Living in Belgium just after college is a huge piece of my story. I knew without a doubt that God was calling me there and even now, almost 14 years later, He’s still using things from those 5 short months in my life. A lot of what Nell says below is true. I learned quickly what “framily” was… I have an extra little brother and a little sister (who was one of my bridesmaids) that I didn’t know would be a part of the deal ;-) And my girls have “cousins” and extra sets of aunts and uncles that aren’t blood related because of that experience.
But I think the biggest thing from that time is the part it has played in my marriage. Ben was a missionary kid in Paraguay for his first 18 years of life and since I’m so close with Butch and Nell and their kids, I had a better understanding of what Ben’s life was like growing up and what his relationships with his own “framily” was like.
So… enjoy this guest post from Nell. And check out Threads by Nomad when you’ve finished reading!
We have used the word “framily” a lot this holiday season. Because our work had us living all over the world, friends and colleagues in the places where we lived became our family. We celebrated holidays together. We marked our birthdays with special gatherings. We helped take care of each other when needs arrived. We became family. My children have more aunts and uncles than you can imagine. Aunts and uncles that they keep up with and love just as though they were blood related. Even though we only have two children, Sis and B have big brothers and big sisters. Over the years, young men and women came and worked with us for a period of time. They too quickly learned what it meant to be “framily”. They have participated in weddings, call their children “cousins” and leaned on their big brothers and sisters when times are hard. They have many memories of “family night” sitting around a bowl of popcorn, playing spoons, or a crazy card game “Rage”. And there are memories of meeting the future spouses of these young people who came into our lives. Sometimes it seemed they were as nervous as if we were the future in-laws!
One member of our “framily” is Sabrina Fields. When we first knew Sabrina she was not a professional photographer. She came to work with us in Brussels, Belgium and began taking pictures of the beauty around her and quickly found a love. Her talent was obvious. When the time came, there was no question that Sabrina would be the photographer for both of our children’s weddings. My favorite photos from those days show the dresses I made for each of the girls. Sis’s flows in the breeze, light and airy, just like she wanted for her beach wedding (which you can see HERE). Celeste’s twirled just like she wanted for her garden wedding (which you can see HERE). Sabrina also did a couple of fun shoots with us at our home in South Carolina and of Butch and myself once when we visited her in Greenville. And as appropriate for “framily” she captured our grandchildren not long after each of them were born.
We have a “gallery” in our upstairs hallway of our favorite photos Sabrina has captured. Perhaps my favorite is the canvas of our family at Sis’s wedding. Ms. Lydia, the children’s grandmother, passed away not many months later. It was our last extended time with her.
Although… I do love the one of us and our granddaughter Ava! Of the most recent pictures though, I told Butch that we should get a canvas of the one with B and Jack with their tongues out. It is so very typical of B’s fun nature. Like father, like son!
The shoot was supposed to include our daughter, Sis, and her husband, David but unfortunately illness kept them away that day. Aside from a time we when can have the WHOLE family together for pictures, my next desire is for some photos of just Sis and me. We are very close and people say we look alike, but I would also love to share them on Threads by Nomad.
Sabrina, we love you. We love the precious family God has given you. (Ben was one of the nervous boyfriends who had to meet us and be questioned heavily about his intentions!) And we love your talent. Thank you for being “framily”.