So Long Sweet Summer

August 1, 2017

When I thought of summer this year, I thought of backpacking, but backpacking only consumed 10 days out of our 84-day break. So when we wrapped our trip up, it was time to start mapping out how we wanted to enjoy the remaining 63 days. With this being our biggest summer break over the course of our training, we wanted to invest our time with as many of the people who have invested into us over the last few years. We also wanted to appreciate all of the nostalgia that only comes with summertime. Of course, we wanted to sleep in too, which we did.

This summer we've been staying with Laura's parents, which has been fun [read messy] as we probably brought too much stuff home, and have then spent these three months trying to keep it all in order. In addition to giving us a place to sleep, they've also been kind enough to give us their dining room as a haven to store our things. Imagine backpacking gear, a man's tools and the cookware of a baker, spread out all over the floor and the dinner table. We can't really repay them, but they take their daughter's cooking/baking and their son-in-law's coffee as payment enough. They force me to stand behind the espresso machine waiting on their beck and call... no, I'm just playing.

While I'm preparing coffee, Laura enjoys her afternoon games of Rummikub with her mom, while they sit together in front of a window that looks out onto their hummingbird feeders in the backyard. About every five minutes, the game takes a pause to discover which feeder the hummingbird will go to, or how long it will stay, or if it will get chased off by a fellow hummer. I think Laura and I will remember this summer as the hummingbird summer, or maybe we'll just think of "Courage" - the name of the fearless hummingbird friend who would fly right up to the window and greet us after a sip of nectar.

Aside from spending waaay too much time watching hummingbirds, we got to:
look out over the Appalachian Mountains after miles of beating the trail

go to our favorite blueberry farm with friends/family for some early summer picking,

replace all the weight loss from backpacking with Laura's amazing baking talent,

hang around the grill playing basketball while we waited for those ribs to smoke,
try to keep up with our ice cream against the pavement's heat in the back lot of the farmer's market,
escape the crowds at July 4th by enjoying family time around the pool instead,
many one-on-ones with other believers from our church.

The list goes on, really, with reading and bits of work that we were able to grab here and there. Our summer was full - not necessarily of busyness, but of quality time spent with each other, family and friends. Along with that quality use of time, we were able to sneak in a couple of more formal updates with our home-church and the church I grew up in. If you'd like to listen in to the update we gave our church, the video below is the audio and presentation from that night.

Now we're gearing up for another semester as we pack our stuff and get things squared away for a big trip next week. We'll leave from Kernersville, head up to Louisville for a few hours and then on down to Nashville to spend time with out-of-state friends. After we arrive back at school, we'll unpack then repack to take a 3-day trip to Dallas to see Laura's 3-month old nephew. Hopefully, we'll end our travels with some spare energy, since we'll hit the ground running on August 14. At least this August we'll be arriving to a place that we call home just as much as we do here in North Carolina.

We'll be missing you all, but we also remind ourselves often that it's worth it. Christ is worth it.

So long sweet summer. Hello training. Round 2

Nate and Laura