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Experiencing the Seasons!

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For the last few months my missionary family has been on what is called Stateside. The amount of time they have here is determined by several factors. Mostly having to do with the amount of time they have spent on the field. That they would be able to embrace the joys and delights of autumn and winter was an event I was keen to see.

Of course, my prayers were that we would have especially beautiful seasons of autumn and winter for their pleasure. I started praying this in the summer when they arrived. I figured I should start early because while autumn can be a beautiful season, we don’t always get the color we hope for. And though we had a record breaking snow last winter, who knew if we would get any at all this year. Snow and color are sporadic here.

Whether in answer to my prayers or not, autumn dressed out in splendid array. Throughout the campus where my son and his family live, this autumn season was explosions of red, yellow, orange, and brown. And for eyes that had been deprived of such glory, I’m sure it bordered on being overwhelming for them.

I watched them take walks on the trail near our house savoring the sounds of leaves crunching under their feet. Pumpkins and scarecrows dotted all about the house and yard. Using any excuse, they roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire pit. Drank coffee flavored with pumpkin spice creamer. Lingering by the fire, calming to the crackling of burning wood; quickened their senses. Senses that had been dulled from lack of stimulation. And Thanksgiving, the grand finale of the season, shared with family were moments of pure pleasure.

Then Christmas, a long anticipated reunion of our entire twenty member clan took place for the first time in eleven years. Though we exchanged gifts with all the laughter and thrills that goes with such fun, our sweetest gift was just being together in one place. We packed 20 people in our country home. Kids were sprawled throughout the house with the overflow bunking down on the front porch. Thanking God for blessing our gathering with balmy weather, making their sleeping quarters comfy. The pleasantly cool temperatures enhanced many an outdoor setting for their memory making.

And the icing on the cake came when my grandsons got to experience their very first snow. Their squeals of delight were deafening. Their dad, as big a kid as his sons, helped them build a ginormous snowman. Snow cream became a staple for the days they got to enjoy their winter wonderland.

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Yes, their autumn and winter fun exceeded my expectations for them. Stateside is giving them all the joys of autumn, thanksgiving, Christmas, winter fun in the snow they have been missing out on. It’s really cool how when you are willing to make sacrifices to serve the LORD, He blesses you in such an abundance, you don’t feel as if you have missed out on anything.

An Unexpected Calling

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   Our first stateside has come and gone. It was a roller coaster of activities and emotions. But now those wonderful and varied memories are stored away. Memories that we will return to often as we anticipate their next homecoming!

   But for now, my husband finds himself in a most surprising and unexpected location. At the request of our son and the invitation of  administrators, he is teaching sermon crafting at a seminary near where our son lives. The wonder of it is, he is teaching alongside our son. 

bob teaching               bobby teaching in seminary

We never know what opportunities may present themselves as the result of a calling given to our children. 

Hello and goodbye!

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The Luxury of Having Them Home!

   As I keep up with my son and his family on Facebook, I am happy to see that they are getting that physical and emotional rest they need to prepare them for their next venture. We got to see them a couple of weeks in May, which could only be described as glorious chaos! Since then they have spent time with my daughter in law’s family and are presently spending time at a place that, for them, is also home. Then a week to debrief with their mission organization. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks, I will be traveling there to get in an extra week of time with them. Then in August they will be making their way here to spend their last stateside month with us before they leave the country so my son can work on his master’s degree abroad.

   Being able to pick up a phone and call them, or communicating with them easily via FaceTime, email, etc., I now see as a luxury. For while they were out of the country, our connections weren’t always good and often their internet was down. But not so here in the good ole USA ,and I am grateful beyond words.

   I so look forward to their month long visit in August and, of course, dread the day we will have to say goodbye again. But even then God has given us a lot to look forward to  before they actually have to return to Africa. Visiting them in the country where my son will be studying is definitely something I am making plans for, and my son’s last term is a research semester where they will return home for 3 months to wrap things up. And the fact that they are planning on coming home for Christmas, cheers me up immensely!

The Reality of Saying Goodbye!

   In all this coming and going since my son and daughter in law left home 4 1/2 years ago, God has gently guided me every step of the way! He has empowered me to manage the pain of releasing them to live their lives apart from us without it overwhelming me. I recorded that lesson in a blog I wrote on 10/7/14, Just Keep THAT Door Closed. From that lesson I learned I could choose not to open the door where painful emotions resided. By refusing to open that door, I was choosing to focus on receiving all the grace and mercy God had in store for me as I obediently released my son and his precious family to God’s calling upon their lives. 

   I am discovering that while it still hurts to say goodbye, I know because I’ve experienced it, God has some exciting and extraordinary plans for those of our family who must release, as well as for those who go. And as those plans unfold, we all are blessed beyond what we could have imagined. For when God gives us hard things to do, He faithfully provides rewards along the way that makes the hard thing doable!

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