On Blogging

I’m writing this post as we are flying over New York heading to London. Julie is sleeping beside me. I have been wanting to write a post for a while now but I am just now getting time to write it. I want to write a little bit about the reason for Julie’s and my blog. We hope it informs, enriches, and encourages you.

I’m trying to work on my relationships and blogging will help me in this. A modest goal we have for this blog is to keep family and friends informed. As I would characterize myself as an obliger, one who needs accountability, I need the blog to keep me accountable to write consistently for I hold myself accountable to the expectation of others. So let me begin your expectation. Julie and I plan to have a new blog every Tuesday (save today). This accountability will help me towards my bigger goal of continuing my relationship with friends and family. And as I see it, sharing in a relationship is the purpose of life.

A more ambitious goal of this blog is to add perspective. Adding perspective enriches lives and I have come to realize this recently. As a newlywed, I’m thankful for Julie’s added perspective for it surely enriches me. Right now I’m feeling a mixture of emotions. This mixture of emotions is due not only to the contrary emotions with me but also from seeing Julie’s emotions. Though I don’t enjoy goodbyes, I don’t dislike them as much as Julie does. Before this past week, I have seen Julie cry only twice, once after running a marathon and the another time during a stressful period in our relationship. But this week I have seen her cry more than a few times. Seeing her love and affection for family and friends has given me a new, and may I say a better perspective. For I don’t believe all perspectives are equal. As Julie has a more central perspective of family, I think it is a healthier one than my own and I’m thankful for this.

On perspectives, they aid understanding; they enrich us. The person who sees the whole elephant understands the trunk better than one who is blind to the rest of the elephant. It is true that my understanding of English was never so enriched than when I started learning a different language, Greek. My understanding of American culture has never been so enriched than when I moved to Romania. And my understanding of loving others has surely been enriched by seeing Julie love her family. As Julie blogs in order to narrate our journey, I hope to compliment her blogs by offering my perspective. I trust your understandings will be enriched as you read.

I hope our blog encourages you. I will work to write true things about life and write them from my own perspective and more so I will write them for a better perspective. I write not from a better perspective as much as I write for a better perspective. I have not attained perfection. As Julie and I love to eat and run and study about it, we hope our writings help you live healthfully. We also enjoy reading and studying various things, such as language learning, productivity, and marriage, and in these we encourage you to life fully. Lastly and most of all, I hope you are encouraged to take God seriously. At times we will write spiritually and theologically, as a botanist has her way of writing about flowers. This is a blog about our life; it is our flower. Please enjoy it and gain from it when you can. This is our hope. – Sam Peters

God’s Family (part two)

Mississippi

When we got back to Mississippi after our honeymoon and our trip to Ohio, my whole family except Daddy was away at camp. We saw them all Friday night, and then headed to Florida the next morning. After our quick trip to Florida both Sam and I and my family were happy to be together in Mississippi for a while!

On Sunday morning we drove to Rienzi, a small town about 30 minutes north of where I live for Sam to present a report on Romania and his lesson on personal evangelism. It was a small congregation, currently without a full time preacher, so, I trust it was encouraging for all of us. Sam and I were invited to the Glenn’s home for lunch and we enjoyed an afternoon of wonderful fellowship and delicious food, we had some deer burgers!

Sunday evening Sam preached for my home congregation in Tupelo. We have been attending Northeast on Wednesdays and traveling on the weekends, so it was nice to come back and worship with the brethren at Northeast on Sunday night.

Texas/Arkansas

During winter break my freshman year I made my first trip to Texas, to visit Sam! It was the first time I met any of his family and it is debatable whether or not we were officially dating yet, and I can remember being quite nervous, but very excited on the trip there. I made my second trip to Texas with my new husband, and it was crazy to think back on all that had changed in between the two trips.

We were blessed by the hospitality of some dear friends of Sam’s family, the Redmons. I had not met them prior to this trip, but they warmly welcomed us into their home and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Though the trip was quick, the time spent with the Redmons was packed with encouraging and thought-provoking spiritual conversations and old stories.

Sunday morning Sam preached at Belt Road Church of Christ, where he attended for a year and a half when he lived in Texarkana and attended a local community college. After worship services we enjoyed Mexican for lunch, and it was the first “date” we had been on since we got married! Also while in Texas we met up with Sam’s friend Alex, whom I actually met when I came to Texas the first time, and we had coffee and a great conversation. Alex ended up coming with us back to Bradley where Sam preached that night. We went on a quick run with Alex before enjoying a meal with the Redmons, and we headed back to Mississippi again on Monday morning.

Me, Sam, and Alex

The congregation at Bradley, Arkansas

Illinois

Illinois!

For our final long trip before Romania, Sam and I left at 5:00 a.m. Friday morning to drive to Chicago. After driving for about nine hours, we arrived at the Venuso’s home, who are some dear friends of Sam’s, and got in their car with them to drive to a singing about two hours away in Milwaukee Wisconsin! We had a wonderful night of visiting with old friends, meeting new people, and singing praises to God together.

The Venusos

Since this would be my first trip to Illinois, Sam decided to spend Saturday in Chicago! We drove around for a while until we found free parking, then we proceeded to walk three miles to the Riverwalk; it was a fun, cheap, and healthful day of walking and sightseeing. The weather was beautiful, there were lots of interesting sights to see, and the whole day was so enjoyable. That night we stayed in Rockford, where Sam grew up, with some other friends of his.

The McCunes

Sunday morning Sam preached in Rockford and afterwards we were able to enjoy a potluck meal with the members there. It was a homecoming of sorts to Sam. As always, it was such a blessing to meet so many new people in God’s family! It was exciting for Sam to see so many people he had not seen in years, and it was exciting for me to meet people and see places where he grew up.

Friends at Rockford

Sunday night Sam preached in Normal Illinois, about two hours away, where my dear friend Cassie lives. It was so exciting to see Cassie and her family and to meet many more new people! Sunday night we were blessed to stay with Cassie’s family, and we began driving back to Mississippi Monday morning.

It was wonderful to see Cassie!

Evening walk around the lake

Traveling all over the States these past several weeks has been exhausting physically, but it has been so uplifting and energizing spiritually! We are so blessed with many friends who welcome us into their homes and congregations, and we have been blessed to make many new friends. Although it is always hard to leave after such brief visits, it is such a blessing to think about how someday we will all be together, praising God together in Heaven. God truly has blessed us by making us a part of His big, wonderful family!

~ Julie Peters

God’s Family (part one)

After our wonderful, perfect wedding Sam and I headed to a little cabin in the middle of nowhere in Tennessee for our honeymoon. We just relaxed for the first couple of days, then Sam told me his vacation was over and he needed to start working on a sermon to preach the following Sunday.

Since my sister Olivia is getting married just seven weeks after us, Sam and I are staying in the States until just after her wedding, which is a bit longer than we originally planned. Sam wanted to stay busy and keep preaching while he was away from the work in Romania, so he contacted various people and congregations and before too long we had a full schedule with preaching opportunities every Sunday.

We traveled to Barberton, Ohio for the first Sunday after our honeymoon, and then Sam preached in Florida, Mississippi, and Texas/Arkansas the following weeks. It has been such a blessing to travel together to so many places and visit and meet so many people who are a part of God’s family.

Sam often begins his sermons at each congregation expressing his thankfulness to be present and regret in the brevity of each visit. However, we can all look forward to the time when we will all be together forever, and there will be no good byes. All of these brothers and sisters are truly a blessing and we look forward to all worshipping God together someday forever!

Ohio

After our honeymoon in Tennessee we drove to Kentucky for a short visit with Sam’s family. We enjoyed visiting with the family, going out on the boat together, swimming, jumping off cliffs, and running. From Kentucky we made our way to Ohio, where Sam participated in a preaching internship the past two summers.

We stayed with our dear friends the Tenneys, who have truly been a blessing to us throughout our relationship. We enjoyed getting to visit with their family, though we would have loved to visit much more! Saturday night the congregation at Barberton met at a member’s house for a shower and surprised Sam and me with a wedding shower! We were made a beautiful bride’s and groom’s cake (which we cut and fed each other!), given many thoughtful gifts and cards, and we all played fun shower games, including getting marbles out of ice water with our feet or dropping clothespins in a glass jug. We all had so much fun and felt so loved, and getting to visit with so many people we admire and love was wonderful.

Cutting the beautiful cake

Cards and gifts from thoughtful friends

Fishing marbles out of ice water with bare feet!

On Sunday Sam preached for both the adult Bible class and during the worship service, giving a report on Romania and presenting a lesson on personal evangelism. In between services we enjoyed lunch with some of the members and visited a member in an assisted living home. Sam preached again for the evening service and afterwards we were able to enjoy another meal with more of the members.

The trip felt much too quick and we would have loved to spend much more time with many people, but we were so thankful for the time we were able to spend with the brethren in Ohio.

Florida

Florida Welcome Center

The following weekend we headed off again, this time to Temple Terrace, Florida. Again, getting to stay with and visit with our great friends was a highlight of the trip. We attended Temple Terrace for the morning worship service and had lunch with the Keenan family. Sam’s suite-mate while he was in college, Solomon, made the trip to come be with us all day and hear Sam preach. It was encouraging for Solomon to be with us, and a pleasure to get to visit and catch up! Sam preached and taught the Bible class at 58th Street, which is where we both worshipped while in college at Florida College. Immediately following their afternoon service we headed to Temple Terrace, where Sam preached a sermon on Romania and personal evangelism for their evening service. Afterwards we visited the local mosque to visit a friend Sam met and studied with in college.

It was great to spend the day with Solomon!

Visiting Sauda at the mosque

Both trips were quick, but filled to the brim with quality time spent with amazing people. It is amazing to travel to such different parts of the country and meet so many different people who all have a common goal in life. Being a part of God’s family is a blessing indeed!

~ Julie Peters