Prior to our arrival home on Friday, I had been in my own home and bed only about 72 hours between July 6 and August 12. Summer is always kind of wild and crazy, but this one may top the list.
I spoke at a Classical Conversations Practicum for 3 days in June. It was wonderful. Not my speaking, but my worshipping over the things I was learning as I prepared to speak on a Christ-centered, Classical curriculum. Wow. More on that later...hopefully.
Our oldest turned 21 a week later. That seemed crazy enough, but then we decided on a Monday to go and surprise him on Friday of the same week. He only has Saturdays off, and so it seemed perfect. We'd fly in on a Friday evening and spend all of Saturday and even Sunday morning with him. Turns out it was the worst weekend we could have chosen. It was a staff change weekend. First half staff was leaving and second half staff was arriving. As a senior counselor, Kory was required to work all day on Saturday re-training staff on the ropes course and more. We got to participate in the closing ceremony for that week of campers on Saturday morning and go to the staff meeting afterward, but then we had to say goodbye until around 8:30pm. We grilled steaks for a late dinner and had a pancake breakfast together the next morning and did a lot of laundry, and our 18 hours together flew by too quickly. No regrets though! It was SO good to see this kid in his natural summer habitat!
|I could go on and on about the excellence of Pine Cove and the high level training in leadership|
and ministry that Kory has received here. So grateful!
|This crew. Football players. Groomsmen. Great friends. |
And powerful witnesses for Christ on the Amherst College campus.
The handsome pastor on the right enjoys spending every Tuesday afternoon with them in the dining hall on campus.
Both her own father and her soon to be father-in-law spoke of her beauty, her kindness, her faith. They each treasured her femininity, her intelligence, her character. They gave specific examples of those things. They expressed joy in knowing her. They thanked God for her. They sincerely celebrated her. They acknowledged her great worth and delighted in the gift she is to both families.
I could not hold back the tears. (I wasn't the only one!)
|I stole this photo from Facebook. Katie looked like a princess.|
The ceremony was at a private river valley resort. Absolutely beautiful.
To be treasured like that.
To be built up and honored.
To have your femininity called beautiful and celebrated.
To have your faith and acts of service noticed with gratitude.
To be thought well of.
To be loved and cherished by the older men in your life.
Those are things I have not known from any earthly man but my husband. I'm sure it will sound a bit dramatic to some, but I was grieving the absence of those fatherly sentiments in my own life. (To be fair, those men who could and should be giving it, never received it themselves, and so I understand, but it doesn't remove the desire.) Just a few days later, a forty-something acquaintance posted on Facebook about a call she got from her dad telling her how proud he was of her, of the family she is raising, and the new business she just started. She mentioned that no matter how old she gets, she never outgrows the craving for fatherly love and approval. Upon reading her post, I felt less silly about my own emotions. The longing is real and deep. And when it is satisfied, there is true rest and security and freedom. When it is absent there is striving and insecurity and bondage.
With a still-heavy heart, that next morning I opened my Bible to what just "happened" to be the next chapter in my reading plan. It was Psalm 36, and God the Father spoke to me so clearly and specifically:
And there I was in Crested Butte, Colorado, literally surrounded by His mighty mountains - unmoving, lifting eyes to the heavens - visible images of His ability and willingness to faithfully and righteously love and protect me. As I was taking in the abundance of His creation, He was also saying so clearly and so personally, that HIS house is like that: abundant in love, a strong, affectionate refuge, and full of delights.
Whatever I grieve as a loss or scarcity on earth, He makes up for in abundance. The fatherly approval I long for He gives extravagantly. The fact that He had me read that Psalm on that specific morning is only further evidence of His intimate love and affection. I was in tears again.
And when we climbed the highest of those surrounding mountains the next day, it was difficult not to think of His goodness, faithfulness, and unwavering love for me.
But what that meant was that instead of being home for two days before leaving again, I would only be home one day, and that day happened to be Kayla's 16th birthday. Not at all the way I wanted it to happen, but we had a fun day celebrating with the time we had.
A nice new camera was what she was hoping for, and we loved surprising her with it. (Well, sort of. The box was delivered and sitting in our mudroom while we were away in Colorado, and there was no question what was inside, due to the markings on the box. Oh well...)
I also got to meet the groom's parents and spend lots of time with them over the weekend ~ such kind-hearted people. The following week, I spent at my dad's house and helped my sister with a few wedding things - namely going along for the food tasting at the wedding's resort venue. Not only did I get to eat a lot of delicious food, but then Melinda and I received a complimentary afternoon pool pass. A waiter brought us cold drinks and chips and guac while we sunbathed or floated in the lazy river. Such a rough life, I know.
The following Saturday Bachelorette Party Weekend happened! It was the culmination of over 100 back and forth emails between 6 bridesmaids to coordinate the activities and venues for Melinda's last hurrah as a single lady.
First there was a pontoon cruise on Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin...
And then there was a lingerie shower in the hotel. Is this not the cutest, prettiest bride you've ever seen?
I had to come back and edit this post to include what we did after dinner: Karoake at the Highball. Our reservation was for 11:15pm. We had our own private karaoke room (complete with pews, stained glass, and pentagrams. I just prayed) and I cracked up at the group of 30year old former cheerleaders singing "I like big butts and I can not lie." Somehow I missed the 90's rap era, but I'm telling you, it was alive and well until about 2am that night. Ha!
Here they are after the race - which was also the morning after Robert did our friend Pedro's wedding in Worcester, MA. Impressive, huh?
From Boston, we headed to Maine and our annual stay in Ogunquit. The cabin we typically stay in was only available two nights, and the kids wanted more time in Maine than that (they have come to love that time away), so Robert found a great place downtown and we stayed two more nights.
We had two great beach days and one rainy shopping day up in Freeport.
Tomorrow is Cooper's last day at home before leaving for college. There will be a cookout tomorrow night ~ hamburgers as requested, and then we'll head to Gordon College on Friday morning. My van is currently loaded down with everything Target has to offer for dorm living. Pray for his transition if you think of it!
Kory begins his senior year at Baylor on Monday, which is just crazy. And Kayla will be a junior ~ doing Challenge III at Classical Conversations this year. I won't be teaching at CC this year, but my 6th seminary class begins tomorrow - Christian Philosophy. I am looking forward to it, and two of my textbooks are books I've already read for CC! (Sort of. One is an almost identical title and premise.)
Robert is gearing up for year 18 of our church and the return of students to the area. We are excited about being a part of what the Lord has planned for this year.
Thanks for reading, friends.