Today, we are leaving Silver Spring, Maryland to head to Ocean City, Maryland....going for some rest and relaxation on the beach (or indoor hotel pool, depending on how the weather turns.) I wanted to record some of my thoughts as I'm not sure how much computer access we'll have this weekend.
Since this was supposed to be our big Italy trip, we were disappointed when the volcanic ash interrupted, postponed, and changed the dynamics of our trip. Behind the disappointment, though, was a wondering of what we were supposed to learn from this change of plans. I believe that God wants to grow us through these disappointments, these twists and turns of the road. I understand, that a vacation isn't one of those BIG disappointments, but we can still look for the lessons in the little disappointments also. The lessons so far have been rich and have caused me to pause this morning, amazed at our Sovereign God.
The lessons we are learning as a family is the interconnectedness of relationships. Not within our immediate family, but those whose lives we touch and are touched by, creating a beautiful web of extended family not necessarily related by genetics. We want our children to focus on loving others, not focusing on how much money and stuff and status. So here's a peek at who is part of our trip:
Chris and Jessica S. - children are Rebekah, Caleb, Elijah, and Haddie: they always graciously accept us into their home in Knoxville, Maryland. We began our trip and will end our trip at their house. They always are willing to flex their schedules to accommodate others and we learn so much from them about intentional parenting, being Christ-centered, and looking outward with love. Thank you!
Jamie and Kirsy B. - children Trevor, Spencer, Kayla and Elsie: We haven't spent time with them as a family since we moved to Pennsylvania in 2007, but they eagerly opened their home to us for four days (even after we quoted Benjamin Franklin's famous quote, "Fish and visitors smell in three days.") They adopted Kayla and Elsie from China and have a heart for children. They have created, within a busy Maryland suburb, what I call "an old-fashioned modern day neighborhood." They live in a very diverse suburb, but have decided to slow down and create a childhood for their family that includes any neighbor that wants to come over and play. After school one day, five families from the neighborhood were represented in their yard, playing basketball, hanging out, riding scooters and just having fun. This peek into their daily life has challenged me to reexamine our schedule and see where we can slow down more and reach out in our community more. Thank you to the B. family!
Helena - husband Kalonji and children Hannah and Samuel: This is a friend that when I lived in Maryland I saw maybe once a week at a playdate that another friend set up. After I moved to Pennsylvania, I thought this friendship would fade away like many others due to distance. It has been the exact opposite, it has become stronger. She and her husband have visited us on the way back to Maryland from Ohio.....several times when I have visited Maryland she has matched her plans to mine so we could meet up. This visit we met at the Air and Space Museum and she invited us to her parent's beach house in Ocean City when we're there. She reinforces that relationships and friendships are important and helps keep the ties alive. Thanks Helena!
Nicole C.- husband Donnie and children Paul and Billy: Paul is Evan's best friend from preschool and kindergarten when we lived in Maryland, plus they were neighbors and I couldn't have asked for better neighbors and friends. For example, Alec was born the day before Thanksgiving and we were released from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day, to be greeted by part of their family's Thanksgiving dinner (the freshest goose I ever ate!) Nicole daily reaches out to others, meeting people, doing things for others. We met up with them at Billy's baseball game and she had helped Paul create a lemonade and dessert stand to raise money for The Heart of a Child. I am continually amazed at how many different ways Nicole finds to reach out to others and help different charities and organizations, as well as caring for others individually. Thanks Nicole!
So there is a sampling, beyond our seeing the sights along the way, of the lessons we're learning. When we get home, I will share pictures and other experiences from this trip, but that won't be until late next week. If you have labored through this long post, I hope you have been enriched by it. I also hope that you take a look at the relationships that God has put in your life, and what He is teaching you through them.