Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy at Gull Lake

What a privilege to spend this week at Gull Lake Ministries for family camp!!

Dave is teaching the adults this week, as well as being the missionary - so he gets to do two of his most favorite things in he world: teach the Word and tell about what God is doing through Josiah Venture!

Claire and I are a part of the sessions as well, and have shared some about JV from our perspective too.

We so enjoy all the people who are here! Some we've known for many years, some we've known for the past four years because of two other blessed weeks we've spent here. And some are new friends that we are just getting to know. Mostly it feels like a family reunion, being with people you love.

One fun people moment was having the parents of JV missionaries, Matt and Amy Hartman, show up at Dave's
morning teaching on Monday! What a surprise that was!

It's also been a joy to see Caleb this week. He is serving on summer staff at Gull Lake, leading worship and doing a whole variety of other jobs (he served me coffee at lunch this afternoon...pretty cool!).

When we leave on Friday we will say goodbye to him as he will go directly from here to Moody in August to begin college. Next time we see him will be this fall when we return for a mission's weekend at our home church in the Chicago area.

Our internet access is limited here this week so I probably won't get to post again for a while. But at least wanted to get something posted about this week, as well as share a few photos.

One last side note for those who have been praying for me: I continue to gain strength and energy after my recent illness. This is a good place to do that! I am definitely feeling better each day. Thank you for praying these past few weeks.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

First Visit

After saying goodbye to my parents and brother, Claire and I flew from Oregon to Chicago yesterday afternoon. Dave was there to pick us up - so good to see him again after these past two weeks apart.

Then the three of us headed downtown to visit Tyler and Lara at their new apartment!

It sure didn't feel like they were just married two weeks ago. Their apartment is set up so nicely, they hosted us like they'd been doing it for years (even making gluten free brownies for us - thank you! With honey lattes made by Tyler...all very yummy!), and they are just so adorable and "right" together. Can't imagine they ever WEREN'T married!

They live just a block away from Lake Michigan so we took a walk out there to take in the view, which was pretty spectacular on a summer evening. God has provided such a wonderful place for them to begin their married life together.

What a treat to get to spend a little time with them before we head on to Gull Lake Ministries in Michigan today!

Friday, June 22, 2012

First Home

As best as I can count, I have lived in 17 different places in my lifetime. I remember all but one of them.

But it's a significant one. It's where I came home to from the hospital in August 1961, a few days after I was born.

We only lived there a year...then moved to another home which I actually have memories of, though we only lived there until I was about four.

But the one thing that I have never forgotten about my first home is the address: 541 1/2 Lawrence Street! That always seemed so funny to me.

It's been years and years since I have driven by there, so one afternoon as we were driving in Eugene, I asked my dad to drive by...into the alley where the little house sits, thus giving it the infamous address.

The house is still there. My mom says it was an old house when they lived there. I can't imagine what it's like 50 years later. There are people living there so it's definitely still inhabitable.

I wonder if any other babies were brought home to this little house during its long history?!

Because of how the fence is situated (which was not there originally) I couldn't get a very good picture of the house, but it's the little bit of turquoise you see in the pictures.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wouldn't Miss It

When I come to Oregon, the state I was raised in, there are a few things that "make" my visit. Today I got to do one of them.

Visit the Oregon Coast.

In my growing up years, we spent a lot of time there - little day trips, camping trips, family vacations, visits to Mo's (a restaurant up and down the coast that was started in Newport in 1946, famous for their clam chowder), walks on the beach, eating salt water taffy...endless fun!

With my mom and dad, brother, Mike and Claire, we headed over to Florence this morning, and then made our way to Newport later in the day. Unusually, it got sunnier and warmer as we drove closer to the coast...if you've been here you know that's not normal! What a great gift it was today.

It was a gorgeous day for a visit and SO good to be there - fills up that true "Oregonian" that lives inside me! :)

Lots of fun photos to remember the day...thanks Mom, Dad and Mike for giving Claire and I such a wonderful day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Box in the Attic

Last night I fell asleep in the chair as my dad was watching the NBA finals (no offense dad! I was just tired! Still recovering from being so sick...)

When I woke up, Claire had finished baking a gluten free carrot cake (oh my...spectacularly delicious!) so I had a piece and then was going to head to bed.

Think again!

Somehow my parents, brother, Claire and I got to talking about the fact that my wedding dress has been in my parent's attic for 25 years, in a specially sealed box. I guess Tyler and Lara's recent wedding has us all thinking about weddings!

Claire wanted to see it, and before I knew it, she and Mike were headed out to the garage attic to find it.

Since my mom had brought my dress back to the States after our wedding in Germany in 1987, I'd never even seen the box that it been in all these years. It was surreal to see it!

The big question was: Open the box or not? It was sealed all those years ago to protect it.

But in the end, curiosity won and we opened it!

Though I've looked at our wedding photos for years, I'd forgotten how pretty my dress was in real life! I bought it when I was living in Rota, Spain back in 1985, two years before we were married. That's another story! But it was so special to see it again and remember the day I married Dave in it.

This morning I put it on and...tah dah!! It still fits! That's a fun feeling!

I don't know when I'll see the dress again - we're going to seal it up so that it continues to stay protected in case Claire or a granddaughter (should there BE granddaughters at some point!) ever want to wear it.

But it sure was special to see it twenty five years later, remembering how happy I was the day I last wore it!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

With My Dad

It's not very often that I get to spend a Father's Day with my dad, but this year was one of those years!

Claire and I made it here to Eugene on Saturday after traveling from Chattanooga through the night on Friday due to a delayed flight. How good it felt to sleep a few hours at my friend Michelle's house, and then drive down here to Eugene to spend these days with my parents and brother.

While still quite tired from the illness of the past three weeks, I do feel myself recovering and that's a wonderful feeling.

We celebrated my dad today by indulging in a few of his favorite treats. Love doing that with him...

And for him!

Happy Father's Day Dad!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


At 6 PM this afternoon I was blessed to walk out of the hospital here in Chattanooga.

One of my doctors came in this morning for his last exam and in talking with him, finally I understood why they have kept me so long. I had many of the symptoms of either non-Hodgkins lymphoma or Crohn's disease.

That's why every test had a rush order put on it, why they were so attentive, why four different doctors were on my case, why I've had two ports for IV feeding me antibiotics and other things 24 hours a day.

They were worried about me!

But in the end, after all the tests and biopsies, they have concluded that this has thankfully just been an especially virulent virus in my intestines.

The doctor warned me not to go right back to normal life as I have indeed been quite sick. But oh! I can't tell you how grateful I am that it is a sickness I will recover from!

I'm on a strict diet, have many prescriptions to fill and take in the coming weeks, and have to drink my fill of Gatorade, of all things, to keep me well hydrated and full of electrolytes.

Since we are not flying overseas yet, I was cleared to fly to Oregon tomorrow evening, with instructions to then be careful about my level of activity in the coming weeks. But since Claire and I are just going to Eugene to be with my parents and brother, that shouldn't be a problem! We can hang out at their lovely home and just enjoy time the together. We will be with them for a week before we head to Chicago to meet up with Dave.

I wrote a friend this week and said that if I had to describe these past six days in the hospital with two words it would be "holy and sacred". The Lord has been SO present with me - so present that despite the pain, I have felt wrapped up in a warm blanket of love and care every day.

It's also been a sweet week to bond with Lara's mom and sister. When would we ever have this kind of time together?! We will never forget these days of sharing life.

And my friend Laurie stayed for four days after having been here for the wedding, to sit with me in the hospital all day since Dave had to be at a conference where he was the main speaker. We were good friends before but it went to a whole new level as she served me in my weakness this week.

God's timing has been perfect at every step of the way, and He has been at work in my body and soul, doing what only He can do - bring perfect comfort, peace and healing.

I am glad to move on...very glad! But I honestly haven't minded these days in the hospital because I've known it's exactly where the Lord wanted me to be.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Unexpected Delay

Out of love and kindness to the newlywed's, I have not blogged or posted about what has been going on these past days since the wedding - didn't want them worrying. :)

But today I let them know so now can let you all know too.

On Saturday morning after all the wedding festivities had ended on Friday, I was admitted to a hospital here in Chattanooga.

For two weeks, even during the wedding week, I was struggling with fever and abdominal pain. By God's good, HUGE, grace, He allowed me to make it through the week. But Friday night my body said "Enough". After a very difficult, painful night, Dave took me to a small hospital here on the recommendation of Pat and Traci, Lara's parents.

The hospital staff has been amazing as they have worked hard to track down what is wrong. I have had almost every test imaginable, including the Pill Cam today.

We will have the results from that tomorrow, but the antibiotics they are giving me seem to be making progress on the infection that they see in my intestines. On top of that I have a UTI and have had a three day migraine. Not a lot of fun!

They wish they knew the origin and "why" of the infection, but that may be impossible to discover. As we well know, stomach troubles are so hard to diagnose.

The good news is that thus far they have ruled out all the biggies and we hope it stays that way.

I don't know when I will be discharged. Am still pretty weak, but yet gaining little bits of strength each day.

The care here has been fantastic, and the dear ones who have stayed with me in the hospital, absolutely wonderful. My heart has truly been at rest in this unexpected delay in our travels and I fully trust Him for the timing of my release.

Not many pictures to post for this one. Only the view from my bed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Front Row Seat

In the days leading up to Tyler and Lara's wedding I kept asking myself a question: camera or no camera?

During the wedding, that is!

Even the morning of, I was debating what to do. If you know me, you know that photos are of great importance to me - they capture moments, looks, and emotions that are otherwise forgotten.

But is it okay for the mother of the groom to have her Nikon in the front row?!

I had asked permission from the bride and groom who said yes, but still didn't know until the morning of, what I would do. It was finally Dave who convinced me. And oh am I glad he did!

The front row doesn't come along too many times! And there are some precious looks, smiles and moments that you only see from that spot.

I am so glad I had my camera! (Thanks to my sister-in-law, Joyce, for putting it under my seat so I didn't walk down the aisle with it!).

Again, photos are not in order since I can't seem to arrange them on this program made for the iPad, but you'll get the gist of their beautiful wedding!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

It Takes a Village

One of the greatest joys this past week has been sharing Tyler and Lara's wedding week with our very precious family and friends. It is so true: it takes a village to...put on a wedding!

It's hard to even know how to express how much it meant to share this happy occasion with everyone. Oh how I deeply love and appreciate everyone of "our people" who were able to come!!

And on top of that, it meant the world to us to be joined in all sorts of details that would either not have gotten done, or been stressful to try doing by ourselves. "The Village" made such a difference in putting on this wedding!

In some meaningful way, every person who sacrificed time, money and energy to come, contributed to making this one of the richest, happiest times in our lives.

This is what the "village" (aka "the body of Christ"!) is all about.

Thank you to all of you...you know who you are! It blessed us beyond measure to have you here to share in this special occasion.

I could put in SO many more photos - this is just a tiny representation of our friends and family who shared in Tyler and Lara's wedding day.