For the last 6 weeks we have had the special privilege of having my brother and his family here visiting us.  He, his wife and their 5 children have been dividing their time between my parents, who live 10 miles up the road, and us.  Between the two of us, we have 10 children, presently ages 8,9,10,11,12,14,15,16,16,and 18.  Needless to say, our children are all very close friends and had a fantastic time together.  They jumped on the trampoline, played card games, board games, games they made up, cleaned the barn together, stayed up late talking, three of the 6 girls got 10″ cut off their hair to send in to “Beautiful Lengths” for cancer patients.

Last night we had an amazing time of singing together.  One of our sons was on the bass guitar, one on the violin and one on the harmonica, my brother on the guitar, a guest friend on his guitar, and one of my nieces alternated with one of my daughters playing the akaye.

They are missionaries in Africa, so we only get to see them every 4 years.  During the time they are home, they travel around the states in a bus they converted to an RV, so during this 6 week visit they parked it here several times and stayed overnight.  I need to tell you the relationship I have with my brother.  He is 3 years younger than I, but since we were in our youth, he has felt more like an older brother and I highly respect and very much appreciate him.  I am blessed to have a brother like I do.  During this time that I have been walking a new path, he has responded so graciously, studying along with me and on the nights they stayed over, he and I had some wonderful early morning talks.

Maybe it’s me aging, or maybe it’s my hormones, but this was the hardest good-bye I can remember in a long time.  Four years is a very, very long time, and the next time we see them, their 16 year old daughter probably won’t be with them, and maybe their 14 year old daughter won’t be with them either, as they will be 20 and 18 respectively.

Sometimes I want to just hang on to the precious times so they never end…

All that to say, today, on the day after Thanksgiving, I am thankful for family.  For my parents, who instilled in me a love for YHWH and for Scripture and who desire to please Him with their lives.  For my brother and his family, who grow more precious to me as the years go by.  And of course, for my beloved husband and our 5 wonderful children.

As they left this evening, we went out with permanent markers and signed their RV and they signed our kitchen floor, which is unfinished at this point.  (Now I just want to put a coat of shellac on the sub-flooring instead of finishing it!)

Father, thank you for this little taste of sweet fellowship … a reminder of what we will all enjoy in your perfect world to come, and there will be no more good-bye’s



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