We've been blessed this summer with quite a few visitors, which has been nice since we didn't get to go back to Oklahoma this year. That's been hard, so we really appreciate the little blessings of God sending people our way!!!
At the end of May, my dad came to visit for a week. He got to hang out with all of us and go down to San Diego and surprise his mom with a visit as well. He spent a lot of time with the kids, taking them on bike rides and even taking the older two up to the Sequoias . . . they LOVED it!!! He looked a little for a job . . . it would be exciting if anything came to fruition. We are praying and waiting on God in that area.
Just after he left, Ann and Wes Rumph came. Wes is now in Santa Monica doing on internship. Our intention is to see him periodically, but with all our June medical emergencies, we haven't seen him since they were here on Father's Day. It has great to have time with them. Ann is such a great friend!!! She is one of my closest friends and mentors and we were in small group together for years and years. It was partially the challenges given by her husband that led Brent down the path of ministry. We enjoyed having Ann over for dinner. They were able to visit church and then we had lunch before they returned to Santa Monica.
Joel and Krista were here this last week. They are friends from Oklahoma . . . we were in small group together. Now they live in Costa Rica and are missionaries. They are a fabulous couple, and we just love them. They were such an encouragement to us in the 24 hours we had to spend with them, and hopefully we were a bit of an encouragement to them. We had a nice dinner at home last night. Then took them on a tour of Bakersfield . . . proving to them that Bakersfield is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I think Joel especially liked seeing the Kern River. They were able to join us for church this morning and jumped right in helping set up and tear down. Then we came home for leftovers. The older boys remember them well and were so excited to have them here. David remembered them once he saw them. I don't think Sarah could remember them, but she LOVED them . . . I'm afraid almost to death, or at least the point of being overwhelmed!!! Hopefully they will come back again!!! :)
Next week, a third family from Oklahoma will be meeting us at the coast for a week. Caroline and her husband, David, were also in our small group for years and years . . . and she is an adopted grandmother to my children. David was an amazing man. He died from a brain tumor in 2001. She has four grown children. Three of the four will be coming with her for the visit. It will be a tremendous week, and I should have lots to post about it afterward. I can't wait for the time with them.
The day after they leave, our friends the Fishers will arrive in LA. We will get to see Dalene and her mother, Esther, I'm sure, but the main thing we will be doing is picking up Steve and Dalene's oldest son, Spencer, who is James's best longest friend and bringing him up here with us for a while. I so look forward to the time the boys will have together. I wish all of the family could be up here with us, but they have some stuff going on down south, and Brent and I did get quality time with Steve and Dalene back in November. James is so, so excited!!! We've talked about doing this every summer but it just hasn't worked out.
Basically as soon as Spencer leaves, my mother will arrive. She will be here for about a week to hang out and so stay with the younger kids when we take James down for his second cleft lip surgery. I'm glad she will get to be here to see us and to be with the kids. She hasn't been here since we launched Kaleo; I am excited for her to meet our friends and to hear Brent teach.
As I type this, I realize even more that we had something incredible in our small group in Oklahoma. In 2010 alone, we have had the opportunity to see at least 2 members of four different families from that small group. We had such impacting (them impacting us) relationships with everyone in the group. It was such a diverse group . . . singles, couples, families with young children, families with older children, families with an empty next . . . we learned so much from each other, and though we had a lot of differences, we formed amazing bonds . . . friendships that will last our lifetime, I'm sure. It's very cool!!!
I hope the relationships we are building in our small group now will become the same. I love all these people as well, and while it's probably not as diverse, we have a lot of differences in other ways and still have a LOT to learn from each other. I'm glad God made us to be in relationships!!!
By the way, we LOVE visitors . . . come see us anytime!!!