Usually when we're on the East Coast we pretty much rely on Skype, phones and email for contact with our family, but this semester we're really lucky: our cousins came through with their three kids, and now my mom is here.
Our cousins, Andy and Serenity, are traveling around in an RV with their three kids (age 5 and under), learning about different homeless ministries and joining in where they can. A little over a year ago they felt called to start selling their stuff, sell their house, buy an RV, and travel around the country this way. It sounds like it's been a great experience for them and their family, although of course with its challenges along the way. Check out the website for their non-profit, Mustard Seed Ministries. Also, check out pictures of them while they were here on my husband Joel's photo blog (and while you're there browse his other AMAZING photos!). In addition to having fun hanging out together, their kids entertaining our son, and playing Settlers, we were able to give each other some much-needed date nights.
Now my mom is here, and will be until we all go home for Christmas. It's so great to have her here! She'll be here while Joel goes to Israel/Palestine with Christian Peacemaker Teams in just over a week, and then with us while we experience the longest, most excruciating whirlwind, aka Finals Week.
It's so easy to take family for granted when we're at home, but when we're here, having the gift of family is magnified way more. (Hopefully it makes us appreciate family all the more while we're at home, too!)
But isn't it amazing that we have technology that can keep us in touch, too? In the last week I talked to my dad for a long time on his birthday, talked to my grandparents over Skype, Joel and I helped his parents fix a computer problem (mostly Joel, but he was driving so I acted as the intermediary), and communicated with my other grandparents through email and blog comments. Imagine living on the other side of the country a century ago, when it would take a week just to get a letter back and forth, or before that when it could have taken months or longer! We are definitely blessed, or at least our options are greater while still staying connected. (I'm reading a book called Angle of Repose about a woman who moved to California at the end of the 19th century and had hardly any contact with her friends and community, so I guess that's why that's on my mind!)