Here's Greg cleaning off our car this evening. We have gorgeous snow today in Boston! I had fun walking home from work in my boots...maybe a little too much fun for a grown-up actually. ;)Here's our first ever real Christmas tree! We LOVE it, and we had so much fun picking and decorating it. Andrew & Angie came over to help decorate last Saturday.
Kaela, Jennifer, Dawn, Gina, Ecehan, Nuriye, Eylem, Derya, Elizabeth, Amy, Zeynep, Canan, Sibel...
I miss you, dear friends, and wish I could hop over to your country and hug your necks (or kiss your cheeks)!
After dinner, Greg led us in a time of reflection on our gratitude to God over the last year. Included were two new marriages, three successful cross-country moves and one international move, God's leadership in job and school changes, two promotions, a church home, community and friendship, stretching circumstances resulting in great character refinement, and God's abundant grace to all of us. I'm sure I am missing some, but those stand out it my mind. It was a special time of worship as we gave thanks to our Creator and Sustainer for his faithfulness every morning.
Andrew took some great pictures, so I've included a few below. I can't wait for next year!
Okay, so Greg picked me up from work today, and we headed out to celebrate at TEXAS ROADHOUSE! IT WAS DELICIOUS! Funny story though. We haven't been there for quite a while, and we kind of messed up on our order. I was telling the waitress that we'd split the largest Dallas Filet, "What, is that, the 16 ounce?" Kim says. "Yep," our peppy waitress chimes. The steak comes out, and Greg and I stare wide-eyed in amazement at the huge steak. The funny thing is it's not until we get the bill and see that we bought a $30 steak that we realize we usually get the 8 ounce! Ouch! So, knowing that, here are some pictures from our celebratory dinner.
This is me, excited about the delicious rolls and cinnamon butter. Oh, and the promotion too.
Here's Greg mauwing down on the grub.
And here's how we felt after eating 16 ounces of filet, a sidekick of ribs, a ceasar salad, baked potato, and an average of 3.5 rolls each (with yummy cinnamon butter).
Just kidding. We brought half of it home. ;)
So it's really interesting to add labels to posts. It really makes me realize that I want to add more on certain subjects - books, Turkey, spiritual thoughts, dear friends, etc. Will it happen? I don't know. We shall see.
I hope you are having (or had, depending on when you read this) a marvelous Saturday morning and are as excited as I am about the upcoming American holiday of thankfulness! I can't wait! (Oh, and it's Mom's birthay too! What a cool day Thursday will be!)
The David Crowder Band came to Medford! That's right, MEDFORD! In fact, the venue was only a few minutes WALK from our house! How fun is that?! Well, it was a lot of fun. Their newest album Remedy is packed full of some incredible lyrics and hip music sure to turn your heart to the One place it belongs.
So in case you are not aware of my connection to DCB... Yes, I went to Baylor and lived in Waco for a period. No, I did not go to UBC (their home church). Yes, I have met them, many a times. In fact, my bestest friend and roomie was quite tight with them for a time so they were around a bit. Yes, I thought it was very strange to hear people around me scream "David!" when they walked out. (What?!) Okay, yes, I whooped when they mentioned Waco tonight. (My alma matre is there!) And yes, Greg and I felt like old fogies in the incredibly young teen crowd at the concert tonight. What's with all these young kids really? I know, I know...we're just getting old. Rather old-ER. But seriously, it has been so interesting to go to the Passion Conference a few weekends ago and now this concert and realize that I simply do not have the energy required for these bands anymore. Such a sad reallzation. But I'm okay with it. I really enjoy having the freedom to adjust the volume level of the music to which I listen. :)
Good night, all!
- The Sox are poised to beat the Rockies in the World Series.
- Making it through the first couple months of the fall semester (*big sigh*)
- Apple picking with the Bryans (Andrew & Angie)
- A visit from Dad & Mom Gimple and a day trip to Ogunquit, Maine.
- Fall has finally arrived in full color even though the weather can't seem to stay cool.
- I (Kim) am considering accepting a promotion at work. (More details to come.)
- Greg, the scholar and teacher, has successfully taught a few lectures on Christian-Muslim relations at Gordon College.
- We added some awesome musicians to the band at Hope this month, one being a cellist!
- Community Groups started in October at church, and we're loving the people with whom God has allowed us to fellowship and grow.
- Ayse's crazy cat energy has returned with the cooler weather. (Wait, is that a good thing? She's broken practically everything breakable in our house!)
- Oh, and we can't forget how much we love being Mac owners. We're converts now!
Three Sundays ago, our church started our third service at a new location in Boston - Coolidge Corner. This is such an exciting step for our church as we have definitely been called to plant churches in the Boston area. With Greg leading the worship team now, we're still getting used to the 7:30am-1:30pm, 4:30-8:00pm Sunday commitments required of setting up, tearing down, and leading three services. But I can truly say that we LOVE Coolidge Corner! It's exciting to think about what God could be doing in calling our church to take this step. And as an added bonus, our favorite Turkish restaurant in Boston is only a few blocks away! For those of you who may be more interested in the logistics of this, we are meeting in a room at a synagogue in Brookline (the section of Boston). We simply duplicate (triplicate?) everything from our 9am and 11am services in Cambridge - same songs, same message. The band is a little different from site to site, but Greg's done an incredible job of organizing everything and leading us all. I love being a part of this with him!
In addition to preparing for and implementing all of the above, Greg has been working with a Research Professor at Gordon-Conwell in preparing to teach a course on Christian Muslim Relations at Gordon College this fall. The class actually starts tonight, and Greg will be teaching five of the lectures over the next three months. Personally, it's been amazing to watch him research and take notes and format these lectures. He's a gifted researcher and teacher. I can't wait to hear how the first class goes!
My third update is on Greg's sis Angie! This has been quite the exciting summer for her...she's getting married on Saturday!!! Andrew, her fiance, is wonderful. We're all thrilled for them and excited (though still a little stunned) to start this journey with them on Saturday and then in the years
ahead. Andrew is from New Zealand (I LOVE HIS ACCENT), has a great sense of humor, a deep and honest commitment to follow God, and an incredible knack for technology (hence his job as an IT Constultant). You can speak a prayer for these two as they make wedding plans this week. Did you know a wedding could be planned in 10 days?! (If you know Ang, they're registered at Target so far. ;) And it looks like they might be moving into the same apartment building as us! Isn't that surreal?!
And lastly, work for me has been a doozy with preparing for students to return. They did so last Tuesday. Our office continues to work through many transitions (which often means a teensy bit more work than expected). But I think this semester is going to be a really great one! I'm so incredibly blessed to work with a great group of men and women who are quite gifted in their roles.
Oh, and I almost forgot! As of this Thursday, Greg and I will become Mac owners!
Now, in case you are wondering what our little Ayse is up to during these sweltering summer months...
Drew & Greg working hard outside
Greg & I had planned to go to Six Flags on Monday for our 2nd anniversary (we're crazy like that), but the weather didn't cooperate. So we spent an extra day with the Shaffers in Erie and came home thankful for great time with family!
Greg has been praying for me much the past two years, that I would hope in the Lord and find myself in Him again. I'm sure that when he reads what I write this afternoon, he will rejoice greatly, as the Lord rejoices now. Something happened to me when I returned from my life in Istanbul and began planning our wedding two years ago. I'm sure it was a mixture of many things - how familiar life in America was, how busy & exciting wedding-planning became, how lonely I felt away from my fiance and dear friends in Turkey, and how excited and fearful I was about the life ahead for us... But somewhere in those weeks and months I lost my deepest thirst in life; rather I misplaced it and covered it over with other priorities. My thirst for God's Word. My times with Him began to dwindle, and eventually I didn't know how to study anymore. I've had times in the past two years where I tried to uncover the thirst, but other things always pushed in. And eventually, my hope began to fade. It seemed hopeless that I'd ever find the daughter of the King I used to be, loving to spend hours in God’s Word, hiding it in my heart, and speaking it to His Church. I felt destined to a sporadic relationship, YET still knowing God was present with me, still hearing His voice, sensing His Spirit's guidance, meeting Him in His Word when I found it or He brought it to mind, connecting with Him in song... I truly believe Greg's prayers for me, his insistence that I hold on to hope, and his trust in God's faithfulness carried me through the last couple of years. He tried so hard to help me find the hope and joy in Life again. (Thanks, Love!)
A few weeks ago before joining Greg in front of church to lead in worshipping the Lord through song, I felt God urging me to find Psalm 139 and stay there for a while. I read this familiar passage a few times and found great comfort and connection in the simple words from God, "I know you." He's brought me back to Psalm 139 three or four times in the last few weeks until finally Friday night, my friend Jessie was praying for me. I was at a low point after treating Greg disrespectfully. It's the last thing I want to do to the person I respect the most in this world, but yet, in my sinful self-dependence, I have found myself doing this frequently. As Jessie prayed for me, God gave her words from Psalm 139 to speak over my life. And I got the feeling that He wanted me to stay with those words this weekend.
Living in a growing self-dependence the past couple of years, I've slowly lost my sense of identity in Christ. Thankfully, His ownership and lordship over my life will never end, and Greg has spoken words conveying this Truth to me daily. Today I wrote a long list of all the areas in my life I feel as if I'm failing, big and small. It was pretty miserable. I cried out to God that I simply can't do it. I don't know how to change. Everything I try seems to fall short eventually. And I don't know who I am anymore. Two years of this, Lord? How can I keep doing this? And He let me stay there for a while, feel the "sentence of death," so that I'd be sure that I can't do this alone. But then He started to speak words of hope into my soul, asking me to fight hard for the abundant life He promises, reminding me that He will take care of my list of things if I will seek Him and His righteousness before all else, promising to deliver me from a life of death to Life in Christ, moving my heart to long for the Fruit of the Spirit, reminding me that His yoke is easy and burden light, and breathing Life into my soul so tired of failing my husband and friends.
I am posting my journey because I know that though today is truly a monumental place in time for me, an altar of God’s faithfulness, the battle will be strong going forward. The enemy does not want me to give up my self-reliant ways, and I believe the flaming arrows will be frequent in the days ahead. I covet your prayers and your community. And I also need your grace. I know that a few of you have been personally hurt by my inability to stay in touch with you over the last couple of years. I need your forgiveness. I can’t promise a great change, but I hope you’ll fight with me as I seek to put the Lord first in my life again. A passage which has been a favorite of mine since 2000 truly speaks the words of my heart right now – 2 Corinthians 1:9-11.
“Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might no rely on ourselves but on God, Who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as You help us by your prayers.”
Father, thank You for showing me greater depths of Your goodness through Paul, Leigh, and Terrill. Thank you for Your all-encompassing and glorious plan which can never be thwarted. Thank You for giving the Saxons incredible faith over the previous years, more than they ever imagined having to have - You are Provider, Comforter, Joy, Friend...
Asking the Lord what to write, I kept thinking of Psalm 73:23-28. "Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever..."
Thank you, Paul, for living and dying in the Truth of this passage! Thank you for being a beacon of light in a very dark and hurting world, for showing hope in pain. Thank you for the countless times your faith-filled child words and actions spoke conviction and encouragement to my God-thirsty soul. Thank you for the picture of walking hand in hand with our heavenly Father. You are enjoying God's glory right now and taking another piece of my heart there with you -- thank you for revealing more of the glory of God.
"God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." I'm glad you're physically where you belong for eternity, where you've always seemed to be - dwelling in the house of the Lord forever. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Eliot, Jessie, Greg, and I were quite exhausted after the party. We sat down at the tie-dye table and enjoyed a bag of skittles (yum!) and a pipe smoke. Let me clarify - the boys enjoyed the smoking part and we girls enjoyed the smell. All enjoyed the skittles! Taste the rainbow!