The Bygone Days of Summer

“Summer afternoon- summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ~Henry James

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today and thought I would reflect on our recent summer.  I love summer.  I have never been one of those moms who is ready for school to start.  I love the late warm nights and slow lazy mornings of summer.  I might live in an eternal summer if I could.  For my past ten years of parenting, thoughts of summer have conjured words like sun, beach, peaches, cook-outs, cousins, grandma’s house, lake, camp.  This year however, my summer memories hold words like goats, mud, and babies.  Thankfully, it still also holds memories of cousins and beach and sun!

“Summer” in Kenya is very different.  For starters, there isn’t really a seasonal summer.  Being in the southern hemisphere, the months of June through August are actually our cooler months.  Now “cool” is relative, as we almost always have sunny days with warm temperatures reaching near 80 degrees.  In this way, our weather here is kind of like a perpetual enjoyable summer, without the sticky humidity of my US summers.  So here, we define “summer” in terms of our break from school.  And we did take a break from school.  On our first day after finishing school, we greeted Heath’s sister and family for a visit.  This started a summer of experiencing Kenya with and through a stream of visitors…family, friends, pastors, and short-term medical staff.  We helped mud houses, colored and painted with orphans, held babies, took walks through the countryside, visited with Kenyan friends, and took safaris.  We were so fortunate and blessed to be able to share bits and pieces of our lives here with friends, family, and visitors.  I am thankful that we have memories with these special people in our new home.   We hope that their visits here let them connect more with us in our new life, and even more so, than it will give a bigger and fuller and more real picture of God…as God of the universe and God of all people.

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Amazing Kenyan ladies making the perfect mud.

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Sabrina and I, attempting to “mud” a house.

This little guy is learning the skill early!

This little guy is getting an early start on his mudding skills!

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Goats are more fun than mud!

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These girls were not afraid to get dirty!

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More than 50 ladies fit into the small house to sing blessings and praises for the widow who received the house. Then we were gifted with congas and chai cups. I think we left the more blessed!

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The trek back down the mountain was wet and slippery and deemed to treacherous for our “babies” by the Kenyan mamas…So they hoisted our kids onto their backs and carried them down. These women never cease to amaze me!

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Bella getting a ride from a Kenyan mama.

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The girls and their cousins helped feed a baby gazelle.

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The kids explored the Kenyan plains on horseback…with hartebeest, gazelles, and zebra.

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Nothing like starting the morning with a giraffe on your porch!

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We loved introducing long-time friends to new friends.

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These kids could have colored all day long!

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Claire helping with water-paints, finding joy in the simple things.

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The girls enjoyed showing their cousins their new “home.”

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Rees holding a sweet little one at The AGC Baby Center (orphanage).

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Claire and the girls loving on babies…

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Mary Taylor loved making this little one laugh. Isn’t he precious?!

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Claire was a big part of our spring and summer…In addition to serving in many ways, she filled the girls’ days with fun activities during August when I worked full-time. We look forward to seeing how God will use her in the world!

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We took a short but wonderful family trip to the African coast before ending our “summer.”

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Sisterly love and an amazing view!

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Rees spent her entire 11th year in Kenya.  We celebrated Kenyan-style!

I read a quote somewhere, “Some of the best memories are made in flip-flops.”  I would have to agree, especially since in Kenya, flip-flops are year-round!  (Although my girls might argue that the best memories are made in bare feet!)  So even though our carefree days of no school and many visitors have ended for now, our flip-flop-memory-making days continue…

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Can’t you tell that some serious memories were made in these flip-flops?!

2 Comments on “The Bygone Days of Summer

  1. I am sure you don’t remember me but two years ago when you first arrived, I think, in Kenya to start your journey I met you all while I was on admission trip myself. I stopped and talked to you and your family while you all were eating lunch. I got your info and you told me to follow you on website. By the way, I live In Alabama. Well I have looked a few times but I felt I needed to send you something today. Jesus loves you. Looking at your faces at the joy… True joy that you are sharing is incredible. Prayed you for you just now as well. I try to make it a daily thing. Keep up the God work. I Miss that place. Those are sweet loving people.

  2. I love getting your newsletters! Always so interesting. May God continue to bless you over there. We are praying for you.

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