Sunday, September 5, 2010

Joyful Hearts, Teary Eyes, Full Bellies

*I'm editing to add this photo, which I LOVE! I hope it's OK. I "borrowed" it from our sweet friend.

I've put it off long enough. It's now time to face it: Caelyn leaves in less than twelve hours. My mind has been flooded with many thoughts about this decision that took months to reach, but I've been unable to organize them into a blog post. Really, it would take several blog posts, so I'll just offer the bottom line up front.

While most are still sleeping tomorrow morning (at least, those in the western hemisphere), we will be taking Caelyn to the airport to embark on a new adventure. She'll spend the next three months helping friends of ours in Alaska. Craig and I wrestled with the decision, taking every minute of the time allotted to weigh the idea. In the end, despite the deep sadness we'll feel as we bid her farewell, we've concluded that it is a good decision to allow her to go and serve this young family.

I've tried to imagine what it'll be like to get up every morning and not hear her greeting; to not see her laughing and chatting as she and Morgan prepare lunch each day; to not ask her to drive to the store for me; to not hear her insight during our Bible time; to not see her beautiful face, or consult with her on dinner ideas, or ask her fashion advice, or see her reading on her bed. I simply cannot imagine daily experiencing her absence for three months. Still, we agree that this venture will be mutually beneficial, and we trust God to continue the good work He has begun in each of us during this temporary separation.

Since our sewing machine has finally arrived from Moçambique ("Somebody say, 'Yeeaaaaahhh!'"), I wanted to make something for her to take. Last year when my "little" cousin, Courtney, left for college, I came up with an idea to make a Fledgling Flight Kit. In Courtney's case, this included a laundry bag, journal, Starbucks gift card, and something else that escapes my memory at the moment.

Since Caelyn's "flight" pattern will differ from Courtney's, I just made her a laundry bag. I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't finish it in time for Amy's Sew & Tell, but I'll just link it up next Friday. Anyway, I couldn't remember exactly how I made the last laundry bag, so I did a bit of improv. I'm pleased with the result, and I have to toot my horn for having such a productive morning yesterday. All three girls had spent the night with Craig's parents, so Craig, the boys, and I started our day on the trail with Rhodes. I managed to get in a trail run, shower, wash my hair, sew a laundry bag, and assemble broccoli salad all in time to make it to Craig's family reunion in the afternoon!

Black/White/Red is one of Caelyn's favorite color combinations. Score! (She loved it.)

I wasn't the only one laboring for Caelyn this weekend. Grandma and Pap had their own contribution to the farewell process: Smiles.

Yummy, sweet, chocolate chip smiles

Succulent homemade barbeque smiles

Delectable shrimp/pasta salad smiles (courtesy of Grandma)

Grilled, marinated chicken smiles

Spicey, cheesey, oozey smiles

In addition to yummy food, we had our hearts and minds nourished with some good family discussions on the deck.

Graham was pretty tired, but he listened intently as Dad and the girls talked.

Morgan is going to miss having her best friend around; but I know that she'll do a wonderful job of taking on the role of the oldest child until Caelyn returns.

Part of our discussion time involved listening to an encouraging song by Third Day and looking at photos on the computer.

After our fabulous dinner with Grandma and Pap, we all reminisced of funny stories of the children when they were small. The years have passed too quickly, but I'm grateful for the blessing of being wife to Craig and mother to these amazing children! Please pray for us tomorrow morning if you think of it. We'll be missing Caelyn.


  1. You will be in our prayers. Blessings to Caelyn on her new adventure!

  2. It is truly bittersweet when the children we have raised to be confident and capable, leave us to go be confident and capable. You will miss her but you will all be fine. Best wishes to Caelyn. How the time has flown!

  3. THAT APRON!!! WOW!!! I love it! I've had my eye on that fabric for an eternity! I need to just go buy it. Link up next Friday. Our weeks start on Saturday :)

  4. Oh, Dayna! I know that you are so sad, but what an awesome honor for this new family - to have Caelyn in their home and ministering to them. What a joyous thing to partake in! Please keep us updated (Alaska?! Sounds dreamy!). And, on another note, did you get my email by chance? About possibly sitters? If not, I'll resend! Much love to the Whitlocks!

  5. oops! I meant laundry bag! I was so excited to leave you a comment that I didn't realize it was a laundry bag. that is the COOLEST laundry bag I've ever seen!

  6. Praying for you all as you say goodbye to your oldest!! My oldest is now fifteen and I often (o.k. way too often) think about the fact that she will leave us one day. It is difficult but I know you are comforted by the fact that Caelyn is a godly young woman who will do His will wherever she may be. God bless and congratulations on raising a daughter for Him!

  7. OK, I am crying like a baby, she was just baby(and so were you, I might add!) But what a firm foundation you have given her to go out into the world! We are all blessed that you have raised such beautiful intelligent,creative loving wonderful children. This gift will be shared with the world for many many years to come. You followed God's plan, and trusted His word, now He will take care of the rest. I love you and I am so very proud of you and yours!
    Love and best wishes to Caelyn,

  8. Dayna you and Craig have done and are doing an excellent job (ministry) with the family HE has entrusted to you. You are examples for not only those who are your peers but also to those who are your parents. We are grateful as Craig's parents that God is faithful and His plans and purposes will continue through your wonderful family. Caelyn will be missed during this time but she will gain so much to share with all of you. I know we will miss her and were blessed to share time with the three daughters. Their maturity is remarkable and speaks of who they are in the LORD. God has shown us His grace and mercy through His faithfulness. To God be the glory.
    We love you all!
    Mom Whitlock

  9. Oh, my Dear Friend! I cannot help but get teary-eyed reading your grateful that we got to see Caelyn on Friday and spend time with you guys...hopefully, we will be able to fellowship, soon. I love your family, I truly do! We will be praying for your girl...and for all of you as the Lord leads, guides and teaches many lessons over these next 3 months. Hugs to you, Dayna! Love, Sue

  10. What a sweet story! Wishing her the very best on her new adventure. And she has a very cute new laundry bag:)