Monday, March 9, 2009

Joel & Charity's Time Here

(All this was written on March 04.)

Days go by
They fly
They melt
Like gooey

Make time
To sing
And praise
And laugh
To look
At beauty
All around

For we
Can see
With eyes
Of faith
If we
Rely on
Jesus' strength


Yeah, that wasn't the best. I just strung it together. It's one of those slowly-moving "gooey" days, but I need to remember to be thankful for it, as every day. :) And we do have some good news. Though it's not entirely, 100% confirmed, yet, Mom did apply and send in money for our first month's rent for a house in TX this April! I'm happy, sad, all mixed up. *sigh* To move from here, where I've been for the last 18 years, to leave friends and family?...Yet, if Abraham moved to an unknown place, perhaps after living in one place for decades, then how can I be disquieted by a move toward more family and friends and to a nice house?
'Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.' - Psalm 42:11

I was more excited about it yesterday, or at least about seeing the boxes getting packed up.

I'll miss this place, the trees, the land, the people, the memories. I didn't know how much. But maybe once I get to TX I won't, ironically. Well, I think I'll always miss my friends and family here. I guess I'll still have the memories, but not quite in the same way.


I want to tell about the time we had with Joel & Charity here.

Matthew picked us up at the airport when we arrived late at night. When we got home, Annie & Mom were still waiting up, and we were greeted joyfully. Joel & Charity used Annie's & my room, and Annie & I slept on a mattress in the living-room the first night, then switched into Andy's room, while he slept in the living-room. We all stayed up and chatted a bit.

The next day, we had a pretty big breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns, muffins, juice and coffee. Then we got ready to go on our canoe trip. For lunch we went to Golden Corral, meeting Andy and Matthew there after their work. We were late getting to the canoe place ("Canoe Adventure," or something like that), but they had waited for us, much to our relief. We had to sign up and then get on the old school bus (my first time on one, I believe). They towed a trailer piled with canoes. Instructions as to where to go on the river and maps were given by the young man with sandy, shaggy hair. After arriving at the river, they instructed us on a couple different kinds of strokes with the paddles. Then we were free to go.

(Photo by Matthew, taken with his camera.)

Joel & Charity were in one canoe, Matthew and Annie in another, and Andy and I in another. Joel & Charity skipped the "scenic route" and headed off to the left, while the rest of us went right onto the "scenic route." We did see several alligators back there, but the rest of the river was just as scenic, though with fewer alligators. Thankfully, much of the river was shaded by trees, so it wasn't too hot. It was beautiful, too, so peaceful and green and with an occasional bird-call and splashing of the oars and plop of the turtles into the water as they slid off their logs. We occasionally scraped our canoes on logs or rocks or the sandy bottom of the river in shallow spots. Sometimes we had to back up and go around something, and a couple of times we had to duck under low-hanging limbs.

There were the occasional races, too. :) When we caught sight of Joel & Charity, Andy and I tried to catch up with them, and we would hold onto the back of their canoe and try to squeeze by them. We made a "river-block" (roadblock) for Annie & Matthew by putting our two canoes sideways, as we decided we all needed to slow down a bit. Annie had brought some strawberries in a Tupperware, so she got them out and passed a strawberry to me (yum!)....Then she floated the Tupperware on the water towards Charity & Joel's canoe, which was now behind them. Charity leaned out to try to get it, but slipped and fell backwards into her canoe. :D We all had a good laugh, as she wasn't hurt. Then sneaky Joel got the Tupperware and ate the last strawberry that was in it! :P

Matthew, of course, took many pictures on the river. I took a few, as well, as did Andy and Charity. Once in a while we brought out our bottled water and took sips of that.

Andy and I arrived at the end first, as the others had turned back, and as we still had 15 or so minutes left before the bus people would pick us up, we went beyond the ending point. We just went a little ways, but there was a nice little place back there, mostly shady but with a spot of sun shining on a long bank of gnarled roots.

We went back and met up with Joel & Charity, then told them about that place and went with them.

Back at the finishing point, finally, we waited. The bus people were late, perhaps expecting us to be late. And yes, there were still a couple people on the river. While we waited we took pictures. Lots of Joel & Charity on a bridge, and a few others. There was one crazy bug that we saw going around in circles. We concluded, after some testing, that it would probably go on that way until it died.

Finally we went back in the bus. The floppy-haired young man told some corny jokes as we went.

Back home, we had a candle-lit dinner of chicken, sweet potatoes, etc. Chocolate-dipped strawberries for dessert. :)

We had Bible reading that night, first singing a couple of (poetically revised) psalms. Then Joel read from an epistle and shared some thoughts and asked us a few questions.

The next day, we had lunch out on the patio, since it was nice out. We had a yummy homemade chocolate cake for dessert, one Annie & Mom had made before Char, Joel, and I had flown here. It had a bit of coffee in it, but you could hardly taste that except in the frosting. Still very good, and with strawberries on top.

That night we listened to a John Piper sermon and we sang a few nicely arranged songs, which were fun and like old times, even though they weren't polished. We went out for a walk. Joel, Charity, Andy, and I went out front, while the others went out back. It was rather like old times, too, when Joel & Charity were courting and we had to go along as chaperons. We weren't chaperons this time, of course, but it they let us tag along. :)

(Joel, Charity, and me out walking. Photo by Andy.)

Then Joel & Charity went (alone, this time) to eat supper at Chili's. They stayed out several hours. When they got back, I showed Charity & Joel all the pictures my siblings and I had taken over the couple of days previous and that same day.

The next day we piled in the van and went to church. Charlie went with Esther in his car, and then his mother and some other relatives came for the second hour, when Charlie was preaching.

Joel, Charity, Annie, and I stayed out for the first hour's class with Charlie. It was interesting, but I liked the second hour better. :) Charlie had a fever/cold, too, but he made it through and did a good job of preaching.

Charity & Joel seemed to enjoy talking with/meeting Charlie and Esther, and they got some pictures together. Charlie & Esther had to leave to go eat with Charlie's relatives.

Soon thereafter, Joel & Charity had to leave to go to the rental car place and to John & Alyse's house. We drove them to the rental place, and waited as they waited in line. It was really sad to see them go. I felt almost closer than ever to Charity, which is kind of surprising because I've been close for a while and didn't really know I could be any closer. ;)

Lord willing, we'll see them again soon. :)

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