Have You Seen? {June 10, 2018}

Welcome to Have You Seen? We’ll review last week and share other posts from around the web. Enjoy rest and renewal while you cozy up for some soul-food reading.

Last Week’s Theme: Furlough

10 Things to Remember on Furlough by Jenilee Goodwin—”The story of your vegetable stand friend, the moment you first greeted someone in a new language, the last prayer with a neighbor before you flew out, the house crawling with geckos and your fears that ants will take over while you are on furlough… those stories matter. The hot days in the sun, the long hours sitting without understanding, the culture battles, the paperwork… those stories matter too. Even if no one asks about them or seems to care one way or the other, your story matters.”

Four Themes in North and South {Book Club} by Amy Young—”I have known a small handful of people who had a fairly serious faith crisis while on the field (and we have written about it before too!). Like Mr. Hale, it is one thing to have a faith disorientation or shift, but when you are in full time ministry, it can be isolating, especially confusing, and costly. As I said, I’m curious to see how this theme unfolds.”

What to Expect on Fulough + {Biscuits} and Sausage Gravy by Ashley Felder—”Furloughs are tricky. For people like us, we look forward to some rest, seeing loved ones, eating foods we can’t get or recreate, and not having to rely on our dictionary to get us through a conversation. This time around, after a particularly rough (read: smoggy) winter and spring, I can’t wait to glue my eyes to the sky. I’m sure people will think I’m a weirdo taking pictures of every sunset, but I don’t care. Blue skies and puffy clouds shall not be taken for granted again!”

The Only Sure Thing by Elizabeth Pflederer—”Sam and I said it in the car one night, on the way to dinner with friends. ‘It’s a different kind of hard to go back than it is to go the first time.’ We can name the things we’ll miss. We can picture the things we’ll fear. We can remember the things we’ll misunderstand. This time, we know what we’re not ready for. It takes a courage I don’t feel yet to step back into a hard, known thing.”

How to Welcome Her Back for the First Time {The Grove: Furlough} by Amy Young—”I wasn’t there—yet—but I love to hear the stories of my family waiting for me to deplane after my first year in China. They were able to wait at the gate and had arrived in plenty of time. I didn’t know it, but my sister Laura had flown in from Minnesota so the entire family was waiting for me. As they waited with helium balloons for me to exit, my family entertained themselves by tying the balloons to Laura’s nose ring, a small hoop, cracking themselves up.”

From Around the Web

Ask a Counselor: is it a failure, or is it a growth opportunity?

10 Things to Expect When You Take TCKs “Home” 

An Enlightening Chat Between a Christian and Two Buddhist Monks

And Now for Next Week

The theme is….

We might have the same blood running through our veins, or the bond might have been forged through the trials of rainy season and dengue fever, holidays as the only expats or the joy of worship in a multitude of languages.

They are the ones who pick us up when we stumble and fall, who sit with us at the hospital in another country while we wait for test results, the ones who know we love Dr. Pepper and search through all the stores to find it.

They might not share our skin color, and we might have to use hand motions to get our point across, but they are also the ones who feed and clothe us and assure us that we belong.


Oh, this word can bring up such a variety of emotions, can’t it? Joy and sorrow, frustration and pain. This week we are exploring the beauty and messiness of all that family means. You are more than welcome here, as you bring your comments and experiences. Come join us at The Grove this week! Share your family with us on Instagram using the hashtag #VelvetAshesFamily. We can’t wait to see all this theme brings to the surface!

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