Thursday, August 21, 2014

new reasons to give thanks

The day came all too soon.
The day to pack up their belongings, and to drive Amy and Elise off to college.

 Last Friday, through a few tears, we loaded a friend's truck
and drove to campus where we joined the lines at the dorm.

 Student volunteers with big rolling carts
were poised to help the freshmen unload, and to move into their rooms.

This door (above) had Elise's and Amy's names on it;
the spot reserved for two sisters to make a new home together.
God provided them (thanks to scholarships!) with an beautiful dorm suite,
including a kitchen and their own bathroom.
They even have their own bedrooms...for the very first time in their lives!

 We had just enough time to help them move furniture around, 
eat lunch together, 
and give some long hugs.
Then us3 turned and walked out.

As I looked back with tears, 
I wondered why every other person I passed wasn't crying too.

And then I remembered that I've been blessed 
with something in these daughters of ours
that I can never take for granted.
I've been blessed with two sweet, loving relationships,
a family with countless, precious shared memories.
And it's because it's been so good
that it's so hard to be apart.

But Elise and Amy,
though home is just not the same without you,
I wouldn't want it any other way.

I thank God that you have the minds and strength,
the courage and the maturity
to open this new wonderful chapter of college!

As you tell us about new friends made, new ideas learned, new campus ministries enjoyed, I find new reasons to give thanks to God, as He proves Himself faithful to you.  It's my prayer that in this new place you will grow to know and trust Him like never before.  And we'll do the same here back at home, learning of His goodness in every new circumstance of life.

Your sheets are washed, and I'm already looking forward to your first visit back home, you2! 
As my friend J wondered, I also wonder if God the Father isn't equally eager for the day when His beloved children will be all together, at Home in His house.

Giving thanks,by grace alone...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

great is Thy faithfulness

My silence here at our blog has been only in order to quietly enjoy these last few days 
before Amy and Elise leave for college.
Tomorrow we'll load up their things and say goodbye to this sweet season of life,
beginning a new, very different chapter for all of us.

But we've been savoring this time,
so Tuesday we loaded up a borrowed truck (thank you, J and T!)
with borrowed bicycles (thank you, N and R!)
and headed for a day trip to one of our very favorite places, Jekyll Island.
 This quiet little island off the coast of Georgia is amazing in its diversity.
In our three-hour bike ride we enjoyed the rocky Driftwood Beach,

...the stately Historic District,
(yes, Joan, Spanish Moss drips elegantly on Jekyll, too!)

 ... mysterious marshes filled with marsh birds and zillions of dragonflies,

...sun speckled forest with shy deer, and sandy beaches rolling in dunes.

 It's a place full of wonderful memories for us5, so appropriate for this bittersweet time.

Recreating a favorite laugh from 2004 at J.I.

We're giving thanks for God's profound goodness over the years,
in all the diverse places and things He's brought us through as a family.

Barbara, Amy and Elise 10 years ago at Jekyll Island

Though it will be dreadfully painful to say goodbye to you, Elise and Amy,
as you leave gaping holes in our home,
we're grateful for the memories.
And we are tremendously excited for you, 
 delighted at the opportunities God will give to you,
and confident that our faithful God will go with you!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
 excerpt from the hymn by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1923

Monday, August 4, 2014

crossing paths

Our trip across the country included a stop in Dallas
for meetings at our organization's headquarters.

In addition, we had the added delight of a short reunion with co-workers
whom we had learned to know and love in Davao
but who we hadn't seen for the past year.

 It was a very sweet time to catch up with these brothers and sisters of ours,
to reminisce, and to hear how God is leading in each family.

 The kids picked right up where they'd left off...
all ages enjoying being part of that familiar missionary community again.

As is so typical of my friend Leanne,
she opened her home to us, even though her husband was out of town,
and she suggested a time of prayer for us girls in the back room.
 Yes, I took a selfie to capture the moment.
Veronica, you may have never TAKEN a selfie, but you're in one now!

The time was bitter sweet, as we all went our ways, 
not knowing when our paths may cross again.

But we know Who guides our paths,
and we thank Him for allowing us to walk alongside these precious people
at least for a little while.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26