Duke at night

19 Sep

Some nights are simply perfect.

Dawn came home from school today for dinner but had to return for a group meeting. I hadn’t been to the gym today and decided to tag along. Might as well work out at the Duke gym instead of the little one at our apartment complex. I dropped her at the business school, worked out, then grabbed my bag and started walking.

And suddenly it is perfect. Dark sky but lots of street lights. Students literally everywhere. The chapel is glowing, all the way to the top. Me, I’m walking to the library to do some reading and some work that didn’t get done today. At Duke.

I’m 31 years old and unless I am surprised later in life, done with my formal education. While UVA was perfect and I wouldn’t dream of changing that experience, Duke was always my dream school. And here I am. Working out. Reading in the library. Enjoying a good bit of what Duke has to offer.

Tonight I finally began to appreciate it. In a short moment while walking across the campus, I finally got a sense of what a gift these two years are. Not just for Dawn but for me too.

Some nights are simply perfect.

Durham

6 Aug

Well, we made it. The new apartment is all set up and fully functioning. Dawn’s classes started up this week. Kobe arrives after a long stay with Grandma later today. So here we go.

The summer so far has been in a word, wild. We moved roughly three times. All our furniture to storage in Durham, the small things we needed to live in Portsmouth for six months, then finally everything into the new apartment down here. We took two great vacations; one road trip to New England (Bar Harbor, Cape Cod, Boston, Newport) and one relaxing stint with family at Myrtle Beach. Around all of that we both squeezed in work from time to time. But now we are settled in a new place and in full swing.

Here we go again…

Grateful

12 Jun

Special places are often deeply connected to special people. Dawn’s dad has a place down at Lake Gaston that I have been coming to for over ten years now and it is certainly one of those special places with lots of memories. Her dad used to love using old-school Polaroid cameras (screaming “Showtime!” as he took each picture) and at one point we had photos up all over the house. A few years ago they came down and went into an album, shockingly labeled “Memories” on the front cover. We were at the lake this weekend and as everyone was packing up to go, I came across this album.

Amazing to see all the different trips we have taken down here over the years and how many different people we have had with us. I found myself smiling as I remembered specific trips and dreaming of more to come. I also found myself pretty sad as I saw pictures of so many people we have lost touch with or who have left our lives for one reason or another.

Looking forward to creating more memories with people that I love. And probably with some people that we haven’t even met yet.

It’s all brand new

9 Jun

Or at least it feels that way. One month from today we make the move to Durham and for the first time in my life I will not be an official resident of Virginia. I’m pretty good with that.

Dawn is going after an MBA from Duke with a focus on social entrepreneurship. My wife is awesome. And I’m betting big money on anything she wants to do when she wraps up this degree.

Me, I’m excited about a new town. New restaurants, new parks, new libraries. Same old Kroger. New neighbors for my cat to hide from. And new people to get to know with new ideas to mull over. Guessing that Durham will be as much a learning experience for me as it is for Dawn. Her learning will look a heck of a lot better on paper.

What makes me sad is leaving friends. I’m amazed as I think about the people we have gotten to know so well in the 757 over these past seven years. We love them. They keep us sane. We hope to hold onto them as we “visit” Durham for two short years.

And now I’m officially tired. But I made it to almost midnight so I get to wish a very happy birthday to my dad. He’s already been asleep for many hours but likely will be up pretty soon. And George, when you do wake up, I hope you’ll make a new list and start all over again. Almost 60 ain’t that old.

Religion, sex, and politics

12 Nov

Certainly you must have interest in at least one of the above. Gotcha to click the link, that is what is known as step one.

Today begins conference weekend for me which means over 200 students gathered together making a ton of noise and being challenged in their understanding of God and his kingdom. My staff team will be running a handful of tracks for students to spend the weekend going through; I am slated to give a talk on economic injustice.

Tough talk even to write. So far I am going away from a topical/information talk on the subject and towards a conversation about how trapping money can be. Thankfully there seem to be plenty of Scripture passages to pull from on this one. It seems that economic injustice exists in large part because so many have bought into the lie that money brings true happiness. Of course it is far easier to argue this point as one who has generally not lacked for money for my thirty years on this here globe.

The thought that brought on the title of this post was how challenging money is to talk about, especially within a Christian context. Speaking to college students about it actually feels much easier than in lots of other circles. Wonder why.

Apple = Simply the best

10 Nov

I grew up with computers. My dad gave me my first few hand-me-downs on which I played solitaire and cataloged my baseball card collection on an ancient database program called Lotus 123. Later my step-dad became my supplier as he began upgrading his system every few years with me again playing the benefactor.

In the summer of 2004 I purchased my first new computer. After many years of dreaming, I entered into the Mac world with a brand new 12″ Powerbook G4. And what a new world it was. I was and continue to be completely blown away by how well the machine works. Over 6 years later and I have not had a single significant problem. I upgraded the RAM a few years back and recently had to order a new battery. Over 6 years later and I am typing this very post on it.

Last month I purchased my second Apple computer. This Powerbook is beginning to slow down and honestly there are simply new programs out that I love that will not run on it. My Powerbook was the last model to feature the Mac chips before they switched over to Intel innards. And now programs are being written that only run on Intel chips.

So I finally broke down and took the plunge, this time on a flashy desktop that is simply gorgeous. Apple has a refurbished store where they sell computers that have been returned within the 14 day window the offer buyers. These computers are guaranteed perfect and come with the full warranty. And mine came at $450 off.

My recommendation to you? For pure home computing joy, there is no longer any other realistic option. Next time you find yourself in the computer market, save up an extra few hundred dollars, and do yourself a favor. Get a Mac.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

8 Nov

At our local farmer’s market they run what they call a CSA. Individuals sign up for ten weeks and for that duration, receive a pile of locally grown produce each week. Dawn has wanted to check this out for some time and this fall we gave it a shot. Thankfully we had some good friends who live near us who agreed to go in with us to cut the cost in half.

The idea is to support local farmers by providing them with an outlet for their produce. This allows them to compete better with the big boys and we like rooting for the underdog, especially in this case. We also get some amazingly fresh fruits and veggies out of the deal.

The absolute best part is that when you show up, it feels like you are literally getting all this great produce for free. They have boxes of varied items lined up with signs above each. They tell you what the item is (yes, this is very helpful for the occasional veggie you have never seen before) and how many to take.

Gala apples: 5
Acorn squash: 2
Pineapple: 1

I know we paid for all of this at the start of the ten weeks but it feels spectacular to walk in there and fill up your bag with all this great stuff. You also do not have to decide what to get; you just have to decide what to do with it. Instead of “What do you want to eat this week?” it is now “What do you want to do with this hubbard squash?” Thankfully they include recipes for the weirder stuff. Best surprise: a bag of edamame we boiled and and topped with a little salt. Restaurant quality appetizer.

As we get into the colder months, we have started receiving a good bit of squash, greens, and raspberries. We are certainly learning to eat a greater variety of vegetables, crucial for someone like myself who once was and often is still described as the vegetarian who does not like vegetables. In truth, my early days not eating meat meant substituting candy bars and waffle fries. I like to thank I am a little bit past that now.

For instance, at Chick-fil-a, I now pair a salad with my waffle fries.

In conclusion, look around for a CSA near you. If you have the option, I think it is at least worth trying for a season. If you happen to be a vegetarian like us, I suggest it with gusto.