Tues July 26
T minus not very much time and counting! Mark, get off the computer and fix the screen door, finish cleaning out garage, paint....need I go on? Kids: pre-warn any friends you happen to drag bring home on Friday that they'll be put to work. And anyone reading this: you show up before 5:59pm on Aug 6 and you'll probably get a job. Just kidding! Except for you Mark, seriously, step away from the computer. 
Note to west Michigan meteorologists: please forecast severe thunderstorms and torrential downpours for Aug. 6.

Sat July 30
Young Love
Not mine, silly! Mine's old-----28 years old, to be exact. Not stale, stagnant or musty old, but old none the less. As I celebrate this day I'm desperately trying to remember my season of young love. It's difficult to get out of the driveway in my quest to go down memory lane. Time! So as I sit back and watch my kids (well, not necessarily sit back) words like young and new are not in my description of love. They have long since been replaced by comfortable, content, secure and happy. And just for the record...what a ride. My hope for today is that I (we) have led by example. Remember: love is a choice.

Mon Aug 8
OK, just a tad tired. And grateful. And overwhelmed. And excited. And bittersweet. And apprehensive. Did I mention tired? I'm still pulling my thoughts together on the whole open house dealie. It is somewhat strange when different aspects of your worlds collide right at your own front door. I hope everyone, (especially those that follow along here) took the evening as the biggest "thank-you" I could possibly muster for the role you have all played in Melissa's life. And I'm quoting my friend Kate not Hillary Clinton when I say, "It absolutely does take a village!" So thank you, merci beaucoup, obrigado and thank you once again. More later.

And now the final countdown begins. I am painfully aware of the anticipation and sadness that separation brings, but on the other hand I am coming to terms with this new phase that is starting to unfold. I eagerly await the adventures, travels, and new acquaintances that the YA's is going to afford our family. I mean c'mon, it's southern fricken California, for crying out loud! I'm positive Melissa, you are where you're supposed to be right now and also in the fall. I can not wait to hear the stories, see the shows, and cherish the reunions. So yea, whenever I get super homesick for girl's night out, I guess I will just have to jump in the car and go harass Jennifer. Whatever will I do if she's overwhelmed by studies, work, and Boyfriend, that she limits me to some sort of ridiculous once a month visitation rights. I call shotgun on Jen for Amazing Race 7 and Survivor Guatemala premiers and finales. Seriously, Jen, look what listening to God's small still voice has afforded you! I can't wait to see what lies ahead and I'm positive that since you've overcome some major fears in your life since the middle of July, music performance is going to be a piece of cake! It's your time. And that brings me to Ben and Annie. God bless you both as you struggle through this year of US 131 trips. My hope for you is that when you look back on this short span of time in your life you will be able to see how all things work together for the good. It's very cliche, but you know the old absence makes the heart grow fonder saying! What with Melissa in California and my restricted schedule with Jennifer, I'll probably be dragging you to lunch, Annie, every 10 days or so! And even though I'm ecstatic to help plan a wedding, the marriage is what I've prayed about since he was born. Go ahead...society, put your negative spin on the empty nest syndrome, my heart is full.

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