Winding up a superb family holiday

We’re in the home stretch of our three weeks (actually 23 days!) with all six of us in the same home at the same time.  I’m guessing that the next few days may be a bit emotional for Walnut Shade Mom, as Katie drives away for her final semester at PHC (although we will see her for a week of spring break in March) and Jessica flies away for five (or more?) months of study and ministry in Asia.  I’m pretty sure some tears will be shed, but I am dealing better with my emotions these days – experiencing them, expressing them, and letting go of them.  This is clearly a learned skill.

Jessica is trying to connect with as many friends as possible, and I think she’s being pretty successful in that.  Although she’ll be with a number of YWAM staff friends in Asia, and she’ll surely make a lot of new friends on this grand adventure, I know it’s also kind of sad for her to say goodbye to her Missouri friends for such a long time.  I think she will also miss her siblings. I’m thankful that they have such close relationships, especially since I never experienced that with my brother.

Today Jessica is giving Andrew his Christmas gift:  a date with her.  They are both major people people, and being with people they like is a VERY high priority to each of them.  She’s taking him to the Discovery Center in Springfield and then out to lunch.  I’m sure they will have a blast and he will remember the details of this day for years to come.  Jessica also spent time with Madison yesterday, and she’ll visit with the Voth girls tonight.  She’s also hoping to meet with Tess, and I don’t know who all else before she leaves on Tuesday to spend time with Lori Ann (in PA), Courtney and Emily (living in DE), and Katie and Amy (in VA), before heading west to the Fast East.

Josiah returned to work yesterday after several weeks off, and I haven’t heard how that went, except that I do know that he was quite dashing – and for the first time actually warm – in his new wool coat (his Christmas gift from his sisters).  He certainly does clean up nicely.  He’s also working diligently (feverishly?) on prep or Take the Challenge’s upcoming mission trip to west Africa.  Under Scott’s guidance, he will be leading four other American young people in doing dramatic evangelistic outreaches and holding discipleship and mime workshops for young (ages 15-25) believers in Niger.  I think they’ll be gone for about three weeks in March.  There’s a ton of planning to be done to get the team ready, and all of that falls on Josiah’s broad shoulders.  Thankfully, Jessica has done this kind of mission trip planning and prep before, so while she packs to be overseas for several months – note that the Peacock is not bored – she is also helping, advising and encouraging Josiah, and together they are meeting with for practices with another local guy who’s going, so that the two guys can be trained (and therefore able to train others) to present some specific dramas Jessica learned last year in Asia.  Josiah is also doing schoolwork; currently American Government, Advanced American Literature, World Geography, Spelling, and most notably NOT Geometry, which he completed on December 31.  The finishing of Jacobs Geometry was a huge milestone in his life, as he is now officially done with high school math.  Our family firmly believes that this accomplishment ought to be, to quote John Adams (July 3, 1776), “solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

Andrew is pressing forward with piano, gymnastics, schoolwork, and time with friends.  He’s making good strides in all those areas, and he has especially enjoyed having all his siblings home.  He’s enjoying the youth group at church and it’s great to see him connecting with other guys his age.  His life (and mine, for that matter) will undergo a pretty hefty change next week, when we reduce to us four and no more and I become once again the only female in the house.  But lest we be bored or sad or lonely, we think next week is also when our friend and ace handyman, J.R. will arrive to complete the destruction of the boys’ bathroom and rebuild it on a more sure foundation.  Scott and I picked out everything but the floor vinyl and the paint color a few weeks ago, and he is concerned that this bathroom for the boys will be fancier than ours!  I don’t care about that one way or the other.  I just want it to be functional, leak-proof, and cleanable.  One thing is for sure:  it CAN’T possibly take longer or cost more than the remodel of ours.  I’ll keep you posted on that. . .

We’re expecting highs in the 60s today(!!!), so I’m going to go clean our own bathroom and bedroom, do the breakfast clean up, do some fun stuff with Katie, and then take a walk by the creek.  Ahhhh!


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