Sunday, July 31, 2011

The End

My Family: four generations of offspring

This is never an easy shot. Love all these cousins!

sittin' pretty

my brother and his wife... so cute.

my sweet three... troopin through a long and wonderful summer together 

yes, we stand in meadows and kiss every day.

these guys actually hang out here every day. not just for pictures.

my sister and her husband. they make cute kids.

exhibit A

my younger brother's baby girl. She thinks she is a dolphin.

fabulous fiesta thanks to Josey

there was A LOT of fishing.

 We all drove back to our respective states this morning.
 Lord willing, in two (or ??) years we'll all be here (or ??) together again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Monday, July 25, 2011


It is our last stop and it is a good one: the woods of northern Wisconsin. My family has gathered here for one week, one week out of every two years where we rally from all over the country and globe and make our way to this sanctuary of time and space. And it feels a bit like the calm, the respite before the storm.

Back at my parents house is a pile of overstuffed suitcases waiting to be carted to the airport within hours of our return at the end of the week. There is an 8 hour drive, a 14 hour flight, a 4 hour layover, another 4 hour flight, and a couple hours of customs, baggage retrieval,  baggage loading, driving, and arriving at our new unknown home in the wee hours of the morning, that awaits us. I know we will get through it, but it still sort of looms there at the base of my skull, or sinking into my gut at certain hours of the day.

Here I sit though, with the lake shimmering like a piece of glass, glowing colors of the sky and almost faded sun. I can see the smoke drifting up from the fire out there near the shore, and the sound of children's voices floats in and out. The air is so clear and fresh here, the smell of pine scrubbing it clean with the rain that came through earlier-- and makes me think that Pine-Sol knew a good thing when they tried to bottle it. It all does me good: the quiet that teems with loons whooping and a breeze rustling high in the treetops, the nearness of my family and the brood of children that grows with each year, the Grace that prods us and follows us all along as we try to do this whole thing called "family" together. It does me good and it seems so much more a gift in its brevity and fullness. Like gulping down a mouthful of all the protein, vitamins, calories, antioxidants, and any other goodness you can imagine, before the fast comes on.

But we don't need to gulp, really. These moments seems full, with the beauty of place and people that are present, but there will be plenty of provision later too, when the place and people are absent and things grow a little more bleak. I do want to just drink it all in though. Feast my eyes awhile. Feast my hands on some chunky niece thighs and kiss freckled cheeks.

Friday, July 22, 2011

With Friends Part II

From one state to another, the journey continues. We are truly blessed by the goodness of these friendships that span years and distance and remain sweet and refreshing and filled with hilarity. It is never easy to wave goodbye, knowing it will be two more years until we meet again, when all the kids are a head taller and life has changed sometimes dramatically, but God continues to give us grace to do it with a sense of his presence among all of us and the joy of a bond and journey with him and one another. And this is a gift that comforts us again and again, visit after visit.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

With Friends

Our latest trek brought us to the shores of Lake Michigan. My grandmother was a gracious host and willingly agreed to be a central meeting place for our family and some dear friends.


Our days with those we love and have missed while away are too short and I find myself growing more emotional as they pile on top of one another and near their end. There are a few more sweet days to come though before we pack it all up and return to China, and emotional or no, we are delighted to have them.