Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Three weeks away
Let's see. With such a trip the question always is, "Where to begin?" For those of you who don't know where I was, when or why, here's a simple (very simple) timeline:
Saturday, June 21st, Jonathan & I flew out to Seattle, Washington.
Sunday, June 29th, Jonathan flew back home.
Thursday, July 10th, I flew back home.
Technically, the whole reason for the trip was educational. Trinity Church, out in Kirkland, Washington, was hosting a week long music camp. Due to conversations we have had in the past, Dr. Erb (who was directing the camp) invited Jonathan out to attend/observe the camp. Dad and Mom thought it would be good for me to go out with him as two heads can at times truly be better than one. So, during that first week of the trip, when Jonathan and I were both out in Washington, the Erb family hosted two of us Erbers.
The first day we were out there happened to be Dr. & Mrs. Erb's anniversary, so Jonathan and I took the afternoon to drive down into Seattle and see some of the sights. Our first, and main, stop was the Pike Place Market (above). We had fun squeezing through the crowds there and enjoying a little of the local culture...
There also was a piano shop in the area that had this instrument for sale. If you think you might be interested in such a piece of furniture, start saving. The price tag was $450,000...
After getting our fill of "city" we headed over to a quieter part of town - a park overlooking Lake Union. There we enjoyed watching the seaplanes take-off and 'land' and just sat and relaxed awhile.
The next morning, though, music camp started in earnest. By the end of the week, the 100+ students (4-12 grade) had learned an amazing amount of choral music, studied the scriptures supporting the lyrics, analyzed the musical structure of the songs being sung, and learned some folk dances.... and found some time for a picnic and games!
Jonathan and I learned much during the week and are very grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the camp. Thanks, too, to Dr. & Mrs. Erb for their gracious hospitality to us in the midst of moving!
And certainly not the least part of the week was the opportunity to meet new people and establish new relationships. Oooh, yes and I musn't forget. We also brought home a new mind/hand coordination game (aka. rhythmic torture) to share with our friends. :-)
But, despite our enjoyment of our time away, it came to an end - at least, it came to an end for Jonathan, but simply a transition for me. After church on Sunday, June 29, Jonathan and I were dropped off at the airport and Jonathan soon made his way through security (his bag just made it at 49.5 lbs.) and headed for home.
I sat in the airport for a little while and exercised my great skill in people watching. Incidentally, during the short time I was there I did happen to see a familiar face from Texas!
Soon afterwards, though, Amy Ellen arrived to pick me up and the second part of my trip had begun. From the evening of June 29, through the morning of July 10, I was hosted by one of the most hospitable families I know. The Bradricks welcomed me warmly - in spite of already hosting a house full of out of town family. They all made me feel right at home and quite like another one of the aunties.
Much of my first week there was spent getting everything ready for the Independence Day picnic they host on their farm. But we did make sure to take some time to play, and we did spend an evening celebrating Amy Ellen's birthday.
During the birthday evening, we played a few games of "Running Pictionary." Due to the absence of certain ladies, the girls were seriously outnumbered, but in spite of the imbalance we decided to go ahead and play girls vs. guys. Those who know me well know that I am too generous of a person to humiliate the losers by declaring just which team soundly beat the other...
By the time we were approaching the 5th of July (the day of the picnic) the house and yard were looking quite lovely, but our discussions centered around the reliability, or not, of the weather forecasters. In the end, the weather was considerably wetter than even the pessimistic forecasts had predicted.
Bright and early, the gentlemen of the house were out cleaning out the barn and moving tents to make a somewhat dry place for the 250 guests who were due to arrive late that morning.
Thankfully, we discovered that neither hosts nor guests were made of sugar and we all managed to greatly enjoy the very wet picnic. Besides, out in the rain a water balloon can't make you any wetter than you already were...
... and there is nothing quite like tug-o-war in the mud!
By dinner time the rain had mostly stopped and we were able to serve dinner without much complication. We also were grateful to not need our umbrellas later in the evening as we sat around the campfire singing together.
Oh, but I mustn't forget to mention the pies! 40+ beautiful, delicious pies were entered into the contest and the judging was a long and very serious affair as a panel of fathers and grandfathers selected the very best ones.
Now, we also did many other things during my days away - but very few of them were captured on camera, and though they were all greatly enjoyed by the participants, few of them would truly interest the general public. There were many games of volleyball, games of croquet, late night conversations, a certain very long morning conversation...
...a canoe trip down the river, a couple of movies watched (one specifically under amusing circumstances), an afternoon of frisbee golf...
...a walk at a local state park, hours of living room games, laughter, card games, board games and brain teasers! Meals were shared, (along with their preparation and clean-up), weeds were pulled, windows were washed, convictions were discussed, a few minor injuries sustained, new nicknames were earned, and friendships were deepened. What more can I say? Praise the Lord for the fellowship of the saints! Praise the Lord for friends with whom we can walk, work, and laugh! And praise the Lord for these rare special times to enjoy and encourage one another!
Would we take these relationships for granted if we lived closer? I doubt it, but regardless of the reason God has chosen to settle our families at great distance from each other, I'm grateful that He has crossed our paths, knit our hearts together, and given us such sweetness of fellowship!