When we set out for California in December, I had no idea that it would be so long between posts. I thought I would keep up with my entries regularly, but life happened... and it happened a lot.
When you only return home once every two years or so, there are so many people to see and things to do. We didn't get nearly as much time with some folks that we thought we would, and didn't see a number of folks that we were sure to.
We've been back for a little more than a week now and it seems that jet-lag is finally subsiding. The first few nights were really hard. I once heard someone say that it takes one day for every hour difference in your time zone than the one you've come from. Whomever said that clearly didn't have two toddlers. Gabrielle and Isabelle were waking two to three times a night for a few nights... and when they were awake, they were AWAKE. They wanted to play, sing, etc. Fortunately, our team (of which we have the fewest kids) were very patient and sympathetic regarding how quickly we re-submerged into ministry. Naturally, they've been through this a few times with their own travel-weary kids.
Despite the hectic schedule and unorthodox living arrangements, we had a wonderful visit in California. We had a fantastic Christmas with the family. Last time I spent Christmas in CA with my family, I was single and my sister and brother-in-law only had one one-year-old. Now they have two and we have two and Christmas morning was an onslaught of laughter, excitement, and flying wrapping paper. Along with their cousins (Nico & Molly), our girls had a blast and were showered with gifts from family friends - one of which was a day-pass to Disneyland. Gabrielle was in awe. Her first ride ever? It's a Small World... and she sang her lungs out. Her experience on that first ride was worth the whole trip to California.
One of the best experiences I had while home was sitting in on some of my dad's weekly meetings/groups. I got to step into his ministry for a spell and connect with some great men/pastors. It was enriching sharing ministry stories, experiences, vision and paradigms with these guys... and it was always accompanied with great food and bottomless cups of coffee.
Another cool treat was that we were able to connect with about half of the participants that were over here last year... and even a few that came on brief visits to check out our ministry in Glasgow. It was great to reconnect with them and hear how they're doing, what they're up to, and share about our new life in ministry with Christian Associates.
Sadly, as much as we needed space and relaxation, we had very little. We actually returned more tired than we'd arrived. We've spent the last week catching up on sleep and energy wherever we get the chance. Jasheen has marveled at my ability to knockout at any given moment when the opportunities present themselves. In fact, whenever I become sedentary for even a moment, I'm likely to shut my eyes and doze - reading, watching TV... even in mid-conversation. She's afraid I have chronic fatigue or something like that, but I think my body has just said, "ENOUGH ALREADY - SLEEP NOW!"
One of the other highlights of the trip was living in $US. The dollar is so weak right now and trying to stretch what we have in the UK is always a challenge. For a brief period, we enjoyed paying for the real value of our food and goods, instead of almost double.
As we return to what has become "normal life," we have realized that for the past six months we have either had house-guests or stayed in someone else's home. We have not had a moment to settle in anywhere as a family. We're hosting a friend now, and when she leaves, another friend from Amsterdam is coming to stay with us for a week, and after that we'll be hosting my brother for a week or two. While we love exercising hospitality and each and every person that stays here, we also long for some down time where we can just be a family. Please pray that the Lord would give us strength and discernment when it comes to boundaries for the health of our family and marriage. And pray that as we love on these guests, that we would also be enriched and blessed by their stay.
Oh! There are new pictures up on our flickr site if you'd like to see photos from our trip.
We're grateful for the time we got in CA and for all the love we received from the folks back there. Now it's back to the grind for us. Looking forward to sharing more things as ministry continues to develop here.