Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It Hurts to Say Good-Bye

We said good-bye to precious friends last Wednesday.
These friends are the kind who have accompanied us as we have navigated the stormy waters in life, by buoying us up, and offering life support for our weary souls through prayer, listening ears, honest thoughts and questions, and always directing us to the greatest Comforter of all.
They are the same friends who have welcomed that kind of support from us when they accepted us as passengers alongside them as they embarked on their own journey through treacherous waters.
We have shared many moments of celebration and laughter.
And we have shared tears, prayers, and words of comfort.
They are family to us.
The memories we have made together are many and priceless. Back yard soccer games, bonfires, baseball games, beach trips, Christmas caroling, Thanksgiving meals, prayers for each other and with each other, P90X workouts, birthday celebrations, words of encouragement, meals in our homes, meals out together, (they are our gluten free, allergy friends who really "get" our love for food along with our special dietary needs....what a way to bind a friendship), heart to heart talks, and much more.
The girls loved babysitting for the Crazy Keen Boys and they developed a very special bond with their whole family as they spent quite a bit of time in the Keen home, working, playing, and hanging out, not to mention their awesome trip to see the Piano Guys with Carlton and Tracy.
Tracy has just "been there" for these girls and loved them like her own daughters. The girls are really going to miss being able to hang out with her in person.
We are richer for having met them and having journeyed with them through both rough, and tranquil waters.
There is a sweet little girl missing from these family pictures.
In the short time Kya was with the Keens, she endeared herself to our hearts in an indescribable way. We miss Kya and we wonder what life would have been like if she had stayed here with us.
We said good-bye to her nearly a year ago, as she flew home to Jesus, and ended her suffering and sickness on earth. As we hugged her family and bid them farewell, just shy of a year later....the feeling was bitter sweet. We will miss them so much and a hole has been left in our lives that can't be filled over Skype. Yet we are thrilled for them as they embark on a new and exciting journey together.
The Keens made us feel like we were the most important people in their lives, and yet it was apparent they have a gift that way. They amaze me! After Carlton's Change of Command ceremony, they must have had fifty people over to their home in the midst of preparing for the movers to arrive the very next morning and pack up their house.  They made friends all over this area in the few, short years they spent here.
After everyone else left, we stayed and had dinner with them and helped them finish cleaning out their pantry, and a few other moving chores such as taking down the trampoline.....which somehow managed to find its way home with us. :)
The kids and the dads played one last game of baseball together while Tracy settled down in the shade of a big, beautiful tree in the back yard and allowed Natalie, Christine, and me to shoot a video of her sharing the entire story of their adoption of Kya and the short time they had with her in their home. This adoption story included powerful and amazing things that only God could weave into a an experience as sweet and painful as theirs.
I wandered around with my camera, documenting the visitors that came to say good-bye to our precious friends that day.
These pictures are for them....their keepsakes...and memories of the many people who love them and will be missing them here on the west coast.
It was a gorgeous, spring day, and so nice to be able to visit outside as we enjoyed the delicious (gluten free) pizzas!
Noah and Levi have a very special bond with Colton. I'm sure there will be many gifts of their amazing Ninja Turtle drawings making their way through the mail for the next few years.
We are going to miss gathering in that kitchen!
So many memories were made there.
Farewell, dear friends!
May God richly bless you as you continue to follow Him on this journey called life.


  1. Wow Jana, so beautiful. I know this, as you also do, good friends like this are a huge blessing and never to be taken for granted. In this day and age they are far and few between. What a blessing to have a sweet family like this to call friend. : ) Sooooooo precious! What a lovely get-together too.

    xo amelia

    1. Thank you, Amelia. You are so right about that! We have shed a lot of tears over saying good-bye to them, and we're grateful to have some quality friends like them in our lives. It's worth the pain of saying good-bye, to have such authentic friends. As soon as we got in the car to drive home, our ten year old son burst into tears.....and then our eight year old....and pretty soon our teen-age girls, and their mom were all sobbing and talking about all the memories we made and how much we will miss doing things with our dear friends. :) We are blessed to have a reason to grieve and thankful for the ability to keep in touch over the miles with Skype and this blog. Love and (((hugs))) to you, sweet lady! <3