Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tastes of Venice

Have you ever eaten ice cream and burst into spontaneous poetic praise? We’ve all been there.

This big ol’ cone for just one euro?!?!
It’s yummy too—of this I’m sure-o!!!

Wife licks once, now twice of her purchased cream
It’s the small things which make her Venetian dream.

Ode to pizza…

Our first attempt at Italian pizza ended up being a new combination for us: hot dog pizza. Strange but still so warm & happy in our tummies.

But this one...oh wow. I rarely eat pizza in the states but one look at the thick crust and fresh spinach & was definitely a good choice!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Viva Europe: more Venice

We twisted our way through parts of the city and found ourselves resting on a red bench in Plaza Campo Polo. We noticed that there aren’t many trees in Venice but this plaza had several. Out of all the architectural features we saw, my favorite were the muted colors of the buildings—peach, yellow, grey, and orange. Frequently, I saw dark green shutters over the windows. We walked past a storefront with a sign in front boasting “World’s Most Beautiful Bookstore.” Despite the potential tourist trap, I heeded the sign’s advice and stepped inside. There the elderly storeowner gave me a kind smile and pointed me toward a backroom. “Tell me if the water is inside yet,” he said softly in broken English. Now quite curious, I followed his pointing finger, snaking my way through several gondolas containing book displays. This back room looked much different from the front. Instead of shelved books from floor to ceiling, there were only piles stacked on top of tables, buckets, or other odds & ends.

Then I realized what the shopkeeper had meant: there was an open wall directly to the canal. Three steps led down to the water, the last of which was entirely submerged. I called Kevin over to see: all this knowledge, history, and literature so precariously stored! He too enjoyed the sigh, and as we left, he made sure to let the kind, old man know that the canal was yet still at bay, leaving the books dry & safe.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Venice: Deep Thoughts from a Sinking City

We arrived in Venice at the end of September. As you know, Venice is an island so our campsite was actually on the main land. Venice was everything I expected to be and more: lazy canals, striped-shirted gondoliers, ancient charm. We had been warned that the canals might be stinky but the cool fall weather prevented that. Rather than stinky canals, we enjoyed the smell of leather coming from the fancy shops and the blend of basil and tomatoes from the trattorias. We took a water bus down the Grand Canal and listened to Rick Steve’s audio tour (gotta love that man!) With the swarms of tourists, it was hard to imagine what the city was like in its prime. The city enforces strict laws in order to maintain Venice’s ancient charm but modernity cannot help but to overshadow this place that was once the hub of trade.

My overall impression of this city is that it is enchanting. Our favorite thing to do was to just get lost in the weave of waterways & alleys. If we wandered far enough, we could find ourselves all alone with not a tourist in sight.

Despite all the beauty and grandeur, our second impression was that Venice is sinking! The chorus of this song kept running through our head as we took it all in:

If Venice is sinking, how can we believe we’ll all be fine
If Venice is sinking, how can we believe we all stay dry
‘Cause I have been thinking, this water’s not worth drinking
so if Venice is sinking, then trouble’s on the rise.

Venice has survived for centuries and there are continual efforts to keep it afloat, but the reality is that all the glimmers is sure to fade (or even submerge) in this city. Let us look at our own lives through the same perspective. Do we build our hope and beauty on things that will not last past this life? Let us not be rich toward the world in beauty and grandeur yet poor toward God.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Life Here

So we'll take a break from Europe for now (as if I haven't taken a break from blogging for the past two weeks...oops...) I'll fill you all in on some details of life as we know it currently.

We live on a farm pretty much. We're out in the boonies, which means our cell phones don't really work. So if you try to call us and we don't answer, that's why. If you're just dying to talk to us or have a pressing matter of importance, try e-mail. A thrilling point of our day was when one of our techie quad-mates (see following paragraph for definition of "quad-mate") set up a router so we could get internet without making a trip in the cold to the computer lab. Gotta love techie people!

Life here feels like a mixture of camp and college. The parents, on the other hand, do not agree with the camp/college assessment of life here. They have it tough! We love to help out with the kids here. In fact, we got to babysit some friend's kiddos tonight and take them to dinner at the cafeteria (see, I told you it was like college!) While I kept the two year-old from launching his ball across the room, the wee baby fell asleep in Kevin's arms. How sweet! We's gonna make a good papa! (someday that is. that was not a feeble attempt to inform blog world of a Peek in the pod!).

Classes are going well. We meet from about 9 AM-3 PM. It can make for a long day, and I must confess that more often than I would like, I identify with Eutychus from Acts 20. If you're not sure what exactly I mean by that, click here and you'll see!

Last weekend, I ran the Richmond Half-Marathon with a friend here. The weather was super humid and the course was a bit mundane but overall I just love race day! There's so much adrenaline and excitement. Some of our quad-mates even came to cheer me on at the finish line. I finished in 2:01, which honestly I was a bit disappointed with. I was trying to break my PR of 1:56 but it just wasn't in me that day. Oh well. It was still a good time!

Speaking of running, I'm not sure if I've shared this on the blog yet but I committed to the big one...I'm training for a full marathon! OK so technically I've been training since August and most of you already know but I thought I'm make an official announcement. The race is on January 1 (yes, three days before we leave the country!) It will be in Kingwood, TX (right outside of Houston) so if anyone wants to come cheer me on, you're more than welcome! I did my longest training run of 22 miles this past weekend. I never in a million years thought I could or would want to run that far but I've realized quite the opposite. I had a lot of fun and am looking forward to the full race.

I'll try to get some more Europe pics up soon! Don't give up on us!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Viva Europe: trip to Thun

When spending three weeks solid with your spouse, it’s inevitable not to learn a thing or two about each other. One of the things that we learned was that our vacationing styles are very different. For example:

Becky on vacation: “We’ve only got a few days in this city! Let’s get out there and see & do it! Go, go, go!

Kevin on vacation: “Things to do…things to see…let’s sit and read.”

Kevin won the debate of how to spend our last day in Interlaken. We relaxed and set out for an easy hike during the late morning. There were not mountains like there were the day before but the bird’s eye view of the town below was gorgeous.

Around 5 PM, I was getting a bit restless with Kevin-style vacationing. I was ready for another European adventure! When we checked into our campsite, we were given a free bus pass so I figured what better way to see the city! Buses run on routes so from where they leave, they have to return, right? Right? So I convinced Kevin to hop on a bus with me. The views were indeed breathtaking. We watched the sun sink behind the mountains, its last rays of the day spreading a glimmer over the massive lake. After about 45 minutes, Kev starting getting antsy about my joyride. I told him to relax and gave him my logic about bus routes. Sure enough, we made it to the end and the bus turned around…or so we thought! The driver must have noticed this off couple who had been sitting on his bus for over an hour: the clueless & content wife with the naïve grin on her face & the quiet husband with the concerned, furrowed brow.

“Where are you going?” the driver asked in broken English.
“To Interlaken,” Kev replied.
“No! no!”

That was all it took for me to panic! We were stranded on a bus! We ended up returning to the town called Thun (pronounced Toon) and having to purchase train tickets back home. I felt just awful. My “free” sightseeing tour completely backfired, and I had even chided Kevin for his misgivings. But I was so thankful for Kevin’s graciousness. He never said “I told you so” or rubbed in my mistake. He even told me that he’d like to be able to laugh about it. So to honor my husband’s request, a poem retelling our (honestly my) folly:

The fools down in Thun-ville
The tall and the small
Had gotten on a bus
Just to see it all
But alas when the bus did not turn ‘round
The small fool let out quite a sound
“Oh no!” she said, “What are we to do?”
“We’d be back at home if I’d listened to you.”
“No worries,” he said to assuage her fears
as she did her best to control the tears.
So the fools stuck in Thun-ville
The tall and the small
Wait for a train—
The savior of all!
A lesson learned: It’s quite worth knowin’
What the driver says when asked “Where ya goin’?”

Here are our friends, the Swiss gnomes.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Viva Europa: Alps hiking

When the chick from “Sound of Music” sings about the hills being alive, she must have been looking at some other “hills” than we were because these things were HUGE! Way bigger than any “hill” I’ve seen! On our Alp hiking day, we left “home” before the sun came up (we even got to see the swans sleeping in the river!) and made the ten minute walk to the train station. We took a train to Lauterbrunnen, then a bus to Stechelberg, then finally a cable car up, up, up to a tiny town called Gimmelwald. The town had no cars, just wooden chalets with simple shingled roofs. It didn’t even have a grocery store. Just a simple life. But who needs anything beyond simplicity when you all the entertainment you could want is the panorama outside your front door? What a sight!

The snow-capped Alps jutted into the cloudless, blue sky while the other peaks, who lacked the altitude to receive snow just yet, lumbered below. The tall Alpine trees dusted the mountain face and seemed to be the only frame of reference to show just how big these mountains were. Truly breathtaking! We often found ourselves getting angry at our camera for not being able to accurately capture everything surrounding us. We could not, however, let our awe cease with what was in front of us but had to acknowledge the beauty and the creativity of the God who created it all. I once heard someone say that we don’t go to the Grand Canyon to feel good about ourselves but to be in awe of true beauty entirely external from self. As we sat in admiration of it all, we couldn't help but to glory in the source of true beauty: the God who created it.

Though the morning temperatures required my five shirts and three pairs of pants, the layers came off quickly as the hiking began. We had intended to make a five hour hike to the summit called Schilthorn but ten minutes into the hike, we realized that it was going to be a LOT more work than either of us had bargained for. So we settled (but can you really “settle” for anything when hiking in the Alps?!?!) for a simpler hike to a few of the surrounding towns. Now that I've figured out how to load videos (a grand conquest in my technologically challenged pea brain), you'll be getting a whole lot more of them! Here is a video of my favorite thing in the Alps:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Viva Europa: Interlaken

Things were just going a little too well after we left Switzerland. The cold & the rain were the only kinks we’d hit so far, so it’s only logical that something had to go wrong soon. And oh boy did it! I’ll let the video explain:

So it turned out our first mistake wasn’t so bad after all, just a little ding in the budget. Needless to say, we started day two with an extra amount of energy.
(Mom, this picture is for you & Uncle David!)

The name Interlaken means “between the lakes” and there is a pleasant stream that runs through the heart of the city connecting the two lakes. We wandered around town and up and down the paths following the river. We finally ended up finding a campsite called the River Lodge. At the end of the trip, we decided that it was by far our favorite place we stayed. It was very small and we ended up getting to know most of the people there (the English speakers at least!) In fact, we met a group of four Aussies who were just as sick as dogs. It turned out that they had drank some of the water from the river the flows through town. Their rationale: all the bottled water says it comes from the Swiss Alps! At least they had a good sense of humor so they could laugh & puke at the same time.

Our campsite even had a community kitchen where we could prepare our meals. Hot food ended up being quite a luxury on a shoe-string budget. Our tent overlooked the river, and there was a lawn area where we could relax, read, and enjoy the first bit of European sunshine.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Viva Europa: Zurich

The thing you need to know about Eurail passes is that you don't purchase trips; you purchase days. So you can ride the train as much as you want to in a given day. If City A and City B are seven hours apart, why don't you ride the train for three hours, stop and wander around a city for a few hours, then get back on a train for four more hours? Less train claustrophobia and more European fun (most of the time!)

That is how lovely Zurich fit into our itenerary. We left Munich and headed south, making a pitstop here. I had printed out a guided walking tour before we left the States. It led us down Bahnhofstrasse, one of the world's most exclusive & expensive shooping streets. We stopped and shopped along the way, picking up a Louis Vuitton purse for me, an Armani suit for Kevin, and paying for it all out of the new Swiss bank account we opened. Then we placed our purchases in our backpacks...oh wait...this is supposed to be realistic account of our trip. No fiction. OK, OK...

It was a very clean road with cobbled streets and no car traffic. It eventually led us all the way to Lake Zurich. It was a beautiful, sunny day, which was a welcomed change from Munich. We really enjoyed the expanse of the lake. It reminded me a bit of Chicago but...Swiss.

We then got back on the train and headed to...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Viva Europa: Munich

Here we are...Viva Europa Opportunity 2008...Munich, Germany. We arrived after a nine hour flight from Philidelphia to much colder temperatures than we expected. In fact, while we were on the plane, the pilot announced that it was 30 degrees where we were going to land. I secretly hoped he meant celcius but obviously that couldn't have been possible. This was the first surprise of many!

We landed in the morning after our red-eye flight and spend the day walking around town. We went all over the place, with our backpacks in tow. We eventually found our campsite and set up our European home for a welcome (yet very chilly) night of sleep. (Disclaimer: this is the best picture of me that you will see during the entire trip. When you're bathing in campsite showers in the freezing cold and wearing the same thing nearly everyday, it just doesn't bode well for looking cute.)

Day two was spent at Dachau Concentration Camp. We had visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC during the spring, which was a very moving & well-designed museum. But actually being on the grounds of where these terrible things took place was sobering. We couldn't help but be reminded of the depravity of man (not just the Nazis but all of us) and how in need we all are of a savior in Christ. This picture is of the entrance gate to the camp. It says "Work Shall Set You Free." It was an exhortation to the prisoners to work hard in hopes of earning their release but ended up just serving as a tantalizing mockery.

To make a perfect day of absolute extremes, we went to Oktoberfest that afternoon. By that time, the weather has turned cold & rainy. Germans & their beer are akin to mailmen: nor rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night will keep me from The grounds were packed with people in their lederhosen. What a sight!

Though Munich was not our favorite of stops, we of course we glad to be there. We stayed for about two days and then headed south to...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Here we are...

We've arrived at our new home in Virginia. We will be here for eight whole weeks! Our time will be spent in various classes & training sessions in order to prepare us for our move overseas. What a relief after being on the road for so long. I even unpacked our thing into drawers and onto hangers. No more suitcases or backpacks for a while! We live in a little apartment in a quad-style building. Our apartment has a bathroom, a mini-kitchen, a tiny table, and a bedroom. We've pushed the two twin beds together to made a pseudo-king bed. We share a living room/common area with two other couples and two single gals who are heading to the same area of the world as us. Our new home is an upgrade from our European home (read: tent) because it has walls, heat (oh glorious heat!), and light after sunset. Our new home is even an upgrade from our Louisville home because we have a washer & dryer. Overall, we're very thankful to be here!

I'll try to post some Europe pictures & stories over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Where have we been?

Yes, yes, I did it again. I fell of the blog wagon. I told you this would happen and I imagine that it will happen again. So you might be wondering where the past few months have found us. Let me tell you: Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, farm land east Texas, Dallas, Houston, Austin, South Padre Island, Atlanta, back to Louisville, Philidelphia, Munich, the Swiss Alps, Milan, Venice, Pisa, Rome, the Cinque Terre, Paris, Strasbourg, and back to Louisville again. Have we been busy? Not at all!

So here are the details of it all: we left Louisville and went on a spree of visiting friends and family all over the place. It was hard work doing all the visiting but we were so thankful to have the opportunity to do it. And going to sleep at night knowing that I didn't have to go to the office in the morning made things quite enjoyable as well.

In mid-September, we attended a conference with our company where we were officially appointed. It's always a joy to be surrounded by people who are in the same situation as us, pursuing the same end goal.

Then a few weeks later, we got on a plane for our big adventure: backpacking through Europe. This was definitely not a vacation! We carried everything we needed on our backs, wore the same clothes day in and day out, and slept in a tent every night. We visited Germnany, Switzerland, Italy, and France and loved everything we were able to see and do. I'll try to post some pictures & stories later.

Now we're back in Louisville, trying to recover from the jet lag and gear up for the next phase. On Monday, we will be moving east to attend an 8-week training session to prepare us for the big move in January. We're looking forward to the routine and consistency this will provide for us. We've been homeless now since the end of June, and I think the longest period of time we've slept in one location is about a week.

So that's what is going on with us. You'll have to forgive this bare-bones post but I figured it's better than nothing!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Z: Zoo of kiddos

One of the things we’ll miss most about Louisville is our rowdy bunch of four & five year old kiddos we got to hang out with on Sunday mornings. We loved teaching them, laughing with them (and at them), and learning from them. If I could skip infancy, I’d just give birth to a four year old. I’m sure all you parents can come up with a million and one reasons why that is a terrible idea, but let the youth be naïve, ok? We’re thankful for all we learned about parenting and family, most of all the fact that your kids don’t have to drive you crazy all of the time. Sure, they’ve got their moments but gentle correcting and shepherding can create and enjoyable family. Again, I’m sure some of you parents understand the dynamics of this way more than I do, but hopefully one day soon we’ll learn.

We are excited to join the families in our city overseas. By the time we get there, there will be roughly 8.5 kids (I say .5 because the ninth will arrive about a month after we do!). We’re hoping to be able to use some our lessons with these kiddos too.

And we’ve made it to the end! From A-Z, now you know all things Peek. I would promise not to take another 6 month hiatus again but who even knows what I’ll do? So you’ll get no empty promises from this blogger. Life is actually quite interesting right now so there is certainly plenty to blog about. Thanks for hanging in there for all 26 letters!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Y: Yosemite in Louisville

Who says the ultimate camping is in the northwest? (Well, I’m sure my sis-in-law thinks so but she is way biased!) By way of the final Peek Showdown, all four Peeks took a weekend camping trip to Taylorsville Lake the weekend before we left town. This was my first real camping trip. I’ve realized that no one really camps in Texas because it’s just too hot! Well, maybe some people camp in Texas but I was certainly not one of them. But it turns out that I absolutely love camping! Once you get camp set up, there are no expectations of you whatsoever. We played games, told stories around the campfire, went on a hike (sort of), roasted marshmallows, cooked over the fire, and had a water balloon fight to fend off the July temperatures.

Chris & Sarah are by far our best friends in the whole wide world, and we are so thankful that we got to steal away with them for a few days. We’re also thankful for the full year we got to spend together in Louisville. We just love them. We want to raise our kids together and do life together. Eventually, they want to end up on our side of the world so we’ve got big plans to reunite in 2016. Until then, email and phone calls will have to do. They always have had a heart that wanted to love…

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

X: eXiting Louisville

Sad, sad day. After two and a half years of being a Louisvillian, those days have ended. Now we’re not sure what we are. Maybe I’ll call us Civic-ilians or just plain Civilians since we’re more or less living out of our car right now. We packed everything we own into the Civic and have been cruising across state after state visiting friends and familiy.

It was difficult to end our season in Louisville because we just loved it. We had several friends go above and beyond to make our closing days special. Since we lived in on-campus housing, our lease had to end either in June or December. Not helpful for a family who intended to leave at the end of July! So we sold our furniture, vacated our apartment, and spent the month of July living with Chris & Sarah, the Bitner family, and the Bonura family. In hindsight, I’m really glad it worked out that way. We got the stress of packing and getting rid of a lot of our stuff out of the way early so we could focus on relationships at the end of our time. From going away parties to hanging out, we felt so loved by all of our friends. So thank you to everyone who helped make our closing days special. We feel that we will not soon be forgotten as we trek off to the other side of the world!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

W: Washington DC

If you recall, our unlucky patient experience took place in Virginia. Since we were in that neck of the woods, we decided to take a trip up to Washington DC. Neither of us had ever been to our nation’s capitol and we figured it was worth a tour. We visited all the monuments, the Air & Space Museum, and the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Here are some pictures of our sights:

Monday, August 18, 2008

V: Viva Europa

About a year ago, I came up with this plan of what I wanted to do during the interim period between Louisville and East Asia. Visit family & friends of course but what better way to reward a season of hard work at school & the office than a fun vacation for just Kev & me? And what other time will we be without kids and have the freedom to take a vacation of this magnitude? Thus it was conceived: VIVA EUROPA! We’re going backpacking through Europe!

Kevin was skeptical at first. To assuage his fears, I made a coffee can with a whole cut out of the top to begin funding our trip. I think I only collected about $22 (including a $20 bill) but nevertheless the sweet man agreed that we could make the trip.

So we’re going to Europe! We fly out on September 22 and get three glorious weeks across four countries. We’re flying into Munich, Germany (during Oktoberfest), will travel down through Switzerland, then through Italy, and swing through France before heading back to Munich to head home on October 15. We’re working with an extreme shoestring budget, so that should make things interesting. If you have an Europe tips/pointers or things we HAVE to see, let us know!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

U: Unlucky Patient

You can ask my mom…needles and I have not been friends for a long, long time. It goes back to when I was eight and decided that I wanted to have my ears pierced…and passed out when having it done. Needle after needle, shot after shot…and I’m out cold on the floor. I finally got to the point where I starting telling the nurses to lay me down unless of course they wanted to deal with my dead weight.

Enter Kevin. He tries to be tough, he really does. But it’s hard to forget that one time in college when he went to get an immunization for an overseas trip. Four nurses ended up picking him up off the floor.

So once upon a time, this unlucky pair gets to go to the doctor. In May, we flew to Virginia for some interviews and physicals with our company. When I say physical, I mean we were poked and prodded in nearly every place imaginable. And then comes…the needles. Kevin, being the chivalrous and sweet husband that he is, let me go first. I warned the nurse that it will be in both her & my best interest to lay me down. Oh and don’t forget that no one has ever in my whole life has been able to draw blood from my forearm. She didn’t seem phased, found a spot to lay me down, and went away with that needle on my right forearm. After what seemed like endless stabbing, she commented that I must have small, rolling veins. Hence why I told her not to even try for my forearm but that is neither here nor there. So she tries for the top of my hand. She found a vein but it was so cold in that office that my tiny, rolling veins had constricted to the point where they weren’t going to give up my blood without a fight.

To make a long story short, two nurses, five stabs, two barf bucket warm water bathes for my cold hand, surgical gloves, and an X-ray blanket later, my nurses were pleased to have the blood they needed to set me free. They bandaged me up like a boxer and sent me on my way. To make it an unlucky pair and not just an unlucky patient, meanwhile Kevin tried to be brave and watch his blood. No good. He passed out.

So three cheers for the unlucky patients who survived their arch nemesis—the needle!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

T: Tejas Trip

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter T and brings us up through the beginning of April. My dear, dear friend Ashley Marshall wedded Mr. Nick Absalom (and inherited the coolest last name, in my opinion) at the beginning of April, and she asked me if I would stand beside her as a bridesmaid. Since she had given me the pleasure of being my maid of honor, what was I to say? The wedding was the perfect blend of worship & fun. The ceremony was God-centered, Scripture-saturated, and Christ-exalting. And man oh man was the reception fun! I got to see a few old friends from college there, and we feasted and danced and laughed and celebrated. I think that we were able to celebrate so well at the reception because we had worshipped so well at the ceremony. And I think the worship was so full because our celebration was so full. This is but a glimpse of what it will be like when Christ returns for the church, his bride! We will worship & celebrate abundantly, and that will be a good day!

Call me crazy but my short time frame gave me no choice! The reception ended a little bit before midnight and I made the three-hour drive to Austin. I wanted to visit my parents and my baby-booming friends. My friends Sally & Justin Lopez had just welcomed their first little one, Annabel, and my friends Amber & Logan Gentry were pregnant with their second son. So I got to hang out with my friends’ babies, which is always a bit surreal. But I guess that’s just what you do in your mid-twenties, right? After a quick lunch with my parents, I drove back to Dallas to catch my evening flight. Lots of people to see, lots of things to do so how could my trip have been any different?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

S: Sweet

They say that 25 is supposed to be a difficult birthday but birthdays don’t really phase me. Maybe I just say that because I’m still young. Who knows? But I like to think that each year is a gift from God and that age means wisdom. Someone please remind me of this every birthday, ok?

For my day-o-birth, Kevin took me on a picnic to one of my fav parks in Louisville called Cherokee Park. We had lunch out on the summer lawn and watched this strange group of people beat on each other with medieval weapons made out of PVC pipe. Strange. Very strange. Chris & Sarah came and joined us shortly after and we all watched the strange people and their comments much resembled ours. Strange. Very strange.

The most interesting event of my birthday was my gift. As a curly haired gal who appreciates convenience, there’s not much time invested in my hair when I can just scrunch it and go. But my dear husband loves it straight. I straightened it everyday on the honeymoon for him but it certainly takes time. I had told him I wanted a Chi straightener a long, long time ago. Well, the sweet man ordered one for me for my birthday, but then did some research and found out that there are tons of fake Chi's sold online. Once mine arrived, we looked at it a little more closely to see if it was fake. I even took it to a salon across the street from my office to compare it to theirs. Sure enough…as fake as my Gucci wallet I bought at the Pearl Market in Beijing. Unless of course my Chi was made in both Houston and Korea, like the box said. So we sent it back and the curly hair lives on.

The best part for wife about birthday presents that don’t work out is that she gets the surprise of another one. The worst part for husband about birthday presents that don’t work out is that he has to come up with another birthday present idea. Still pending. We’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime, it’s still great to be 25.

R: Recovery! Runner Again!

If you're not keeping up with the Peek alphabet, go back and read "I" before you read this one. Then and only then will you truly be able to rejoice fully!

So I found myself all busted up and nowhere to go. That pesky foot was still giving me problems. I tried everything...I even took up swimming (which I found out I'm not very good at). Though I'd already registered and paid for the Derby Half-Marathon, I knew there was no way that I'd be able to race it. Sure I was sad, but I knew that my race shirt would be an Ebenezer of contentment and submission to my husband, who knew unbiasedly that my foot was not up for a race.

But as the day drew nearer, I was able to run just a bit. I had some friends who were planning on walking it, so I decided to join in with them. It ended up being a blast! We walked and we ran and we danced. I mean literally...on the course, we passed several radio stations and whatnot belting out inspirational running tunes. You know..."Eye of the Tiger" and things like that. Since I wasn't too concerned about my time, I took a break from walking or running or whatever I was doing and just busted a move right there.

After that race, my foot was more or less healed. I slowly picked up the miles again and was so thrilled to resume my Saturday morning ritual long run.

Welcome June. One afternoon while I was working (read: wandering around online), I found the link to the Indian Celina Challenge. The course was both a half and a full marathon, and it boasted to be the most difficult trail run in the region. One of my coworkers had started running within the past few months, and we decided to register. I was a little fearful of what I was getting myself into but a race is a race...

Welcome race day. The race started at 6:30 AM so we had an early morning. Philip & I drove to Indiana and lined up in the middle of a forest with a handful of other crazies. In trail running, anything is game. Dirt, mud, rocks of all shapes and sizes, tree roots, grass up to your kness, creeks up to your knees, inclines like you wouldn't believe...good clean fun! But clean was the last thing that we were when we finished! It was SO much fun though and I finished faster that the walk/run/dance mini. Here are a few pics from our race:

Dear Philip, if you read this (which I'm 99% sure you won't, please don't be mad at me for posting this less-than-flatering picture of you. I can't stand posts only of me. You are my equalizer. Philip is way more hard-core than I am. He's running an ultramarathon in October. An ultra, for anyone who doesn't follow the terminology, is any distance beyond a marathon. This race he's running is around 30 miles.

Any marathon dreams bouncing around my head? We'll see...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Q: ummm...

I'm sure you were all wondering what in the world I would do when I hit this letter. Answer: I will punt. On to "R"...

Monday, August 04, 2008

P: Peek family Easter

OK back to April…I heart in-laws. It’s true that you get to choose your spouse but you don’t get to choose your spouse’s family. Well, I couldn’t have chosen a better set of in-laws, especially when it comes to Chris & Sarah. It’s no news that Kevin has a twin brother, and that we just love them to death. In fact, having already left Chris & Sarah in Louisville and now writing this post about the Easter meal we shared together makes me even more thankful for the year we got to spend together in the same city. Our hope & our goal is to be together again one day, hopefully overseas. But enough reminiscing or I’ll just start crying over my dear Speek (that’s what I call my sis-in-law/best friend Sarah) again…as if I haven’t been missing her enough. (Too long, Clancy, too long…)

As I’ve shared with you all before, Sarah wears the domestic hat in our family. But come Easter, I thought I would give it a try. To be honest, three months later, I have no clue what I made but I’m nearly certain that the Breadmaker was involved. It’s like my secret weapon of domesticity…or my only weapon. The fact that I can’t remember what we ate should be a reminder to all our us hostesses that your hosting is not about food, it’s about fellowship. We enjoyed one another’s company, and most of all, celebrated the sweet reality of our savior’s resurrection. And the fact that Christ was raised from the dead is just as relevant now as it was three months ago on Easter!

O: Out of things to say

So I’ll just give you a current update on Peek life. Sadness of sad, we are no longer Louisville residents. As most of you know, we’re in the process of moving overseas. Over the past few months, we’ve slowly been downsizing, organizing, selling our things (I heart Craig’s List!), and figuring out what exactly we need to make the move. At the end of it all, our wordly possessions now all fit in our Honda Civic. Wow. How would have thought that possible? It’s a little surreal but very freeing in one sense.

I quit my job about two weeks ago as well. It was sad to leave the coworkers that I had labored to love & serve over the past two years, but there was a great sense of satisfaction as well to be finished. Kevin & I came here for him to do school and for me to work in order to pay tuition. He’s done so I’m done. It was a crazy place to work, and I’ve certainly got entertaining stories to prove it. And now that season is closed.

Sell stuff…check. Quit job…check. Cram all possessions in car…check. Say goodbye to people that we love a whole, whole lot...check. Now what? We’re now making a grand tour to visit friends & family in Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. It will be a wild ride so pray for our hearts as we transition through it all.

N: Never Ending Winter

As previously stated, it doesn’t snow in Texas. Though my sweet sister-in-law chides me for my southern interpretation of snow, even she would agree that our early March snow storm was pretty intense. (I think she would say that at least…) Kevin was gone for the weekend to Texas for Travis’ wedding so I got to wake up early and watch the flurries fall. How serene! Then I went outside to play with some neighbors. The seminary where we lived has an amazing hill for sledding, if you can avoid the trees that is.

M: Mawwage is what bwings us togeva today

Can’t you just hear the sweet old priest from “Princess Bride?” Well, his sentiments were certainly true for us this past spring. Beginning in March, we had one wedding every month through July. For many of you, this might not be a big deal, as it might be a common occurrence for your mailbox to be inundated with invitations. But when it means traveling from Louisville to Houston, Dallas, and Wichita, KS, weddings bring on an entirely different flare. But we were thankful to accept the travel challenge in order to join our sweet friends for their marriages. So for your viewing pleasure: 21 Dresses Peek style! The "L" post is for babies, the "M" post is for weddings. Isn't that what life is about in your mid-twenties?

Wedding #1: Travis & Cori Mitchell in March in Houston. Kevin was a groomsman...and I'm sure the most hottest one! My apologies for the poor picture. I actually don't have any at all since Kev left the camera with me in Louisville, so I had to steal this one from Jamie's blog. Thanks JB!

Wedding #2: Nick & Ashley (marshall) Absalom in April in Dallas. My dearest maid-of-honor is a bride! More on this wedding in the "T" post but it certainly needs to be said that this wedding was a beautiful balance of worship & celebration. And the bride was H*O*T! And she picked the all-time best bridesmaid dresses ever...I've already worn mine again three times!

Wedding #3: Caleb & Rachel (seitz) Brown in May in Louisville (only clocked 1.5 miles of travel for this one!) Rachel & I began meeting together nearly two years ago and I've gotten to walk with Rach through the seasons of dating, engagement, and now marriage. I was her quasi-wedding coordinator and realized that this stuff is tough! So props to you, Mrs. Kari Breed and Mrs. Valerie Corbin, for making a profession out of it!
Wedding #4: Jeff & Damaris (johnson) McClain in July in Wichita, KS. This wedding by far put the most miles on our friendly Civic but it was a joy to serve Damaris and stand beside her. The best part of this wedding was that I got to take a date. Weddings are much more fun when you have someone to dance with I think.