Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In a nutshell

It hit me this morning as the nannies were getting kids ready to go outside and one pulled out a long-sleeved hoodie for one of the kids to wear. Summer is quickly coming to an end.

The weather has started to cool a bit here in Luoyang and although the afternoons are still pretty warm, the mornings and evenings bring a much-welcomed chill. Posts of home on Facebook talk of football season and pumpkin spiced lattes at Starbucks. Autumn cannot be far.

The summer has come and gone in the blink of an eye. Between visitors, teams, trips and activities, our day-to-day has quickly turned into months. It's hard to believe that this time last year I was just beginning to settle in here. Now I wonder where much of the time has gone.

Here are just a few highlights and snapshots from the past few months...

Summer kick-off family dinner. This summer brought us two amazing interns, Abby and Dan. Dan was with us through August and Abby will be with us through October. They have both been a gift in so many ways to all of us.

Mikey and I did a weekend trip to Beijing in June to hike and camp at the Great Wall. Pretty amazing experience.
Preschool field trips to the zoo...

...and the aquarium

Water days have definitely been a highlight this summer, both for the kids and adults!

Another Hong Kong Visa run (although I cannot complain...)
A train trip to ChengDu with Abby... finally getting to see pandas!

You can hold and get your picture taken with a panda at this reserve; unfortunately it's $200 to do so, so my compromise was touching one of the red pandas we saw along the trail...for free :)
Abby and "the Choco family"
We also got to enjoy a really fantastic dinner out one evening
At the end of our time in ChengDu, Abby had to fly out unexpectedly to Hong Kong with a baby from Beijing in need of surgery. As we packed our bags in haste, she made the comment that this was our summer "in a nutshell." And it has been. It has been a crazy summer with unexpected turns. It has been busy to say the least, but it has been full. It has been difficult, but it has been good. The summer has held some sad days, but also some of our sweetest days. I think in a way I expected the summer to bring somewhat of a break (emotionally, at least), with groups in and out, trips here and there, but it has surprisingly been one of my hardest "seasons" since arriving. Saying goodbye to our kids never gets easier, and sickness and death do not take vacations; so in the midst of our summer haste, we have still had to find quiet moments to grieve and reflect, but our Father has been gracious to give us those opportunities and to be able do so in community.
This fall will bring many changes for us. In just a few weeks, we'll be saying goodbye to Abby, who will return to the States. It will be odd going back to life without a roomate, and the loss of a sweet friend's presense will definitely be felt. Mikey will be moving to Beijing, which will leave a great gap at Maria's in so many ways; and not just at Maria's, but in each of our individual lives. Thankfully he will only be a few hours away and we will still get to see him frequently; on the other hand, it will be hard having him a few hours away and not just minutes across town.  I will miss having my best friend just moments away. Our medical staff often has many moving parts as babies need to be taken for surgeries and visas need renewing. I will be going back to the States for a month-long visit in November. One day is rarely like the last, and we never know what a week will hold.
In a nutshell, I am continually learning that His grace is sufficient for me. It is sufficient in times of peace and in times of unrest. It is sufficient in difficulty and in joy. It is sufficient for the ever-changing circumstances in our lives, because despite what may change around us and even how we may change, He remains the same.

1 comment:

  1. Wow sweet Becca, we have been busy. I am thankful for you, for your tender spirit and your constant encouragement. I wouldn't choose anyone else to spend the summer with. His grace has been sufficient and He does not change...ever. Love you so much!