Last weekend I celebrated my birthday (the 18th) with Rebecca at a beautiful winery. Rebecca surprised me with this momentary get-a-way by blindfolding me while we wound our way through northeastern Ohio in our car. We both received plenty of stares and double-takes (which Rebecca narrated to me as we drove). When I finally untied my blindfold, I was treated to the lush landscape of Gervasi’s vineyard–a small lake, fresh flowers, yawning trees, bricked walking paths, an outdoor patio and Italian bistro, bocce ball pits, cornhole games, and the sparkle of it all in the cloudless morning sun. We enjoyed our time together in the late morning silence, breathing in the fresh air and savoring a small meal of pizza, stuffed peppers, and vegetables.
I can’t adequately express how wonderful it was to experience the restful calm of that place in all its beauty–truly a re-creational birthday thanks to my thoughtful wife, Rebecca.
This week, Rebecca and I have been gearing up for a trip out to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We are traveling to visit my uncle and his family, folks I haven’t seen on their turf since middle school. While the weekend will be short given the length of the journey, the adventure promises to be exciting: walking through center city in downtown Philadelphia, visiting the famous cheese-steak houses of heartburn (Geno’s and Pat’s), and experiencing authentic Moroccan culture and cuisine at the Marrakesh. We are sure to discover more Phily wonders and surprises with the help of our cousins who live in the city.
Finally, this week I finished all my requirements for ordination before meeting with the committee on ministry in the Illinois-Wisconsin region. I put together a draft of my search and call papers (basically, a resume for ministers), sent off all my chaplaincy credits/evaluations, and confirmed my graduation/completion of divinity school. I will be traveling to Eureka, IL the first full week of October to review my materials, discuss my ministry papers, and finalize the details of my ordination with the committee. If all goes well, and I anticipate it will, I will be ordained with the full approval of the region on Saturday, October 16th in Lincolnshire, Illinois! I am very excited to celebrate that special day with Community Christian Church, a fellowship that has built me up, helped confirm my call to ministry, and given me an opportunity to serve and grow.