One of the precious things that I am thankful for from my God given holiday were the moments I had to re-connect with some very dear friends. My mom, sis and I decided that a big part of our holiday (besides from shopping - hee hee) would be to explore some new places. This gave me the opportunity to introduce my family to some of my very dear friends who have moved to the US. Thankfully ... both these families were a car journey away from where my mom lives. So off we started on our very first road trip from Virginia to New Jersey.
This pic should make my hubby proud - only 3 little bags for a 2 day journey away between 3 of us! Ok ... the boot was a little fuller on the trip home ;)
Once the boot was packed ... the very important next stop was for coffee!!! Oh Starbucks I miss you!!!!!!!!
And also a snack or two ...
So ... with all that taken care of, we started the 4 and a half hour drive to some of my very precious friends in New Jersey ... Greg and Irma. We spent many years in the same church in P.E. together, then God opened up some new adventures for them all the way over in New Jersey. Oh how I miss my coffee-shop buddy and our wonderful heart to hearts ... but to see them flourishing where God has planted them made my heart so happy!!! The bond that this family shares has always inspired me. They know how to respect and love each other. They also know how to show other people the Father's heart of love and acceptance. I am so excited to see how God is using them and their amazing children. The fact that they are just a stones throw away from NYC is just the cherry on the top (I will post some pics of our day in the big city tomorrow). Meet Greg and Irma.
We LOVED our short time with them in their wonderful warm home. (South African's know how to do hospitality WELL). I will not forget the larny Italian dinner we shared together, a cup of tea served in the most beautiful tea-cups, New Jersey late night shopping, the fabulous catch ups or the delicious coffee Greg brewed for us in the early mornings. We simply felt like family in their home. They live in such a pretty little town called Mettuchen (I'm sure I am not spelling that right?!). Let me show you down their main street ...
We absolutely fell in love with this orange tree!!!
And this pretty church ...
And I have to say that this was the BEST choc-chip cookie I have ever eaten - from the Bagel Pantry. Oh my word!!! I could relocate there just for the cookie (and the friendship Irms! hee hee).
As short as our stay was, we loved every moment!!!
The next road trip we did was from one side of Virginia to the other ... the ever beautiful Richmond. What a pretty drive! Now this family is an absolutely exceptional family. You have read me blog about this precious friend many times ... my precious friend Adeye and her wonderful family. Oh how I wish I could have had more time to spend with them ... but this pic will keep me going till God makes another way for us to hang out.
Anthony and Adeye have demonstrated to me over and over again what "Love in Action" truly looks like. It was Adeye who introduced me to the world of blogging when I started following her blog. You absolutely have to read about their exciting journey. I am going to introduce you to their family through some of my pics of our precious afternoon spent with them. Meet the gorgeous couple standing outside of their beautiful home.
Let me just tell you that this is a home in every way! It is warm, welcoming and filled with joy and love. 7 precious children fill this space with love and laughter. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to get to know them a little bit. When you get some time, read their stories on Adeye's blog. Your heart will never be the same. Sadly I never got around to getting one big family shot, so I will have to show you a few different pics. Below are Anthony and Adeye's eldest 4 children. I was so moved to see the bond that the boys (Conner, Kellan and Cade) have with their adopted sisters (Hannah-Claire, Haven, Hailee and Harper). What moved me the most is that you can see that they do not look at their sisters as being adopted ... but see them as family in every way, which they truly are. These kids love each other and watch out for each other. It is so beautiful to see.
A fun pic of Conner and Kellan ...
Meet brother and sister ... would you believe that there are only a few months between these two!!! Hailee is 5 and a half and Cade is 6 years old. My brain does not even know how to register that fact! What this little girl has been through up until earlier this year when Anthony and Adeye adopted her is just unspeakable. To see how love has transformed each of these little girls speaks of the greatness of God!!!
Next up is the ever gracious and tender hearted Hannah Claire. This little treasure knows how to love!!
And the very beautiful Haven. Though she may not speak in words (even though she is ten years old, she is mainly non-verbal from her unbelievable years in a Chinese orphanage) ... her eyes speak volumes! Oh how I loved my quick cuddles.
And the cuddliest little cuddle-bug, little miss Harper. She is from the Ukraine and was adopted into the Salem family earlier this year with Hailee. This little girl knows how to give amazing cuddles and kisses!! And what an amazing big brother Kellan is.
Our time with the Salems was so quick, but my heart is so full!!! I am so thankful for our afternoon together. I will not forget the cuddles that I received or the conversations that we shared.
I love that God gives us the desires of our heart to see and spend time with the ones we love. Let me encourage you to ask God for the opportunities to see the ones you love if you are far away ... and in all our busy-ness to make time for what matters most ... our relationships! Loving each other. That's what life is all about.
All my love xoxox