Well, this year is quickly coming to an end. Just 6 months ago we were celebrating our 46th wedding anniversary and now - well it is winter, cold, rainy and now December. Not only do the years seem to fly by but so does technology. When I started to blog, everyone was doing it, well almost everyone. So like a little sheep, I followed. Now it is no longer blogging but FB and yup, I have signed on as well. I enjoy FB because I have connected with people that I have often remembered but lost track of. I am not a wordsmith and so to write a long blog is often hard but I can make a one sentence comment or push "like". Tonight tho I sat down and look at old blogs I have bookmarked and saw mine and decided to post a note to two. What have we been doing since last February when we moved back to Sonora - learning how to live the "sort of" retired life with me working 4 days a week & Steve giving music lessons. It has been a "Mr Toad's Wild Ride" to say the least but God has always, and I mean always provided for our needs and even some of our wants. So as 2012 closes, we are praising God for His faithfulness even in my whining and worrying and wondering. Psalm 3:5,6 I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear the ten thousands drawn up against me on every side.
Tomorrow, June 11 will be our 46th Anniversary. I really find it hard to believe that it has been 46 years since my love and I said "I do". I remember our high school days, the dating days, and wishing for the time when we could be married. Then Z-O-O-O-M here we are, 3 daughters, 3 son-in-laws and 11 grandchildren later. There are more gray hairs than I would like and more wrinkles too but there IS one thing I know - I still love the "husband" of my youth (Prov 5:18 Karen's translation).
Here it is May 7, 2012 and we have moved back to our beloved Sonora and into our mobile home. We did that on February 29 - as Steve said "we leaped forward into a new life at our old home on Leap Day." A week and one day later Steve went in for nasal & mouth surgery so it was back down to Hanford, CA for that. I won't give you the graphic details but they straighten this and removed that and shaved a bit off here all to help him breath better and so he wouldn't have to have a C-pap. He is still recovering from that. It will be a long slow process. He is still waiting for the day when he can say "I'm glad I had the surgery done." Not there yet! Also, I started working again. I have a part-time job as church secretary for the Twain Harte Bible Church. I am enjoying this very much. I only work 4 days a week from 9am to 3pm. I am learning so many new and wonderful "techy" things. Steve is on the lookout for music students. He has 4 at present and is hoping to increase that to 13. He has also been approached to teach creative writing and tutor in English. On top of all that he is "Mr. Fun Music" at several retirement and care homes in the Sonora area. He puts on his wild and crazy suspenders, grabs his guitar and silly instruments and spend an hour or so at the care home entertaining the folks there (and he gets paid for this). Yes, our life has changed and we think for the better. We still love the Lord with all our hearts and enjoy serving Him in any way we can, but we have stepped out of the formal, professional ministry. Oh, we'd like someday to return to Japan for a short term missions trip and see our many friends, or maybe expand our world to other countries but for now we are resting, healing and revitalizing.
Amid all this new life, we had to say good bye to an old and dear companion. Our sweet little Daisy dog passed away the end of January. We had her for 14 years but her old heart just couldn't keep up anymore and so she wasn't able to make the move with us in life but she is here in death. We brought her "home" and buried her here before we got moved. We loved her and miss her but her playmate Daphne (the fuzzy one) has been a source of comfort for us. Daphne is fascinated by all the wild life she see around our place, the deer, birds, squirrels and enjoys sitting out on our deck with her head through the railing slats watching and waiting.
So there ya have it. We are home and enjoying it very much. Getting reconnected with good friends and making new ones at our new church home. We have gone back to bowling and Steve has taken up racquetball again. Semi-retirement can be a scary thing, especially in these times, but we trust in a great and powerful and loving God who promises never to leave us nor forsake us. We may not be taking much to the bank but we can sure bank on the promises of God. He will never break His word.
We have been home from Japan almost a year now. We flew home July 7, 2010. My, my, my where has the time gone? This year has seen major Thyroid surgery for Steve, learning the ways of the farm community, making new friends and having wonderful visits from the old and dear friends.
Winter was especially hard with lots of rain and in Sonora, snow. Our mobile home, still sitting empty, suffered some extensive damage from the snow breaking tree limbs. Half of our carport was destroyed, a window broken and the 2 outbuilding in the back were dented. But, we are praising God for His blessings because the remaining half of the carport was repaired, the window fixed and the outbuilding also repaired and the cost was covered by our insurance. The place is once again presentable and so we continue to try to sell it. In the mean time tho' we have used it as a retreat, spending several days at a time there, reading and resting and visiting friends.
Speaking of friends. We have had almost a nonstop parade of friends visiting us here in Laton. It has been so great to be able to show them our corn fields, cows, and take them into Hanford for some wonderful Superior Ice Cream.
And, speaking of corn fields. The corn field out back and next to our home is, as the song goes, "as high as an elephants eye." Our friend Bob was visiting us just this past week and as we were in the house talking, we heard a loud roar outside. We ran outside and there to our amazement was a bi-wing plane flying right overhead crop dusting the field. I ran in the house and got my camera, got up on the wood box on the patio and waited until the plane circled back around and headed straight for our house. You could almost see the pilot. It was so exciting. Our friend Bob, who is now 85, use to fly small planes and so especially enjoyed it.
You just never know what you will see in the farm country of Laton. There is farm equipment that defies description, low flying aircraft and beautiful blue sky and amazing sunsets.
A lot has transpired since we got home from Japan and did the wedding at Lake Tahoe in September and it all transpired rather quickly. We are now at home in Laton, CA, farming and dairy country in the central valley of California. On October 3rd Steve was called to be the pastor of Laton Community Church of the Brethren and on the 16th we loaded up a U-haul, 2 pick-ups and our car with all our worldly goods and our 2 dogs and moved into the parsonage. We are still in the mists of unpacking (I have yet to find the remotes to our TV, my glass globe to our floor lamp and I am sure some other things) and settling in to farm life. I am really enjoying the open spaces that surround our home. When we first saw Laton the fields next to our house were tall with corn. Then when we moved in, the fields had been harvested and replanted with Burmese grass (feed for the cows), now the fields are flooded with water - preparing them for planting of winter wheat. Reminds me of the rice fields of Japan.
Our home in Sonora is now vacant and up for sale. We are certainly hoping that it will sell soon but we are praising God that we are being so well cared for here at Laton COB that we can, for a while, make the payments.
It has been fun decorating and finding new places for our things. My dear friend Gail came and spent a week with me helping me, as she puts it, to get the "bones" of our house together. She helped me arrange furniture, paint, shop for needed and not so needed accessories but things to make the house beautiful,and unpack boxes and put my kitchen together so we could eat off real dishes and drink from real cups and glasses. Her husband replaced my vanity mirror that got broke in the move (bless you Steve). It is wonderful to have such good friends.
And speaking of good friends, Greg & Liz,along with Steve and Gail and their daughter Sarah, were real troupers helping us load up, drive down and unload our U-haul . Our new friends of COB helped make short work of the unloading and then feed us all. They continued on and provided meals for us that first week.
Each day I enjoy waking up and looking out at the fields, the beautiful horses across the street, hearing the cows lowing and the chickens cackling and eating farm fresh eggs for breakfast. And it is just a short walk to the church next door.
Labor Day weekend found us in Placerville, CA visiting old friends and preparing for a wedding. Placerville is the first place we moved to after Steve completed his college education and getting his teaching degree. It is also the place of his first teaching job at Gold Trail School. All of our children were born while living in Placerville and we made some life long friends. Oh, we have been back to Placerville many times since 1968 and each time it is a wonderful trip down memory lane. This trip, however,was for the express purpose of performing the wedding of our dear friends Andy & Eileen at beautiful Lake Tahoe. It was not only at Lake Tahoe but ON Lake Tahoe for you see Andy had reserved a yacht to take us all out to Emerald Cove where we stopped the engines and Steve, the bride and groom and all the witnesses came to the bow and Steve performed ceremony and Andy & Eileen became husband and wife. The day was absolutely perfect - warm but not hot, sunny with clear sky's and the lake was crystal clear and calm so no one got seasick. We felt so honored to be asked to officiate and to be a part of the big day. After motoring back to shore, the reception was held at Andy's family cabin where we enjoyed a wonderful evening with great authentic Irish food. Have you ever had corn beef and cabbage pizza? Really, it is good!
Home again, home again, jiggity jig... We are home in Sonora and this time, hopefully, for longer than 2 or 3 days. After Sugarloaf Camp we headed out to see family up and down the west coast and across to Texas. We put some 6500 miles on our car and it was worth every one of them. We had great times and of course all the grandkids have grown since we had last seen them in December while we, on the other hand, have stayed the same. One of the biggest change was that our middle daughter Heather and family relocated to Texas and so we had a fun time "getting our kicks on route 66" all the way there and back and taking time to visit the Grand Canyon. When we got to Texas, we found our youngest grandson on the run and very verbal. He had turned 2 in July and is now quite the little man. Reconnecting with our daughters and their families really blessed our hearts and souls.
Now we are ready for the next adventure that God has in store for us. We have begun to knock on some ministry doors. Some of those doors have opened and then closed again but we KNOWHe is working it all out for us and so we are just trusting. Steve gave our dear Japanese friends and family this little poem - "We must just trust" and that is what we are now practicing.
Since we have come back to the states, Steve and I have both had birthdays and have moved into a whole new phase of our lives. We now carry a little red, white and blue card in our wallets. Steve gave me a wonderful birthday party, even tho' I kept saying I didn't want a party. We had 12 of our dearest friends over for some late afternoon fun. Steve surprised me with a new playmate for our "old" Daisy dog. He got me a darling black and white 4 month old Ihaso Apso/Bichon mix puppy. Her name is Daphne. So, we are once again in puppy mode but she is smart and has already begun to catch on to some rules of the house. She only weighs 4 lbs so what is you see is all fluff and hair.
Our very good friends, the Sims, came over for the weekend. We always have a hoot when they come and this was no exception. Us gals shopped, had lunch at a Thai restaurant and had a mango facial.
So, no matter what the next step is in our lives, at least my face will be soft.
I was born in Detroit, Michigan and moved to Torrance, California in 1953 where I grew up, was educated and married. I have been happily married for 44 years to Steve (He's the one in the hat). We have raised 3 beautiful daughters and acquired 3 wonderful "sons-in-love". They in turn have given us 11 amazing grandchildren. Along this road from childhood to grandmotherhood there have been many turns bringing both tears and laughter. I am thankful that the Lord has allowed me to travel this road.