Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer 2014

So, the last time we wrote a blog was a few months ago, and there are quite a few reasons for that... we have enjoyed a wonderful but incredibly busy summer, and I can't believe it's over, and we fit so much fun into such a short period of time!  Here's a brief recap of the highlights, and we hope that as we get back into a regular routine, it will also include regular blogging. :)

Julie's parents arrived the first week of June right in time for Justin's kindergarten graduation!

 We are so proud of Justin as he continues to grow in so many ways, and it was so special to have family here to celebrate together.  Justin was also a ringbearer in a wedding!  Some dear friends got married and we had a wonderful time celebrating their marriage... and I think our boys are pretty handsome when they get dressed up. :)

Next we celebrated Noah's 4th birthday!  Noah continues to become such a fun and creative boy... we are so thankful for the constant smiles and laughter he brings to our family. 
A few days after Julie's parents left, we reconnected with a very special friend from our time in the Philippines!  We were very close friends with Mami and her family, and she was one of Justin's first babysitters. :)  Mami is now about to graduate from college in Tokyo, and she came to Okinawa with a mutual missionary friend, Andrea, who lives in Osaka.  We had an amazing time showing them Okinawa and reconnecting.

 And then a few days after Mami and Andrea left, I (Julie) flew to Denver for a week! My sister, Jessica, got married, and it was such an incredible blessing to be with them. I know I'm biased because she's my sister, but it really was the most beautiful and meaningful wedding I have ever been to.  It was such a gift to spend time with family and friends in the beautiful mountains, and we're so excited for Jessica and Andy and their future adventures together!

The same day I left for Denver more of our dear friends from the Philippines came to Okinawa... but not just to visit - to stay! Jana has been a close friend ever since we moved to the Philippines in 2006.  We traveled to South Africa together, were Seminary students together, and worked together on different NYI projects.  Last year she married Anderson (who of course is our friend because he married Jana) and as they were looking at where God wanted them after seminary, we suggested they apply to become teachers at OCSI.  After months of praying (well, years really, but that's another story), the school hired them, their visas were approved, and they arrived in Japan! Their apartment wasn't ready when they got here, so they got to stay with us for 2 weeks.  We had a wonderful time showing them some of the island and reconnecting.  But we're even more excited that we get to live in the same place!  Even though they are working full-time at OCSI, they will also be involved in our church, and we will meet regularly to pray together about what God is doing around us. 
And next... a week after Jana and Anderson moved into their apartment, Brian's parents and brother came for a visit!  It was so great for the boys (and us!) to see both grandparents in the same summer.  It was also Justin's (Brian's brother) first time to come to Okinawa, so again we had a great time showing him the island and spending time together. 
Oh yeah, and we had Vacation Bible School at church while they were here... never a dull moment in the Woolery house! 

So, after 2 months of guests, emotions of reconnecting and saying goodbye, keeping up with church responsibilities, and LOTS of eating out and being tourists, Brian and I are ready to get back into our crazy, but normal, routine.  But after we said goodbye to Brian's family, Noah's first question was, "Who's coming next?".  I'm so thankful that God gives our children flexibility and perspective... the gifts of a guest room and time with family and friends are MUCH more important than routine and schedules... every day is a gift, and we're thankful for the days of this summer. :)