Summer vacation is finally here -- yes, the kids have only now gotten out of school for the summer. Summer break is much shorter here in Japan, and because its between semesters (the school year begins in April) the kids are loaded up with homework as well. Every year just about this time my children and I are on our way home to Colorado to visit my family. We have been blessed for these past several years to be able to spend almost the entire break lounging around my parents home, visiting with family and old friends. But this year is different. This is the first time in my 18 years of being in Japan that I won't see my family in over a year. Its not an easy concept for me to grasp. My parents aren't getting any younger and precious time with my sister, niece and her babes is rare enough as it is. I'm not sure I'm going to survive the summer without them. I'm a bit homesick.
Studio Gypsy has a new line of goodies called Shrine of the Times. I'd never heard of a personal shrine before but once I learned more about it I understood what they are. According to Kay Marie Porterfield, a "Shrines serve as a way of deep journaling using images and symbols rather than words." I made this shrine to homesickness called Time Flies in about 20 minutes. I guess you could say I was inspired.
This next page is a photo of my friend's daughter in her beautiful kimono, celebrating 7 years old. The papers and elements are from Flowers of the Orient. What an appropriate name for this beautiful young lady as well.
Did I mention that I'm making an album for my daughter about her pet cat? Our relationship with this lovely little creature started out very wonderfully. But after we moved into our new complex, she was no longer allowed to roam freely outside. She went crazy being cooped up inside all the time and caused a lot of unpleasant problems for our family. Unfortunately, we had to give her away. Even though that was years ago, my daughter is just now feeling the loss again. She understands why Tori had to go, but that doesn't make the sadness disappear. The other night we were looking at some old photos and she saw one of Tori all dressed up in baby doll clothes. My daughter was amazed that Tori would "let" her do that. I explained to my daughter that Tori didn't just let it happen, that she loved every minute of it. This cat was so tolerant of my daughter's play rituals with her. Its almost like she felt a bit human and was intent on playing right along. I told my daughter, "Don't you know. She loved you too!" Well, that opened up the waterworks for my daughter and I decided then that she needed to know just how much Tori loved her too. So this is yet another page in the "She Loved You Too" series.
This last page is of my great-nephew, a few summers ago.
Ahh summer. I should be on a plane right now, heading home....