Monday, November 30, 2009

Memory Monday

Hoyt Grandparents

There is so very little I know about my paternal grandparents, and so few relatives remain who would be able to recollect meaningful memories.

In an attempt to keep what little I remember alive, I made Grandma Hoyt's Holiday Fruit Salad for our Thanksgiving meal. My aunt Thelma sent it to me years ago when she was still coherent. Now I wish I had kept the letter too, but I do have the recipe:

In bowl mix:
1 cup crushed pineapple (drain the juice into a double boiler)
2 oranges cut up
24 marshmallow, cut up, or equivalent mini marshmallows
1 cup chopped nuts

Add to juice in double boiler:
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp flour
pinch of salt
Cook until thick, then cool.
Add 1 cup whipped cream.
Pour over fruit and fold in.

It is creamier than the common 5 Cup Fruit Salad, in fact so cream-coated that it is rather colorless that's why I decorated it a bit. I personally like the nutty crunchiness. If you chop them too fine or there is too much fine 'nut dust', the salad takes on a grayish color. Not attractive. Adding the oranges too long before affects the flavor. These are my personal observations, now you can experiment and give your own opinions.  
(And I must go get a bowl of left over fruit salad.)

This week my online writing lesson is about going beyond our own memories and finding information from a variety of sources. I started with the internet and a website recommended by the instructor.

I began to search for my grandfather because I never really knew him and only met him once. I was amazed at how much information I was able to gather in one morning. But I doubt we will ever understand or know the truth about why he abandoned his wife and ten children.

Nor will we know their love story. I have not yet come across their wedding date. Their first child, Gavin, died in infancy. We have a photo, but he does not appear in the records so far.

Clarence Lyman Hoyt was tall, medium build, had blue eyes and brown hair. He was a self-employed auto mechanic. He was married to Anna Leola Dorsey. All this appears on his World War I Draft Registration Card, which was filed two days after his 34th birthday, in Dallas County, Iowa.

He was the oldest in a family of seven. At age 19 he appears in a census record as living with a family under "Servant" status (i.e.relationship to the head of the household), and "Farm Hand", his occupation.

His World War II Draft Registration Card, in 1942, has him living in Rockford, Illinois, and working at Star Pattern and Model Works.

There was so much I did not know when I began researching:  his middle name, date of birth, parents names, siblings, addresses, re-locations, employment, etc. I have learned a lot since, yet it is a mere beginning. The next step will be to contact the few family members that may have information or memories to contribute. If you are one of them, please write, call, e-mail, or 'Facebook' me. (How do you like that verbified noun?)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Project 365: Week 48

Giving Thanks

The week began celebrating Malachi's 11th birthday. His big present from grandpa was a bow. Now most of the Koch men and boys have one.

That night I was called to go stay with Sam and Kristie's boys while they went to the Birthing Center. Baby brother was born a few hours later at 2:18 a.m. on the 23rd, Monday. Kristie delivered naturally, a water birth. Amazing process, awesome gift--Zion Promise, 7 lb 11.8 oz.

I spent three nights away and came back home when the boys were in school. The rest of the time was spent keeping their regular routines going and visiting the hospital.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, logger Mike was felling trees, splitting and hauling wood, plugging away at his many to-do's. (Please note this is his own list, not a honey-do list.) But he also visited and enjoyed his new grandson.

Wednesday Elijah did not have to go to preschool so we spent the day together trying to keep busy. We waited patiently   till 4:00 o'clock for baby to come home.

Then I went home happily exhausted. We waited till Friday to celebrate Thanksgiving so the entire family could be present.
Thursday we were invited to chef son's for Thanksgiving dinner with her family: parents, two sisters and their kids (15 under 15).  Loads of good food, floors full of  tots and toys; games, conversation, laughter, photos= a whole lot of fun. You can only see half the young'uns in the photo.


Mike was chief chef for the Koch gathering. He produced an amazing array of delectable dishes.
I could not get a good photo that did justice to the spread on the counter. So here is the delightful centerpiece, one of his clay creations that I discovered looked good on a stand we've had around for a long time.

However the true center of attention of the evening was our new family member.

Each and every one of us took turns holding the precious wee one, but I did not think it appropriate to hog the blog with the unending photos.
We are so very thankful for this little miracle. I am hoping he retains his reddish hair!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Memory Monday and More!

The very old and the very new

I'm bursting with the news of our brand new grandbaby:

Baby Zion 7lb. 11.8oz 20.25" long. at 2:18 am

No photos yet.

Now about the very old: The 95-year-old M/V Doulos (meaning bond servant or slave) was our home for five years. The Guinness Book of World Records calls it "the world's oldest ocean-going passenger ship", only two years younger than the Titanic. The news that it is ending its 32 servant years as one of Operation Mobilization's missionary ships, rather suddenly on December 31st, has some of us feeling nostalgic.

Being Memory Monday, I will share something I wrote 30 years ago, a glimpse into our life onboard this ship.


Voyage from Recife, Brazil to Madeira, September 18-28, 1979
(some describe it as our best this year)

Tuesday  AM: Knock! Knock
--Hi, Niklaus! You've come to close the deadlights.
No daylight for nine days. Sorry about those plants up there.

Wedensday 6 AM: The engines stopped. No more vibration. We must be anchored.
Later. Breakfast announcement: Stowaway found last evening "working" in the hold is being handed over to the authorities in Natal (a bit further up the coast slightly off our course).
12:30, at lunch: Leah says, "Mama, at school we prayed for the stowaway, that he wouldn't get into so much trouble. I feel sorry for him."
Later. Afternoon announcement: "If you look out the port side you'll see a group of dolphins playing."
7:30 PM: The Latin Evening program is supposed to begin. Mike says, "Hurry up, you'll be late." I put on my long dress, brush my hair, and run up to the main lounge, only to arrive half an hour early! Should've known it would start on hora latina. The room is full of excitement. As each country group enters wearing their typical dress the crowd whistles, shouts, and cheers. All had worked hard to make or improvise their costumes with excellent results. These will be very useful in Europe for the international evenings and concerts.
When the program begins, we are taken on an imaginary journey through Latin America: Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, and then on to Spain. Each country presents typical folk dances, songs, recitations, even a gaucho scene around the fire.
10:00 PM: We proceed to the dining room for a taste of typical foods--paella, tortilla, bolluelos, arepas, sangrĂ­a, empanadas.

Thursday, 10:45 AM: My English class meets ont he exhibition deck, but so does everyone else! The deck crew are chipping and pounding; children running; many sitting or laying around (that's where the seasick spend their days, if not in their bunks!)
6:52 PM: We cross the Equator. It is dark, we can't see a thing!
Later. Evening of prayer: Special prayer for each of the South American countries, for Spain and Portugal, for the Maldive Islands, and Burma. (See Operation World). Then in country groups we pray for our home churches and troubled spots of the world. The final hour we view slides of Indonesia.

Friday: Mike spends every possible minute working on the computer system and is making progress. The most complicated part is still ahead.
8:00 PM: For fun and relaxation he takes part in five-minute chess games, but crosses his name off the voyage chess tournament, it takes too much time and concentration.

Saturday: Spring cleaning is going on in the girls cabins, mattresses carried out to be pounded, vacuumed, aired and sunned. Oh, no! It is beginning to rain. Mattresses and pillows are thrown inside. What a mountain!
3:00 PM: Piano recital by 10 ship children. All very good.
Clocks set forward for the second time on the voyage, one more to go.

Sunday 10:30 AM: Worship services at sea are very special times for the ship family to come and break bread together and happen very infrequently. Sundays in port, most of the ship people are out ministering in the churches.
3:00 PM: On special occasions--such as Christmas, Easter, and long voyages--we divide into small groups for fellowship. Singles are assigned to a family. We had two Mexican guys, on Colombian, a Spanish girl, and an American. Playing games can be interesting due to the language differences.

Monday: Our area's turn for spring cleaning, or is it fall cleaning?
It is also a special day of prayer. And I have to make Stephan and Leah's costumes for the Noah musical.
First things first: breakfast; kids off to school; Sammy to the nursery for half an hour while I collect and carry the two bags of dirty clothes to the laundry and strip the beds so the guys can carry out the mattresses.
Time to pick up Sammy and put him down for his nap.
10:00 AM: Wives prayer hour.
11:00 AM: Work on crocodile head for Stephan--cover climbing helmet and egg carton 'jaws' with green crepe paper; insert white 'teeth' and red tongue; attach to helmet.
Early afternoon: We sailed between some of the Cape Verde islands, very stark looking.
Cleaning continues throughout that day and the next: walls and ceilings washed, carpets shampooed.
Then there's Leah's kitten costume...

Tuesday 6:30 PM: Dress rehearsal for Noah musical.
7:30 PM Talent Night, special entertainment on long voyages. This one longer than usual: many skits, including a TV interview between Abe Lincoln and Fidel Castro by two guys that resemble these personages; a play by the junior school; a recitation by our oldest member; a guitar duet; and soooooooo much more.

Wednesday: Big day for all. The Noah musical performed twice, at 3:00 and 7:00 PM. Stephan and Leah very excited and busy getting ready and performing. Stephan starts out as a mocker, some funny lines about Noah "a duffy dood", then he changes into a crocodile. Sammy wants to clap the whole time.
Mike is mentally exhausted; he's working on the most difficult segment of the inventory control system.

Thursday: Last English lesson. One week from now we will be in Vigo, Spain, and all these young people will be staying and ministering for two months.

Friday AM: We arrive in Madeira, a beautiful mountainous island.


That was one of many, many voyages. Our children have many fond memories of life on the DOULOS and feel a twinge of sadness. Then there are the 300 "homeless" waiting for the Lord to redirect them.

Do check out the OM Ships website for more information, photos, and many stories of Hope. You can listen to many prepared especially for children: Hope for Kids. And you may read brief news notes and stories. I was fascinated scrolling down as far as September. My favorite titles or photos: 9/11 about a baby shower; 10/16 a book club visits the book fair; 11/19 baking for Thailand royalty. Enjoy!


One out of ten

There is a story in the Bible seemingly about ingratitude. Jesus healed ten lepers. Nine hurried away without even a thank you. Were they so ungrateful or simply in a hurry to show others what had happened to them?

From Thanksgiving through the New Year, we tend to look back and reflect on all the events of the past year. I look at my list and ask myself whether, in fact, I did take the time to give thanks or simply rushed on to the next happy moment.

I love to travel. I did not realize till now how privileged I have been this year to get away seven times!

--North Carolina, during spring break, with lovely granddaughter to visit a dear friend I hadn’t seen in almost 40 years!
--Wisconsin, in May, Mike and I drove up to celebrate the life of a dear family friend.
--Cincinnati, OH, a week in June, to work as a reader for Advanced Placement Spanish exams.
--Bushnell, IL, Cornerstone Festival with almost the entire family and several friends.
--Nashville, TN, in August, to the marriage celebration of a former student.
--Chicago, IL, in September to help my dear cousin Rosie her first week after heart surgery.
--Pocatello, ID, two weeks in October so our guys (the Koch brothers and nephew) could hunt ducks and birds to their hearts content.

I love my family. I thank God for each member and the relationships we enjoy: our three grown children, their partners, and the five grandchildren--18, 12, 11, 5 and the newest one about to be born, maybe even tonight!
In July we had an ‘adopted granddaughter’ of sorts.  Amaia, a teenager from the Basque region of Northern Spain was with us for a month. We enjoyed her very much and hope to see her again and even meet her family.

Mike and I both quit our jobs this year. Now, we are truly enjoying the flexibility of retirement and freedom for creative pursuits.
Mike has become very interested in pottery, every aspect. He learns and experiments almost daily: throwing, firing (using several different techniques), glazing, and giving away his unique creations. Klaytivity is the name of his art entity.
I have begun to write life stories and am enrolled in an online writing course.

I have to admit that like the nine, I take so much for granted.

Aiming for a 10/10 gratefulness score!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Project 365: Week 47

It was my Sunday to lead Jr. Worship. I love the story of Esther, the Bible verse--Psalm 138:8, and the children!

The record number of kids were quite attentive. They loved the story and the craft. It was a glittery mess but great fun!

Monday I rejoiced greatly when I heard of the completion of the reassembling of Sam's skateboarding bowl in its new location. He's been working so hard to finish the project before the baby arrives, and to begin charging and be able to pay expenses. (These are not my photos. I stole them off Facebook.)

'Pottering' resumed this week. Almost as soon as the counter got its weekly thorough cleaning, it was in use again, and that has remained constant all week. This is merely a sample.

Not to be any less productive, I kept busy: writing; scrapbooking, that is too big a word, or let's say sorting and albuming old photos; mending a stack of work jeans; all the while listening to An Echo in the Darkness, by Francine Rivers. Some evidence of my work sits on the steps waiting for the family birthday celebration Sunday. Malachi is 11 years old today, the 21st.

Chef-son came over early several mornings to hunt deer. After a few disappointing mishaps, finally on Thursday he brought in a doe. It's best you can't see her in the photo, not a pretty picture.

We were so blessed to visit with Stefan and Neeru Eicher from India.

He an artist and she an attorney (now primarily a mother to two little ones), they have a vision to bring about social justice and share Kingdom principles through their professions.  Reflection Art gallery was opened recently in New Delhi, and "exists to see art impact society with beauty and truth," to quote Stefan.

Today, Mike made good use of the beautiful weather to take on his woodsman role.

How was your week? Rainy, cold, warm, hot? Productive, overwhelming?
Let us pray for one another as we visit Sara and friends.

Happy Birthday, Malachi!




We love you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Follow-up

I Wonder as I Wander...

That title starts me humming the Christmas song and I go on "...out under the stars" or something like that.
But no, it is the title of the Art Pilgrimage station I posted Wednesday, late. I left it up longer for our pondering. I hardly ever hear back from anyone. Most likely it is because I have not learned how to set it up as a blogging community project that you link to. Or, we are not prone to pondering art. Or, no one is reading.

Last night, son, DIL and I attended a small gathering of friends to welcome a young family from India ministering in the Delhi area. Their God-given vision is to impact culture through the arts. Artists are invited annually to spend a week wrestling together to express and find answers to troubling issues. They offer longer residency programs to a select group of artists. Other programs include the destitute, making art expression available to them in hopes of lifting them out of their despairing circumstances. The thinking is that the act of creating draws us closer to the Creator. (I may have a photo for the next Project 365.)

All that to say that I am more and more convinced of the influencing power of art.
And that said, I move on to add my 2 cents worth to the artist's portrayal of the parable of the lost sheep. It could otherwise be titled "Out of the Maze". There is no sheep in the picture, not even an entire body, but clearly it is a person finding his way out of the confusing and convaluted paths. The only color in the entire piece is red, the color of blood speaks of salvation available through Jesus' sacrifice. That one bright spot draws attention to the end of the search, to finding the Way. That is what the second quote is all about, something like "once you were lost, now you are found."

It is good to look back and reflect on our former lostness only to emphasize and rejoice in what we have found. There is a purpose and end to the searching.

Then, too, there is the first probing question, personalized by the artist: "...wouldn't you leave the others to go and search for the lost one?" 

Where are you: in the maze, at the end, helping a lost one?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Memory Monday

They tell me...

They tell me I was the first in the family to touch Argentine soil, I was only 18 months old.

They tell me our first home was the back part of a long narrow house belonging to a doctor who lived in the front apartment. It had a good-sized walled-in back yard with palm trees and flower beds edged by bricks turned on their side so as to form a jagged zig-zag border. I know this well because one day I ran chasing little chicks, fell on one of those brick corners and gashed my forehead.

Mother sewed or knit all my clothes: dresses and sweater, even a woolen coat and matching hat, turquoise trimmed in brown velvet.
My daddy built much of the furniture himself and made special toys for me: a little wagon full of blocks, a pull-along ducky, a rocking horse; a desk and bench; a blackboard; a sandbox, a doll buggy for my third birthday, and more. I was loved and spoiled as only a firstborn can be.

They tell me that one day they found me naked, sitting on the side of the sandbox, my clothes lying neatly beside me. Was I too warm, enjoying the sunshine or the feel of the sand on my bare skin?

Two years later, the first of four brothers was born. We had to travel by bus to a city two hours away and wait for baby to arrive.

They tell me that all the way there I was making noises. I don’t know what kind of sounds, but when asked why, I said, “Because I am a noise machine.” Was it my child- imagination, nervous excitement, boredom, or was I simply out to annoy my fellow passengers? I don’t know. It happened over 60 years ago.

They tell me that I gave my heart to Jesus when Miss Krieger prayed with me. That may be true, but of all the memories the one that hasn’t faded is of Miss Hebe explaining that when I asked Jesus to come into my life, he came in to stay and be with me forever. That’s when I understood that I didn’t need to invite him over and over again. Now I enjoy his constant company, like it says in the Bible “…eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

They tell me these things.

They are my parents, the photos, the letters, and my vague memories.

BTW, this was the first assignment for my online course: Earliest Memories. I have revised it some since then and added photos. Again, feel free to critique.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Project 365: Week 46

Home Again

Sunday afternoon we celebrated Sam's 31st with a cookout, beautiful weather, outdoor fun on the ATV, and a rousing game of Nertz. Sam won by far.

Monday I got right to work on my giveaway. I selected five candle holders from Mike's pottery to choose from.

 Indian summer will not last, so I needed a last photo of fall decor.

Wednesday, I was visiting my mother and as a bonus got to see the niece just before she headed to Chicago to read her paper about technology in missions at a big conference. So proud of her! In the photo, before rushing out the door, a routine breakfast--bowl of cereal and Facebook.

Michael came back from vacation with at least 22 pottery ideas he'd been mulling over, but he is very responsible and as they say "first things first". Unfortunately, there was some more work to be done on the heating system and outdoor stuff to tend to while the weather is good. Pobrecito, no pottery puttering this whole week.

After working so hard all week, catching up and settling back into the home duties, it felt good to take today off and go to the Creation Museum with the newly formed group of seniors from our church, the Elderberries.

I started a new hobby this week and I am so excited about it, but I can't tell you yet because it is a Christmas surprise.
What have the rest of you been up to? It is a busy time of year, but I do hope we still find time to check in with Sara and friends.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

He who has ears, let him hear.

Yesterday I posted the photos of Cornerstone Festival Art Pilgrimage Station #9 for us to ponder.
The scriptural basis for the parable being illustrated is found in Matthew 13:18-23, which is the interpretation  of the story in verses 3-9.

The artist used Bible pages to form the leaves and blossoms or seeds. Notice that the latter, representing the seeds of the Word of God, are of a different color. Those of us who were there, learned that they were made from the red letter edition, i.e. the literal words of Jesus.

The whole piece depicts quite clearly what happened to the four seeds as they fell in different soil or circumstances.
1. Fell along the path and the evil one came and snatched it away. The art critic, for a reason I cannot remember, did not like the bird. Too scary? Evil looking, for sure, and clearly illustrates the scripture: "the birds came and ate it up."
2. Fell on rocky places in shallow soil; sprang up quickly; scorched by the sun it withered because it had no root. The words HARDSHIP and PERSECUTION explain what caused the Word that was so joyfully received at first to wither and die.
3. Fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants (the fourth panel in the art piece).The descriptive words on the vines strangling the plant are: WORRIES OF LIFE, WORRY, DESIRES FOR OTHER THINGS, THE DECEITFULNESS OF WEALTH.
4.  Fell on good soil, is the one "who hears the word and understands it, produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown," beautifully represented by the tree that spreads to all four panels. Such fruitfulness reminds me of my Tuesday post.
The artist included meaningful scripture on the trunk of the tree:
And at the bottom nearer the seed: LET YOUR ROOTS GO DOWN DEEP INTO HIS LOVE.

On the other side of the door-panels, Jesus' words--the strong admonition and title for the entire piece:

The words from Isaiah that the artist used to explain the first scenario--EVER HEARING AND NOT UNDERSTANDING. EVER SEEING AND NOT PERCEIVING--were Jesus' answer to the disciples question: "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" And he goes on to explain that their hearts are calloused, they cannot hear nor see. "But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear."

May we be among the blessed and fruitful!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

100 years!

Yesterday my brother sent me a link to a website of the Argentine branch of the denomination my parents ministered with 40+ years. Recently the 100 year anniversary celebration took place in Rio Cuarto its birthplace. He knew I would love to see the photo-review and read the story.
A century ago a young couple and their two little girls, four and two years of age, arrived in Argentina after weeks at sea. Now there are at least 20 churches in Argentina, missionaries in other neighboring countries, and thousands who have followed Christ as a result of their obedience.

I have so enjoyed the Candle in the Corner giveaway (see my sidebar, BTW it ends today so get onboard!). Every day I looked forward to becoming acquainted with yet another young couple spreading light and love in another area of the world. All of them young. (Well maybe with the exception of my brother and SIL, but their zest for life places them in the young-at-heart category.) It is very exciting to imagine the fruit of their labor 100 years from now!

Another memorable 100 year milestone took place in August. I didn't hear about it till more recently. Theda Krieger, the founder of Child Evangelism in Argentina, celebrated her 100th birthday. My parents tell me that she was the one who led me in my first prayer to invite Jesus into my heart.

My worshipful response is found in Ephesians 3:20-21.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Project: Week 45

ID to IN

El hombre propone, Dios dispone. (Man proposes, God  disposes.)

Our plans don't always work out. God knows best. Car troubles kept us f.i.v.e extra days in the home of relatives out West nestled in this lovely neighborhood.

Every day we hoped that would be the day the car was fixed. As the family left for work and school, we'd say yet another goodbye.

All the leisure time allowed me to write more--four posts during the week must be a record. Mike and nephew enjoyed more hunting times.
The weather was gorgeous the entire week. I wogged 40' every day and Mike jogged. Can you find him running on the path in the middle of the photo?

Finally, Wednesday afternoon we were able to begin our journey homeward. By then, after half a month away, we were eager to get back and gave up all thought of swinging by Yellowstone. Our sightseeing was limited to whatever we glimpsed as we drove, and that was beautiful indeed: mountains, hills, lava rocks, rivers and reminders of God's loving presence all along the way. See the three crosses on the hill?

We saw many windmills and passed trucks transporting one blade at a time which gave us an idea of their enourmous size.

We stopped at another sporting goods store and enjoyed the displays, a learning experience for me because all the creatures were labeled. This one was especially interesting because in Argentina I remember calling someone a marmota was an insult, something like dumb or stupid.

So we arrived safely, no more car problems, in fact we got better mileage! The dealer even phoned us on the way to make sure everything was running smoothly. In all his 25 years he had never encountered a fuel-pressure-speed-resistor issue.

I was then able to attend a book signing Saturday and meet Sherrie Eldridge, adoptee and author of several books on the subject of adoption. We had been in correspondence for over a year discussing the possibility of translating her materials into Spanish.

Today, Sunday, I so look forward to going to church again, seeing all the family (we will be celebrating Sam's birthday), and later connecting with all of you through Sara's Project 365.

Friday, November 6, 2009



Let’s go back a few years, maybe 33.

We had two children. The delivery of our firstborn had been so difficult that our immediate reaction had been, “No more, we will adopt the rest.” We did that, two years later Leah came into our family.

However, a few years went by, and one night both of us, at the same time, said we wanted to trust God for another child.

The months that followed involved many ups and downs, moves and changes. We left the ministry in Austria, returned to the USA and settled in Wisconsin. Then I became pregnant at age 34.

All went well, and a Caesarian was planned for November 6th. The surgeon was very experienced and confident. Hoping to comfort me he said, “I could do this with my eyes closed." “Please don’t,”I begged.

About 8:05 a.m., the barely-under-8 lb. baby boy was brought out to the light. (In Spanish the expression dar a luz for giving birth, literally means “give to the light”.)

We named him Samuel, “asked of God”.

Passport Photo

When he was only two weeks old we went back to OM, the missionary organization we had worked with most of our married life This time we joined the M/V Doulos and circled South America three times and visited ports throughout Europe for the next five years.

Early memories:

Sammy’s first memory verse was from John 14, “I go prepare a place for you.”

His first ‘offering’ experience went like this: as he leaves for Sunday School I say, “Here’s some money for Jesus.”
He comes back later with the same coins and says, “He wasn’t there.”

His understanding of who Jesus is has grown over the years into a deep faith and close personal relationship. Yet another challenge awaits this loving husband and dad, a third son is due in three weeks!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Rings

We finally left Pocatello yesterday mid afternoon. Minutes later I realized my hands were bare, no rings!

I had taken them off when I put on hand cream and failed to put them back on in my eagerness to get on the road.

The nephew’s wife l.o.v.e.s diamonds. So, I called and told her I had left a couple diamond rings, knowing how much she values them. Ha! They called a bit later to say they had found them. I am grateful because I truly enjoy wearing them.

Here’s the story behind all the meaningful rings I have owned.
The first one was a small oval turqouise set in silver (smaller than the pic I found). My parents brought it back from a trip out West. Back in Argentina, I was doing some weeding or garden work, and the ring was gone, lost forever.

The most significant was my wedding ring, a small gold band with seven small diamonds. After 10 years of enjoyment, I lost it too, but through very different circumstances. I was robbed at gun point!

We were in Venezuela on the Orinoco River, living and ministering on the ship Doulos. It was an unusual berth in that we had to cross the river on a barge to go anywhere. On a sunny Mother’s Day, we went for a stroll with another couple and our toddler boys*. We had crossed the river and were walking on the other shore, quiet and deserted. We entered a clump of trees and promptly were attacked by five young men carrying weapons. They took our rings, glasses, watches, any jewelry. I was grateful we still had one another, even if the symbols of our wedded love were gone.

After several months of feeling somewhat ‘naked,’ my ring was replaced by a white gold double band with one diamond, just the perfect size for me.

Some 15 years ago, I had a wishful-thinking thought and even turned it into a prayer, “I’d like to have a ring for my right hand.” The next week, no kidding, a package arrived from Mike’s Aunt Gerry, an old book with an heirloom ring inside--antique gold with a nice size diamond--Mike’s great grandmother’s engagement ring!

That’s the story of my rings: two lost forever, two lost and found!

*That toddler will be 31 tomorrow!

Update about our car issues:

Finally on Tuesday, and after replacing the fuel pump and the computer and ruling out other problems, they determined the culprit was a fuel pressure speed resistor and ordered a replacement out of Denver.

They had us on the road the next afternoon. This was a problem the dealer had never encountered in his 25 years in the automotive repair business. Today he even gave us a call to make sure everything was running fine. All is well, and we get better mileage now!

Needless to say, we are very eager to get home--tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

On Contentment

The textbook for my online course is Writing Life Stories by Bill Roorbach.

Yesterday I read till I came to a writing exercise: Pick a title: "On .......... (abstract noun, the first thing that comes to mind). Think for a minute. Write.

This is the fourth day we are stuck in Idaho with no solution to our car problems.
 OK, the use of that word reveals contentment issues.
Why should I  feel stuck ? Because I want to get back home. Because I don't want to mooch indefinitely off the relatives. Because I am running out of clothes to wear. (We left the bags of dirty clothes in the car at the dealer's.) Because I miss the family. Because I want to be back for upcoming events. Because I am bored at times doing the same ole' same ole' every day.
Why should I feel content, even blessed? Because we can stay in a beautiful home with a very welcoming fun family and grow closer to our nephew, wife and kids.  Because the weather is beautiful and warmer every day. Because I can go wogging every day through a lovely area. Because I have time, and more time, to study, write, blog, read... Because I don't have the pressure of producing meals. I can help, join in, do dishes, set the table, all so minor compared to being responsible for everything at home. Meanwhile the daughter is taking care of the homestead, enjoying the upkeep and the little changes, improvements, gardening. I think we will be in for some surprises, whenever we do get home.
Look at that! The positives outweigh the negatives! This is a vacation, not a misfortune.
What does the Bible teach us about the subject of contentment?
The verse that comes to mind is I Timothy 6:6 "But godliness with contentment is great gain." In context, it makes reference to those who are looking to godliness as a means to financial gain, as if that could truly satisfy. Not so. Materialism and things are not the answer.
The Preacher in Ecclesiastes gives us an example of this:
'There was a man all alone;
he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil,
yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
"For whom am I toiling," he asked,
"and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?"
This too is meaningless—
a miserable business!'
Again, the context points out another aspect of contentment, and that is companionship.
I am so blessed to have my husband with me and that we share a beautiful oneness.
Interestingly, the exhortation: " content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." is set in the context of marriage. Is the scripture here implying that greed and sexual immorality are connected? Or are they meant to be two separate subjects?
To wrap this up I will conclude with a line from the first quote: "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."
Note to self: find a way to retrieve those bags from the car and do a load of laundry!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Memory Monday

Returning to Memory Monday format only because I finished another writing assignment for my online course and thought I might share it with you.

This was my assignment: Write a 500-word scene from your life where place had a special significance to the story. Use descriptive language to show this place and how it makes you feel.

And here is what I wrote. My children helped me with the details.

Hurricane season, 1981.

The M/V Doulos sails toward Coatzacoalcos in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ten-year-old son, Stephan, and friend, Jochi, stand on deck looking out at the horizon, it’s the same old everyday landscape, the undulating blue-green water sprinkled with a few white caps.

“Wouldn’t it be fun to see a storm?” says one. “We could pray,” suggests the other. Two days later, they are out on the deck at 6 a.m. The wind has picked up and the waves are 20 feet higher than usual, splashing over the deck. “This is fun!” the boys say.

Later, four adventurous crew members sit on a 6 foot wooden sand-filled box enjoying the view, taking pictures.

“Help!” they scream as the huge wave washes them 100 feet aft.

“Hang on!”

“My camera’s gone”

“I lost a shoe!”

Over the intercom the captain booms : “Everyone inside. Secure everything that moves.”

Thankfully the book exhibit, the largest floating bookstore in the world, had been stowed upon leaving the port of Veracruz.

Overheard: “This storm is nothing, only a strong gale.” However, all night long the 300 passenger ship bobs mercilessly about like a cork on the heaving sea under strict orders not to enter the harbor. The next day, still unable to dock, we continue our circles in the open sea. Nearly everyone is experiencing some degree of seasickness. School children have the day off, a 'storm day'. The shrill bell rings on schedule to announce mealtimes, but few make their way to the dining room. Those who do enjoy an over abundance of food while they hold onto sliding dishes and cutlery.

Those who can rouse themselves out of their bunks and are not needed to run the ship make their way up to the main lounge. Most chairs are stacked and secured to the side walls. The members of the missionary community, young and old, lay around trying to enjoy the classic movies playing constantly to entertain and distract.
Stephan, six-year-old Leah and their school age friends enjoy the freedom of unsupervised play while two- year-old Sam goes down for a nap. What can I do? My stomach is stronger than most, I rarely experience even a touch of seasickness. I cannot imagine sitting in my little bathroom-cum-study-cubicle with books falling around me from the shelves built into the former shower stall. Perhaps I could sit on the floor in the children's room and reinforce the spines of the Ladybird books. I've been wanting to do that for a long time. That's it! Despite the entire series of small children's books sliding all around me, I carefully hang onto one at a time, cut a strip of tape and slowly place it on the binding.

No lives were lost, and in my case, no time wasted either. To this day, the sight of a Ladybird book conjures up that stormy day at sea.

[Please feel free to critique.]