Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What, more Lincoln Stories? (Well, it IS his 200th birthday, after all!)

Oh puleeeese! Really? Another Lincoln posting? How many Lincoln stories are we going to tell? Well, sorry about that ... if you aren't interested, close your browser or move on to something else?

On the day we ate at Ben's Chili Bowl, we went looking for "Lincoln's Cottage" that we had heard about. We learned that Lincoln lived away from the White House about 3-4 four months per year. It was once the summer home of one of DC's most wealthy bankers, later bought by the government and used as an old soldiers' home. Lincoln moved his family and staff there each spring to get away from the White House. It is about 2-3 miles away from the White House, a 45 minute commute for Lincoln, which was not entirely safe during the Civil War. At one point the Confederate Army advanced within a mile or so, even while he lived there. Isn't it something that he lived through all that and was assassinated after the war was over?

The historical society gave a very interesting tour and we learned alot about the man, the war, the politics behind the great Emancipation Proclamation.

After that, we walked through the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic Cathedral in North America, on the campus of Catholic University in DC. The sanctuary was beautiful but we couldn't take photos because there was a mass in progress.

We finished the evening off with a casual dinner at the Capitol City Brewing Company and took a short walk to see the capitol building at night.

Some night we will have to take the camera pod to take a better night photo.

All for now....

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ben's Chili Bowl

What is Ben's Chili Bowl? That's what we wanted to find out. So, yesterday that was our mission.

Ben's Chili Bowl is purported to be a DC institution. We had heard about Ben's a couple of times during our first few months here, but it really became a curiosity to us in January. Just before his inauguration, Ben's was the first DC eating establishment to which Barack Obama made a public appearance. Then, when we went to the Bill Cosby performance ( "Christmas in January" post), he spent about ten minutes talking about his favorite Ben's Chili Bowl stories. Now we had to know!

So off we went in search of Ben's Chili Bowl, and after a little looking around, found it. For you Seattle-ites, it is reminiscent of Dicks Drive Inn. It has been around for fifty years, it is in a little, non-descript, unadorned building, they only take cash, serve "unhealthy" delicious food, and have lines of people all day long waiting to be served. We waited in line, sat at the counter and thoroughly enjoyed our Ben's chili dogs!

Now for the unveiling, here is Ben's Chili Bowl, outside:

and inside:

and here is Barb enjoying one of Ben's special chili dogs:

Mmmm, mmmmm, good!

Winter, Spring, or Summer?

Ok, so we haven't yet spent a full year here, and we are still trying to figure out the weather in each season. Last Monday we had 7" of snow. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings it was below 20 degrees when Dan left home for work. Brrrr! Is this typical March weather? Barb took these great pics ....

Our house under snow... who's the snow shoveller with the goofy hat?

This is a shot of the woods behind our house.

On the other hand, today it was 76 degrees here at our house. What a difference a few days make!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A New Church Home

So far, this blog has mostly chronicled our adventures in discovery of all there is to see and do in the DC area. To be sure, it is an area rich with the history and institutions of our nation. We have populated our blog with stories and photos of beautiful buildings, memorials and statues. It truly has been quite an adventure, so far, and there is so many more things on our to-do list. Another adventure, undocumented to date, has been our search for a new church home. This has been ongoing since we moved last September, and many of you have asked if we have found a church yet.

Such a search does not come easy, as many of you know. In our 29 years of marriage, we have belonged to two churches - Cedar Cross UMC and Northshore Christian Church. It had been about 16 years since we last went looking for a new church, so we were really rusty! Our desire was to seek out the place where God would want us to serve and worship. So we drew up our list of places we wanted to check into and spent several months visiting and checking them out. One place, though, kept drawing us back.

The good news is that we have found a place to call home here! It is Clear River Community Church right here in Centreville. (Click here for link) It is a small assembly, smaller than we had ever experienced before. However, we could tell from the beginning that there is a fresh spirit in their worship, truth in the message, and genuine love in their hearts. We have now committed ourselves to this place of God.

One fun story is how we first heard about Clear River. Callie and Matt go to church with George and Lisa Otis, who know Stuart McAlpine, a Pastor in Washington, DC. Lisa told Callie to have us contact Stuart when we get here. Well, guess who Stuart knows in the Centreville area? Jeff Ling, the Pastor of Clear River.

We have gotten into a home Bible study group and have attended men and women's groups. It is nice getting to know people now on a more personal level. As we have shared our story (See "Back to the Beginning of the Story" (9/27/08) by clicking this link), we have told people this: Dan's job was the means that God used to move us to Virginia, but we will continue to seek out His purpose for doing so. Why are we in Virginia? We hope that this will one day be revealed. In the meantime, we will trust and follow Him.
To all our dear friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ back in Washington, you are not being replaced. We miss you all. We still hold a place in our hearts for every one of you.
Dan and Barb