Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Beverly Hillbillies at the Beach

Well, when my family comes to the beach, it's generally a pretty quiet affair -- 4 or so adults, walks on the beach, games, reading, an occasional oyster feast, etc. So when Crystal began brainstorming about bringing her extended family for a week at my brother's Emerald Isle, NC beach house (which, with all deference to Disneyland, is in my opinion the happiest place on earth), I must admit that I was somewhat afraid. I wasn't sure that Texas & Arkansas blood and Atlantic seawater would mix, but it has surely been a great couple of days, and we're looking forward to more!

The beautiful view from the house balcony

Tom demonstrating one of our favorite beach-time activities

In the planning stages, as the invitation list grew, I was nervously counting beds, but Crystal was unconcerned: "We'll bring extra air mattresses -- it'll be fine." Well, I told her today that I'm glad she doesn't listen to my naysaying because it's great having so many fun people together, though it can be pretty loud at times!

Things started off with a bang the first evening when we arrived -- a number of folks went swimming and four ended up getting caught in a current that started pulling them out to sea. It was quite scary for all involved, with many prayers flying up to our Lord. But thanks to the selfless bravery of a strong swimmer and kayaker, and the skill of some EMTs, everybody got out of the water ok. My favorite moment was when one of the emergency officers pointed at Robert and asked if he were usually that pale. We answered, "Yes, that's natural Texan coloring". :-)

Yesterday we decided to focus on land-based activities while recovering from our at-sea adventures, which mainly involved burying people in the sand.

Crystal was the first to go for the "bodyless" look

Russell wasn't far behind (Robert seemed to enjoy burying his brother)

Today we got ambitious again and headed out into the water with our boogie boards. Riding the waves in was fantastic at low tide, but when we tried again at high tide they weren't quite breaking in the right places. We'll be heading out at low tide again tomorrow! But first there's a trip to the "island of perfect shells", and Crystal has visions of catching enough crabs for all of us to have a feast. Updates will be forthcoming!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Use It or Lose It -- Keeping up the Greek

One of the tragedies that many theology students encounter is struggling to learn languages and then having them slip away with disuse. Determination not to become a statistic, plus the love of reading the Scriptures in the original languages, is all that dragged me out of bed this morning to meet my friend Greg at Starbucks for our weekly time of reading Greek together. Before heading out, I decided to glance at the Durham webcam to see what our soon-to-be home was looking like. Wow! What a treat we are in for!

The Durham Cathedral this beautiful day

Well coffee'd and with reference books piled all around, Greg and I had a tough go this morning, struggling through only 4 verses (ok...we had a few tangential discussions along the way). These are the kinds of sessions that remind you that a little vocabulary brush-up could be well worth your time. But the struggle is usually worth it as we delighted with the Magi: "When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy" (Matt 2:10). Of course, it wasn't the star itself that led to their great joy, but the king that they anticipated meeting under the star. I love the way the text sometimes piles up the superlatives -- somehow we English-speakers miss out because our grammarians tell us that it's not good English to "rejoice a joy", much less to "rejoice a great joy exceedingly"!
The ancient Codex Sinaiticus manuscript of Matt 2:10 (whew -- I'm glad our text puts spaces between words!)A modern rendering of the same Greek verse

Saturday, June 19, 2004

The Packing Has Begun!

With our move to England just a couple of months away, we decided to make a start at packing -- deciding what to take, what to store, and what to give away. I had a tough time putting shirts into piles until I realized that I couldn't remember a single shirt I had given to Goodwill when I moved from California to Texas. As long as I have things to keep warm while in Durham.

Rob giving up shirts

The book-packing is moving along too. Kathy and I developed a technique of grouping the books according to size and forming "book blocks" that fit nicely into boxes. I think I may have overdone the packing efficiency, though -- the boxes are kinda heavy to lift!

Crystal inspecting the book packing

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Wedding in Arkansas

We had a lovely weekend in Arkansas at Crystal's brother's Lonny's ranch. Don't you think it's rightly named "A Thousand Hills"? (Ok, well you'd agree if I had a wide-angle shot...).

The main event was the wedding of Crystal's niece Loni to Chris. We think that Chris looks quite a bit like Lonny -- maybe they've been working together just a little too much.

Dr. Crystal

Here are some pictures from Crystal's graduation from medical school at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Crystal with diploma

Dr. Crystal with her parents

Dr. Crystal with Rob and his parents