December 30, 2007

Newsletter 2007

Dear friends,

I’ve been wanting to write to you for some time, so now I’m finally doing it! My main reason is just to re-connect, and explain to you why we needed to stop sponsoring Mayon (orphan) in India. I’m sure you probably struggle sometimes with the “wonderings” about old friendships, so I hope to clarify where we stand.

We’re basically still just as madly in love with you as we always were! I would love to hear more reports about your work in India, and about what your family is doing. When I hear that you’re planning another trip, I always feel that “tug” – and wish I was joining you!

If you would have it in your heart to publish a newsletter, well, that would just be awesome! (put us on your mailing list?) I still wish we could have seen Pastor Tony the evening that he was with you – thank you so much for the invitation!

J and C are expecting their second child in the spring, making this new little boy our fourth grandchild. They continue to be a joyful, awesome couple, and Jr. (almost 2) is like his Uncle S – he likes to talk! J is one of our worship/band leaders now, and doing a great job!

Last year they attended “Financial Peace University” with their home group, and then they shared it with us. God has really turned around our financial situation. We were mostly doing things right; in fact, all we lacked was one puzzle piece to complete our understanding in our walk of faith. It is for this reason that we drastically pared back our financial commitments. It was humbling – but oh, so healthy!

The picture I keep seeing is of God, as my Daddy, giving me a bag of seed, and I manage it by giving too much of it away! He isn’t angry with me for doing this, but He had intended for me to keep some of it! After many years of supporting missionaries and orphans in Oregon, South Korea, Egypt, Zambia, Nepal, Myanmar and India, we decided to pull back and work on our own financial health. We haven’t regretted it – it’s been a step of faith into wisdom. We’ll sow seed here for now, and God will provide increase for us to spread it abroad again one day.

A was deployed two days ago for his third stint in Iraq. Their little guy is 4 yrs. old now. A loves his work, and still believes he’s doing precisely what God has called him to do. You may remember, he works with imaging in “intelligence”. He’s just weeks away from attaining the status of Staff Sergeant – a position he earned well before his time. M and A Jr. will miss him, but they will spend the next few months with her parents in (state). One of the blessings in this is that his deployments have been short ones, just 3 to 4 months.

S and A are working hard in landscaping and childcare, and taking care of their animals. Little A (2 ½) is a firecracker, and growing up so fast! She loves her little ponies.

AK will enroll in college courses full time next term. Up till now she was working her way through part-time. Both she and I have taken second jobs just this week as fitness trainers at Curves in (city). Her other job is in (city) with (business), and her aspirations are towards English and Editing. She also attended “Financial Peace University”, and paid off her car last month!

JD still works with G. We were involved with discussions to work in Nicaragua as short-term missionaries with Pastor C for awhile, but since God made it clear we needed to work on our finances - that is all “on hold”.

He wanted to mount his most recent trophy, a 6 pt. buck, but we’re running out of trophy space on our walls! He’s really spoiled me with the tender steaks that he brings home – I just can’t appreciate beef as much any more!

As for me, I’ve been taking business courses and working as an Administrative Assistant for a new car-servicing business. We retired from foster care last winter when K was moved from our home to her brothers’ foster home in (city). Though my initial mommy gut-response to this decision was to fight it, and I fought a GOOD fight, God turned my heart completely upside-down and showed me the value to K’s life (and yes, to ours) to have her move on! Wow! I never would have believed THAT could happen!

My efforts had shut the process down – basically my argument was that we were her parents for 3 years, and that (committed to adopt) parents were more important to a child than a short-term placement in a foster home with siblings who were already mostly grown. She usually agreed. I don’t think I can explain all the reasons why my opinion changed, but it did, and “I” pushed it through!

K would leave little notes around the house, and then hope I wouldn’t find them. One of them said, “please let me go to my brothers”. She loves us, and she loves them. The eye-opener came when I saw that it didn’t have to be a “divorce” situation, but rather a growing of my family! We spoke with her often those first few months. She stayed with us a few days here and there, and attended my sister’s wedding. Sometimes I was mom, other times an aunt, a confidante, a buddy. I supported her, checked in on her, and helped her keep in touch with her home school friends.

By Thanksgiving we saw a change. She was torn, but really wanted to spend the holiday with her brothers instead of us. It was a healthy thing – and we set her free. Now I guess my role is "encouraging Grandma"! Without being under my roof God is able to continue to do great things in her life. We will see His glory!

I got off track there with K, now more about me!

Following the course that I believe is laid out for me, I’m excited to report that I tested “very well” for a proofreading position for (publisher)! I’m on hold with them till I find another another client to work with – as a freelancer. I contacted several other Christian publishing houses, and I have a mentor coaching me on, but my pursuit has slackened off since the holidays. Besides being a natural ability for me, I think that this is an avenue to help support our future mission work even while we’re in another country. We’ll see…

It looks like the theme of our year has been “pulling back”. In all our commitments we’ve been lead to re-assess. I’m just glad that our Lord is leading us, and that He is with us.
We love you,

L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L l L

December 27, 2007

Off to Iraq, Probably

He can't come right out and tell us exactly where he's going, but we know. My son has left for war today. This is his third deployment.

He kissed his wife one last time, lingering over the deep blue of her eyes. He played with his son's Christmas presents. He tried to reassure and explain to a four-year old why Daddy has to go. With his last deployment his little boy would grieve that his daddy didn't love him anymore, and that's why he didn't come home. Then his beloved would grieve that she couldn't help him understand...

I know he tried not to choke up. I wasn't there, so I don't know if he was successful. My son is a soldier.

He called us so early this morning that we struggled to crawl out of bed to get to the phone. For my own reassurance, I asked him again, "Are you sure this is what God wants you to do?"

He's still sure.

What does a soldier do when he's sitting in the plane, alone with his thoughts? Can he hide the tear in his eye - or the torn place in his heart? Strong in his resolve, determined to do what is right, and yet feeling heavily the cost of his sacrifice. He wants to face even his own emotions unafraid, and yet keep his focus on the prize.

Thank you for our military, Lord. They do well to show the strength of our country and our morals. They represent the blessing of the land that You gave us, and that our fathers fought to keep. They are a wall to protect us, showing the ultimate in Your command to love others as we love ourselves. Thank You for these servants.

Lord, show mercy to their families. Hold them up and bless them with Your peace during these separations. Hear their prayers. Bring their families safely back together. And if the separation must last into the next life, then in Your faithful, loving care - hold them close to Your heart.

There is no human that doesn't long for the life of joy and peace. Thank You for coming to us, Prince of Peace.

O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o O o

December 26, 2007

Grandchild Number Four

I'm sorry I've taken so long a break from blogging. I have actually been re-assessing my commitment. Because I want to maintain a level of privacy, I don't reveal everything that happens in my life. And then, what really is the purpose of my blog, anyway? Shall I just stumble along, and see what develops? Am I wasting my time?

A local lady, Dorcas Smucker (Life in the Shoe), tells about family trips, health issues, her children, and discloses far more than I would feel comfortable doing. Maybe I'm more suspicious. Maybe she's more SECURE! I don't know.

All I know is that I want to be real, and I want to share the love of God that I discover daily. I want to encourage others. I'm the "older woman" now, and the Scriptures tell me that I have something to teach younger women.

ON THE OTHER HAND - I don't want to expose myself unnecessarily. All that I would say may not be beneficial.

Show me your ways, O Lord!

OH! We just learned that my fourth grandchild is undoubtedly a little boy! I don't know how dependable ultrasound is these days - but it's fun to think we understand a little more about this coming child! Yippeee!

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December 9, 2007

Pray for young missionaries-in-training, and their families, at YWAM – Youth With a Mission

It was announced in our church service this morning that the Denver, Colorado YWAM base has suffered the loss of two of its youth because of an attack from a gunman. Two others were injured.

The young people were cleaning up after a banquet and the gunman came in, asking for a place to stay the night. When he was told he couldn’t stay there, he pulled out his gun and shot, and then left on foot.

My son was based there a few years ago.

How hard it would be to receive news like this about my own son! Even though I would constantly comfort myself with the memory of giving him back to the Lord just moments after he was born… I know I’d be racking my brain to understand this. I’m not going to pretend that I could, in any way, predict how I would respond!

So, let’s just pray.

The “YWAMmers”, as we’ve called them in the past, are preparing to forgive the shooter.

Let’s pray that their families and friends would be comforted by the Holy Spirit, and that the gunman would be caught. I also pray that the injured ones would be healed and restored, and even more determined to see the good news of the kingdom of God preached to everyone who hasn’t heard.

While we’re at it, let’s pray against fear.

Then, let’s raise our hands to the Lover of our souls and thank Him that the darkness in this world, as we know it now, is only temporary! Thank you, Lord!

December 5, 2007

A "Memory" Note From Former Foster Mom to #1 Mom

It's kinda late, but one thing comes to mind that still makes us smile: a call we received when your daughter had only been back home with you for a few weeks.

Apparently she thought she should be making summer vacation plans, because she asked, "I was wondering if I could come and stay the night for a few months." (That's a long night!)

It was hard to explain to her that we'd love to have her, but I was working outside the home now and I couldn't leave her here alone! I think she presumed that time stood still when she left us; and that we were just sitting here on the couch, bored and sad, because there were no children to play with!

You've been blessed with some awesome kids, Helen; but, you already know that!

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