Each of the weekends on either side of our re-entry seminar, we took the opportunity to go visit people that we have known and loved for many years. We planned this trip in January and the calendar filled up quickly.
But God still surprises us with joy, and on Friday during lunch, I felt a hand grab my shoulder and turned around to find a friend from Texas! She had moved to Orlando while we were in the Solomon Islands. Aaron's shiny bald head drew her attention from across the crowded cafeteria, and she made a beeline to find our family and to schedule a coffee date with me that afternoon.
Saturday morning, we drove to visit our precious friends from college. This is the first time we've visited them since Mike died, and we knew the chance for tears was high.
As always, the kids had a blast together, even though their lives don't intersect on a daily basis.
Joy caught me up on some music theory resources online, which was especially helpful for me since I'm considered recertifying as a music educator.
It was so hard to pull out of that driveway, I felt like I left my heart there.
Our next stop was St. Petersburg. Since our last visit in 2015, the amazing McBride family has added two daughters-in-love.
What a joy to see multiple generations of our families soak up time together. When we met James and Barbara, they were expecting their first child. Since then we've watched their kids grow and blossom into godly men and women who are beginning homes of their own.
The McBrides and the Choates each have a Benjamin and an Olivia, too! Spiritual conversations and mentoring happened all over again as our kids visited around the table with their kids.
Barbara feathered a nest for us by putting good books in our room and covering our bed with a beautiful quilt from GranMollie. Not that we spent much time in the bedroom, we were too busy staying up till midnight and chatting like college kids.
When we met James and Barbara almost twenty-five years ago, they modeled an open door policy. Somehow, even with little ones running around, they maintained authenticity and begin to instill in us the importance of adopting people so that they feel loved and accepted and part of the family. They still live that way.
"We must understand homemaking not as a retreat from the fallen world, not as a retrenchment from culture, but as a profound engagement with it." ~Sarah Clarkson "The Life Giving Home"
This family makes being friends across the miles seem easy.
Then we zoomed over to Tampa (where the map app led us on a wild goose chase!) to enjoy a quick meal with my college roommate's mama.
I'm so grateful for faithful friends across the miles and the years!