Three Days in New Jersey

Only Mac’s wedding was enough to drag us out of Vermont on Memorial Day weekend. We were sad to leave because Arlington had a book and plant sale, but alas friends must come first. So here are some highlights from our time in the state that will soon be formerly known as the Garden State.

<%image(20060530-Mac and Holly crop.jpg|375|165|macandholly)%>
Dan and Holly Got Married: For once in my life I can say that I saw it coming for someone else. The first time we met Holly at a cell group gathering and saw how she interacted with Dan, we knew it was meant to be. It’s so nice to be right! The wedding was simple, elegant, and seemed to reflect the bride and groom very well. This picture clipping shows them riding off into the sunset (i.e. leaving the church) to the tune of Bonanza.

Though the music at the reception wasn’t our style, it was quite fun watching other people dance to it . . . or try to do all of the steps and collide. Besides, we were there to catch up with all of my New Jersey cronies. It’s great to see who’s married, who has a kid, and so on.

Common Grounds: Josh has been part of a daring new venture to start a coffee shop at Fellowship Baptist Church as a possible option for Sunday School and as a gathering place for people who are visiting and may not want to stick around for a traditional service . . . like us. Though it’s just a pilot at this point, I think it’s great to provide an option for people who may not connect with a Sunday school class or a church service. Besides, if you’re visiting, it is really, really intimidating to attand Sunday School. I’m not doing justice to the vision for Common Grounds, but if anything, it’s always win-win to create a place for God to work and for community to develop. We do not have to program the event, we sometimes just need to create the space.

Family: One sister now towers over my meager 5’5″ frame, and the other is on her way. All seems to be well with the family. My dad got some soft pretzels for lunch on Sunday, which you just can’t find up in VT. We had a relaxing time of swimming, fishing, hanging out, and so on. I even caught a movie: The Great Raid. It’s not a great movie, but it worked for me. It’s an adaptation of the book Ghost Soldiers, the incredible story of WWII’s most daring and successful rescue mission. If you’re into history and don’t mind reading about prisoner of war camps, check out the book. It’s one of the best stories you’ll ever read.

New Jersey: New Jersey continues to develop and grow. Where there once were trees and thickets, now stands a long row of “estates” that are really just new homes that are bloated, oversized, and overpriced. One builder told me that for a minimal cost, he can buy extra materials, make a house bigger, and then the price can be raised significantly. And people will pay for it. Driving in New Jersey is still a horror of merging, swerving, and braking. Thankfully, I learned how to drive in New Jersey, so it’s at least familiar. Yet, on our trip to IKEA I became so entangled in a mess of intersecting highways, roads, and jughandles that it’s a miracle we made it home at all!

IKEA: We love IKEA. We picked up a cheap bookshelf and shome cheap blinds for our windows at an IKEA in north Jersey. What else would we get there? Well . . . you can get just about anything. Though, as cool as the store is, it’s marvels tend to encourage excessive wandering to the point that people kind of slowly shuffle and gawk in the middle of the aisle. Somehow one man was able to block off an entire aisle while Julie and I made several attempts to pass him. It’s just that kind of store. So it’s tremendous fun if you have the time. We were in a hurry to get home and make dinner for friends who were visiting last night. And so our IKEA tip: make sure you have all day. You’re going to need it.

Bunnies: We got home and the bunnies were like, yeah, whadda ya want? Such ingrates.
<%image(20060530-Lounging Bunnies.jpg|275|206|bunnies)%>

Enough for now. I hope to pick up tommorrow on my regularly scheduled blog program.