A New Year

By Saturday, December 31, 2011 1 0

Let’s recap.

In January, my football team lost the National Title Game, and I wrote about something sort of embarrassing but very important. February brought a post about prayer that seemed to make an impression. In March, my amazing husband preached his first sermon as part of our prefield kickoff and I blogged about how Chris and I are super Christians. In April, I introduced the world to our {yet unborn} daughter by name. In May, I opened up more about some healing I needed to do before becoming a mama, joined Pinterest {the most beautiful place on the Internet}, and visited not one, but two churches. One of those visits involved a missing ‘a’ that I recently found in our Christmas decoration. Posts in June centered on the imminent {more imminent than we knew!} arrival of Susanna, and one of my favorite post titles {ok, post} ever. In July, over 20 days after Susanna was born, I featured her arrival and then shared about how stinkin’ hard mamahood is. I barely posted at all in August; something about being consumed with being a new mama. As I read this post “from the mama ‘Hood” from September, I am really grateful for the full night’s sleep we now get most nights! At October’s Missions Fest Seattle, God showed Chris and I how He can use us in a young person’s life and in the lives of our neighbors. I also hosted my first giveaway and wrote about out third church visit. November, which seems like it was just yesterday, did not feature a post every day, but I came close. I also came face-to-face with my sin, some Mormon missionaries, the intense need for the Gospel in Spain, a blatant error, and the sweetest faces in the Universe. Finally, as we neared Susanna’s 6 month birthday, I updated everyone on the ministry in Spain and shared the items missionaries most want to find in your church’s missionary closet.

One Year Ago Today

By Friday, June 25, 2010 3 0

Lot’s of bloggers the world ’round will be writing about how Michael Jackson died a year ago today. Under different circumstances, I would care even less than I already do about his passing (not a fan, really), but for the fact that Chris and I were in the Amsterdam airport waiting for our flight to Madrid when we learned MJ had died.

Spain

So June 25, 2009 will forever be set in my mind as the day Chris and I took our first steps on our “fact-finding trip,” as missionaries like to call it. We went to Spain to see if we fit in. To see if God was calling us.

Spain

And call us He did.

Spain
La Puerta de Alcalá. This photo has become representative of our journey.

Spain
Not a great photo, but I took it because it was jóvenes (teenagers) skateboarding in front of the royal palace. How cool would that be?

Spain
We loved Spain. We loved!

Spain
And we hope one to make this precious town, Alcalá de Henares, our home.

The Decade Has Been Over for Two Weeks

By Wednesday, January 13, 2010 0 0

I’m going to review my little sliver of the first decade of the 2000s now, because despite what many people think, it’s over. A lesson: a decade is 10 years, and this one started in 2000 and therefore ended when 2010 began. I love this, because in many ways, 2010 is the beginning of something for Chris and I, as we hope to be commissioned as missionary candidates this year. So, without further ado, the last decade, in “dots” as my Aussie friends would say:

2000

  • I distinctly remember feeling very lame ringing in this historic New Year – too young to party, too old to enjoy hanging with my family.
  • Started dating my high school boyfriend, Greg, who made me very happy and very conflicted for 1.5 years. I learned a lot from this Mormon boy about love, faith, and obeying God.
  • Spent a life-changing summer in Resistencia, Argentina living with the most wonderful family. I spent mornings with sweet children in a slummy daycare, evenings playing sports with kids in the community and deaf college students, and weekends traveling one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever seen. Also had a little fling, and that’s all I’ll say about that.

2001

  • Spent more time at church than ever before, praise the Lord.
  • Also spent more time doing homework and worrying about things like SATs, AP classes and where I would go to college than ever before.
  • Began regretting not spending the entirety of my sophomore year in Argentina.
  • After failing the driver’s test on “Rattle in Seattle” day, February 28 (also my 1-year anniversary with Greg), I finally got my driver’s license.
  • Spent 10 days with Greg and my grandparents on a road trip to Eugene and to see my dad, who was in prison in Ontario. That was… weird.
  • Watched the class full of all my best friends graduate in June, and felt very lonely and stupid for not making more friends in my own class.
  • My grandparents were supposed to fly to Greece on September 11, 2001, but I awoke to the radio DJ saying that all US airports were closed. I ran upstairs, woke my grandparents with the news, and we all watched in horror as the World Trade Centers began to collapse. My poor great grandma, who had been looking forward to her trip to Greece (homeland), was very distraught. She kept thinking that every replay was the towers getting hit all over again.
  • Went on a mission trip to Mexico and rededicated my life to Jesus.
  • Started getting to know my husband Chris, who had barely been a blip on my radar before (he was a volunteer youth leader).
  • Greg went to BYU for college, came home to take me to Homecoming, and I dumped him.
  • A week later I was with Chris.

2002

  • Discovered I did have friends in my own class and grew very close with a few Christian friends, to whom I will be forever grateful.
  • Graduated high school!
  • Started college at University of Oregon.
  • Got engaged to Chris over Thanksgiving weekend at Daniel’s Broiler in Bellevue. Then, after we drove me back to Eugene for school, we hit a giant deer, crunching the front end of Chris’s beloved Suburu.

2003

  • College, long-distance wedding planning, and Calvary Fellowship Eugene’s women’s Bible Study are my LIFE.
  • Chris got laid off, we had a giant blowout fight with my family that reduced me to tears and ended with Chris hugging every single of my relatives, including my grandpa’s siblings and their children.
  • We put the wedding off for a year, much to my 19-year-old self’s relief.
  • This school year I lived at the CRISTUS House on Potter street. Loved that place.

2004

  • Moved in with my BFF Janiece and three other girls. A couple months later, we all moved to a safe apartment where we didn’t find deck chairs by our window in the morning. *creepy!*
  • Got hit by a car while riding my bike on campus and was on crutches for two weeks. It’s really hard to get to class on time when you have to walk across campus with crutches.
  • School, school, school. Took a summer Economics class in Bellevue and got a killer grade on my paper about how successful Ronald Regan was as president. Yes!
  • Got married July 10 and honeymooned in Jamaica.
  • Went back to Oregon, without my new husband, to finish school. 🙁

2005

  • School, school, school.
  • Long-distance marriages suck.
  • Marriages of your best friends in the world that fall apart also suck and are difficult to deal with.
  • But God is faithful and good and demonstrates it all the time.
  • My grandpa lost his three year battle with colon cancer when it metastasized to his liver. I understand he was saved on his death bed and I cannot wait to see him again.
  • Graduated from college and finished my degree with a couple classes in the first summer term. Then, I moved home to live with my husband!

2006

  • We spent our first year together working and getting to know each other again.
  • I lost 30 pounds with Weight Watchers.
  • Went to Mexico as youth leaders with Eastgate Bible Fellowship.
  • Man. What did we DO in 2006?

2007

  • We spent January 9-19 on a glorious vacation in Hawaii.
  • I was a real career woman in 2007. I worked in public relations, commuted by bus to Seattle, and went to the gym three times a week.

2008

  • Work began to get very difficult this year, and I experienced my first panic attack, a very physical experience with shivers, shaking, crying and irrational fear.
  • I was let go from my public relations position in March, one day before we were to leave for Mexico with our youth group. That day, I came home, updated my resume, and applied for three jobs. I had a week of vacation payout, but Chris was taking the week unpaid, so our church covered the money we were losing by going to Mexico at all. On our way to Mexico, I got a call from Christian Veterinary Mission and scheduled an interview for the day after we got back. I called that “hope to hold onto.”
  • I started my dream job at Christian Veterinary Mission April 10, 2008. Although the commute was sometimes over an hour, I loved that job tremendously and learned copious design, marketing and development skills.
  • A beloved sister-in-Christ took her own life on August 8, a tragic event that changed the fabric of our church in a mighty way. A mighty and glorious way – just like our God.

2009

  • Lost above dream job in January. Wailed for days about the loss, but also discovered the joys of Domestic Rose. Domestic Rose is not sleep-deprived. She exercises, cooks delicious dinners, keeps a clean house and has a better attitude. She is not late to appointments, and she spends her free time helping out needy families.
  • Domestic Rose, aka, FUNemployment, lasted 8 months. Sometimes it was hard, mostly it was wonderful.
  • WENT TO SPAIN! That’s what this site is all about people. Click the Spain category. Also started the ABWE application for career missionary service.
  • Started my fantastic job at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound in August. I am so grateful to have a great job supporting a mission about which I am passionate.

What will 2010 bring?

Merry Christmas!

By Thursday, December 24, 2009 0 0

Chris and Rose in front of La Puerta de Alcalá, Madrid, Spain

Christmas 2009

Dear family and friends,

Picture this with me: I’m about three years old, and I am standing in the entry way of my grandparents’ home, staring up at a straw mat that hangs on the wall near where we take off our shoes, set down our bags and greet each other. During holidays hosted here, this is the spot you stand if you want to see the action in the kitchen (baklava for dessert, anyone?) as well as the hubbub in the dining room (who traveled the furthest to get here tonight?). The mat hanging on this wall is where my grandma displays the many Christmas cards and family letters that come to their mailbox each year from around the world. Family from Germany and Greece, former exchange students from Russia and Brazil, and loved ones across the United States send their season’s greetings to become what I have learned is the most important Christmas decoration we display. It should be no surprise to you, then, that one of the first items I purchased for the home we bought in 2006 was a hanging card display.

Perhaps it is obvious to you as well that writing this letter is one of my favorite activities in the world! I delight in knowing that at least once a year, I’ll record the best and worst of our lives, share the details with loved ones and know that long-time connections will remain intact for one more year, if only through my annual Christmas letter. As I picture in my mind that collage of Christmas cheer, its crowdedness the result of Grandma’s own faithfully sent letters, I know I was raised to write this letter, and I look forward to writing it as much as I look forward to receiving yours!

After that little anecdote, you can imagine how much I would enjoy writing monthly letters, if I had news to share each month (I don’t… yet). You see, Chris and I are embarking on a journey that will change our lives forever. We have applied for career missionary service with an evangelical missionary agency, and we hope to have our assignment by the end of the summer. Many of you know that we spent a couple of weeks this summer in Madrid, Spain, working with and visiting missionaries Rich and Cindy Brown. In addition to assisting with an English day camp for children, we visited three church plants, spent time getting to know some Spanish families and learning as much as possible about missionary life. We are especially grateful to our church, Eastgate Bible Fellowship, for their support in sending us, and to the Browns and their coworkers John Patton and Cami McGraw, who opened their homes and lives to us in Spain. We were also blessed to take a few days of vacation in the incredible cities of Sevilla (home of flamenco dancing and one of the largest cathedrals in the world) and Granada (a quaint college town that boasts the Alhambra, an incredible Moorish castle and gardens that put Victoria, B.C. to shame). It was on this mini vacation that we had time to debrief and talk about the possibility of returning to Spain for full-time ministry. Chris and I are so very different; I am laughing even as I write this: I heard God’s call to full-time ministry loud and clear. Chris simply doesn’t hear God saying no, so, off we go! Ah, marriage.

So, “what does it all mean?” you ask. Well, right now we are in the application process. It’s long and involves answering lots of personal questions about ourselves, our spiritual background and our theological knowledge. We’ll do a comprehensive oral exam with a representative from the agency and our pastor, and then, God-willing, we’ll be invited to attend a two week seminar that will prepare us for pre-field ministry and outline our educational needs. We will each take four classes before we begin pre-field ministry. When, where and how Chris will attain a ministry degree is still to be determined. Most likely he will get the degree through a distance learning program once we are already on the field.

All that to say that in a few years you may in fact be receiving monthly letters from the Duryees! Please pray with us as we embark on this journey!

Last year’s letter was relatively unexciting compared to this one. I could go on for pages about our year! Suffice it to say it didn’t start out well – I was laid off from my job at CRISTA Ministries’ Christian Veterinary Mission in January (yes, the job that I got the day after losing a previous job – it’s been…interesting), and I took eight (sort of glorious) months to find a new job. It was hard to lose what I considered my dream job, but we were SO blessed to be able to get by during the time I was job searching with only minimal lifestyle changes, and we learned many wonderful lessons about how God provides and what our priorities should be. I would love to be able to stay home and care for our house, so it was definitely “funemployment” for me, but it couldn’t last forever. In August, I started working for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, a fantastic nonprofit that provides mentors for kids who need or want one. I get to design marketing and event materials and work on donor relations as well – exactly what I did, and loved, before. I am so grateful for my job, my coworkers, and working for a mission I can get behind.

Chris is going on seven years at SanMar as a tech support specialist, which he mostly enjoys. Our passions remain at church, working with high school kids, and spending time with our families, whom we are so blessed to have nearby.

We leave you with a picture of our hopeful future in Spain. (Literature lovers, you’ll recognize the characters, and behind us is Cervantes’ home in Alcalá de Henares, Spain.)

Rejoicing in Christ’s birth,
Chris and Rose Duryee