Friday, January 28, 2011

Saying Goodbye...

Over 15 years ago, I met a girl on my freshman hall. She lived 3 or 4 doors down from me and was so outgoing, funny and just a little dramatic. Most of my memories of her that year involve her sitting in the hall at some obscenely late hour talking on the phone to her "sister." With each passing year at Samford our friendship deepened. We were often doing the same things; going on beach project, leading Bible studies, dating our future husbands, going overseas, breaking up with our future husbands, having lunch together, on-campus aerobics, dating our future husbands again... well, you get the picture. Fast forward a few years and we got married within 3 months of each other, we were in each other's weddings, we were in another Bible study together, this time one for newlyweds. Fast forward again and we had our first babies within 2 months of each other, our second babies within 10 days, our third within 3 weeks and we became neighbors. A little over five years ago we moved in two doors down from her and her family.

It naturally happens when you have so much in common with someone and so much history together that you spend a lot of time together. Our kids have become best of friends and we have shared so many hysterical memories over the past years. Most of them involve her doing something crazy like falling off a treadmill while running on it, or her stroller rolling into a lake (with her baby in it) while we were warding off wild ducks, but there is also just a sense of community that comes from hanging out while our kids play in the yard and ride bikes. We have seen the best in each other and the worst.

Nathan and Sarah Kate- they were 5 months old

Abby and Joshua and friends at their soccer game

Jacob and Andrew in last year's snow!

This is the morning we told them goodbye. We went to where they were staying and played for a little while.

We made scrapbooks for them- here is Joshua looking at his

It is still amazing to me that the Lord knew from the very first time I ever met Jennifer, that she would be one of my very best friends. He knew we would have countless play dates together, potty train kids together, walk through deep valleys together, go on hundreds of neighborhood walks together, keep each others kids, and be "marriage counselors" for one another. He knew that I would be a better wife, mother, and friend because Jennifer was a part of my life.

Well, just before Christmas Jennifer and her family moved out of their house two doors down. It was probably one of the saddest days of my life. She and I stood in her kitchen and sobbed together. Later we tried to pray together, but it really ended up with more crying. We watched the big container truck come and all their earthly possessions be loaded inside. Last Tuesday, Jennifer and Brian and their 3 precious kids got on an airplane and moved to Australia. They are going to work with college students and share the Gospel with those who might otherwise not ever hear.

some of our sweet friends at the going away party

Saying goodbye was very difficult. The airport was one of the saddest things I've ever seen. 20+ grown-ups standing around and 18 of them were bawling their eyes out! I'm super thankful for today's technology. We have been able to talk on the phone several times already (our kids have even talked to each other) and we can facebook and skype.

I wrote this verse for Jennifer in a journal I gave her before she left and I will continue to pray it for them during their time in Australia (all 8-10 very long years of it)

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is
on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in
Australia (Zion)-
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garmet of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.

Isaiah 61:1-3

I know that Jennifer and her family would appreciate your prayers- they have a lot of "new" right now. BUT, they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are exactly where the Lord wants them and they can stand on the promises of Him who never changes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

December Fun!

We had a very full and exciting December!  One of the highlights was having some of the girls from Abby's class over for a b'day party for Jesus.  It was so much fun to be around them and have them in our home and especially to get to share the story of Jesus with them.  We did a couple of crafts and ate pizza and cupcakes!
 We got to spend lots of extra time with this little pumpkin while her mommy and daddy were moving their stuff and cleaning their house!
 We had some of the crafts left over from the party so one of their first mornings out of school Abby and I did them with the boys!

 These were the salvation bookmarks we did at the party with Abby's friends.  They are similar to the bracelets but waaaay more involved and time consuming! 
 Of course we made our annual batch of Christmas cookies and this year daddy got to be in on the fun!

 Nathan was in charge of sprinkles while Abby and Jacob put the icing on.  He was very good at loading those cookies up!!  Maybe a little too good!
 On Christmas day Mimi and Gramps, and Uncle Shaun came to our house and we all celebrated Christmas together.  It was so much fun for the kids to hang out with Uncle Shaun!
 Mimi and Gramps surprised Jacob (and Jacob's mommy and daddy!) with a new drum set.  It quickly became his favorite gift!
 building legos with Daddy on Christmas morning!
 Nathan's new big boy bike!
 Abby's new globe.  She had been asking for one and was super excited to get it! (this might be proof that being a nerd is in our genes!)
 It was Nathan's turn to put baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning!  Still my favorite part of the morning.

We saw my family the next weekend.  Pics of that to come!!