Thursday, August 29, 2019

Where Summers Go

It started with a kiss goodbye. My husband and I boarded different planes to end up in the same city to visit our daughter and family in Frankfurt, Germany.

After a quick, fun visit we headed to Hungary for a conference with the Emmaus International directors from around Europe. While we were there our eighth grandchild was born! In fact, the head of Emmaus International and his wife are the other grandparents of this baby and we were all there waiting for the news! As we went for a walk along the Danube we got a text that they were going in so we stopped to pray together.

A few hours later when we knew the baby had been born, we received another text that the baby, born three weeks early, had low oxygen levels and our son, who is king of low-key, said, "The nurse was unimpressed." We knew that was serious and stopped the meeting we were in and asked them to pray for this precious little one. Within half an hour another text came in that said, "She's doing much better!" We found out later that the nurse had told him that if she didn't improve in half an hour she would be helicoptered to a larger hospital!

From Hungary we had a layover in Kiev, Ukraine for six hours on our way to visit the Emmaus office in Moldova. The Ukrainian Emmaus Director met us at the airport and took us around the city and out for dinner before heading back to the airport. But he cut the time very close  and we got stuck in traffic, making us all but certain we would miss our flight. Just as the road began to open up a tire in our car blew out. My husband jumped out of the car, stuck out his thumb and another car stopped! The driver spoke English!! We asked if he could take us to the airport, only about 10 minutes from where we were by that point. As God's angels always do, he said yes. We gave the director a gift we hoped would cover the cost of the tire, grabbed our carry-on luggage and jumped in the car with this stranger who happily left us at the airport.

There, we jumped the security line and explained to the people that we might miss our flight. They let us go ahead. Then we asked a guard in passport control if we could jump that line and he put us through the pilot and diplomat line. We made our flight.

After a fascinating weekend getting to know the director in Moldova, and seeing a former Communist Young Pioneer camp which is a Bible Camp today, as well as having the opportunity to minister in two different local churches, we flew to Rome where we took part in an international conference teaching in two of the seminars and enjoying the ministry and seeing many of our friends from all over the world.

Then we began our vacation! Six days in the Baltic countries of Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Norway with a long layover in Helsinki, Finland. We walked dozens of miles, rode bikes, traveled by train, boat, tram, car, bus, and plane and thoroughly enjoyed celebrating my husband's 60th birthday.

We came to our town (on separate flights and then together in the car) and met our newest granddaughter even before we set foot in our own home. The next day we had guests from the Middle East over for lunch and the day after that began the odyssey of my 91 year old dad and the hospital. He was hospitalized three times over the next month and finally spent almost three weeks in skilled nursing before coming home.

House guests from India arrived during the first hospitalization and after they left our daughter and family from Germany arrived for a month. The pool, picnics, parks, play dates with cousins, cookouts, family dinners, making, painting and racing wooden boats in a stream, birthday luncheon, farmer's markets, library story times, emergency room visits, girls night out, guys lunches, baby shower for grand number nine coming in October, doctor's appointments, the world's best milkshakes, my husband leaving for Asia, learning about catheter care, the aquarium, and then the Germans left for home. 

Just like that, summer was over. Full of family time. Getting those things done that are important--showing love to and supporting family. That's where my autumn will go as well and winter following that. My goal is to make family time and ministry a big part of my life, so I work hard to make that happen. It doesn't always, but it never will if I don't plan for it.

It's the same way with family meals. If you want them to happen, you have to just make them happen. When I asked my friends for their secrets to getting their family to eat together, the vast majority said, "We just do it." 

Maybe your summer slipped away. Don't let fall disappear, too. Crunch some leaves with your family--the kind you step on and the kind you eat.

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