I remember picking the boys up from school on May 24th. It still seems like yesterday. They were so excited as they headed to the airport later that night. It all happened so fast.
The next thing I remember, other than a really long airplane ride, was getting off the subway at Westminster Station in London. The first thing I saw was Big Ben. The second thing I saw were thousands of people from all over the world. Paris was next. Brussels after that. It was one of our favorites. Then Amsterdam. Such a beautiful city. We took walking tours, went to museums, visited churches, and tried to eat local food whenever possible.
The next stop was Copenhagen. We swam in the cold Baltic Sea. Spent a day at an amusement park. The youngest and the oldest Finnestads rode roller coasters all day. The middle two walked around and enjoyed the beautiful grounds. It will always be a special city to me. It was during these ten days I finished Prayers from The Water’s Edge and sent it off to my editor.
A cruise was next. David and I played a hundred rounds of miniature golf. We ate a lot. We watched soccer at night. We saw Berlin, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Riga, and Stockholm. At times it seemed like we were drinking water from a fire hose.
Next was Norway. Oslo was first. Amber, Benjamin, and David got to meet our Norwegian family for the first time. Then we took the Bergen train. We went on a fjord safari, ate goat cheese, and hiked some amazing trails. After a few days in Bergen we headed home. Not to Omaha, but Stavanger. Our family there was so amazing. Dozens of them welcomed us. We listened to stories. Told stories. Climbed fjords. Saw where grandpa grew up. And explored the wonderful city.
After a few plane rides, we were back in Omaha. Benjamin immediately took off to a three-week debate camp at Michigan State University. Amber and I went to New York City. David held down the fort. His grandparents helped him. I learned how to be a comedian. It was hard work. I made my debut at the Gotham Comedy Club. People laughed a lot and nobody heckled me.
We are all back now. I can’t wait to see you all on Sunday and in the coming weeks. Thank you isn’t enough, but it is all I got. Thanks so much to the staff for doing my work when I was gone. Thanks to the church for giving us this time off. Thanks to the Lilly Foundation for funding our adventures.
Now it’s time to build a church. The next year and a half will be the most exciting time in our short history together. I’m excited to take this journey with you.
The best is yet to come…