Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Baby, It's Cold Outside"


I don't know 'bout y'all, but I am SO ready for winter to be over. Doesn't help that our car heater isn't quite up to the task. Even if we go somewhere two hours away, it never heats up. So we keep one fleece blanket in the car. And lately I've been taking another one along as well. 'Cause one just doesn't cut it when it's below zero.

Been taking that second blanket along way too much lately!

Our son spent part of the afternoon setting us up with the things we need on our new computer. And now hubby's having a lot of fun learning to navigate his way around a Mac. We'll both have to re-learn some things. But it will be worth it! We're pretty excited about things we can do on a Mac that weren't possible (or else very difficult) on the PC.

Like putting together 30 second video *updates* we can send to prayer supporters. Won't that be way cooler than a plain old e-mail?!

And that built-in camera/video function means that once we're in Argentina, we can SEE our kids and not simply just talk to them on the phone. That makes me so happy I could...well, do a little dance. Or maybe a whole hoedown! :-)

I went through my fabric stash today, just laying a bunch out on the couch and contemplating which pieces I should use for the background on the memory quilt. And spent time talking with hubby, brainstorming ideas for what would work best. He has a good eye for color and design and takes a real interest in my projects. [No ladies, he's not for rent.]

It's been four months since hubby quit his job to *do* deputation full-time. After a few months of being together 24/7 we have reached the point of critical mass (Critical Mass:[Origin: 1940–45]Function: noun. 1. A size, number, or amount large enough to produce a particular result) and have worked out a deal for him to give me a little breathing space. Now I love, love, love my husband. But I'm one of those people who needs *alone time* periodically. Didn't realize quite how much until I didn't have it for a Really. Really. Really. Long. Time.

With us together so much, and him doing most of the driving, we just realized today that the car was WAAAAY overdue for an oil change. Since I haven't been driving much, I haven't noticed the mileage. Without even thinking about it, I abdicated responsibility for car care and gave it over to him. Problem is, I forgot to tell him. So he's thinking I'm still taking care of it, and I'm thinking he can handle it instead.

So we'll just combine my need for some alone time and the car's need for an oil change and hubby will go take care of that tomorrow. Works for me!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

African Memory Quilt Under Construction

If it's Tuesday, it must be quilting day :-) Since I'd finished the rag quilt over the weekend, I was ready to start the African memory quilt. I decided to "weave" green fabric with the brown bark cloth from Uganda to create a new piece of fabric. Looked a lot easier on "Simply Quilts" so what I thought would be a fairly quick project took most of the day. The bark cloth is even rougher than burlap and it kept snagging on the cotton fabric that I'd ripped into strips. But the end product looked great!

Hubby printed out an outline of the African continent that I copied onto transparency so I could project it onto the wall and enlarge it sufficiently. My Africa is 21 inches wide and 25 inches long. I'm very pleased with how it came out. I did sew all around the edge to anchor the fabric and keep it from unweaving (is that a word?).

Next up is a stylized African woman with a basket or pot on her head. The plan is to put Africa on the left of the quilt and the woman on the right. Several batiks will *float* in the middle of the quilt.

I dug out a small knick-knacky thing I picked up in Uganda: a man and woman on a bike, with the woman holding a pig. It stands about 5 inches high and is probably 8" wide. The people and pig are fashioned from fabric and paper mache and the bike from some sort of metal. It's too small to really display (gets sort of *lost* on the shelf) but I thought it would be a great addition to the quilt. I'm going to sew/glue (or something) it so it looks like the couple are riding into Africa :-)

I'm having way too much fun with this!

And now here's the second letter we sent home from Uganda:

July 2001
Hey all! I am going to try to send an update weekly, but that may change as we get busier. For now I'm enjoying the slower pace that comes with being new kid on the block :-) Ivan hasn't been so fortunate. He's got just a couple weeks to learn the ropes from Mark before they leave on furlough and this week Ivan's fighting a bad head/chest cold.

We're getting to know some of the kids. On Sunday evening we were invited to share the evening meal with one of the Family Groups. They prepared quite a feast for us: metoke (steamed cooking bananas), dodo (fried greens), rice, beans, meat sauce, peanut sauce, and grilled chunks of pork. Since they usually eat posho (cooked corn meal) or metoke with beans, it was a treat for them as well. We also sang (the Ugandans love to sing!) and played a game. It was a lot of fun. One of the girls, Sarah, is in 7th grade and plans to attend a vocational course in cooking/catering. She's already getting plenty of practice! The kids in each family group take turns helping with meal preparation. They work in groups of 4 or 5 to cook for the whole unit (usually around 25).

And yesterday I got to help fry chipotees (flat bread) for a gathering. First I watched Mama Daisy mix a whole bag of flour with other ingredients, and spend about ten minutes kneading this massive thing of dough. She gradually worked through it, forming little balls, which she then rolled out and we fried. Very tasty, but not exactly a diet food! Close to 30 kids came over for the evening. After some volleyball they played a spirited game of crab soccer with a huge inflated beach ball. The ball died about 15 minutes into the game, but before it did the kids had a great time crawling on hands and feet like crabs while trying to kick the ball. After the meal we sat and shared. A very special time.

Ivan came home from Kampala yesterday a bit discouraged. The city is so dirty, with sewage in the streets, cracked and crumbling sidewalks and buildings, huge potholes in the road...But it's not surprising when you remember the country had civil strife for about twenty years, and that wasn't so long ago.

Kasana Children's Center, in contrast, seems an oasis of peace and abundance. All of the family groups and some staff families have gardens, there's a poultry farm on site, most family groups are also raising rabbits or some type of meat animal, and everyone makes an effort to keep the place neat and clean. This is not typical. On our first day here we stopped at a fruit and vegetable stand. We bought some small bananas to eat right away and when we asked where to put the peels, they just pointed to the ground. Sure enough, the ground was littered with peels and other vegetable refuse.

There are many ongoing projects that Ivan will be overseeing. The newest family unit still has work to be done on it: cisterns to be dug, three of the round houses need grass roofs, the electricity needs to be extended out there...They're breaking ground on an administration building on secondary side next week. A duplex which will serve as Ugandan staff housing is under construction. The cafeteria at secondary school needs some work, and they'll also be installing three wood stoves for cooking. Plus a myriad of smaller things. Certainly no lack of work! We'd appreciate your prayers for Ivan as he gets a handle on all the ongoing projects, and learns how to prioritize his time.

Tina is going to be helping teach third grade math. She went today for the first time and was happy to discover they're using Saxon math and that's what she used in third grade! She's had fun hanging out with the missionary kids, running errands and finding things to do. Like building a bird cage for the two birds they caught -- but alas, the birds escaped before they could take advantage of their lovely new home. We did, however, get a photograph of Tina with the African emerald cuckoo before it made its untimely getaway. She's also excited to be getting a tan. Well, it will be a tan after the burn fades :-)

Three Thursdays a month we'll meet with other new staff for a Bible study; the entire staff is gradually working through a series called MasterLife. On the fourth Thursdays everyone gets together for a time of worship and sharing. Tonight will be our first Bible study because last Thursday was fellowship night.

We were glad to hear from Jon that he'd arrived safely in Argentina and was excited about his time there. He did say he wished everyone would talk a little slower :-) We're sure by the end of the month, his language skills will be much improved. We're glad he has this opportunity and we're SO thankful for the friends in Argentina who are helping him.

Several of you expressed concern about Ivan attending the men's retreat on secondary side, where large pythons have been known to swallow whole calves. Well, rest assured that he'll be safe. They've decided NOT to camp, but just go over Friday evening and all day Saturday, but spend nights in their own homes. Anyway, they tell us they've never lost a staff to snake bite yet. Snake swallowing I don't know about.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Quiet Saturday in Rural America

The tip of my index finger is numb due to scissor stress. From snipping every 1/4 inch on 1,332 inches of open seams. But IT IS FINISHED! Hubby now has a cozy rag quilt to snuggle under when it's cold.

Now for the next project: an African memory wall quilt. The plan is to incorporate a few batiks we brought back from Uganda, along with various African themed fabrics I've been collecting. Oh, and some bark cloth we brought back, too. Royalty wears clothing made from bark cloth for special occasions. And the dead are typically wrapped in bark cloth for burial.

So that's what I'll be starting on Tuesday when I get together with my buds for our weekly sewing fest.

And if that's not enough excitement for the third day of the week, our new Macbook arrives Tuesday! YEAH! This computer keeps turning off with no warning. Sometimes I can't get it to stay on for more than five minutes. I turn it on, it turns itself off. I turn it back on, it turns off. Again and again. Very hard to get anything done when that happens. Technology is a wonderful thing --

Today was a really nice day to just hang out at home. Finished the quilt. Did a little housework. Took a bubble bath. Re-read a Mrs. Pollifax book. Tried not to think about all the traveling over the next few days. But looking forward to Tuesday with a kid-waiting-for-Christmas-kind-of-anticipation.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Uganda Revisited

The upcoming trip that some bloggers are taking to Uganda prompted me to go back and re-read the e-mail updates I sent home during our year there.
I decided to start systematically posting those e-mails. I know my kids will enjoy reading them again, and maybe others will be interested as well. I'll try to post a couple each week until they're all online.
The e-mails served as my journal and are pretty lengthy. We didn't have the luxury of spending a lot of time on editing but they do give a pretty accurate picture of our life in Africa. :-)

July 2001
This is to let you know that we got here! And God has truly blessed. We know many were praying about the luggage and the airlines let us check through both the extra suitcase and the box with solar panel AT NO EXTRA CHARGE! Praise the Lord.

We had a good trip (although VERY long) and arrived Friday evening, June 22. The first part of the trip was overnight, but on the second half (from Brussels to Entebbe) we had incredible scenery. We saw the Alps poking through clouds, and Italy was clear of cloud cover and we could see towns, small hills, lakes and rivers...Just beautiful! The first sight of Africa was breathtaking. The sand is RED! Then it washed out to a white as we got further inland, like someone bleached it. After crossing Libya and going over Egypt, it turned brown...and stayed brown for hours! We were just starting to see some green when it got dark.

We spent Friday night in a hotel near the airport, and got picked up Saturday morning. The missionaries don't waste trips, so we spent a good part of the day shopping in Kampala on the way to New Hope. I can't begin to describe all we saw and experienced. When we arrived at New Hope, many came out to greet us -- too many to remember all the names!

Our first service at Kasana Community Church Sunday was quite an introduction to Africa! An hour worshipping in song, along with keyboard, guitar and African drums followed by an hour sharing God's Word. We were blessed by the installation of five new deacons, godly men who are involved in ministry in this community, using their gifts in His service.

Ivan's enjoying his job but with Mark down with malaria this week, he's been a bit confused about what is going on. Hopefully by the time Mark leaves on furlough, Ivan will have enough background info to carry on the work efficiently. Mostly it seems he'll be doing a lot of trouble-shooting, keeping various projects going and the crews supplied with materials and instructions.

This week there is a crew here putting in another bore hole well. There were three wells, but two kept drying up. Since villagers from miles around come here for water, another deep well will be a blessing. I guess they were here a few years ago, but were unsuccessful that time in finding water. This time they hit water at 65' but continued going down to about 80'.

We're in temporary housing and it will be a few weeks before we get into our own house. The houses are comfortable but not fancy. They're brick with cement floors and metal roofs. Other missionary wives cleaned and prepared the house for us, and they have been very gracious in answering my questions and helping us adjust to life here.

We have a cistern where rainwater is collected during the rainy season, and each day a young man comes and pumps some of it up into our tank in the attic, so we have water that's gravity fed into the kitchen and bath. Yes, we have flush toilets! The same young man carries drinking water from the bore hole well, which we filter before drinking.

I met Mama Daisy, the Ugandan woman who will be my house help after Mark leaves. She speaks fairly good English. If I tried to do the housework by myself, I'd never get anything else done. Plus all the cooking is from scratch and clothes are washed by hand. Also it is a cultural thing. If we didn't have someone in to help, the Ugandans would think we were stuck up, too good to have an African in our home. I'm hoping Mama Daisy will be able to help us learn some of the language. So far our vocabulary consists of the appropriate greeting and response, plus 'thank you' and 'you're welcome'.

Some of the kids we've met have already made an impression on us...
Buzimungu: about 19 years old, he's in secondary school and quite industrious
Chondya: has already earned enough to buy land and started building his house, which is a few feet high (building is done slowly, as he has the money to buy more blocks). He plans to be in his house by fall, and will finish secondary school the next year.
Nampenda: a beautiful young woman who helps with the babies. She leaves Friday for a job with an orphanage in Jinja.
Lydia: a young woman with a gentle spirit and kind heart. She's in secondary school, and helps a missionary family with their children.
Meg: who is shy but has a beautiful smile.

New missionaries are treated to a week of meals with various staff which gives us a good opportunity to get to know folks. Last evening we had dinner with Michael and Margaret, who have been here for ten years. Michael heads up the agricultural program and Margaret teaches the preschoolers. They have four children and adopted a fifth. Michael is from eastern Uganda and met Pastor Jonnes (the head of New Hope) at a conference he attended while still on staff with Youth With A Mission. Michael is one of the newly appointed deacons at Kasana Community Church.

Most staff live on this side of the road where the church and primary school are located. A couple years ago they began clearing brush across the road to make room for a secondary school and more staff housing. Several large pythons have been killed on that side (one 12 foot python swallowed a calf whole!) and there are also cobras and green and black mambas. We plan to spend as much time as possible on the "primary" side. :-)

Last evening we went to the monthly staff fellowship. We've been really impressed by the staff. They have such a heart for this ministry. Close to 70 of us crowded into the guest house dining room, and we shared in singing and worship. Next weekend the men are having a retreat. Since they can't really leave New Hope without any male presence, they're just setting up tents across the road in the secondary compound. Although Ivan's not overly fond of sleeping in tents, he is looking forward to getting to know the men better and the time of fellowship.

Currently a work team from Iowa is here, with more scheduled from the U.S. and U.K. over the next few months. So for those interested in serving, there are always teams coming and we'll hook you up with the guy who oversees that. Since we'll probably be here through next August, it would be great to have some familiar faces from home come and join us for a while :-)

Malaria is a real problem right now, and many are ill. We didn't bring enough malaria medicine with us and are hoping to get more sent over with the team coming in early July. We appreciate all your prayers!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another Quilting Tuesday

Snip, snip, snip.
That's how I spent my morning, snipping away at the open seams on the lap quilt I'm making for my husband. When I'm done snipping I'll wash and dry it a couple of times, to really fluff out those seams for a nice "rag" look.
But all this snipping is rough on your scissor fingers, so frequent breaks are necessary.
Breaks to eat brownies, watch HGTV, and catch up on my favorite blogs. Preferably all at the same time. I can do this, because I am a ninja at multi-tasking when it comes to eating, watching TV and surfing the internet.
Only one of my quilting buddies made it out today and she had to leave early to take a child to the doctor. But since I set aside this day for quilting, I plan to use it for that. Of course there are many other things I could be doing, but this is what I want to be doing :-) 'Cause I really would like to give Ivan his birthday gift before another birthday rolls around.
That sort of thing has happened before. I started a quilt for my sister in January 2006 and two birthdays went by before she finally got it for Christmas last year.
And a quilt I gave my daughter for her 17th birthday I actually finished just before her 18th.
Probably not a good idea to make that a habit.
I'm pretty excited about looking for a new sewing machine. Or a new "refurbished" one. I've owned a few machines over the years and have never had one I liked. So I'm putting a lot of thought and research into this one. I'm not a "seamstress" at all. I only use it for quilting. So far only piecing, but I'd like to try my hand at machine quilting. I'm looking at Pfaffs with IDF (integrated dual feed) for that very reason.
I love hand quilting, but admit there are times when it would be nice to be able to use the machine.
Seems like that would help minimize the time it takes me to finish a quilt.
At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So whatever happened to Global Warming?

I was cold all day yesterday.
We left a little before 7 a.m. and the sign at the bank said it was -2 degrees. Brrrr!
Our car doesn't really heat up well, so I took not one, but TWO blankets for the trip. Didn't help as much as I'd have liked.
Got home a little after 9 p.m. IMMEDIATELY changed into my pajamas and robe, and left my long johns on underneath. Added a second pair of socks. Turned the mattress warming pad on my side up on HIGH. Added a fleece blanket. Ahhhhh, finally, I quit shivering and felt warm and toasty.
Honestly didn't want to get out of bed this morning.
A long, hot shower followed by multiple layers of clothing succeeded in making life-outside-bed bearable.
It helps knowing I'm not alone. Pretty much everyone out there is cold, even my southern friends. So while the entire country is experiencing a deep freeze, I'm left to ponder: Whatever happened to global warming?
Because it's not only cold right now, it's going to stay cold.
Bless my hubby, who did all the outside errands today so I didn't have to. Didn't even poke my nose out the door.
Said nose was too busy buried in the four drawer filing cabinet. Time to purge those files! It was beyond simple purging, though. I completely cleared out two of the drawers, making room for things previously housed in the other file cabinet.
It took all day but the job is done.
I am filled with a great sense of accomplishment.
And two garbage bags are filled with paperwork no longer needed or wanted.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thanks For The Memories

I spent the whole day working my way through five boxes of memorabilia accumulated over my lifetime. That's a long time!

I have to admit some things puzzled me. Why on earth did I save a lone earring? Or every Christmas card received over the last six years? And what gives with the jagged piece of wood?

Now I have neatly organized files for each year beginning when we were married (1979) and one really BIG file of stuff from before. If I ever get motivated I'll start scrapbooking. Maybe.

Despite looking at books and magazines on scrapbooking, I find myself paralyzed when trying to decide how to lay out a page. It.Takes.Me.All.Day. For one page! So it's a rather intimidating task that I keep putting off. I'd LIKE to scrapbook, I just don't want it badly enough to do anything about it.

But being of an optimistic nature, I'm hanging onto all this memorabilia in case one day I'll be inspired and actually do something with it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Creative Juices Are Running Again

Today was the first day in over a month that I got together with my quilting buddies. Good times! We all got something done on our on-going projects, had a great time catching up with what's been happening, and enjoyed munching our way through a loaf of blueberry orange bread and a pot of chicken tortilla soup. :-)

I haven't had time to do anything *creative* in a while, so it felt great to work on one of my quilts. Yes, I have several UFOs (unfinished fabric objects). I have one that's almost done except for some final hand quilting, one in the design stage, two tops that need to be quilted, and the one today is in the initial phase of sewing blocks together. Oh, and I had to finish cutting out the pieces first.

I've tried a lot of crafts over the years. Cross-stitch makes me cross-eyed. I'm completely inept when it comes to crochet or knitting (the last baby afghan I made was so heavy -- having used 16 skeins of yarn to finish -- that it can only be used for decorative purposes because it could maim a child with its weight). Anything requiring a glue gun is completely off-limits since Klutz is my middle name. And so it goes.

But quilting is a good fit. I prefer handwork, finding that moving the needle up-and-down, in-and-out is a great stress reliever. Plus my sewing machine is possessed by demons. Well, not really, but it does seem to have a mind of its own. Sort of like that car in the Stephen King movie. It especially seems to like chewing up my fabric and occasionally my fingers.

My hand stitching leaves something to be desired, since the length and evenness of my stitches depend on how tired I am. But since I do it for fun, who cares if they range from 8 stitches per inch to, oh, say, just 3?

And it's so infinitely satisfying to design something, choosing fabrics, colors, embellishments... I started out with very traditional quilting but have branched out in the last few years to try more artsy techniques. Like portrait quilts and a wall hanging based on a cubist style painting.

But today found me working on a very traditional pattern. It's for a lap-size rag quilt and I'm simply alternating four-patch blocks with big blocks of a novelty print. A fun, no brainer project :-)

But back to my sewing *sisters*. We always have so much fun together and while we have very different styles, we spur one another on. Whenever one of us is getting ready to start a new quilt, we brainstorm ideas, share fabrics, and help with cutting out on occasion (none of us likes that part). I LOVE my quilting buddies!

Monday, January 14, 2008

First Online Quiz

After checking out Linda's most recent post over at 2nd Cup of Coffee, I just had to do the quiz. It was my first online quiz! Admittedly, a few of the statements were ill-worded (Is that a word?) and I had trouble rating them (options were on the continuum from strongly disagree to strongly agree).

For example, the statement: "Justification by faith alone is the heart of the Gospel" gave me pause. Because although I think justification is a result of the Gospel, it is not at the heart of it. Jesus is the heart of the Gospel. Without Jesus, the Good News would cease to be Good!

So I'm not sure the quiz accurately pegged my theology but it was fun :-) And, like Linda, I'm very Karl Barth-ish. I can think of much worse things to be!

Which theologian are you?
created with
You scored as Karl Barth

The daddy of 20th Century theology. You perceive liberal theology to be a disaster and so you insist that the revelation of Christ, not human experience, should be the starting point for all theology.

Karl Barth




Jonathan Edwards


John Calvin


Charles Finney


Martin Luther


Paul Tillich




Friedrich Schleiermacher


J├╝rgen Moltmann


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Bloggers Take Me Down Memory Lane

While reading some of my favorite blogs, I discovered two of my bloggy friends are heading to Uganda!!! BooMama and Rocks In My Dryer have been invited by Compassion International to go to Uganda and live-blog their experiences. How cool is that?!

I had to comment on both blogs about our year in Uganda. As I told them, it was the BEST as well as the most DIFFICULT year of my life.

Seeing so many street children dumpster diving for food, fighting big ugly 'garbage' birds for what they found...being approached by adults missing an arm or leg (or both) as they asked for money...observing the filth that is a part of life in third world countries...passing open shops in every town where they made simple wooden coffins for the many who die daily from AIDS and other diseases...

But also seeing a smile on the face of a child you've been able to help...buying a meal for someone who cannot buy their own...sharing what you have with those around a lift to someone walking a long distance...enjoying a good joke and hearty laughter...

The Ugandans are warm and welcoming, happy to introduce you to their culture. They are a people-oriented society (unlike task-oriented Americans) and they love to spend time visiting with family and friends. It is customary to always greet one another properly, asking about their family, their livestock, their farm or business. It is proper to offer or accept a cup of tea which is served sweet and milky. It is not necessary to call ahead but to simply drop in to visit. Life is busy but unhurried. People are important, not things.

Those are just facts, though. My heart is so full of the wonderful friends we made! We keep in touch with many of them, via e-mail mostly but sometimes snail mail. Whenever someone we know goes to visit we look forward to receiving a packet of letters when they return, especially from the kids at New Hope Uganda.

Our family (husband, daughter and myself) "adopted" one of the "families" at New Hope while we were there. We had so much fun! They invited us over sometimes for a special meal. We were always welcome for family worship in the evening. And we had them over periodically for game nights. Which never failed to end with music - the singing and drums still echo in my head at times! Our "family" consisted of about twenty children, ages 6 to 20, and their "parents" Shadrack and Sarah.

I am going to make myself stop writing because I could literally go on and on and on...for hours! No kidding! (And I will write more about it in the future.)

That year profoundly impacted us. It was part of the process God used to re-direct our steps into full-time missions. And now we're heading to Argentina :-)

But I definitely left a piece of my heart in Uganda. And I'm SO EXCITED that my bloggy friends will be going!!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

"Rainy Days and Mondays Get Me Down"

And we have both today! It's a rainy Monday in Michigan where no one blinks when the weather fluctuates. We have a saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes. It'll change."

It was freezing a couple days ago, we got almost a foot of snow last Tuesday. Friday the temperatures started to rise and kept on rising. 39 degrees when we left town at 7 a.m. Sunday. 52 degrees when we got back to town at 11 p.m. I hear we will see temps in the 60s today. Michigan. January. 60s. Crazy!

It reminds me of the year we moved to Michigan in January and I was able to wash my windows inside and out because the weather was so mild. Which helped my mental state of mind immeasurably, having moved from sunny South Florida to the continuously gray and overcast Midwest. On those brief occasions when the sun did shine, I was able to see it through my shiny clean windows. :-)

The area we're moving to in Argentina is a much sunnier clime. Yippee! They do have seasons, and they do have winters, but they are mild, mild, mild. They got snow one day this winter and it was the first time since 1999. Now, that's my kind of winter!

Of course a lot of homes there do not have central heat, so when it gets cold, so do the occupants. Most people use room heaters on an as needed basis. Having spent almost 20 years in Michigan, we are accustomed to layering when we dress, so we should be fine.

I have LOVED my mattress warming pad and am praying they have similar products there. Can't take the one from here since the electric is 220 instead of 110.

And it's not too early to start praying for a place to rent that does have central heat :-)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Thankful Thursday

My melancholy continues as I work on letting go of my girl. I know she's 21. I know she's more than ready and able to be on her own. I know that the Lord is leading and directing her steps. I know she's going to be a huge blessing and help to Ivan's parents. I know all this, but you know what, the heart isn't listening very well.

So I decided what I need to do is focus on the things in my life I can be thankful for, and give praise to Jesus! NOTE: These are in no discernible order. It's just my brain thinking randomly.

First of all, I can reiterate what I just wrote. I'm thankful Tina is 21, ready and able to be on her own, will be a huge blessing and help to Ivan's parents, and the Lord is leading and directing her steps. Praise Jesus!

I'm thankful for those who have recently joined our support team! And for those helping toward the outgoing fund. It's exciting and humbling to see how God provides through His people.

Who wouldn't be thankful for a wonderful husband who not only loves me but also desires to see me grow in my walk with God? Several months ago we picked up a chronological Bible and began reading from that day, but now we started at the beginning. No matter how many times you read His Word, there's always something new that jumps out! [So my question today is: Whatever happened to the raven that Noah sent out in Genesis 8:6-7? Did he really just keep going and going until the water had dried up? Without resting? If so, I want what he had!]

Thankful, thankful, thankful for family. I've mentioned my daughter and husband. There's also my son, Jon, and his wife, Natalie. They are such a blessing! Natalie is the one who organized my special birthday trip to see The Nutcracker Ballet. Jon is always helping in various and sundry ways, not the least of which is all his computer expertise. But beyond what they do, I'm just grateful for who they are: a wonderful young couple whose steps are also being directed by God.

There's a special couple in our church who have been such an encouragement, meeting with us every Wednesday when we're all in town (which with our schedules hasn't been as often as we would have liked!). Despite a lot going on in their own lives, they have made a point to engage in ours and to be supportive in so many ways.

The elders in our church have invested in us, helping prepare us for this next step in our ministry, holding us accountable for our time, and working to keep us focused and on track.

Over 150,000 miles safely driven in the last 44 months, with only one small accident when a drunk driver slammed into us even though we had pulled off to the side of the road to get out of his way. Thank you Jesus!

And those are just a few of the things for which I'm thankful. God is good all the time! All the time God is good! Amen.

Good Sledding Weather

Obviously the weather wasn't real cooperative on moving day. We woke to 7-8 inches on the ground with news of more to come. The weather channel was saying that Indiana was getting even more. What to do? We'd borrowed the trailer, had the van all loaded, so made the decision to just go for it.

We didn't leave until after noon and it wasn't far down I-69 that we ran into heavy snow making it difficult to see. We forged ahead. Once we got to dad and mom's house Ivan and the kids had to do some shoveling before he could back the trailer down to the basement level. While they unloaded the trailer and van I whipped up some soft tacos.

And once we were done, we hopped back into the van and car and headed home.
That was NOT fun. Sometimes we'd have to drive through these little white outs where you couldn't see but a couple feet in front of you. I drove the car most of the way home but we finally stopped so Tina could take over. My shoulders still ache today from hunching over the steering wheel, quite tense over the situation.

But praise God we made it home just fine. Saw LOTS of cars off the road that weren't so fortunate. And last night we got another 3-4 inches, plus today we had light snow most of the day. Beautiful to look at, but glad I didn't have to go out today!!!

Tina went sledding with friends this evening, after tracking down some sleds. Everyone was sold out until they got to the Toy House in Jackson. My daughter is a chip off the old block and after a couple runs down Cascades Park, she was done. It's fun a couple of times, but then it just gets old. And wet. And cold. But she did have a good time. And also enjoyed a yummy meal at Appleby's later.

Friday is Tina's 'official' moving date. Almost all her stuff is already there but she's putting off moving herself until it's absolutely necessary.

Ivan and I will go down with her on Friday, help with some of the paperwork kinds of things and stay overnight so that on Saturday we can gather to celebrate Ivan's birthday. He wants to just hang out together, play games, enjoy one another's company. Good times! And since it's his birthday, we'll do what he wants. That's how it goes in this family. [Disclaimer: We do it when it's feasible.] And this is quite feasible, and a lot of fun besides.

Not sure what games we'll play. We have some favorites: Settlers of Katan, Hand & Foot (card game), Scrabble... And we'll have to figure out a nice meal to share as well. He's pretty easy to please since he likes pretty much everything.

This is a big birthday: the big 5-0. Didn't make it to Argentina before his 50th but we're close! Should be there in a matter of months. So nothing to be disappointed about. Just plenty to celebrate. And celebrate we will!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ring the New Year in....With a Move!

Last night Ivan, Tina and I opened a bottle of sparkly wild berry juice and toasted to the year 2008. It was a bittersweet moment and I know both Tina and I were having a hard time not crying. For today we move our her down to Indiana.
She finished packing her room yesterday, Ivan cleaned out his van so we could put all the boxes inside, and we borrowed a small trailer to haul the last of the furniture. We'll load that up this morning.
We have a bunch of family meeting us on the other end to help unload.
Tina has orientation at Grace College on Monday and classes start Wednesday.
She'll have to switch her car tags to Indiana, get auto insurance, look for a part-time job, find a church...
And it's going to be awfully quiet around here!
In the past her 'moves' were always temporary and we knew she'd be coming 'home'. But with us leaving in a few months, there won't be a home to move back to, and so this is really final.
When we get settled in Argentina, she'll visit but it won't be home to her. Just a place to visit dad and mom.
We raise them for this moment, but sure wish it didn't have to be so hard.
Well, time to stop dwelling on it and just do it. Time to load that trailer!