Carl and Jess invited us over for pizza at their place. This was definitely a blessing for numerous reasons. It gave me a time that I’d have to finish working at my mom’s to be somewhere else, solved the what to have for dinner dilemma, and, best of all, gave us an opportunity to spend some down time with five of our favorite people (Carl, Jess, and their three young girls, whom I have the privilege of nannying three days a week). We had an enjoyable evening, which included watching an episode of the Dinosaurs TV show on the Terrible Twos. We used to love watching that show with my dad. He found it hilarious, especially the part where their infant always refers to his father as “Not-the-Mama.”
Kevin and I went to pick-up ice cream from our dear beloved brother’s favorite place, Gelati Celesti’s before we went over to the house to see him and his friend James. John and his friend came to Richmond for a whirlwind (less than 24 hours in town) trip from St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, to serve at the special Mass when nineteen men in our diocese were ordained as permanent deacons. It was great to see John in person for the first time in two months.
We went over to see Purity, the woman our friend James connected us with over a year ago because he knew about our involvement in 40 Days for Life. She came to town this past weekend with her nearly one-year-old son Nathan and her mom (who’s been here from Kenya for a few months) to visit family and friends. Sunday morning, we met Purity, Nate, and Esther for breakfast. Of course, we had to get a few pictures.
Purity’s mom has to go back to Kenya Oct. 22, and she won’t be taking Nate with her as was originally planned. I can completely understand how Purity can’t bear to part with her son for an indeterminate amount of time while she saves up money working at her job here.
The great news is Purity has moved closer to where she works, now has a full-time job working a normal five days a week schedule. She’s found affordable childcare nearby. She and Nate look like they’re doing great. Visiting with them reminded me that we never know how God might work in and through us when we’re willing to be vessels of His love.
It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since we gathered at my mom’s house for Purity’s baby shower, which was a really fun party with plenty of Kenyan food, company, and traditions. It was definitely a joy-filled occasion, blessed with love and reinforced with prayer.
One of my Christ Renews His Parish sisters had us over to her home for a delicious lunch and a discussion of the book Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo. I hadn’t seen Leslie, the hostess in several months, and brightened just to see her warm smile again. We sat out on their back deck eating soup and catching up. We watched a show that Leslie had recorded in which Colton Burpo, the boy who went to Heaven when he was extremely ill earlier in his life, appeared with his parents for an interview. Two other guests on the same show were an orthopedic doctor who had a near-death experience that completely transformed her from being a lukewarm Christian to a true prayer warrior. The third guest was the now teenage girl who painted the picture of Jesus that Colton Burpo said looks like the Christ he saw in Heaven.I stayed for a little while after everyone else left, sensing Leslie wanted company. We sat on the front porch and talked. It reminded me that it’s been almost three years since the two of us paired off to go on our Emmaus Walk when we made our Christ Renews His Parish weekend.
Kevin and I usually go to 5:30pm Mass on Sundays and reserve most, if not all, of a row when we get there. Carl, Jess, Vivi, Livi, and Sophie usually sit with us, and we want to make sure there’s room for everyone. It means a great deal to me to sit with loved ones we know well at Mass. It’s even better when some of those loved ones happen to be irresistibly cute and cuddly. As she often does, Vivi spent much of Mass on my lap or in my arms. She gave me lots and lots of her spontaneous hugs, the little snuggle bug. She did a modified version of running from across the room into my arms, by opening her arms and mouth wide, then gripping me in a tight hug. Very cute! .
I finally couldn't help but burst into tears when Kevin took Vivi's hand when he walked up for Communion. Seeing them holding hands pierced my heart as I will probably never get to see my husband hand-in-hand with a child of our own.
After Mass: Gwen and Laura, two very loving, caring people came over and gave me great big hugs!
Lord, thank You for the many loved ones You have brought into our lives who bring joy, laughter, and hope. Help us to be an encouraging, warm, supportive presence to others, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, when sowing in tears and harvesting while rejoicing. Amen.