We met, as you do these days, online. Duke purchased a subscription to e-Harmony on April 13, 2017. Six months later, on October 1, we were matched. Grace saw Duke’s profile and sent him a wink…and it didn’t take long for Duke to respond with a “Boston?!” (He was living in South Carolina at the time.) We emailed, called, and a few short weeks later Duke traveled to Boston to meet Grace on October 27. Why do we make a point of naming all these dates? Well, April 13 is Grace’s birthday. October 1 is Duke’s birthday. And October 27 is the anniversary of Duke’s parents! While these “coincidences” certainly seemed in our favor, it was what we saw in each other (deep faith, compassion, fun, kindness, and a commitment to loving all people) that confirmed we were ready to commit to each other for the rest of our lives. So on October 13, 2018, we celebrated the beginning of our family.
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Duke was born in New Jersey and spent his childhood on the move—riding his bike, running around soccer fields or with friends on huge dirt mounds in the field behind the house. After 8 schools in 12 years, due to his father’s work at IBM, he landed in North Carolina with his parents and sister. His new found southern accent gave charm to his northern directness. He was the first person in his family to graduate from college. After college his love of music took him to the music business in Tennessee. He thought a concert could bring a diversity of people together, but soon realized only God can bring (and keep) us together. He went to seminary and became a pastor, led a citywide prayer movement, and started his own prayer ministry traveling and teaching from New York City to Texas. Duke continued his education completing a Doctorate of Ministry in 2015. Duke lives with curiosity and wonder about God, life and people. He is currently a chaplain for a continuing care retirement community in Georgia (500 extra grandparents for your little one).
Grace was born in Pennsylvania but became a Texas gal for her father to attend seminary there. A love of culture and adventure meant that her dad’s first position out of seminary took his little family to Vienna, Austria. They spent the next five years learning German, eating a lot of chocolate, exploring Europe, and growing their family by a brother and sister. At 11, Grace, like Duke, encountered some culture shock when the family moved to Tennessee. Her love of travel, however, kept her on the move and after college she lived in both China and Germany before moving to Boston to attend seminary. While in Boston she continued to grow in her love of God and the diversity of humanity. She continued to expand her cultural boundaries through her work at a church in their missions department for 10 years and in a position with an international organization serving refugees and some of the world’s most vulnerable. But she had perhaps the greatest cross cultural experience still ahead of her—marriage!