Visit with Joy and Daniel

Matthew and the kids and I drove to New Hampshire this past weekend to visit Daniel and Joy Geaslen. Matthew and Daniel met at a missions internship in Texas 11 years ago. I met Daniel through Xanga while he was a missionary pilot in Africa. (Remember when everyone blogged on Xanga? Wow, that was a long time ago. Pre-Facebook, even.)

Daniel and Joy got married last summer, and we enjoyed their beautiful outdoor wedding while Katherine enjoyed an indoor waterpark with Grandma Miller (which K still talks about rapturously to this day). They came to visit us in the fall, and now it was our turn to visit them in NH. They invited us up to hear them speak at their church about their work with Mission Aviation Fellowship.

After attending a Tom Conlon concert in Mass on Friday night, we headed north. Turns out that depending on our GPS-enabled phones for guidance only works as well as AT&T’s coverage, which doesn’t so much extend to New Hampshire. (Motto: Live Free From Cell Phone Coverage or Die) After getting lost – I believe – five times, the 1 1/2 hour drive took us 3 hours, and we arrived at 1:30 a.m.

Daniel and Joy were still up waiting to welcome us when we dragged in to their aunt and uncle’s house where they were house-sitting for the weekend. They got us settled in to our rooms (M and me in the aunt and uncle’s room, Joshua in a pack n play in the adjoining bathroom, and K in the Spare Oom next door) before going to bed. Their waiting up for us felt especially generous as I knew they planned to wake up early the next morning for a 5K run.

They had thoughtfully planned ahead and, knowing I like to run – Joy and I ran in the rain when they stayed with us – signed me up for a free race-ish thing a local sporting goods store was hosting. (“And you get free socks!” Daniel said when he told us about the race. He was very excited about the socks: “If you come, you get free socks. And since everyone knows the oldest and wisest among us want good wool socks for Christmas and only get silly books, we thought this would be a good motivation to come. Oh yeah, and by running, you also get 20% off anything in the store. Matthew, you get to sleep in with the kids. Which is almost as good as free socks.” And did he mention the free socks?)

So, sleep deprived but eager to enjoy the sun, I got up with them in the morning and slipped outside. I picked up my free socks, but failed to ask about the terrain of the race. I anticipated a street course for some reason, so the uphill-the-whole-first-half trail run in the mud, over roots and grass, caught me off guard. Joy and I ran together, varying our pace wildly throughout the course. We finished in about 25 minutes as the fourth and fifth women. The sports store discount came in handy – Daniel and Joy used it to buy rain gear for their upcoming move to Indonesia, and I bought summer running clothes for the Providence Half Marathon May 2.

When we got back to the house, Matthew had fed the kids breakfast, so we took them outside to experience the dogs being dogsat. Best moment: 3-year-old Katherine led 1-year-old Joshua to the dog yard and said, “Hey, dog, this is my brother, Joshua.” K doesn’t normally like dogs, but she really hit if off with these, and she told me out of the blue today, “Mommy, I miss Buckeye and Arena. They are my favorite dogs.”

After sandwiches for lunch, we all chilled in the living room, flipping through books, till we realized how tired we were. Our hosts were gracious to put aside the afternoon’s hiking plans and let us take a looooooooong nap. Refreshed after that, we ended up with time for hiking after all, the girls faster than the boys, allowing a nice opportunity for girl-talk and guy-talk on the way up Mount Watatic. On the way down, we played “Guess each other’s Myers-Briggs type” and talked about personality differences. We dissected Matthew’s and my strong J (judging – planning oriented) tendencies and how that had caused our frustration at our plans being changed by the weather when Daniel and Joy had visited us, and we admired how they had been so flexible this weekend with changes even though they are Js as well.

Continuing with the abandoning of plans, we chucked cooking in favor of getting food and ice cream at Kimball’s, a new – and popular – gathering spot in their area. After large dinners all around and some of the best chowder I’ve ever eaten, we shared a humongous banana split four ways.

The next morning, we visited their church and enjoyed hearing them speak and seeing their display and presentation in the lobby after the service. Several members of the church introduced themselves to us, including the pastor, whom I remembered from Daniel and Joy’s wedding. In the process of chatting about missions after church, I found out that Joy has been to visit Thrive Africa and that she and I both read the amazing blog of the woman who founded Thrive.

While the guys picked up bagel sandwiches from the Geaslen’s favorite bagel place (good job, husbands, for correctly guessing the types we would like!), Joy and I went for a (flat, this time) 5 mile trail run. I tried out one of my new power goos for the first time.

I really enjoyed the weekend, relaxing, spending time outdoors, and hanging out with Daniel and Joy over good food and good conversations.

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