory days’ group – pretty amazing. (Again, a gold mine.)
  • The announcer (& press box crew) took every opportunity to show off their ability to use technology (sound effects, including some from movies, & music) to poke fun at the other team – the Bluefield Orioles. For example, one of the guys (the oldest players are 21 & 22; some are 17 & 18) had a Giambi-like mustache; whenever he came to the plate, the announcer would play the Magnum PI theme song. Priceless. And for a strike out? Wayne & Garth saying “Schwing!”
  • The two 10-12 year old boys behind us had a running commentary going on – think Opie meets the Dukes of Hazzard. Then they got onto the topic of which one of them was “sexier” than the other. Finally, one of them said, “I am soooo sexy, that I’ve got two middle names. Sexy & sexy.” I lost it when they then fought over which one had the sexiest mother.
  • TheBean, in her people watching, had a couple of gems as well; she asked, “Are these people all related? Because they all look alike. Especially the small noses…”

    Good times. The home team lost a pitchers duel (2-0) but it was a great experience. Again. We’ll probably catch at least one more game while we’re here… probably in Salem.

    Ended the night with Double Cheeseburgers, 47 Pound Rooster, & the Office. And some deep talks. Very nice. Here’s some pics.

  • Day 2 – VTU & the Ballgame…

    Bean & I started our trek into Blacksburg with a stop at Starbucks, a beautiful brick building on the edge of campus – interesting to see the area almost totally empty, knowing that in about 3 days, all of that is going to change as students descend on the campus for the Fall semester. A person we talked to described it as the ‘coming of the locusts.’ I hope to see it… from a safe distance of course. From there it was on to the Campus Store, where one can purchase all things Hokie, (no pun intended). All I could see was wave after wave of orange & brown. I picked up a couple of hats & a shirt for the kids. Don’t tell them, as it’s a surprise.

    We walked the area around the campus entrance for a few minutes & took the requisite pictures in front of the sign at the entrance.

    Actually, we took more than a few pictures, but with the combo of our camera, the time of day (about 4:30 which isn’t late, no, no, it’s early, early…) & my technical expertise, we didn’t manage to get any usable ones. Which, for fans of digital cameras, you can know is quite the accomplishment. Yay me.

    Suffice it to say: lots of rolling green grass, row upon row of trees… a really nice place… & almost completely devoid of people. Except a couple of over-achiever early arrivals (probably engineering students…)

    Baseball is beautiful.

    We left for Salem, VA to catch the Avalanche game with the Braves affiliate from Myrtle Beach – the Pelicans (who wore a baby blue ensemble that would have made Stacy & Clinton cringe.) Bought box seats ($8/each) in the 4th row behind the home dugout. Turns out the Avs are in last place. There was a lack of energy in the place, (dugout included) that even theBean noticed. Throughout the game the ‘energy lack’ showed up with uninspired play at times, a few defensive miscues, 3 separate baserunning (or base-coaching) issues, 3 times having the bases loaded, 3 times not scoring. Ouch.

    No matter. We were at a baseball game. The weather was beautiful, the setting was next to perfect. No one was around for 3 or 4 rows, though Annie Savoy was in the front row, greeting all the players (& coaches) every time they ran off of the field. Living out the local version of Bull Durham… Weird.

    By the 6th inning beer goggles & beer muscles were in full-effect. TheBean & I laughed constantly, esp. because the Appalachian accent gets more pronounced in proportion to the amount of beer consumed. Very nice.

    All kidding aside – there were many, many highlights from the night – one of which was watching the ‘community’ – people who attend the games with season tickets – interacting with each other, catching up, being in each others lives. Made me long for next year when Reno gets our own team (actually Tucson’s team. Thanks Tucson!) To be able to hang with family & friends is something that I’m really looking forward to.

    Again, baseball is beautiful. I took some pictures of the field, & got a semi-closeup of Koby Clemens, catcher for the Avs – he didn’t play, but…

    After the game (stayed through the last out, baby!) we exited the parking lot without any trouble – & drove the 25 minutes ‘home’ to CSR, with only a stop by McDonald’s for dinner. I needed to get my 5 Double Cheeseburgers for $5. In our living room, theBean ate leftover scallops from Outback, while I scarfed my burgers. We shared some Gnarly Head Cab & watch a couple episodes of “The Office” – Season 3, w/the deleted scenes. The Diwali episode was priceless.

    Ahhh. All in all, a very nice day.

    And now the pics – enjoy!

    Day 2

    TheBean & I got up about 8 local time, meaning that we’re probably one day away from being acclimated to the time difference on EST… Found that the campus has a gym (parque’ floor, ala the old Boston Garden) with glass backboards, & an atmosphere like Hickory High‘s gym… I checked in & found that it is ok to shoot there, so I’ll be headed up this afternoon before the ‘city league’ games start.

    Then I found the weight room with treadmill… ahhh… no sedentary 10 days for me.

    Our appointment with Chuck was at 11:15, so we made our way up to his office & waited for the previous appointments to leave. When our time came, we ended up just sitting down for 30 seconds or so, before Chuck decided he was hungry & then, so were we. We decided to hit Ruby Tuesday’s for lunch – & found that it sure has changed since we last went there. But I digress.

    Most of the meal & for about an hour after we were done, we talked about what we hope to accomplish while we’re here in Christiansburg, the reason that we made the trek across the country. We want to see a new way of relating to each other emerge, take shape. In the areas of being husband/wife, friends, partners in ministry, & in leading Hillside. And, we talked quite a bit about how we believe the last year to 18 months has gone… leading up to & since the Sabbath break. A good time was had by all. :)

    Tomorrow at 9 a.m., I’m going in solo; & I’m greatly looking forward to it.

    We’re hoping to head into Blacksburg to go to the Hokie Spoke a student store for VTU, where one can pick up all kinds of football & other paraphenalia… legal paraphenalia that is. Then later, we’re off to see either the Salem Avalanche or the Pulaski Mariners – as I found out that there is YET ANOTHER place to catch Minor League Baseball within about 20 minutes. Joy! We’re going to talk about it a bit, then head out for the afternoon.


    Day 1 in Christiansburg…

    We’re here, in Christiansburg. I’d get into the gory details of our travels, but hey, we made it, none the worse for wear, & without too much confusion, though I-77N & I-77S look really, really similar, especially when its dark…)

    After sleeping in (woke up about 11 local time,) I just spent a few minutes doing some virtual searches on the net for important stuff, like Starbucks & local coffee houses. We’ll be going to the store for some staples, & probably trying to find a place to eat before too long as well.

    The place we’re staying is nice – Bean is taking pictures, but it really is great – much better than our 1st apartment; decorated very nicely (or so I’ve been told,) & with comfy couches, a TV (w/DVD player) full kitchen, dining room, & my own closet to put my stuff in. (This is important.) Also, figured out the wireless internet connection for the building we’re in. Also important.

    We’ll be taking a tour of the grounds at some point today with the Coleman’s (who oversee & care for the campus) & then the rest of the day should be up to us – exploring the town maybe. Or sitting in the inside of buildings with A/C.