In August 2006 we got married, moved to California, and I started grad school all in about a matter of a week. Most people thought we were insane, but we knew we were called to this program. It has been an incredible three years. I am sure I will reflect on in it more in the coming weeks. But for now I will say that if felt so good to graduate. I was thrilled to have Dr. John Coe (the head of my program) call my name. It was my turn to walk across the stage to shake President Corey's waiting hand and receive my diploma. He said, "Congratulations Desiree." I walked off the stage to see Brandon's beaming face. He was so proud of me. I could feel it and revel in it for the moment. I'm not sure if I knew how to live in a moment before I came to ISF.
Yahoo!! I have my Masters in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care!!!

You can read more about Biola's commencement proceedings at:


The second graduation event was Baccalaureate held at the Knotts Berry Farm Resort & Hotel. We invited Don & Connie to be our guests. We were served fried chicken and mash potatoes, apparently a Knotts Berry Farm's specialty and possibly one of my least favorite meals ever. Oh well! After the dinner one of the Talbot professors gave an address to the students. Then it was time for the hooding. I appreciated that spouses were invited to walk with their students in this ceremony. While I was hooded by one of my professors, Brandon was given a certificate of appreciation by the Talbot Wives Club (yes, you can giggle at that.) Talbot Wives hasn't caught up with the times, as there are now quite a lot of women in seminary and their husbands are supporting them. (Where's their club?)

Left: B & me at dinner
Right: Connie, Don, me, & B
Lower L: Dr. Betsy Barber & me
Lower R: Brandon & me
Last L: Lauren & us
Last R: Me & Shelley

While I was being hooded this note of
appreciation that I wrote was read:

I would like to thank my husband Brandon for truly being my partner in this program. I love that you learned and grew along side of me. I am blessed by your love and support. Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made to make this possible.

And to Betsy & Judy (professors in my program) and all my dear friends at ISF, thanks for journeying with me. You have loved and challenged me, and I am the better for it.

They also published my Post Graduation Plan in the program:

I am delighted to have the opportunity to stay around ISF and continue to give spiritual direction this coming year. Beyond that we are waiting to seeing what the Lord has for us.

Lots of Adventures

After being in kind of an adventure slump over the fall and winter, we've been out exploring again.

Marriage Retreat in Costa Mesa (April 3-5)
Our very last Talbot marriage retreat. They are held at the Ayres Hotel in Costa Mesa ( If you visit the website, you can see these are some pretty upscale accomdations. Obviously these retreats are heavily subsidized for which we are incredibly grateful. These have made for fabulous weekend getaways.

Disney Hall (April 10)
Our dear California relation, Don & Connie gave me tickets to see Esa-Pekka Salonen conduct the LA Philharmonic at Disney Hall for my graduation present. Of course, I invited Brandon to go with me. It was an outstanding experience all the way around. The building itself is an architectural gem and the music was captivating (well except for the super modern opening piece, which was a bit hard to engage with). It was also a celebration of Esa-Pekka and his career with the LA Phil as he was soon retiring to compose full time. After the concert, we enjoyed strolling through downtown, had lunch, and returned home on the commuter train. It was a lovely day!

San Diego (April 11)

Our friends Tim and Ali are both University of California, San Diego alumni, so they were happy to show us around their old stomping grounds. We started with breakfast at Pipes ( where you can get a heap of tasty breakfast delight for cheap. The portions are so big that we had to share and were still full. We also had our first mexican mochas, which are mochas with some bonus spices in them--tasty! Then we hiked around on the cliffs that afforded some of the best views in San Diego. Somebody had apparently written me a message. They also showed us around to several other sites/sights including Balboa Park, a wall that need climbing, and this place where the seals like to sun themselves:

Santa Barbara (April 25)
We had big plans for this trip. We thought we would start off at the Botanical Gardens then go to the Mission and finish up at the Art Museum. Oh yeah, and have a nice seafood dinner on the pier. Well we got to the Botanical Garden and decided we wanted to spend the day there. It was beautiful. It had a small redwood grove that smelled heavenly, a stream, meadows of wildflowers, strange and interesting cacti, among many other natural, flowery type treasures. Living in the dense city this kind of place seems so mythical and far away, so different than our daily reality. We eventually made it down to the pier and enjoyed a cornicopia of seafood while enjoying our oceanview.

Dana Point: Capistrano Surfside Inn May 1-3
Don and Connie blessed us again with the opportunity to spend the weekend in their timeshare since they were only staying during the week. We were right across the street from the ocean. There happened to be a convenient walk over right in front of our place, so we didn't even have to fight traffic to get to the beach. On saturday we borrowed the Inn's bikes and tooled around the wharf in Dana Point. I'm pretty sure that was Brandon's favorite part. I enjoyed it too, but I also loved reading beachside. It was so good to relax together before the end of school craziness began. Sunday we took PCH up the coast and had lunch at one of our favorite places the Beachcomber. After that it was on to our friend Ali's birthday party at Huntington Beach. I don't know if you were counting, but that was three beaches in one day: Capistrano, Crystal Cove, and Huntington. This is one of the really cool part about living in SoCal.

I just bought my cap and gown!!!!

I can't believe how close graduation is! May 22 will mark the close of this season of our lives.

Having the opportunity to come to ISF has been an incredible gift for Brandon and myself. I have had the time, space, and help to heal some of the young, lonely, and broken places in my heart. Consequently, I am more honest with myself, God, and others. I am more able to give and receive love because I have been able to experience something of God's love for me.

I have been doing the Ignatian exercises this year. It has been an invitation for me to open to God's love for me, to let it come close, and to internalize it. These two verses have become so important to me in this:

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, and abounding in love. Ps 103:8

His banner over me is love. SS 2:4

Ignatian has also been an invitation to trust God. And this has been the rub for me lately as it intersected with my class on vocation where I learned that vocation is actually more about discerning and doing God's will for me today and not worrying about tomorrow than it is about an occupation. I so want to worry about tomorrow and carve out a future for myself. Instead God is asking me to trust Him that He has my best interest at heart and will take care of me. He has called me into relationship with Him, to love Brandon, to be faithful to my training at ISF, and to care for the souls He puts in my path. Beyond that, no career or obvious success is promised. The good news is that my increasing experience of His love helps me know that His heart is good toward me and that He can be trusted to care for me. This being said, I still worry. I still forget His goodness and faithfulness. I'm still trying to walk this out.

All of that being said, I'm sure that many of you are wondering what is next for us. At this point we are trying to walk in trust and openness to the Lord as we approach post-graduation life. It is entirely likely that we will find another apartment near here, so Brandon can continue to work his job, we can maintain the friendships we have with some of our neighbors in grad housing, and I could possibly continue giving spiritual direction at Biola.

I'm applying for a couple of jobs here in LA, but the possibility we are really excited about it is the Director of Spiritual Formation position at George Fox University. It really seems to align with my gifts, talents, and passion, and we are excited about a new adventure in Oregon. However I have been told that they have received a great many applications for this position. Would you please join us in praying about this? I would love the opportunity to interview for this job, but most importantly I want to abide in God's love and care (and that is easier said than done!). Please pray that God would grant us much wisdom and discernment as we make decisions and that His care and provision for us as a couple would be evident and abundant.

Postcards for Desiree's Birthday

At the beginning of December I secretly asked everyone I could think of to send Desiree a postcard on her birthday. I was aiming both for personal cards from friends and family, and geographic distribution (postcards from around the world). We got both.

Now, it's true I just about ruined the whole thing with a TYPO in our address, but some quick eyes on the account of a friend had it corrected.

But what will happen to the cards sent to the wrong address? I'm not sure yet. Some have said they will be re-routed to the correct zip code, which is what I've been hoping for, but to date I've not seen any arrive with the wrong zip code.

Still, thanks to everyone who sent a postcard!