Italy, cappuccino, and oaks of righteousness

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.- Isaiah 61:3

last view of Andrew and Alicia’s valley from the guest room balcony

Eventually Derek and Rebekah’s Epic Adventure to Italy had to come to an end. Yes, there’s a chance we’ll see another sequel – “Italia.3, the Adventure Continues” – but that all depends on where those two travel addicts, Andrew and Alicia, end up living next.

One thing you can count on; Rebekah and I will be traveling somewhere. We love our world, and we’re going to keep on journeying to – and over – new horizons so long as we have the opportunity. So stay tuned.

Our last evening treat involved dinner picked up from Drewski and Alishka’s favorite local pizzeria. I have to say it was by far the best pizza we’ve had. Apparently, people drive thirty miles to pick up from their village, and I can understand why.

Then, Andrew broke open his best bottle of wine (I felt touched and honored), and Rebekah and I enjoyed a relaxed evening, feeling very good about this son we raised, the choices he’s made, and the life he and Alicia are building together.

from the kitchen
from the kitchen

The last morning in Italy dawned misty and lovely. We enjoyed the muted views, had breakfast, watched Andrew take off on his bicycle for work, then hitched a ride with Alicia to the airport at Verona.

Once we made it through security – an exercise complicated by the fact that I’d forgotten about the six-ounce glass bottle of primo balsamic vinegar in my backpack – Rebekah and I made good use of the time to drink our last authentic Italian cappuccino before boarding.

So long, cappuccio - so sad
So long, cappuccino – so sad

Seriously, friends, about the cappuccino: It’s just not the same – nowhere near the same, not even vaguely close – anywhere else in the world. It’s a combination of so many variables: the atmosphere; the amazing competence of a real Italian barista; the choice of coffee; the way the milk is frothed; the ambiance (be it a piazza, a train station, an airport espresso bar, or a fine restaurant); the fact that we’re on an adventure together….

Our flight to Paris was uneventful other than some amazing views of the Alps, then we continued the long, long day on an Air France Jumbo to Boston before taking a small, 32-seater to Raleigh Durham.

HOME: All of a sudden we were home, and then – the next day – checking the calendar reminded us that we’d been in Wake Forest exactly one year.

Long story short, that’s my real joy today, as today is the anniversary of Rebekah’s first Sunday as pastor at the Wake Forest Presbyterian Church.

over France
over France

Travel is a tremendous privilege, and we enjoy adventuring together so much. But the place where “the rubber meets the road” in terms of meaning is local ministry, in doing life together with this amazing congregation of faithful believers.

That’s why I quoted the Isaiah passage above; Rebekah is preaching from the text today. And so far as we’re concerned, we’re surrounded by an authentic, firmly rooted, growing collection of “Oaks of Righteousness.”

This church realy is “a planting of the Lord, to display His glory…”

I’m so glad to be home – DEREK

the last of the Italy photographs…



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