Day 2: view

I peer over the edge to the water spraying up from 50 or more feet below. The Cliffs of Moher in all their grandeur.cliffs of moher It’s breathtaking and I can’t get enough of the ethereal view.


I wake up early to catch a sunrise. Rare for this non-morning-college student, but that summer I am eager to be reminded of fresh mercies and new glory with the rays of sunlight peeking over the ocean’s horizon. So I set my alarm for 5:00am, and it’s like an appointment with my Creator.myrtle beach sunrise

The pinks and purples stretch across the twilight as the golden ball of fire dips beneath the blue-ridged mountains. There it is again: an unforgettable view that is etched in my memory.NC sunset

Like hidden glory, something to recall on the days when all that I see is the view out my suburban windows of a cloudy sky or a sink piled with dishes and a floor littered with legos of all sizes. To know these views exist in the world, and that I have seen them and drunk deeply of this beauty – it stays with me. Keeps me moving, reminds me of the glory inherent in my world. I will see it again, and to think that in a soul, the beauty of this view of God is even more breathtaking? Oh, let me love the people who inhabit my view as I peer into the glory hidden in these little ordinary 4-year-old souls!

“Life. Celebrated Daily.”

It caught my attention on a bumper sticker this week. It’s apparently Norfolk’s motto: “Life. Celebrated Daily.” It made me smile, and it gave me a good daily goal for our new life here in Norfolk. It seems there is much to celebrate about life here – and so we will embrace this as our motto as well.

And I don’t think it has to stay in the limits of Norfolk. What have you done to celebrate life today?

a ship in harbor

helsingor-dk165The analogy came to me tonight while talking to my friend Ellen: that this season of transition feels like being in a ship in harbor, waiting to set sail for distant lands. We are loading up the cargo, one box at a time. And we are untying the ropes that bind us to Philadelphia one strand at a time. Each good-bye is a letting go. Tearful at the leaving, joyful at the reflection of what the friendship has meant. We will soon be standing on the ship’s deck, waving good-bye to our friends on the other side. And there will be tears on both sides.

And we will “set sail” to a “new land” of Norfolk, Virginia, where a new life awaits us – yet to be discovered. There will be new friends greeting us at the dock, helping us unload our cargo and initiate ties of relationship that will bind us to our future home. There will be a season of many “hello’s”.

But now is the season of saying “good-bye.” And so I pray that I will be fully present for each one. Soaking up the memories – the celebration of what has been enjoyed in these five years in Philadelphia.

home for Christmas

As I write this post, the fire is crackling in the fireplace at my parents’ home in SC, I’ve got my comfortable LLBean img_3111slippers on (thanks, Mom & Dad Nelson!), and I am finally relaxed. Our “Christmas break” is well underway, which began wiimg_31181th a wonderful three days spent with the Nelsons in New Jersey. We went to NYC to see the “Rockettes” at Radio City Music Hall, ate at Seth’s favorite Italian family-style restaurant, Carmine’s, and then had “Christmas” on Friday. Snow came down all day — it truly felt like we were in a winter wonderland. We ate, opened presents, ate, slept, and ate some more … truly a relaxing and celebratory day!

There is really nothing quite like home for Christmas — whether it’s Millington, NJ (for Seth) or Greenville, SC, for me. It was great last night to be greeted by the “Davis family elves” last night at the airport (a.k.a. my brothers and sister-in-law); to attend church at the place that’s nurtured my faith in Christ since I was a child; and to be surrounded by the family I love so much and who lives so far away. There’s just something so comforting about knowing you belong and that you’re known. I loved that when Seth, Bryan, and I walked in just before Sunday evening’s church service, the usher at the back immediately directed us to the pew where the Davis family was sitting. I didn’t have to ask or explain — he just knew us. As much as I love new places and exploration, I equally love the comfort of the familiar. Of the rest that comes from this … like an inward sigh of relief.img_3140

And the complication of our journey to get here last night only makes us appreciate it all the more. Bear with me as a I recount another of my traveling adventures (I’ve had more than my share — in my opinion — but the others will be for another post). We were scheduled to fly out with Northwest Airlines through Memphis, TN, to arrive into Greenville (GSP from this point forward) at 9:30 p.m. However, they oversold our flight from Philly to Memphis, and they asked us if we would volunteer to move to a different flight for travel vouchers. Perhaps we’re mercenaries, but we figured it would be worth it and wouldn’t be that inconvenient. It even promised to be better than the original one since the flight they re-booked us for was a direct flight into GSP arriving around the same time. However, it was with USAirways (and my litany of bad travel has been with them historically). And each time we checked the board over the next few hours, the flight was delayed more and more …. until it was canceled at 7:00 pm. So we stood in line and waited … and waited … and waited … and were able to be rebooked … for a flight going into Charlotte, NC (1.5 hours away from GSP). We were thrilled to be arriving last night. And my family was willing to make the trek in their “sleigh” to pick us up. So a very happy and very tired Seth and Heather were greeted by “elves” around 11:00 pm last night — and finally made our way to home sweet home by 1:00 a.m.! (of course, our luggage wasn’t so fortunate to make the trip with us — but it did follow only a day later and we now have it in our possession — again, not unusual since my bags have not made it with me over the past several flights to GSP I’ve taken over the past few years)

Isn’t Christmas and being home better because of the journey? And isn’t it much better because of the journey that img_31222God made, coming to earth as a baby to be born in a manger, to be called Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer? The journey that God took which would guarantee that one day all of those who believe in Christ would be able to journey Home to the place where we are fully known … that is worth dreaming of, hoping in, and celebrating this Christmas. A home that makes the best earthly homes pale in comparison and which gives hope to those who have had homes which were a far cry from any place lovely or familiar or comfortable. May the One whose birth we celebrate be the One whose Home we long for and anticipate this Christmas!

the Phillies win (and Philadelphia with them)

There is a horn honking loudly as a car zooms by our apartment. Any other night at 12:45, I would be ticked. Tonight I’m excited. Earlier we heard fireworks. More than I’ve ever heard — perhaps even including 4th of July. What’s set the city ablaze?

The Phillies won the World Series! In part 2 of the longest ever game 5 of the World Series … and perhaps the worst weather for it as well. Between the slashing rain on Tuesday evening and tonight’s 20’s wind chill, determination and perseverance were needed to push through to win over Tampa Bay Rays.

The whole city has been anticipating this all week. Perhaps even for the 25 years since any major Philadelphia team has won a major championship. There’s been a buzz in the air, and it’s only increased the closer we came to this game. Apparently, “the city’s biggest party ever” broke loose on Broad Street as soon as the game ended tonight. For a city known to be fiercely loyal (expressed in the fans’ famous “boos” and their relentless cheers even through rain), this win means that they, too, have won. It’s a victory we all share in (even those of us who are “transplants”). Read more about it here:

Go Phillies! Now I MUST go to bed …

Westminster, Wheaton, & the Windy City

How do all of these relate? Allow me to explain (after a long blogging absence!!) — Westminster Seminary sent Seth and me to Chicago to represent them at the grad school fairs at Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College this week. So we were whisked down the proverbial “Memory Lane” together as we took turns showing each other the “old haunts” from college days. Some of which overlap, since he attended undergrad at Moody (located in Chicago) and I went to Wheaton (located about 20 miles west of Chicago).

From the novelty of the Millennium Park and Wheaton’s state-of-the-art “Todd Beamer Student Center” to the familiarity of the Education Dept in Blanchard Hall and the College Ave. Metra station, I enjoyed experiencing these with Seth for the first time. As well as being introduced to the places he loved as a college student, like the Chicago Pizza Oven Grinders (at 2121 Clark St) and “the beach” on Lake Michigan. The worlds intertwined surprisingly, like (1) staying with his best friend from Moody, Brandon, and his wife Alexa, on campus at Wheaton because he now attends Wheaton Grad School (2) running into my Residence Life supervisor, Bruce, from the year I was an R.A. at Wheaton — at Moody, where he’s now working in their Residence Life! (3) Seth seeing a guy he was an R.A. with at Moody — at Wheaton, where he now works in Residence Life! (4) meeting up with another Wheaton friend, Katie, while visiting Seth’s favorite Chicago restaurant (Pizza Oven Grinders) — and then seeing her the next day as we walked through Memorial Park in Wheaton. Moments like this make me think that the world really is smaller than I thought … !!

A few more of the favorite familiar places we visited:

  • The Tower! Seth and I made our marriage official by ringing the bell in the Blanchard Hall tower, a long-held tradition of Wheaton students and alumni.
  • Anderson Commons (aka “Saga” or the Wheaton Dining Hall) — the food there still is really good.
  • Tate’s Ice Cream in downtown Wheaton
  • Egg-lectic Cafe in downtown Wheaton
  • METRA — train into Chicago
  • Danada Square in Naperville
  • Walking along the Chicago River
  • “The Signature Room” on the 96th floor of the John Hancock building
  • Water Tower Place, specifically the 2nd floor of the Borders

And a few more of the new places I noticed (some things change a lot in 7 years!):

  • the amazing new Todd Beamer Student Center at Wheaton, underneath Anderson Commons — these “kids” have it so good now, with their pool table and ping-pong tables and choices of two cafes!
  • Millennium Park in Chicago … wow!
  • Wheaton Public Library — a far cry from the one I went to
  • Longfellow School — the elementary school where I student taught has been completely renovated, literally from the ground up

What was most different from the visit was, of course, the absence of most of the friends who made my college experience come alive. With the exception of the refreshment of having coffee with one of my dear friends, Kristin, and her husband Matt, on Saturday afternoon. To catch up “like old times” in the “new” Caribou Coffee. Otherwise, my college friends are scattered around the globe, literally. From Julie, my sophomore year suitemate who now lives in Vancouver, to Katherine, my senior year roommate who lives in Birmingham, and Leslie, another senior year housemate who lives in China. With the exception of a future Homecoming visit, Wheaton will never quite be the same place.