Another productive and fun week. So far, my early 30s, have been the best period of my entire life with more days of happiness and internal sunshine than cloudy despair. Everything seems so orderly and pleasant; the universe seems to make sense in a way that just wasn't within my grasp during my 20s. I wonder if it only gets better from here and I'll love my 40s as much or if this decade is really the peak. We shall see.
We enjoyed a really good fellowship discussion with our new associate pastor over dinner on Monday evening. We explored the ins and outs of Calvinism, missionary work, and the Christian approach to taking risks and decision making. Jon and I are both fond of this new guy and think he is going to be great for our congregation.
In the past week Jon and I had the pleasure of trying our hand at gun sport. Anna and Ron invited us as well as Danielle and Clayton out to the range in Alexandria to shoot for sport. Within the group we had a 22 rifle, a 38 rifle, a 22 pistol, a 9 mm pistol, and a 40mm pistol. Exciting! I was quite nervous about the potential loud noises - I don't do well even in a room of balloon popping much less gunfire. But there was earphones and after awhile I desensitized myself to all but the very loudest gunshots. I worked with the 22 rifle first as it was the only gun I had any sort of experience with - my father had one at home growing up and he used to let us kids use it for target practice outside. I liked the 22 rifle a lot but felt a stab of uselessness when I found out it really has no ability to put down an animal for hunting much less an attacker in self defense. So I moved onto the 38 rifle. A little more force, but not much, and still very easy for me to handle. Again though, not a sure bet if you're trying to beat back an intruder. For that, I'd have to get comfortable with the pistols. I started with the 22 pistol as I'd watched the rest of the group fire it with ease. Well, really I finished with it too as I shot it a grand total of one time and it scared me silly. The flash at the end of the barrel when it goes off, the jerk in your hands as the bullet flies out of the gun, the noise. It was all too much and I quickly said, "Ok, done with that" and went back to exclusively using the rifles. Jon, on the other hand, had less use for the rifles and really enjoyed pistol firing. So all hope for preservation under an attack is not lost- at least I can take comfort in my husband's ability to shoot a weapon of truly deadly force should it ever be necessary for my protection. Thank God for masculine alpha males. :)
Also on the gun front this week of course was the landmark Supreme Court decision "officially" recognizing the 2nd amendment and advising Washington, D.C. that their citizens are under its protections as well. Three cheers for the inevitable declining murder rate we are sure to see now that DC folks can legally defend themselves and their property from criminals.
My big project this week in my spare time is to complete a massive Excel spreadsheet I've created that lists every country and territory of the world (I downloaded the list from Wikipedia) and has columns to record best time of year to visit and other details. I plan to use it as our master travel reference list so that at a glance I can figure out when tickets go on sale if it all makes sense to go to that destination at that time and what I'll need to know for the trip. Mostly I learned that I never want to visit Bolivia or Algeria and probably not Bangladesh either.
Jon and I have also been reading the culture guide Anna gave me last year that lists the important cultural behavior differences between our country and others. For example, in Morocco everyone eats with their right hand, even the left handed. And in France food is always eaten with utensils, even sandwiches and fruit. And frequent smiling to the tune of American style (we smile a lot apparently) is considered improper throughout most of Europe. Very interesting!
Yesterday Jon and I spent the morning with friends walking up a mountainside in nearby Sky Meadows State Park. The view was lovely but at times the trail was tiring. After that we headed over with Tracy and others to enjoy an afternoon at Naked Mountain Winery eating BBQ and wine tasting. All of that walking and eating in the sun tired us out so we promptly headed over to Debby's for a few hours of lounging in/around the pool. Today will be a very relaxing day - after church my only official plans are to take Julia to our doggie playgroup at the Dogtopia spa so she can play with friends and all the toys for a few hours and then to drop her home so I can treat myself to a pedicure. Somewhere in there I also want to do something special for Jon and bake him a chocolate cake.