With reality so firmly established, we thought it would be good to recap the summer so that we could convince ourselves that all that time we had to be productive really wasn't all wasted. So, without further ado (whatever that is), here is an overview of Summer 2010, N&N style!
Nate ended the semester...alive!
After a whirlwind of a semester, Nathan managed to finish yet another semester at The Master's Seminary. Oddly enough (but not surprisingly), this was the third semester in a row that he has said repeatedly, "This is the hardest semester I've ever had." Nevertheless, he managed to finish strong and head into summer free and clear, and ready for the next challenge. Ever a glutton for punishment, Nate just didn't think that three and a half years in seminary was enough. So, he decided that he wanted to do two more years. This summer, Nate started his work on his Master's of Theology in Old Testament, which began with one class that started him out on the road to writing his thesis. He'll take a break from Th.M. work this fall to finish us his M.Div., and then head into Th.M. work full-time.
N&N went to England!
That's right, in case you didn't know and didn't read the blog right before this one, both of us had the wonderful privilege of traveling to England for ministry. There's a lot of details that we can't get into right now, but if you want to read all about the trip, go to Nate's blog, To Seminary...and Beyond, where he's currently (and slowly) chronicling our time in the U.K.
Visitors? For Us???
We love getting visitors, and especially when they're people we don't see for very often. With plane prices to Alaska as high as they are, we can only afford to go back home once a year. But that doesn't mean family hasn't come to us! This year, Nathan's parents came to visit us. We had a great time dining at the Odyssey and strolling the streets of Santa Barbara. Sadly they were only here a few days.
This summer, both of us celebrated our birthdays. Nathan turned 28 as he was travelling on an airplane to England. For obvious reasons, we couldn't really do much for celebration that day, so we went to Outback with friends the weekend before we left. Only one word is necessary: Porterhouse... Then, a month and a half later, we celebrated Tash's 22nd birthday by taking the Greene kids to a water park and then dinner and dessert with some friends (who happen to be the same friends we went to Outback with...is there a pattern emerging?). Yet despite this, we continue to act younger than our age...
In line with the tenor of #5, we celebrated 2 years of marriage. God has definitely been good to us. Because of the money we spent getting ready for England, we decided to forgo gifts for each other and instead, went to a well-known Hollywood sushi bar where we feasted on raw fish until Nate got sick and nearly threw up. Two hours later, we went and saw the late showing of Robin Hood where Nate proceeded to down a box of milk duds and good 'n plenty's and a bottle of Mountain Dew. Then, Tash started to get sick... It was a great night.
This year, we had to say goodbye to some dear friends who have graduated seminary and moved off. Lyndon and Jenn have moved back to Waldhaim, Saskatchewan, and James and Erin have moved to Edmonton, Alberta. We will miss them!
The joys (and the sorrows) of parenthood
Following shortly on the heals of Bob and Carolyn's visit in late June, we had some exciting news: we were pregnant. This has been a long time desire for us. For reasons we still don't know, God had other plans, and as quickly as our joy came, so did our sorrow. Only three days later, we lost our little baby. We're doing okay, but the wound is still there is will be for a while. Our thanks go out to all of you who prayed for us as we went through that time.
Being out in the country and all, we thought it would be great if we could try our hand at gardening. And try we did...and failed! We started off the summer with a promising garden, filled with six different kinds of tomatoes, watermelon, arugula, strawberries, basil, carrots, and of course, lettuce. Meanwhile, Tash had started an herb garden of mint, thyme, sage, parsley, marjoram, green onions and cilantro. Everything was going just fine...and then the goats got loose. You see, goats will eat just about anything. But that doesn't mean they don't have a taste for the finer things. In their little 30-minute escapade, they managed to consume all of our lettuce. "Oh well," we thought. But that was just the beginning, for upon returning from ministry in England, we came home to a garden that was practically dead. In fact, only the tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries and basil were still alive, while everything else was, in the words of Jude 12, "doubly dead, uprooted." Even Tash's herb garden had taken major casualties. Yet despite this, the basil, which we thought was dead, is now flourishing, and the tomatoes pulled through and have given us quite the produce, though all but one plant is now dead. In effect, we have shown ourselves to be quite the black thumbs. All we can do is hang our heads, take the shame, and plan for next year and remember that God never gave plants the breath of life, so it's not really "killing."
We are so 'LOST'
Just when we thought 24, Monk and Psych were enough, we had to go and find ourselves a new show: LOST. And boy did we power through it. In fact, in only four short months we managed to trudge our way through 5 seasons, all while travelling to England and finishing up a semester of seminary. In fact, when we finished the last episode of season 5, we were quite relieved, because we were free to watch something else for a change...at least until season 6 comes out on DVD.
N&N's Desert Game Preserve
So, with living in the big city and all, you'd expect wildlife to be practically non-existent. And surely enough, after nearly two years in Granada Hills, the most wild life we saw/heard was a drunk puking underneath our balcony one late night. But everything changed when we moved to Canyon Country. Now that we're out of the city, we have had some of the most interesting (i.e., scary) visitors. Practically every night, at around eleven or twelve, we hear the sound of "yipping" as a bunch of baby coyotes exuberantly welcome their mom home with fresh food...only about 100 yards north of our house. But that's just the beginning...
One night, while Nate was at work, Tash was entertaining some human guests when they came upon a nice, hairy tarantula crawling on the outside wall of our house, right next to the front door. Our friend Dan, overcoming his intense fear of arachnids, managed to capture the little guy where they kept him in a peanut butter jar until Nate could come home and take a look.
Then, when Nate was off at work (hmm, another pattern is emerging), another surprise visit. This time, Norm and the kids, via the chickens, found a rattlesnake nestled up under the kids' bikes. And of all the places where this guy could be, it had to be right up against the side of our house. After a five-minute engagement, Norm finally managed to vanquish the slithery foe, and even captured the whole ordeal on a kind of M. Night Shyamalan-style video. You can see it on Natasha's Facebook page.
Fresh coffee, anyone?
Inspired by his trip to Ethiopia in 2006, Nate has always wanted to roast his own coffee. Yet he never quite got around to doing it in the past four years, until a friend began roasting coffee, and Nate's old desires re-emerged. So one evening, after a nice BBQ chicken dinner, Nate roasted an entire pound of Columbian coffee in a wok over the charcoal grill. Some batches turned out pretty well, while others were nothing but carbon (i.e., Starbucks roast...). It was a learning experience, and now Nate roasts coffee regularly in an hot air popcorn popper. No more over-roasted or stale coffee any more!!!
The end of summer
This really isn't something that's marked our summer...until recently that is. The Greene kids are back at school, which means the summer has practically ended for Tash, and in only a few short weeks, Nate goes back to school full time. Where has the summer gone? We had so many plans yet not nearly as many materialized as we had hoped. We now stare down the barrel of a loaded semester, which Nate swears is going to be his hardest yet. Meanwhile, Tash has some big plans, including starting some home school curriculum with Levi and attending BSF. All said and done, it's been a good summer. Sure, it wasn't what we thought it would be, but then again, they never are. Nevertheless, we had fun, came out with some stories to tell, and are looking forward to a new year of school and life and fun. Pretty soon, Christmas melodies will be decking the halls of department stores and we'll be reunited with our families in good old Fairbanks, Alaska. Until then...