Thank you to all the friends and neighbors who have been celebrating with us all week .
We leave on Tuesday, March 29th on mighty wings of support and so much love!
So many of you have asked how we are doing….a note below to Gordon’s cousin Glee in Sacramento, California tells the tale:
"Dear Cousin Glee:
If you ever need to feel LOVED and APPRECIATED just announce that you're UP and LEAVING to China for Three Years!
I've never been the center of attention like this before! My 'forced' retirement departure has caused quite the stir at church, and with friends, family and neighbors. Because I directed the Cherub Choir for 18 years and have been the Director of Children's Ministries for 10 years, young adults from 26 on down were invited to come and 'Sing to Mrs. Johnson' this past Sunday. There were over 120 sweet faces who smiled & regaled me with a custom medley about "Friends" including the theme song from the TV show "Friends,"
"Lean on Me" and of course, "Jesus Loves Me." My tag line after a children's chat in church has been "...and they all went off to Sunday School," so the song ended with children's voices saying "...and off she went to China! We love you, Mrs. Johnson!"
Yes, that put me in a puddle.
The special coffee hour, designed by my partner, Kathy, included a 'kiddie table' where my little guys made me kite-shaped cards and then stood in line to present them to me. My special request, a member who played the accordion, made it fun & festive, there were speeches, cake, a gift, plaque, and so many hugs and misty-eyes.
Right beside me, holding my hand, was Gordon, your cousin and my dear husband of nearly 35 years. While lending support to his overwhelmed wife he too was acknowledged and presented with a gift for his 13 years on the Administration and Finance committee. That short sentence does not express adequately all the labor involved in serving on a committee that oversees (very democratically, in the Presbyterian tradition, of course,) a corporation the
size of our church. He has made an impact with his hard work, integrity, calm demeanor and I am very proud.
To keep the emotion-packed buzz going for the rest of the day and into the night, Gordon and I hosted an open house for forty neighbors & friends. Even “Mary the Mail Lady” arrived! A slideshow of our recent trip to Nanjing, and our soon-to-be condominium, looped in the living room as we ate, drank and answered questions. The word "adventure" floated through the air in every room.
Garrett was promised support from each guest as he will be the 'keeper of the plantation' within a week and he is ready for the challenge!
More warm hugs and misty-eyes ensued. It was a very memorable first day of Spring 2011. Now it's time to get cracking and get to the packing!
Next stop, China!