Changes

Good morning friends,

Well, the journey that we started almost 4 years ago has finally reached its culmination. Last Friday in San Francisco Tony stood on stage while his seminary professors placed the Doctor of Ministry hood on his shoulders. It was a great evening, chocked full of exciting stories of graduates from all over the world.   Now we can close this chapter and look ahead to see what happens next.

From the time we landed in Los Angeles 3 weeks ago, we’ve put about 3000 miles on the rental car, visiting family and friends from Wyoming, Nevada, Idaho and back to California.

A lot of time in the car driving across those vast plains was spent listening to the audio book, “Walking From East to West” by Ravi Zacharias. It’s a fascinating autobiography of the man who gave up his Hindu roots to become one of the world’s greatest Christian apologists.

He talks about going back to the place of his birth and finding everything changed after so many years.  But then he came to realize after much analyzing that it’s not so much the place or the people that had changed, but rather he himself.

That’s true of us as well, but nevertheless we saw a lot of changes around our old haunts of 42 years ago. We were able to visit the Seminary campus where we first went as young newlyweds in 1975.  This beautiful 25 acre campus was bought in the early 40’s when the United Nations decided to locate in New York instead of San Francisco, leaving the property available for sale to the seminary.  Sadly the economy and the world crowded in and last year the property had to be sold. Our hearts grieved for bygone days as we walked around the dilapidated campus.

It almost made us cry following the steps we had taken with our newborn son, stopping to reminisce at the spot where we decided to head off to Liberia, planning that our 2nd child would be born while we were there. Life didn’t work out that way, and the story involved much more than we could have imagined, complete with terrorists, emergency surgery after a miscarriage in a hospital with no screens on the windows and the realization that any future children in our lives would be adopted ….. but that’s another (beautiful) story.

We even passed under the walk bridge where one morning Tony, in a rare moment of depression, (probably involving a difficult Greek class if memory serves,) contemplated jumping off, only changing his mind when he realized the bridge was not that high and he’d probably only end up embarrassed and very uncomfortable!

But thankfully, God also showed us a lot of the good changes that found their beginnings on that seminary campus so many years ago.  It was there that our little Trevor, the child who would give us so much joy for the next 15 years, was born.

It was there that we learned so much about God and His mysterious ways, experiencing the heart-wrenching news that I had only two years to live, followed by the inexplicable test result that showed no cancer anywhere.

It was there that we got on our knees to commit our lives to Him and in His service wherever that may lead, unaware of the beautifully bittersweet path that lay before us and now thankful for it all.

Tonight we sat around the table of our friends from our first church, reminiscing with them as well as Bob and Gail Gierhart, our long time friends and Tony’s doctoral mentor who flew in from Hawaii to be with us.  The talk turned to a time when we felt (Gierharts and us) God’s call on our lives to move to Australia and work with the Japanese there.  It was so sweet to remember and recognize God has always had amazing plans for of our lives.  We are filled to the brim with happiness.

And so on that note with all of your prayers and encouragement.  We’ll be starting home on Monday the 22nd, experiencing for the first time flying stand-by with our daughter’s status as a Qantas air hostess.  If we make it onto the plane, it will give us to a significant break in the price.  Thanks Nicki, I hope it works!

As soon as we hit the ground, we’ll begin preparing for an evangelistic trip back to Japan in July.  Life is good and God is faithful!

Love you all, Marsha

Saint in a Glacier

Good morning all,

Hope this finds you well and happy and enjoying Spring (you northerners at least).

We’ve had a good week with family, and today we’re with old friends from our days in Japan, now living here in Idaho.  It’s been a great visit, the only problems being aging memories and vying for a chance to talk.

I want to tell you about a poignant visit to my Uncle back in Wyoming.  He’s been in the Grand Tetons since I was a baby.

When I say ‘in’ the Grand Tetons, I mean literally, EMBEDDED in the largest glacier of the most famous mountain, Mt. Moran.  I’ll enclose a picture so you can remember with me. It’s often referred to as the “Skillet Glacier”.

When I was just one year old, Uncle Bob went with 24 other missionaries to begin his career in South America.  I’m guessing he was in his twenties, I know he was unmarried.

They left in a smallish plane, bound for the west coast where they would meet up with the others in the group.  They took off without any dramas, but a sudden mountain storm sprung up and apparently in the ensuing confusion they slammed into the 12,000 foot (2800 m) cliff face, never to be seen again..

A rescue party reached the wreckage after 4 days of perilous climbing and retrieved what few articles they could find to carry down. The crash site was pretty much in a crevasse, so not much was accessible.

Miraculously, Uncle Bob’s Bible was among the things brought down from the mountain. It has remained a treasure of the family.

With that Bible are copies of letters my mother wrote to a radio preacher demanding an explanation.  Why did God allow such a tragedy?

The preacher was… how shall I say it?….a bit quirky. We also have a copy of the man’s best selling book, “Bobbed Hair and Bossy Women”. Be that as it may, he was spot on with his reply, even though nobody really liked the answer.

Each time he patiently answered my mother, it was four words: The Sovereignty of God.

“Why?” she would ask again and again, “Why her only God fearing brother and why was he taken without even taking a first step into mission field he’d given his life to?  Why? Why? Why?”……

In the course of our visit to the Grand Tetons, we spoke to rangers, historians and several locals.  They all knew about the wreck, and had a look of awe when we mentioned that we were relatives, reverently expressing their condolences.  I was impressed with the almost spiritual quality of their reactions, in spite of the fact that most of them were typically UN-spiritual.

My mother was told that in 100 years or so, that particular section of the glacier will reach the lake, bringing with it it’s mass of wreckage, including the frozen bodies.

As family, we’re supposed to pass down the story to our kids and grandkids, so that when it happens, they will be able to explain the event and perhaps claim the uncle.  No news yet, although we’re thinking that with all this so called “global warming” talk, he may make his appearance sooner!

My mother went to her grave asking all her questions. She died 13 years after the event and I’m confident she’s with her favorite brother now and her questions have been answered.  I’ve had the opportunity for the last 50 years to ask “why” my mother died so soon (I was just 14) as well.

And then this last week, I’ve had to ask “why” my young friend (OK she’s my age, but that is young isn’t it?) died, after you and everyone prayed so earnestly that she’d stay.

Sovereignty of God.  Okay, it’s not always easy to hear or accept, but because God is sovereign, He holds our hearts, our hopes and aspirations in His hands.

HOPEFULLY next week Tony will have his diploma in his hands.  We’ve been told to ‘drop by’ the seminary and gather his ‘regalia’ to be ironed.

I’m guessing they’re assuming that I, the winner of the esteemed Joy Nash Award for outstanding support of the soon to be Doctor, will be doing the ironing.

Wouldn’t ya know it!………..

Till next time,  Marsha

From the Road

Good Morning all

What a week.  This will read more like a travel log than a blog, so you can stop reading here if you want.

We arrived safe and sound in LA after only 14 hours on an A380, which is the largest commercial passenger plane in the sky. But you don’t really know that until you board or disembark and see all your fellow passengers (between 500 and 800 in all).  The flight over the Pacific was incredibly smooth, except for that one MEMORABLE air pocket around Hawaii. No one saw it coming, including the pilot, and we must have fallen several thousand feet in two gut-wrenching drops. People were in tears, but other than that, there were no dramas.

Arriving in LA we picked up a rental car and headed to Las Vegas, first of only two or three wide spots on the way to Rawlins, Wyoming. Las Vegas, with all its casinos and night life, still holds little appeal for us, but we will always be grateful for a kind and resourceful Staples employee who managed to find the proper paper, figure out which one of our two flash drives worked in order to print off 3 copies of Tony’s 167-page dissertation and get it successfully on the road to the seminary where they were waiting to have them bound. We couldn’t get this done in Australia because they have different sized paper.  Who knew…….

Back on the road, we drove north thru some beautiful scenery, especially Bryce Canyon National Park. What a testimony to God’s handiwork, altered by the awesome power of a global flood carving the earth into unbelievable patterns.

After Bryce, we headed into some of the most remote roads in America, reminding us of the Australian Outback. We finally arrived in Rawlins, Wyoming, where we’ve been having a wonderful reunion with family and a great opportunity to get “down and dirty” with some much needed repair work on a house there.

We’ve had a lot of fun, got some sun (thankfully not the snow that covered the ground last week), used a few muscles and renewed ties with our little grand nephews and all the family.

Today we’re going to attend a church we found as we were trying to locate the city offices for a building permit.  When I say “City” I need to tell you that the town of Sinclair where the house in question is located boasts a population of 433.  The church is the biggest building in town and they’re running 150 on Sunday mornings…..Of course they’re Baptists!

After church we’re having a ‘Vow renewal’ for my nephew and his wife, whom Tony married on an Australian beach 10 years ago.  Should be fun….and of course there’ll be a lot of food, including a hand carried and a bit smashed Pavolova that I brought from home.

Then next week we’re westward-bound, catching up with friends along the way and finally arriving in San Francisco, California and Tony’s graduation ceremony the 19th.

Just a little prayer request.  I graduated from High school 48 years ago and two of my friends who eventually married each other have been chatting back and forth with me thru FaceBook over the last several years.  Today I heard that she has just hours to live with a very aggressive brain tumor that was only discovered in January.  He, apparently, is also sick.  It hurts to remember that we’re mortal.  They are both wonderful children of God and they’re ready for the journey, but still it’s very sad.  Please pray for Galen and Esther and their kids and grandkids.  I’m sure when we see Heaven we’ll wonder why we were sad, but still…..

Till next week, or maybe the next…….Marsha

Two Sees and a Shout

Recently I read a blog by a friend and former leader of the International Mission Board, Tom Elliff.

He talked about his time in Zimbabwe and one time getting directions from his village to a friend’s house.  He was happily instructed, as they pointed to a particular part of the horizon, to go ‘two sees and a shout”.

What the instructor actually meant was you go “to the edge of where you can see from here, then look as far as you can see and repeat the process.  After that, shout out and your friend will appear”

Tom goes on to tell us about his perspective on Paul’s famous verse, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Paul’s statement gives me some good parameters for thinking through the manner in which I will spend the rest of my life. I should be…

1              Following (After all, “I’m not there yet!).

2              Focused (Keeping my eyes riveted on the “one thing”).

3              Forgetful (Possessing a wise forgetfulness of my past failures and successes).

4              Forward Looking (Reaching hard after what is ahead).

5              Fervent (Pressing toward the mark…the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus”).

If you’re reading this blog, we have made it to the ‘first see’, Sydney.  Tomorrow we’ll take a LONG “see” over the LONG sea of the Pacific.  We’re flying in an A380, the largest commercial plane in the air with almost 500 souls on board.  Even at that great size, we’re so far from the USA that it will take almost 14 hours to arrive in Los Angeles, and yes, even though some radio preachers recently reported that they ’ need’ to sit in first class so they can ’talk with God’, we’ll be sitting cheek to cheek with the other cattle…….

From there, we’ll make our way over to Wyoming to be with my nephew and family, as well as my sister and husband, for a week of work (on the house) and fun.  Then we’ll turn back west to see some old missionary friends, then some other long standing missionary friends and FINALLY attend Tony’s graduation May 19th.

We’re excited, Paul has given us some good advice and we’re hopefully focused and looking forward to what is ahead with our ministry and our lives.  We hope you are too!

Love ya,

Marsha

Joy and Liberty

Tony and I have recently been reading the autobiography of C.S.Lewis, “Surprised by Joy”.  It’s interesting, albeit sometimes difficult to read with all his 20th century Irish colloquiums.  I thought it particularly interesting what he had to say about his father, an ageing widower raising two boys:

“When he opened his mouth to reprove us; he no doubt intended a short, well chosen appeal to our common sense and conscience, but alas, he had for many years been a public prosecutor.  Words came to him and intoxicated him as they came.  What actually happened was that a small boy who had walked on damp grass in his slippers or mislaid his notebook, found himself attacked with something like Cicero on Caitlin or Burke on Warren Hastings; simile piled on simile, rhetorical question on rhetorical question, the flash of an orator’s eye and the thundercloud of an orator’s brow”.

For some reason this made me laugh inwardly (not a good idea to laugh out loud now, even though I’m reminded of some of the things I read in my new Doctor  husband’s dissertation).  I also thought of some of my blogs, which even to me seem to go on and on about nothing.

So much so that from some of my loyal audience I got several surprised comments because of last week’s succinct yet true comments.  I guess some of you have become accustomed to  pulling up a chair and a blanket, preparing yourself for a allocution, often written by myself, drunk on her own words.

But something I wanted to comment on last week but unfortunately got caught in the ‘edit’ department, was a phrase I came across in the aforementioned book, by a 14th century poet, Edmund Spencer,

“What more felicity can fall to creature,

Than to enjoy delight with liberty”

I think we can all apply that to the Easter Story.  Christ and His sacrifice gave us the salvation and freedom from the wages of sin……..so that we can ‘enjoy delight with liberty!’

If you need a little reading to back up what I’m talking about, check out Hebrews 9:15,

“For this reason He [Christ] is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

And then in verse 28 he continues, “So Christ was sacrificed once, to take away the sins of many people: and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”

It’s turning towards fall here in Australia, a welcome relief from a record breaking hot summer.  In 8 days we’ll be heading to the West Coast for a couple of weeks to see my sister and family as well as a few friends, but mostly we’ll be there in order for Tony to be able to waltz across the stage and pick up that LAST degree.  We’re excited.

Happy Trails, Marsha

He is Risen!

Good morning everyone.

He is Risen!!!

I wanted to pontificate on this fact with my newly conferred Doctor of Ministry husband, but I found that I could no longer keep up with all his new big words, so let me just say,

He is Risen!!!

Those three words say it all.

Aren’t we thankful to be His children?

Happy Easter!

PS, I’ll go back to my own musings next week…….after we’re done basking in all the good news, including……

He is Risen!!!

Marsha

Sunday’s Comin’

Today is Palm Sunday.

On an unrelated note (or is it?), I heard an interesting story this week. It’s about Lassie, the famous Collie you must have known and loved at some time in your life. I heard the other day that his original name was “Pal” and was based on a story written by Elizabeth Gaskells in 1859. Eventually it was re-written by Eric Knight and launched into 7 different movies that were filmed from 1943 to 1951.  I’m not sure if I ever saw one of these movies, as I was only born in 1950 and VHS or DVDs were unknown back then.

But I do remember watching the TV program “Lassie” all thru my elementary school days.  The program seemed to be on every week and if the fates (aka: my parents) aligned, I got to see it.

But what I find really interesting about this story is what happened when the Hollywood people decided that Lassie had passed her prime. Pal and his owner were given their walking papers and offered $40,000 in total for the combined royalties that the movies had incurred.

Wow. I remember looking at a brand new house with my mother when I was about 8.  It was listed at $13,000 and my parents felt they couldn’t afford it.  (Childhood scar # 1?)  My point is that $40,000 in the 50’s was a LOT of money!

But back to the story…… after turning down the equivalent of 2 houses, Lassie’s trainer and owner, Rudd Weatherwax, passed on the generous royalty offer and instead garnered a deal for all rights and trademarks of the “Lassie” name  from MGM studios.  I’m sure the room full of suits figured, “Lassie is yesterday’s news; we just saved ourselves $40,000. Woo hoo!”

But as I’m sure you know, Lassie was far from finished. Another tv show spun off that would run for the next 19 years. Another Big Screen movie was made, which generated enough interest for yet another tv series in the 80’s. I’m not sure what the final tally would be for Lassie-related royalties, but I have an idea it’s more that $40,000!

Two houses?  Just a drop in the bucket. I wonder if even Mr. Weatherwax had the foresight to realize that he had set himself and his descendants for life when he left the office that day.

So what does this have to do with Palm Sunday?

Well, I’m no theologian, but I was thinking about all the falderal accompanying Jesus as He was entering Jerusalem for the last time. He certainly knew what He was doing, and how the week would play out.  But what were the people thinking that day?

Were they all shouting “Hosanna” because they had seen His miracles and knew he was ‘special’?  He’d even talked about His “kingdom”, after all. Were they thinking earthly kingdom out from under the Roman thumb?  Yeah, if that happened, their problems would be over. Life would be good.   What would something like that be worth? Maybe something like $40,000 would have sounded to Lassie’s owner?

I don’t know, but I think we’re all guilty sometime of focusing on the short term, when we should be looking ahead. With the gift of hindsight………what DID happen back in Jerusalem was something those crowds (with maybe a few exceptions) could not have imagined in their wildest dreams.

When I think of all that Christ accomplished so that I could enjoy a lifetime of joy, followed by an eternity with Him, I try to imagine comparing all that to, say, a couple of ‘ole houses.

Nope…no comparision.

As we look to Easter and this Holy Week leading up, let’s try to remember that sometimes “Sunday’s worth waiting for!”

A Rose By Any Other Name

After last week’s “Bloom Where You’re Planted” story, I promised you some more “blooming” thoughts. So here’s one about some roses of mine.

Soon after our firstborn died, someone gave me a beautiful potted rose in his memory.  Not knowing much about roses and still grieving, I hastily plunked it into a corner of the garden, up against the wall under the kitchen window.  I didn’t mind that it was out of sight or mind, as looking at it always just sent a sharp pain of sadness thru me.

But the sadness was multiplied when my second son Nathan had some friends to the house for a sleep over.  Being 11 yr olds, they didn’t think it strange to have a spontaneous game of hide and seek outside one early spring night.  I could hear them laughing and screaming in surprise and it was a balm to a hurting heart.

At least until the next morning when passing by the window, I casually noticed the “Trevor rose” had been stepped on, crumpled and broken. It was not quite, but almost destroyed, still clinging to life in that forgotten corner which apparently had been a perfect hiding place.

I wanted to rail at Nathan for being so careless, but my mother’s heart stopped me.  He was adjusting to his new life, all the cares of being a younger brother now tossed into a world where he was alone….. and I was glad to see him  finally playing with some amount of abandon.

He saw me wipe a tear as I dug up what was left of the plant and when I explained what he’d done, he gave me a sweet hug and apologized.

“It’s OK,” I said, “I don’t know what I was thinking when I planted it there in the dark. How about we move it over here near the fence?”

He agreed heartily and as he helped me replant it with more care this time, added, “If this is so important to you, I’d like a rose with my name on it too!”

“What a great idea!” I said.  “We could use some more flowers around here! “ So off we went to the local DIY store to buy him a rose.

Of course, you’ll remember this is Japan, and roses are sold as bare stock with lots of unintelligible (at least to me) writing and maybe, if you’re lucky, a picture.  We picked (without reading) a pretty one, with a tiny picture of a pink flower.  Taking it home, we planted it a few feet away from Trevor’s rose.

Time passed and both roses grew.

And then we adopted Nicki.  Nathan, who is the sentimentalist in the family, said almost immediately when we brought her home, “Oh Mom! We’ve got to get her a Nicki rose!”

Believe me that was the last thing on my mind at that point as I wondered if she’d ever stop yelling at us in Russian and trying to eat the dog’s food, but we headed for the store.  She tore unbridled down the aisles and with our help ‘selected’ a yellow one.

It grew and grew and …… grew.

And then I began to laugh at God’s clever sense of rightness.

Without reading a word of instructions or descriptions, we now had:

The “Trevor Rose”:  Perfect cut flower type, producing single long stemmed beauties, in a rich salmon pink, which was his grandmother’s favorite color although the lady that gave it in his honor would have never known that.

Then there was the “Nathan Rose”.  It was a hybrid tea bush, with hundreds of the friendliest most inviting perfect blooms all over it all the time.  It made you smile just to look at it.

And not to be forgotten: there on the end, the “Nicki Rose”.  We would drive into the driveway in the dark, and there it would be, arms outstretched, heavy with flowers and waving with ambitious abandon.  You see, it was a climber rose, and with no wall to cling to, it was happy to wave to everyone passing, not only warming your heart with welcome but making you actually laugh out loud.

And now I’ve introduced you to my kids. “Beautiful”, “Friendly” and “Welcoming”. There’s a verse in Proverbs (22:6) about ‘training up a child in the way he should go”; I have to keep reminding myself that the verse is referring to the way the child should go, and not necessarily the way I think he should go. My kids have illustrated that truth very well, each growing in his or her way: a way set by God before they were even born. I’ve been given the task of planting them in good soil, caring for them as best I can, and praying every day that their way and God’s way will never conflict. And for my efforts, I’ve been given the precious privilege of watching them grow and blossom into all that God created them to be. And what a joy to know that one day, as I stand before God to give an accounting, I’ll be surrounded by a beautiful, friendly welcoming bouquet. God knew these kids before I did, and if it was a garden he had in mind, then they are certainly testimonies to His success

Have a great week!  Marsha

Bloom Where You’re Planted

Good Morning,

Here we are just a few weeks before Easter!  How the time flies. Sadly Australia is a very secular country and there’s little attention given to the real reason for Easter, but a trip to the shops reveals all the chocolate for sale, a sure sign that the bunny’s on his way.   They don’t dye eggs here because all the eggs are brown.  Believe me, they don’t come out very pretty, no matter what you do, so we just have to focus on lots and lots of Chocolate……

For most of you in the north, you may be starting to think about Spring and all the beauty that brings.  Here Down Under, we’re finally getting some relief from the heat and enjoying the cooler evenings.

There are very few deciduous trees here, so we have to travel away from the coast to see the autumn colors…… what few there may be. It’s begun to rain torrentially, which is a blessing, actually turning everything a beautiful ‘spring green’, just in time for the nearly imperceptible winter.

But as we’re all thinking of changing seasons, I’d like to share this little tale with you.

As you more than realize, we’ve been sorting and moving our stuff around yet again, hopefully for the last time for a LONG time, but you never know. I glanced back over my blogs and realize I’ve been whining about this settling in for over a year…….my apologies!

But as I worked through boxes the other day, I came across a little plaque, almost unreadable now. It’s been a part of our family almost as long as we’ve BEEN a family, and it’s a pretty good representation of the hippie environment of the time, with the simple slogan, “Bloom where you’re planted”.

Ironically, the first time I began to realize the significance of that little plaque was when we were in Japan, in the early years.  I hung it over my washing machine, where with a preschooler and a baby, I certainly felt that I was ‘planted’……. there in the laundry room.  I wondered if I could ever escape, but fortunately the words reminded me to ‘bloom’ instead of look for the door.

Time passed and the plaque was hidden away in a box for a couple of moves, until the time when our kids were 17 and 8 and we pulled up roots and headed thousands of miles here to Australia.

Oh my goodness, did my son Nathan struggle with that move!  He was so unhappy to be yanked from everything he had grown up with, friends, language, everything ….. and then to add insult to injury, the Australian school system has a different calendar, so he had to be put BACKWARDS in school because of the 6 month difference from Japan. To add to his sufferings, for the first time he now had to wear a school uniform replete with a necktie, starched shirt and heavy black oxford shoes. One unhappy camper, that’s for sure.

As we unpacked the “Bloom where you’re planted” plaque, we decided to make this thing earn it’s money, moving it to a “trophy status” of sorts.

We gathered the family one night and announced that Nathan would be the recipient of the now famous badge of honor. Along with the presentation were a few words of encouragement like, “Display this with pride until such time as you feel like you’re able to start to blooming!”

Sure enough, it seemed to bolster him a bit, and over time he did finally settle. And boy, DID he!  Realizing that now he was half a year older than the rest of his class at school, he found his peers looking to him for leadership. He was the first in his class to get a drivers license, and then when some Japanese homestay kids needed support, he was asked to translate for them. It wasn’t long before he was an indispensible addition to every soiree.

Nathan never looked back. Now he’s a senior constable with among other duties, responsibility for keeping the occasional Japanese tourists in line. He’s married into a lovely Aussie family from the country, the father of three adorable Aussie boys growing up on Vegemite sandwiches and living the dream.

A few years ago, the time came when my Mom needed to move into a retirement home.  It was not going to be a pleasant experience for any of us, but as I prepared to make the journey back to the States to help her, Nathan came in and pulled the plaque out from behind his back, carefully wrapped with a little note…….”for Grandma”.

I presented it to my Mom, and she read out the note.  “Grandma, this helped me to remember that I’m not alone in my struggles and I want you to also remember that we’re behind you and praying for your difficult adjustment.  We love you! Nathan”

I can’t say she ‘bloomed’ as well as Nathan did. Instead of being set free, she pretty much lost both her drivers license and much of her freedom…… but she made the move and was able to remember that she was loved by all of us and by God.  When she passed away, we found the plaque displayed in a prominent place, and several fellow residents testified that had indeed blossomed into her new surroundings. My sister and I had to smile when we realized that she’d never given into us to let us know that she had…….but the important thing is, she had.

Now the little plaque has come back to us, to be put in a box and forgotten again ….. until the other day when I unpacked it once more.  I chuckled to myself as I wondered if I need to hang it somewhere to remind myself again of the wisdom it proclaims!

Stay tuned next week, I’m going to write about some other ‘blooms’ we planted!

Marsha

Mud and Blood

Well, it’s been a painful week, physically, but also a week full of real joy; and no, no one close to us has had a baby! Let me explain…

As we anticipated last week, the renovations on the house have finally been finished, owners and builders both smiling with a few remaining tweaks here and there. Finally it’s come to the point now where we can begin to move our “stuff” into the new rooms. It’s an exciting time, because a lot of that stuff has been in storage since our crates left Japan nearly two years ago. At last, we can dust off the books, clothes and knick knacks and talk about where to put them. It’s been fun.

It’s also been a time of gruesome discovery, to see that we’re not quite as steady on our feet as we used to be, evidenced by the fact that Tony and I both (on two separate occasions) fell off ladders this week. But in all fairness, it wasn’t really our fault! In Tony’s case, he was climbing up to get to the top of his new office bookshelves…. without checking to see that the ceiling fan was turned off. Suddenly he found himself on the floor and bleeding, thinking he’d been shot. I have to thank him for adhering to the “no blood on the new carpet” rule and after a quick trip to the emergency room and three stitches, the only thing that still hurts is his pride.

And in my case, I didn’t really fall until the step stool I was balanced on decided to shatter. That brings up a whole new topic of why it broke under my perceived featherweight lightness that I’d rather not go into…. No blood, but some pretty impressive bruises. Unfortunately, they’re in places where only Tony is allowed to see and be impressed, but he will confirm that they’re pretty awesome.

We might have wanted to milk the events for more sympathy, but they were quickly trumped by the great news we got the next day. Some of you will remember our house where son and family are living, paying rent against the purchase and raising three boys who are proof positive that perpetual motion can be observed. We’re assured that it was torrential rain and not their energy that caused it, but a little over three years ago, while we were still in Japan, there was a landslide in the back yard of biblical proportions, transferring several tons of dirt into the Crown land below. The city council decided to get involved, and three years and $100,000 later, we were beginning to think that our kids would not be inheriting anything after all. There were even hints from those in-the-know that the final bill could top half a million dollars which would have bankrupted us all.

………to save you a long gory story, we prayed, we whined, we gnawed on our arms, all the while trying  to keep our perspective.  We reminded each other that nothing had changed with our love for each other or the Lord, but eventually I even changed several of our passwords to say “God is faithful” just to remind me that He was actually in control as we worked, all four of us, on this problem.  Anything that could have been done by us we did: cutting, hauling, shoveling, planting, watering etc, all the while siphoning out money like a fire hose on engineers, retaining walls ,heavy equipment diggers, inspectors and more.

And praise God, last Tuesday, after yet another inspection by council-appointed geologists, the back yard has now been certified as repaired and safe to go back on to! It was a tense moment, as the visit was preceded by yet another deluge that threatened to wash the rest of the yard away, but Kylie, who is such a sweet charmer, handled the inspectors like a pro, and before they left they announced,  “This looks perfect” as they signed off.

THANK YOU LORD, the burden has been lifted. (We sang at church this morning, “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free” ….maybe a touch out of context but you know)

Thank you precious friends, for being there to hear us both when we cry and when we rejoice. We remember you as well, and pray that all your pains will be little ones, and all your joys too big not to share!

Love ya,

Marsha