15 August 2006

saying goodbye

Early this morning, our dear friends the Tuckers - Gregg, Mercy, Taryn and James - boarded a plane for the Dominican Republic. For the next ten months, they will live, love and serve in La Victoria. This trip, the fruit of a seed planted in their hearts over five years ago, seemed so far away for so long. But over the last few weeks, especially once they packed up and moved from their home, the bittersweet reality finally began to soak in. Tonight, they are miles and miles away - embarking on a new adventure.

We took every opportunity over the last few days and weeks to say goodbye...




Yesterday afternoon, the kiddos gathered for a farewell playdate for Taryn and James. Then last night, we shared typical good times
and one last meal with our friends...





This beautiful family is a gift. Anyone and everyone who is fortunate enough to call them friends knows and understands what I am talking about. You know and understand the sadness I am feeling - really feeling in this moment.

Gregg and Mercy are profoundly good. They are profoundly fun. Their children are a stunning reflection of each of them. Even in brokenness, God has used the Tuckers to minister to me and to so many others. They are vivacious, warm, inviting and just lovely, GODLY people. Not only do they draw people to themselves, simply by being themselves, they gather and connect others.

And Mercy. I don't even know what to say about this woman that will suffice except that I love and respect her immensely. I always have. She is thoughtful and kind and makes room for others. She opens doors, draws out truth and asks questions - important, anointed questions. She radiates and is most vibrant in her vulnerability... and she'll go there. She will really go there.

There is no question that God has called them to La Victoria. There is no question that he will use and sharpen them while they away - however long that may be.

In the days of email, websites and video messaging, let alone telephones and the good ole' U.S. Postal Service, ten months hardly seems like any time at all. Nevertheless, as Rachel insightfully put it
last night, "it's not the ten months... it's the unknown of that which follows the ten months..."

The reality is that last night marked an end. Tonight, as our friends unload the six pieces of luggage they so carefully and thoughtfully packed over the last few weeks - as they settle into their new beginning - I am grieving that end. Whether or not our friends actually return to Westminster for good next summer, things will never be the same (this is definitely a good thing, but it's sad, nonetheless). Undoubtedly, they will be eternally transformed through this experience. They will grow and change. We all will grow and change.

And perhaps God will call them to more - much more. Already, I miss our friends.

Thank you, God, for the Tuckers. Thank you for taking them out of our lives and placing them into the community of La Victoria. Thank you for the lives of the men, women and children that will forever be impacted by this family. Bless them, Father. Cover them, Lord. Thank you, Lord.

14 August 2006

an unlikely meeting


What do you get when you bring together a couple from the east side of town, a couple from the west side of town and a couple from LA, with a grandma from Virgina, a couple more grandparents from Washington and six kids under three looking for a good time on a rainy Colorado night?

You get a memorable evening at one of Westminster's most happenin' venues... Chick-Fil-A!

Dave and Paul

Caleb

Maya

Lily

Nathan

Cole

Vic and Sofia

Lily and Maya

It was a special treat to see and spend a little time with the Ludwigs while they were in town to see Jeev and Rach. Coincidentally, my mom and Paul's parents also planned to come into town the same weekend. It made for a fun visit and great "damma-dampa" time for the kiddos. Here are a few more pictures from last weekend...





...so sweet.

13 August 2006

paradise 06

At the end of July, we went up to northern California to spend time with our family friends, the Seamans (Larry, Donna, Marnie and her girls, Shane and Kendra, Janelle and Scott, Jamon, Breezy and Sammy) and the Lindsays,(Joel, Melissa and Elijah) who flew in from St. Louis. The weekend was particularly special because Breezy, whom we have known and loved for over ten years, was getting married. We were blessed to be able to attend and humbled that in the midst of all the wedding preparations and costs, Donna and Larry considered our attendance a priority and flew us in for the occasion.

The time literally flew by. Although we were in town for five days, it hardly seemed sufficient.
In the scramble preceding the wedding and the emotions surrounding it, I only took a handful of pictures. I came home to find just one decent snapshot from the event... ah well. It was beautiful. Donna and Larry were proud. So were we.

Ryan and Breezy - the groom and bride

A couple days later, once things had settled, and after almost everyone had left, we returned to Lake Oroville - where we have made countless summer memories - this time with our kids, Donna, Sammy, Melissa, Joel and Eli. We swam, sunned, kayaked, wakeboarded and enjoyed a relaxing day together. Here are a few more snapshots from Paradise.


The Lindsays - Melissa, Joel and Elijah

Paul and Maya

The kiddos - Cole, Eli and Maya

Sammy - all grown up!

Buds

Miss Maya

Paul and Cole "bonding"

Maya and her daddy

Cole

Tschetters and Lindsays

Paul aka Superdad