Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Making Memories

Here are a few shots of some recent fun we've had. Ellysa, Isabella, Trish, and I spent a day exploring Ruby Falls and Rock City. Though both are famous TN tourist destinations, I had never been to either one. Very cool! I'd highly recommend it, especially in the company of children and great friends. Next is Ellysa enjoying one of many recent days playing with her friend, Jessica. Jessica's family, like so many of Elly's friends, have been life-savers this summer. Elly has had much-needed breaks from the apointments and the apartments to just swim, play, and have the kind of summer a kid is supposed to enjoy.
The last three pictures are of "Christmas In July", a first annual (my label which I hope will stick since we'll be back every summer) event sponsored by our TN family, Brian and Cheryl McClellan and company. Just like so many Christmas mornings we've spent in their home, we had brunch eggs, biscuits, cheese grits, hot fruit, and cheese danish. Mmmm, makes your mouth water, doesn't it? There's a photo of their girls and ours, a photo of me and Cheryl and her Mom (my "other Mothers," I call them - it's a title that should go only to Judy but, if you know Cheryl, you'd agree she wears it even better!) and there's a photo of Elly showing off a scrapbook to Brian's grandmother. "Granny", as we all call her, is about to turn 91 and she's a hero to us all.
The amazing digital picture frame that the clan gave us as a going away gift, loaded with memories of wonderful times shared with this family, will be a treasure in China. It DID start the flood-gates of crying (see post titled 'OUT of Denial'), but the memories are so special. I'll try to post more pictures soon. The blog program doesn't always let me - at least that's where I place the blame. I'm having a better day, less crying, though I still have to avoid certain subjects and eye contact with certain people. ... They know who they are....

Monday, July 27, 2009

OUT of Denial

It's true. Despite my positive-sounding proclamations about this being a big adventure, I am here to confess that I have been in deep denial about the reality of our impending move. The business of preparations, the fun of summer travels , and adjustments to life in a 3rd floor (walk-up) apartment have (mercifully) enabled me to stave off the emotions of leaving. But alas, be it from the sheer milestone of "one week to go" or, from the dear stream of love that has flowed our way of late, I can no longer bury my feelings about leaving.

The get-togethers we've been having with our friends really ARE the last we'll enjoy for a long while. And, we really MUST pack up the last of our Knoxville possessions which are strewn throughout this apartment. And Erin really IS going to take us to the airport on Sunday morning. and drive away alone.....

So, if this was a note on paper, it would be tear-stained. And if you could see me now, there would be no point in my denying that I'm on a doozy of a "crying jag" (as my Mother used to call them). How can we survive without the comfort of friends who have been near through so much of our life? These are friends who have shared our joys and sorrows; friends who know us well (and love us anyway!); friends who make us feel like they've known us always; friends with common bonds of faith; friends who have shared life experiences like our own, raising children together, adopting babies from China; friends who have made us family in a state far from where we were born. How can we endure letting go of such ties? At the moment, it seems unbearable!

So, keep us in your prayers. Pray that we'll muster whatever it takes to keep moving toward Sunday. Pray that we'll find comfort in knowing that "time flies". (This summer sure did!) Pray that Erin will get a study-abroad placement in a southern hemisphere university so she can extend her planned Christmas visit to China well into the new year. Pray that E-mail, SKYPE and any other technology tools that will help us stay connected with friends, work well everywhere we go in China. And know that every prayer we raise includes a thank you for the blessings of friends and family whose love we will carry with us in our hearts.