Friday, August 29, 2008

A Wide-Ranging Update

OK, so we've been back in the UK for more than a week now, and it's been a while since I posted anything. Jetlag has had its way with us, affecting sleep and messing around with our rhythms. Ian started at a new school this week and tomorrow we'll attend the third (!) orientation event. No complaints there: They've done such a great job of welcoming us as new parents, and it's been especially good for the families who are just arriving in London. Julie's birthday was Wednesday, and we're having a nice dinner this evening to celebrate. At church we're gearing up for an important season, where we reach out to new arrivals with events and presentations and meetings and, well, you get the picture.


It's really good to be back in London. We enjoyed our time with family and friends so much, and we miss them a lot right now, but we needed to get back to our work, our schedules, our stuff. It's amazing how quickly we re-adapted to living without a car again. We're back into our regular pattern of buses and trains, just as if we'd never left.

God has been good to us in this process of coming back to London. In a lot of ways we're still fish out of water here, but that changes more each time we make re-entry. I like where we are right now: feeling at home and out of place at the same time. That's a good posture for us in our ministry here, because it keeps our eyes and hearts alert for the new person, for the stranger, and lets us serve them from what is now our home base. God has been good.

In other news...

There have been a few online reviews for my book. Print reviews can take as much as a year, but the Internet can speed the process up a bit (that's great news for authors, who don't like waiting for these things at all). You can see the reviews at the links below:

This review was followed by an interview with me, which can be found at:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

California Visit

As I wrote in the post below this one, we spent some time in Shell Beach where my Mom owns a house. We went up with my sister and her family, and were joined later by some friends from our old church in Glendale.

I should have tipped that bird for flying in at just the right time.
Ian and his cousin Bella scootering in front of the house. At the end of the street behind them is the bluff where I took the rest of the shots.

Every evening...never fails.
At low tide we climbed around on those rocks to look for sealife.Ian having a pensive moment as the tide came in.
Ian with some buddies from church.
I wonder...

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Placeholder

Most of you know I've been on vacation and study leave in California for a few weeks. The time here has been so good--fellowship with friends and family, familiar food and some space to read. We're still not done: We're celebrating Julie's birthday tomorrow evening, and on Sunday some good friends from London will be here for a birthday party for one of my nephews. Life is pretty good, though we're starting to anticipate the trip back to London next week.

One of the highlights of our time here was a short trip up to Shell Beach, about 180 miles north of Burbank, where my Mom owns a house. The street leads down to some bluffs that overlook the ocean, and if you climb down there are tidepools to explore and sealife to chase (and sometimes catch). My grandmother bought this house in 1970, when I was 7 years old, and it's been our holiday spot ever since. I spent so much time there as a kid, and it warms my heart to see Ian playing on the same beach and crawling across the same rocks as I did when I was his age. We enjoyed every minute of our 5 days there.

I also spent a fair amount of time reading. One of the necessities of preparing to preach and teach is having a concentrated time of study and reflection--I focus on what others are thinking and also on how what I think is changing. On this study leave I've read three important books and hope to get one more done before I go back to London. Later I'll post a review of what I read--I've been challenged, annoyed, inspired and taught during this past month, and I hope it shows in my preaching over the coming year.

Today Ian and I went to Fuller Seminary, so Ian could see Daddy's book in the bookstore (OK, I like seeing it, too, but Ian was the one who asked to go...honest). I kept seeing friends and former colleagues there, and Ian asked if I knew everyone there. I don't--anymore--but it was nice to be reminded of what an important place Fuller is for me. I was a student there for 5 years, long enough for 2 master's degrees, and I also worked there for 4 more years later on. It's a big part of my life.

This afternoon I took Ian, along with 3 of his cousins, over to my in-laws' house to swim. We're just recovering now as I write this--it's such a good sort of tired to see the kids play together as if nothing about their relationships has changed. That's a major smile.

I may try to post once more before we leave on Tuesday, hopefully with some pictures. We get back to London on the 20th, and jump right into a full schedule of work, an orientation for Ian's new school, and a slate of expat events for me to attend.

I'm savoring each remaining moment with my family here, even as my heart is turning back toward our friends and ministry in England. More news later.