Monday, June 30, 2008


The lights dimmed making the numerous little, green candles on the steps in front of the altar the main source. A woman in a dark dress had slipped in the back door and as we waited quietly she began to sing to us, sing out to us in an absolutely enchanting voice. Middle-Eastern sound, Spanish words. As she finished a young man with long, straight hair picked up a large, circular metallic object and sat down on the steps. His white-gloved hands began to flash across the surface of the instrument and I was spell-bound. For over an hour these two performed together in the little restored church that stands at the edge of the sea at Portonovo. Literally breath-taking...there were moments I had to close my eyes because I couldn't take it all in. These two were meant to make music together. The young man, sitting on the floor next to the woman who sat in a tall, straight-back chair, looked up at her face as he played, letting her lead him, smiling, loving what they were creating together. She would smile back and motion to him and he knew exactly what each look meant and together they wove an incredible Spanish symphony. It was one of those spiritual moments for me that made me glad to be alive, that made me love this place even more and made me realize that my heart will always be here. Thanks Marcus for suggesting it!

Monday, June 23, 2008

4 Dips on a Trip

Well, there were two of us: Jacob and I. The conference in Lecce was over and it was Sunday, Father's Day and we didn't have a nickel to spare. "Here's what I want for Father's Day, Jacob," I said as we loaded our things in the little rented Nissan. "We are in Puglia and we have to drive through Molise and Abruzzo to get to the region where Ancona is - Le Marche. How about we stop in each of the four regions today and jump in the sea?"

Jacob was a bit confused, but quickly came to understand and embrace the idea. So we did it. I'm partial to Le Marche - stunning beauty here - but Puglia really is beautiful. We drove away from the 'resort' where the conference was held and quickly stopped at our first Dip.

Dip #1 Puglia
Time: 15:00ish
Location: Torre dell'Orso
Rating: !!!!!
Summary: We parked our car in front of a closed-up apartment and changed into our trunks. We walked about 50 metres and arrived at the point where there was a set of stairs carved or paved into the short cliff face. I asked someone sitting in the sun, "Com'e' l'acqua?". He replied, "Not bad, once you get in." He was right. Down a few more steps into the incredibly clear water onto soft white was divine. Jacob and I swam around for just a few minutes, looking at a couple of caves in the cliffs around us. Clean, clear, deep - great experience.

Dip #2 Molise
Time: 18:00ish
Location: Termoli
Rating: !
Summary: We stopped and got some fresh bread and mortadella and Jacob made us some delicious sandwiches as we sped along the Italian autostrada - we kept an average speed of about 145 km/h. We finally crossed the border into Molise and stopped at Termoli, quickly making our way toward the water. We finally found a place, near the port and parked near a bunch of campers. We had to hike about a 500 metres to the water which was brown. The sand was dirty and the port was too close. We had to wade out quite a ways in order to get completely wet (that was the rule - had to get our heads wet). The only saving grace was that a ferry passed by as we got in sending some pretty cool waves our way. We hobbled back to the car, feet dirty, shivering and raced on to the next.

Dip #3 Abruzzo
Time: 19:00ish
Location: Pineto
Rating: !!!
Summary: We didn't drive too far into Abruzzo before the highway again came close to the sea. We got off and drove into the little town of Pineto and found the beachfront road. We pulled over in front of a restaurant and ran across the manicured beach into the water. The sun was setting as I coaxed a shivering Jacob a little deeper. The water wasn't very clear, but the setting and depth were better. We ran back to the car, drawing some stares from people out for a pre-dinner walk and were off to our last stop.

Dip #4 Marche
Time 21:00ish
Location: Numana
Rating: !!!!
Summary: Yes, it was dark. Yes, it was less than 30 minutes from home. And yes, we did it. We stopped at one place first, but as we got out, we noticed the neon markers indicating there were several fishermen busy. Not wanting to get tangled in their lines we arrived at a different spot where one lone fisherman was a ways down from us. We parked 20 meters from the water. By this point, we were still wet and our towels were soaked. We walked across the rocky beach and I jumped in. Jacob got in to his knees (it gets deep quick and it was DARK!) and dipped his head under the water. It was quick but beautiful. Sirolo illuminated Monte Conero to the north showing us the way home. We dried off quickly (barely since the towels were saturated) and drove home to our 3 H's - Heather, Haven and Harrison.

Only regret: didn't have a camera!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Off to Lecce...

Tomorrow morning, Jacob and I are heading 7 hours south to the annual Christian Church Restoration Convention in a little rented car. We'll be back home Sunday night. I'll be speaking Saturday evening on 'The Visible Fruits of Grace'. Here's a picture Aubri took while she was here - one of my all-time favorites...