This time around we were invited by Jeff and Rebecca to stay at their home, which provided a chance to get to know their four precious children who have all been born since we moved away. We've known these folks for over 16 years now and it was such a privilege to have a chance to catch up with them in their new (to us) lives as parents of a busy bunch of kids. Our arrival Friday evening was delayed by a late departure on our end, and then downpouring rain on the turnpike as we drove through the dark. Yuck. The warm welcome we received once we finally arrived was a blessing. Driving in those conditions is awfully tense.
The next morning we went for breakfast with other friends so that Jeff and Becca could sleep in and start their day normally. Janet and Terry had been able to visit us in Florida and here, so it hasn't been so long since we've seen them, and it seems less yet whenever we do see them. There are just some friends with whom you can pick right up after each absence, no matter how long, and it is just as comfortable as before. We enjoyed our visit over a scrumptious breakfast in their comfy home. Peanut the dog provided entertainment and we were able to look through their daughter Jill's wedding album. Daughter Jackie is doing well and Jeremy is as busy as ever with a good job and a "new" Jeep.
Jackie and Erin share a long-awaited hug.
By the time we returned to our hosts the family was up and around and tackling the day. Jeff and some of the kids were outdoors, and he promptly engaged Isaac's interest by bringing out a dirtbike... Oh yeah! Isaac and Erin each had turns riding around the property as Jim and I prepared for the reception. While we were away, Isaac went fishing with Jeff and Nate in their pond and Erin helped in the kitchen making cupcakes, preparing salsa, and playing with the girls. By the time we returned everyone was comfortably hanging out in the basement watching football and playing games.
A dinner of wings- with Jeff's special sauce- and homemade fries capped the evening as we shared wine and visited. What fun to watch our friends with their children. We prayed with and for them for years, asking the Lord to grant them children, and now they have 9 year-old Christin, 5 year-old Erin, and the 3 year-old twins! Life is full and God is good!
Jeff has his hands full!
Sunday morning we shared (more) breakfast (than I ever make on Sundays) before heading off to join Randy Welker at church. The Welker's church, Christ Presbyterian, is pastored by a friend of our former Pastor in Florida, so it's a blessing to worship with them. Iain Duguid, (pronounced do-good) teaches at Grove City College besides shepherding this congregation. His sermon this week was, providentially,exactly what we needed to hear as we are going through this trial of unemployment. If you've got the time I highly recommend it, and you can listen to it here.
An additional blessing was the surprise of seeing another couple of friends who "happened" to be visiting Christ Presbyterian that morning as well. Gary and Gaye walked up to us before service began and I got the hug of the week from my old homeschooling buddy. Randy was playing piano during the worship service, so we caught up with him afterward and made a plan to meet him at home.
We took a little drive around town- oh, the memories- before getting to Randy and Lisa's to join them for pizza and a too-brief visit. Our upcoming five hour drive necessarily limited our time, but again, there was not much "catching up" to do with these friends. We can just jump straight into a comfortable and fun discussion. Praise the Lord for such blessed, enduring relationships. I'd guess that facebook connections actually do help with some of the keeping in touch, but nothing beats a hug and a chance to look these loved ones in the eyes as we share what is happening in our lives.
Randy and Gabby
The drive from Grove City to Reading was beautiful with the Autumn leaves putting on a colorful show all across the state. We made it home after our own church's youth group had gotten here, (Kate and Bekah were home all weekend, so they were here to greet the gang). Parking was interesting. As we walked through our door we were greeted by some of our new friends here who had brought their kids to youth group and opted to stay for the evening. As the youth group broke into small groups the adults did also and we joined them in an encouraging discussion of the Scripture at hand.
When it comes time to balance the books and record the wealth which the Lord has granted us, I'd have to say that, following close behind our Savior, our family and our health, the multitude of blessed friendships with which we are surrounded are our dearest possessions.