Thursday, December 13, 2007


On Sunday night we had our Abiding Way church Christmas party at the Melicks' (our pastor) house. It was a great time of socializing and food. It's fun to be a part of a church that can pretty much fit in our pastor's living room and dining room. The food was great and so are the people. And to top it off we won two movie tickets in the door prize drawing!

In-N-Out Celebration
Yesterday was the last official day of the semester. Both Josh and Stacy got all their papers turned in and celebrated at In-N-Out with some fellow OT PhD students, Kevin and Seth, and Seth's family, Ling (his wife), Yael (daughter--7), and Nadav (son--3). Praise the Lord for a good semester.

We finally made it up to Mt. Tam, after being turned away by the weather and car problems before. Some amazing views. Below are some photos from the east peak.

Helped... again
Yet again we experienced the Lord's impeccably timed provision. On the very day we had to fork out a big, unexpected sum of cash, we got an even more surprising and unexpected check in the mail that pretty much covered the cost.

Upcoming Program
The big Christmas program is coming on Wednesday night. It will be a great opportunity for the families of the kids to be impacted by the gospel. Please pray for Stacy as she directs it and especially that the Lord will be glorified and that hearts will be drawn towards what Christmas is really all about.

Shelves, Stacks, Shifting, Sorting, and Studying
Today I (Josh) started working part-time at the library. I've been planning to work a few hours and I figured since I spend much of my days in the library anyway, I might as well get paid for it. Plus I get my study room paid for, a free cup of coffee everyday, keys to the library, and other perks that only a geeky academic guy like me would appreciate.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Christmas Party!

Since we are only in Cali for about two weeks of December we thought that we should have a Christmas get together before the time gets away. So we did... and we would like to tell you about it. Our new friends Josh and Elizabeth Howeth and Drew and Shannon Cunningham came over for some spaghetti, Christmas cookie decorating, and a game of Settlers. Drew and Shannon are the Settler pros as they are serious settlers that play via the internet against each other. And Shannon remains Queen of Catan until the next game...
We are blessed to be around other couples who are seeking the Lord and His Word at this point on the Journey.

Drew and Shannon

Josh and Elizabeth

Saturday, December 1, 2007

San Diego and Qumran

This year the meetings for the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) gave us an excuse to take a mini vacation. They were held in San Diego and we thought, for just the price of one more plane ticket we could both go down the coast into the warmer weather for a couple days. I went down on Wednesday, the week before thanksgiving, and Stacy joined me the next day after she worked half a day. I took in a lot of papers and we took in a lot of San Diego sights together. It was good to meet up with friends and profs from both Wheaton and Multnomah. We went to the beach, the beautiful Hotel Del Coronado, Tijuana (briefly), Balboa Park, and to the Natural History Museum where they have the Dead Sea Scrolls on exibit.

It was fascinating to see little fragments of writing pieced together to make up so many parts of the Bible. It was fun to walk through the exhibit with little children and grandparents and all different nationalities looking at the Word of God. It was a wonderful reminder of how God preserved His Word through so many years so that we could read and obey it.

In all the whole time in San Diego together was a wonderful break from the somewhat ordinary. Here are a few pictures (none of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They don't allow that)

BubbleShare: Share photos - Delicious Christmas Recipes.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I would like to let the title of this blog speak loudly in it's most simple form. So I must only tell you why we are thankful. Two weekends ago Josh and I were blessed with the presence of Steve and Loie Mathews, Josh's parents. We had beautiful scenery (point Reyes and 300 steps to the lighthouse), scrumptious food (Cheesecake Factory and chocolate truffles, thanks dad and mom), thought provoking conversations (anything from theology to favorite movies), fierce competition (rule-bending Zilch), and even Mill Valley snobbery (we actually took in an art gallery and all liked it). But the best part of the weekend was just being loved. There is truly something wonderfully God-initiated about family enjoying one another. Laughing, hugging, and being encouraged! Thanks dad and mom for the visit down South! We love you!

...and are excited to see all our families at Christmas!!!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Already Almost November

WOW time is flying. It has already been two weeks since My friend Bri came down to see us. We had a wonderful time with her and I enjoyed catching up face to face. Thanks for coming Bri!!! Not to mention, it was fun to have someone else be so excited about the beautiful place that we are living in.

Josh just had his second seminar weekend of the semester. He presented the paper he was working on for the past four weeks. The paper was on a Christian biblical interpreter in the Middle Ages named Nicholas of Lyra. He is known for, among other things, having written a massive commentary on the whole Bible. Josh looked into how he interpreted the Old Testament in particular and tried to understand better the way he affected the way we read the OT today. The research and the interaction in the seminar were both good learning experiences.

A page from Nicholas of Lyra's Postilla litteralis on the Psalms, with the biblical text surrounded by Nicholas's commentary.

I (Josh--we're tag-teaming this blog) have my last game of flag football at San Quentin this coming Saturday. I and about 8-10 other seminary guys go and play against the prison team. They have at least three times as many guys and it seems they are all about three times as big as any of us. They also practice often, play every week against other teams, and are undefeated. (They have a baseball team too, which was featured in Sports Illustrated--the San Quentin Giants.) Needless to say it can be quite intimidating for 10 average-sized, white seminarians who spend most of their days sitting and reading and who haven't practiced and don't have any plays, to walk onto the yard of this massive, historic prison (known as "the Q") where 30-40 big guys who seem to spend most of their days working out, are either running their plays or watching us with big grins as we walk onto the field.

We get beat but it is very fun and good to get out there and run around. And it is the most physical flag football I've ever played, which I love. Some of the other guys I think are a little less used to or excited about the contact part of it. Each time I've been pretty bruised and sore for a few days afterward. It's fun but also a really good experience. One of our guys shares at half-time and they always listen very attentively and respectfully. Some of these guys are the nicest guys you'd ever meet. It's eye-opening, sad, thought-provoking, and challenging all at the same time. I think this Saturday might be the day the San Quentin Blues Brothers suffer their first loss ever:)

Stacy is starting to work more and more on the Christmas program for the preschool. She has to assign speaking roles for the four-year-olds (the tigers), teach the songs and motions to all the kids, make sets, and much more, all while still helping most days in the threes class (cheetahs) and taking her classes at the seminary too. And that is also not to mention her keeping the laundry done, the house clean, and her husband well-fed and well-loved. The busyness of the semester has definitely not let up for either of us.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Abiding Way

Well, we think we've decided to quit church hopping now. On Sunday we went back to the church we attended our first Sunday here and we plan to stay there. It has been a good process in a number of ways. It's been good to get an idea of the area and the churches' impact here in general. It's been good to have lots of conversations about what is important in church, what our involvement should be, what our attitudes about the whole thing should be, and things like that. We're ready now, though, to settle down and get involved.

The church is called Abiding Way and, yes, it is a Baptist Church--technically Southern Baptist, but it doesn't feel like what either of us thought a Southern Baptist church would feel like. That's probably partly because our assumptions were not totally accurate, and partly because this is not only California, but Marin County, California. One of my profs, Dr. Melick, is the pastor. It is a pretty small church compared to what we are used to, but then again, all the churches around here are.

There are about 100-150 people on Sundays. But it is a very alive and growing church. We love Good Shepherd and think of it as home, but there are some fun aspects of knowing that everyone pretty much knows everyone. The music and singing are good, kind of contemporary in style and very God-focused. It seems like there will be ample opportunity to get involved. Dr. Melick has talked with me a little about teaching some Bible Studies and Stacy has some great ideas for organizing and decorating. They do a lot of activities together as a church too, which is fun and makes for a healthy family feel. (All that said, we probably aren't in a position quite yet to take on too many more things to be doing. We both feel, and are, very busy.) So thanks for praying for that process. It's been good.

A couple other brief highlights in our life:

We got to see Mom Mathews briefly yesterday. She's down here for a few days and we picked her up at the airport then went to Uncle Bob and Aunt Joanie's for dinner. Great to see all of them and especially Mom.

Last weekend was my first seminar weekend, really just two (very) full days. They went well. I'm learning a ton and, as I'm finding is usually the case with learning, I'm learning how much more there is I want and need to learn. And the Bible is still becoming more and more alive and amazing to me, because of who its Author is.

Stacy is doing wonderfully at her job. Yesterday when we were walking to the school, one of the little "cheetahs" (3 year-olds) came running out and grabbed her by the leg saying, "hi miss Stacy." She is also so consistently loving and supportive of me.

I'm playing flag football at San Quentin prison every few Saturdays. I think I'll do a post on that sometime. It's quite the experience.

It was 80 degrees today without a cloud in the sky. We love Oregon but we love the sun too.

Baseball playoffs start tomorrow. Cubs won the NL Central and are going to the post season for just the fifth time in like 60 years. Maybe they'll win it all this year and avoid the claim to infamy of going 100 years between championships.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Catch up

It's been a while, we know. But really, who expected us to keep up the blogging pace we had going for those first few posts? We have both been busy. I'm studying quite a lot and Stacy is working full-time teaching at Golden Gate Academy, taking three classes at the seminary (which is required by her job at the preschool), and keeping our house clean and me fed with scrumptious meals. We were very thankful to find out that we barely made the cutoff for getting a 50% break in my tuition because she works for the seminary. As of Sept 1, PhD students are not eligible for that scholarship; she started on Aug 27.

These are our friends Leah, Samuel, and Ed (who's in my program).

Since the last post we have made some good progress in finding a church to call our home here. There is one we have been to a couple times that we like. The pastor is one of my professors and there is another guy from my program who attends there with his wife and kids; as well as at least two other couples from the seminary who we have met and spent some time with. Please pray for this process as we want to be wise and patient in settling down somewhere we can be used and worship together. Thank you.

Two weekends ago we took a drive after church up Highway 1 north to Point Reyes. It is a beautiful drive with some spectacular coastline, scenic farmland, and some fun little towns.

Last weekend Stacy's sister Signe, her husband Jonah, their three kids, and Stacy's other sister Cynthia were down for a wedding and spent Friday evening here. It was great to have a little time with them. Thanks for coming and thank you Mom Ortman for all the groceries (especially the very timely and needed ketchup:).

Signe, Jonah, Kacy, Caleb, Levi, Cynthia, and us at Strawberry Village

Then just yesterday we took another Sunday drive, this time south down the coast. We left early and went to a cool church in Santa Cruz called Vintage Faith Church, which is seeking to reach the "emerging" community of that town and to do so in a Christ-centered, historically-rooted, and biblical way. Then we kept going south and did the famous 17-mile drive. It is between Monterey and Carmel and is where Pebble Beach and some other great golf courses are. After going through Carmel we worked our way back up the 1. We made it to Half-moon Bay just in time for an amazing sunset and then some dinner, and then came home. Pebble Beach was a highlight (for me especially) and so was the beautiful coastal scenery; but a break from the busyness and a chance to be together was the best part.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


In the words of my uncle, "Do you want the good news or the bad news first?"

The good news is that we actually have California liscence plates now! Can you believe the Illinois 05's no longer exist (thank you to the Bryant's for the original plates).

The bad news is that the day after we put on the new plates the car was shaking convulsively when started up. Josh kindly took care of the details for the next few days. In girl terms a major metal thing (pulley on the end of the crank shaft) practically fell off the engine who knows when and has been tearing up the front part of the engine. Thankfully the mechanic was able to makeshift a new piece back on the engine. We are now praying that it will stay on and that we won't have to get a new vehicle soon. We know that the Lord is in control of these interruptions in our days.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


What does PHD stand for anyways? I think that it is something like Positively Hardest Degree.
Josh started in Seminar week going strong from 7:30am -9:30pm and that is just the lecture part of it. The rest of the time he will be on his own directed studies to meet deadlines for the next seminar, which take place once a month. He will be learning German right away as he must read books in German for his research.
He has one class that requires 14 books and responses and of course many other readings and assignments. He will need to narrow his topic for his Dissertation and start writing his papers towards that end. Needless to say this is much more than a full-time job!
It is so fun to see Josh get excited about these studies in the Word of God! He understands the challenge and is diving in with no reservation (good movie by the way).
He is also able to help one of the profs teach a few of his beginning Greek courses, this is fun for him to remember the good ole days at Multnomah.
Thank you for praying for this insurmountable task that will be chipped away at one hour at a time!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

California at Last!

After praying for a year and a half about when and where the Lord would have us go to school it is crazy to be here in the flesh!
Josh drove the big yellow Penske with the Subi on trailer in back through the night to be welcomed by Monday morning traffic at 5:30am. We rolled into campus around 7:30am to catch a few minutes of shut eye and then officially become CA residents.
It took about an hour and a half to cram every box and belonging into our one bedroom

apartment and have enough room to squeeze out the front door. Josh and I headed towards Lombard street (we avoided the crookedest road area, thankfully) to drop off the Penske.
After two days of unpacking boxes, we started to feel like we had a home. Although very small we feel privileged to have the only carpeted apt on our block.
We still feel like we are on vacation or something as our surroundings are so new. But we are so thankful to be here and are loving being in on this stage of God's plan for our lives!

On the road again... Medford

On the road to San Fran we spent a few days in Medford with my family. It was a great time to celebrate Kacy, my 3 year old nieces' "princess" birthday. We also celebrated our 1 1/2 year anniversary with Stacy's mom and dad's 42nd anniversary by going to a concert in the Britt Garden's.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Beginning bloggers

We are going to try to keep people up to date on our adventures in California. I guess this is technically our first posting, but we will have our first real posting on here in the next week or so.