But we have been very blessed with several serendipitous visits. When we said goodbye in Pisa, last July 3, we didn't know if we'd see Andrew for a couple of years or more. Then he was flown to the US for a conference in October, and he made an unofficial trip down for two days. Then he put together some leave and the world's most expensive plane ticket ever to make it home for Christmas - now that was a treat. And finally Andrew became this "must have" expert in his work so they fly him to St. Louis and then Newport News to teach. He managed another long weekend at home and we are mightily grateful.
It's impossible to express how good it feels to have happy, healthy, hard-working, loving, caring, Jesus-following young-adult children.
Some people make the mistake of thinking that the books I have written are the signal achievement of my life. Not so. Andrew and Naomi are the most definitive expression of the creative impulse of God made evident in and through the fun, hard work, prayers, dedication, application, sweat, joy and perseverance of Rebekah and Derek for two-plus decades of intense focus and deep, unconditional love....
Then there was - there is - the community of faith. The wonderful people at Trinity Presbyterian in Pensacola who saw us through the first 14 years - then the amazing work of restoration and grace we have experienced here at First Brandon.
I have to share this story. There was a time, back during the heavy "angst" days of teen-dom, when Rebekah and I noticed an hour of peace and genuine happiness amongst the young Maulettes: "Wow!" one of us maybe both of us said. "Imagine if there was a whole afternoon like that one day... I wonder what that would look like?"
No exaggeration, by the way.
That seems like a lifetime ago. So to have them happy, not just happy but content; not just content but full; not just full - but moving forward in lives that define what it means to be making your way in this world in terms of abundant living.... well.
So I'll post my Andrew picture, and I'll look forward to our next visit to Naomi and Craig in Connecticut...
... And I will be thankful!