Sunday, January 4, 2009

The most wonderful time of the year...

When God postponed our Europe departure from October to January, it seemed pretty arbitrary, to be completely honest. We knew God had a plan, but it all seemed like a strange technicality.
Why would God have us stay in the States just a few months longer? Oh, what wonderful wonderful things God had in store for us in the end of 2008. Just these last few weeks have been a whirlwind of blessings. Yet another lesson of God's gracious timing. It, of course, couldn't have worked out better.

On December 10th, Mike turned 25 years old! He's a quarter of a century, I like to remind him. I made him french toast, then we went bowling in Exton. It was pitiful, and we were sore and out of breath after two rounds. Check out that form--Mike kicked my tail! We finally got to use up gift cards to Morimoto, a fabulous Japanese restaurant in downtown Philly. It was one of the best meals I have had in my life!

A few days later, my sister, Angie, gave birth to Anabelle Evelynn Ferner. She and Jamin are proud parents, and Lily (2.5) is very excited about being a "big sis-toh." We were blessed to be able to visit them in the hospital and be in their home when they returned with the newest family member. (Mike is delighted to have that title overtaken.) A cooing baby sleeping on my chest was heaven, and I will cherish that until I return to hold her again!

Packing up and moving from our first apartment the weekend before Christmas was crazy! We were sad to say good-bye. I was so humbled by God's provision win a small caravan of people showed up to help us move our furniture and boxes into a storage unit. (Thanks Clemens', Wessners, and Collettos!) We truly loved that cozy apartment. The photo to the right is post-apartment packing, mid-suitcase packing, post-Heather getting hungry.

After a few days living with Mike's parents, we drove to Cedarville, OH to meet up with old college friends (Days, Reids, Cobbs, Jo, and Aimee) who happened to be in town for their own family holidays. We hadn't been together in a few years, and it was the overload of laughter, reminiscing, and goofiness that we hoped it would be. We visited all the old haunts--Colonials for my buffalo chicken sub, Youngs for cow patty ice cream, Mom and Dads for peanut butter milkshakes. (It's clear what I miss most abotu college!) Thanks to Aimee Auclair for the photos.

After a twelve-hour drive to Omaha, we took off again. New Year's Eve was spent with Brittany and Andrew Peterson in Kansas City, MO for a little night the boys had planned for us. We had a great dinner, checked out the Sound & Light district, then played games before ringing in the new year! It was the first of many times in the next year I'll be homesick for Eastern Standard Time. The ball-drop on re-run isn't the same...

My dear childhood friend Morgan Block married Christian Jarabe on January 3rd, and I was privileged to be a bridesmaid. It was very nice of them to throw a wonderful party where I could see all of my Omaha friends at once! Haha. Morgan was absolutely beautiful and the ceremony was lovely. I cannot believe the three of us are married women! Seems like just yesterday we were talking about boys in the Sonic parking lot. Although later we did upgrade to Starbucks....

Monday, January 5th, is our first wedding anniversary. I cannot believe it has already been a year. There is no way that what they say about the first year being the hardest is remotely true, because this year was ALL fun! From Boston to Peru to Nebraska to Ohio to West Chester, I love Mike so much more than I did one year ago.

It is impossible to believe we will be in Slovakia in just a few days. The other morning, Mike said "We'll be waking up in Slovakia in one week." Then it hit us: all this planning and chores and tearful good-byes are leading to this great adventure God has in store. We are anxious and stoked and humbled and excited.

Please keep us in your prayers as we travel this week. We fly out of Omaha Wednesday morning, then stop in Chicago and Washington before arriving in Vienna on January 8th.