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6:00 PM (MST): We're having a great trip! This is our first opportunity to get on a computer. I brought my laptop but forgot to bring a powercord, so all it's done so far is make our backpack extra-heavy.

We had a good trip out, although it felt like slow-motion day or something. Everything just seemed to take longer than it should have. But we got here safe and sound on Tuesday afternoon. Randall spent the first couple of days being very nervous about his interviews. When he got back to the hotel afterwards yesterday, he had a big smile on his face. It went really well, and he's been much more relaxed ever since. The Board of Ordained Ministries voted to accept Randall for commissioning in the spring. So at Annual Conference in June, he will be commissioned as a Probationary Elder. He'll serve as a minister in the church under that status for 3 years (while being mentored by a more experienced pastor), and after that, he'll be interviewed again and (if all goes well) be ordained. Although we're still waiting for the official word, it looks like Randall will be able to serve his first year at our current church in North Carolina so Sophie can finish her treatment at UNC. Then the plan is to come back to New Mexico.

Anyhow, back to our trip. We have really packed in a lot of visiting. We've been able to connect up with quite a few people we had thought we might not be able to see (but have unfortunately missed a few). Elisabeth and her friend Jacquelyn have been able to spend a lot of time together and are getting along beautifully. Sophie and Jacob have been playing too. We're spending the night at their house tonight and tomorrow (which is why we have internet access now). Tomorrow during the day, I think we're going to go to the local children's museum, which I hear is pretty good. Barbara is taking the day off and pulling her kids out of school and daycare so we can play!

Sophie has really been feeling pretty crummy. She's got a terrible cough, and her nose runs a lot. She has coughed so much, she's gotten very hoarse. She said on Tuesday, "I have a toad in my throat!" The girls have been up late both nights so far (past their bedtimes in this time zone, which means they were up really late). Sophie finally got a brief nap today in the car, but she must have woken up before she needed to, because she was completely crabby for a good half hour.

It's really good to be here. As scary as it is to think about leaving our current situation (because we're very happy where we are now and we feel emotionally tied both to our congregation and to Sophie's medical treatment), the thought of moving back here is really appealing. New Mexico just feels like home to us. I know a lot of east coasters think it just looks brown and ugly, we think it's amazingly beautiful and really distinctive.


Thanks for the update. Yay for Randall! I knew he would do well. I'm so glad you'll be able to stay in North Carolina so Sophie can finish her treatment.

It sounds like a wonderful visit!

Congratulations!! I knew you would be great, but one still has all the nerves. How super to see a bit into the future and be able to plan. I'm so glad the trip is going well, and that you are having a good time. I'm sorry Sophie is under the weather, but at least she got to go!
Mother is feeling much better. I think the new medicines are really perking her up. She wants something to do with her hands -- I will get the "bag" stuff from the shed and see if she can still do that. If not, I'll try to come up with something else that she is able to do. Today, we went out for hot dogs and then drove to Amherst and took the new road. Mom was tired when we got home, but she had fun.
Sure hope you have a good trip home. Hugs and kisses to all!