Pray for Cyd

I found out this morning about Cyd's abduction in Kandahar yesterday.  Still no word on her whereabouts or her driver.  Please join us in prayer for these two.  God had my path cross with Cyd's before I moved to Turkey and while I was living there, and I count myself blessed to know her.  What a heart for people she has!  She is a great giver of mercy.

This morning in church, the sermon was on Luke 4:14-21, and I have found myself praying Isaiah 61 over Cyd (quoted in the Luke passage) and her abductors most of the day...  Set the captives free, Lord.  For Your glory...  "He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from the darkness for the prisoners."  May she be an "oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor."  "...They will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."  "...All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed..."

A link to the humanitarian development organization Cyd works for - www.arldf.net.  They will likely have the latest information, though most major news websites have an article on Cyd and Muhammad as well.


Calling all Bunco players

Apparently I'm known as the gal to beat at Bunco at our church now!  I finally gave in and played the game last night, my first time ever.  I actually only played because we had a birthday party for a friend at church, and it was how she wanted to spend the night.  I had no idea we'd have cash prizes or that this was a game to be taken seriously!  My memories of Bunco before this were of dear American friends in Turkey (mostly women...Elizabeth & Dawn to name a few...) screaming and scrambling for dice late into the night at some random hotel at our annual conferences...  It always scared me a little, so I never actually joined in the fun.  Well, after three rounds last night, I ended up with the Bunco cup (I was the last one to get a Bunco), highest number of points, and I tied for most Buncos!  LOL!  I guess that's pretty crazy good.  When I came home with $30, Greg said, "Maybe we should plan a trip to Vegas!"

On a more serious note, it was quite a blessing to celebrate Connie's birthday with her and other friends last night.  Connie and her husband Mark have hosted the community group we joined last semester, and we've loved getting to know them and their three children a little more each week.  We're blessed to call them friends.

Long-awaited gift

Isn't it exciting?!  I still can hardly believe it, but it's true!  A couple weeks after Christmas, Greg told me it was time to go keyboard shopping, and we came home with this!  It's a full 88-key hammer action digital keyboard, and it only weighs 26 pounds!  I still can't get over how good it sounds and feels.  If I close my eyes, I can actually pretend I'm playing a gorgeous grand piano...  I can't wait for Dad & Mom to visit in a couple weeks so Mom can play it too!  Thank you dear parents, grandparents, and church for your gifts this Christmas which made this purchase possible for us.  It is a dream come true and a blessing in more ways than I can express.

Counting down the days

Greg & I just booked a long weekend get-away for February, and we're so excited about it that I simply had to tell you all!  We decided to celebrate our birthdays together and do something we have never done before - take a mini vacation with just us!  So I'm going to leave work early on Friday, February 15th, and we'll drive down to New Haven, CT and stay in a cute little Bed & Breakfast for three nights.  It should be delectable!  I can hardly wait...

Once & Vitus

I meant to blog about these two movies in December.  Time got away from me.  So these are two must-sees, especially if you love music and movies.  I wouldn't recommend Once if you can't look past the language.  The story is incredible and clean, but the f-word is thrown around a lot.  Greg & I loved this movie so much we bought the soundtrack the next day.  And we still walk around singing the songs!  It's about two musicians who meet on the streets of Dublin and make a recording together.  The extra stuff on the DVD is interesting as well.  http://www.foxsearchlight.com/once/

Vitus was a random movie we picked up at the video store.  I actually grabbed it the day we bought my keyboard (will blog about this later) because I thought it would be inspiring to watch a movie about a child prodigy pianist.  Well, it was incredible.  I don't know if it's a family movie because I don't really know what kids like, but it's an inspiring and very clean story that will blow your mind.  AND the kid that's acting in the movie IS ACTUALLY PLAYING THE PIANO!  You have to watch the special features on this one to appreciate the film in a new way.


Long Overdue - A Holiday Letter/Update of Sorts

It feels like forever since I've actually posted anything of substance. I'm guessing most of you have been just as busy as us the past month and so hopefully nothing has been missed too much. I had grand ideas to send out some Christmas cards this month and then I thought, maybe New Year's cards, and now I'm feeling good that I'm finally blogging. So oh well. Maybe next year...
December highlights - I started my new position at the beginning of the month. I spent much of December screening applicants, interviewing, and helping make the final selection for my replacement on top of learning my new job and keeping up with the old job. A new friend from church will actually be starting with us this coming Monday, and I am extremely excited to work with her every day. Welcome to Tufts Career Services, Janine! I'm so ready to hand over my old job to Janine so I can finally focus on one job instead of barely pulling off two! And the timing could not be much tighter as the Spring semester at Tufts begins in a little over a week.

Greg completed ALL of his Fall coursework in December, and the relief he felt was quite awesome. He had intended to only take two classes this fall as he is working part-time at our church as the lead worshipper, and he was also teaching a few lectures and continuing to prepare coursework throughout the semester for a class at Gordon College. So when he ended up with three courses last semester, he found himself completely overloaded trying to make it to the end of the semester! We're so thankful for how God sustained him through it all and protected our relationship in the midst of all the stress!

Ayse (eye'-sheh) continued to break many things throughout the house, mostly ornaments this past month. She was fascinated with our tree. Yet she's still as cute as ever, and we can't imagine how quiet and boring our home would be without her.

Greg & I flew to Erie, PA mid-December for an early Christmas with my family - Dad & Mom, Drew & Carrie. It was wonderful to be together as always. I absolutely adore my family! :) Greg and I enjoyed playing with Drew & Carrie's two labs and continue to want a dog one day should we ever have a yard! Drew & Carrie got a lot of teasing from the four of us about when they'd be ready to expand our family! LOL! I'm so glad I'm not the oldest sibling! Dad & Mom are doing extremely well. I hope Greg & I can be just like them when we've been married as long as them!

After returning to our beloved home in Medford, Mass, we only had a couple days before our second family Christmas with Greg's side. Mike & Mary flew in the Friday before Christmas, and it was likely the most relaxing Christmas I have ever had. It was a little chilly and snowy in Medford, so we stayed in most of the days, reading, watching movies, playing games, eating tons, sharing gifts, and just soaking up all the time together we could get. It was our first Christmas to all be together and our first Christmas with Andrew as part of the family. We're so thankful to have the two of them close by (literally a few doors down).

We had a wonderful New Year's Celebration this year. With Andrew, Angie, and some friends from church, we hit Boston for Boston's "First Night" celebration. Greg & I visited the Mappariam, ate some McDonalds french fries, walked around Copley Square, toured the Boston Public Library, bought a book at Borders, looked at ice sculptures and watched ice skating in Boston Common, ate my favorite pizza from The Upper Crust (with Dr. Pepper of course), watched the 7pm family-friendly fireworks in the Common with the group, toured a really old cool home, got really cold, and then joined some friends for a fun indoor party of incredible food and fun games. Even saw the 12am fireworks from their apartment window. What a great day! I think we slept until noon on New Year's Day!

Enough writing (can you tell I've been going through blog withdrawal). Here are plenty of pictures for you to peruse. You may notice that the quality of photos is much higher than normal - my family got us a new WORKING camera for Christmas! Wahoo!


Our first ever real Christmas Tree - can you believe neither of us had ever had a real one before?!
Andrew & Angie found this ornament for us on their honeymoon in Maine. You can't really see the coloring in this picture, but it looks exactly like our little kitten!


Greg & I ran out on Christmas Eve to buy him two of his Christmas presents - the hat below and the larger gauge piercing in his ear. :) (Thanks Shaffers for chipping in for the hat!)

Andrew is now our family computer fixer guy. I'm not so sure he's thrilled about this new title, but I know Mary's computer and both of ours are thankful to have him in the family!

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to all! We love you and miss many of you so very much!