Monday, April 24, 2017

Spring Steps 2017

Spring is in the air here in Spokane, the trees are budding and the sun is shining. And in our home, we are enjoying the fact that opportunities are appearing on our doorstep, walking into our offices, and reaching out via social media. And in it all, there is a sense of something new and different happening. Yet there is also a realization that this is not new, it is just reshaped at the present time, like one season follows another year after year. 

Young adults with broken relationships and big dreams, visitors with questions and pain, couples with new challenges. Fresh coffee and dark chocolate, ice water and salty snacks. The realization that often there are no easy answers, but the answer is found in resting solidly in the One who knows and understands. He is the answer. Together we seek Him and He chooses to be found. And we stand amazed at the God we serve and the opportunities He gives to be part of the story He is writing.

These days at work Garry has been doing a lot of research, and the process has begun many great conversations. He is working on judgement training right now, the process of teaching wise decision-making to new aviators. Decisions that come up in the cockpit often do so quickly, and the decision you make depends on previous experiences and information which you process almost subconsciously. What is the best way to build that body of knowledge that produces wise decisions?

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to join the youth group on a service retreat. I was impressed by these young people who gave up a major part of their spring break to serve at a Christian camp. We helped with deep cleaning in preparation for camp season, scrubbing bathrooms, chairs, and grills. We worked on the grounds, picking up stones and pine cones. We worked hard and played hard. We "did life" for a few days, and that helps us all grow. What a privilege to be a part of young lives!

In fact, most of growing seems to mean "doing life" together in one way or another. We've enjoyed having a friend spend some time at our house while he recuperates after surgery. A couple stopped by to discuss options for their future and to pray together. Kaleb's friends came for an evening of pizza-making and fun. Kevin's friends stopped by for dinner and discussions after an afternoon of tennis. A friend is working through re-entry and we've had opportunity to discuss it and ask God for wisdom as she walks through a challenging time.

Kaleb is also doing a lot of "walking with" these days as he takes opportunities to spend time with friends. God has given him unique opportunities with great Christian friends and with kids he meets while riding BMX in the neighborhood. 

Kevin is busy with school, work, and training and is also preparing for his time in China this summer. We are excited about this opportunity and praying with him about the challenges he is sure to face. His unique perspective on life and culture as well as his ability to communicate well is a huge blessing as he interacts with friends and professors at Moody. He, too, has unique opportunities to do life with people, and summer promises even more of those.

These are exciting times, good days. Busy days. And we are privileged to walk these days with various people in various ways. And we are privileged to be part of the team.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Next Steps

Sometimes I'd like to take a leap, go far in a single step. Most often, life just doesn't work that way. Usually we walk. One step at a time. This step. Then another. Little by little. And over time those steps add up to real progress.

One exciting step this week was receiving a letter from immigration saying Kaleb's work permit is on its way! This doesn't mean his papers are finished, but it means things are moving ahead and that's a great thing. A positive step.

This has been a week full of steps. Plenty of small steps. Reports coming and going. Prayers lifted. Conversations. Paperwork. Team meetings and meetings over lunch. Questions that need an answer. New opportunities. Closed doors and open windows.

These are the real things of life that provide tangible opportunities for faith and hard work. There are things that demand attention and the things that truly deserve it. The people in our lives and the tasks that bring us together. The hours that tick by and are forever gone. The blessing of another sunrise and the beauty of another sunset.

This morning I am simply grateful for where we are the privilege we have to serve here, the blessing of the team scattered around the globe and the blessing of those who are nearby. The small steps we are taking together in our journey to knowing God and making Him known.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Family Foundations

Family. Home. Foundations.
Garry and I both grew up overseas as missionary kids. We have never been quite at home in North America. Our roots are deep, but not local. I think that's why we count it such a privilege to be here these days with both our sons at home. Our roots nor our lives are centered in one location, they're connected to people. And given where God has taken us four, our lives are uniquely connected. We love watching the boys integrate into life and culture here and we want to be sure they, too, have deep roots. Roots in eternity, the kind we are each still growing. While this is not our main goal in life, it is an important part, and today's post is about that.

So, what's up with us four at home? Garry found a manual transmission for a car we've been wanting to fix for quite some time. He spent the morning at pull-and-save and came home rather dirty but smiling. Both Kevin and Dustin worked with him this morning, so there were other bonuses besides the transmission. I'm constantly amazed at the things he can do after a long day's work. He reminds me that his work isn't as physically demanding as it once was, but I know that mental work is also exhausting, and I am amazed at the energy and determination he always has.

Kevin is studying, training, and coaching. School this semester has a few new challenges as well as new joys with some great classes. He has a couple of profs that are just incredible in their heart for ministry and depth of knowledge and passion. He is learning much about intercultural communication as well as literature and writing. God has given him some great coaching opportunities this semester,  which is covering his bills during school. He has a great group of students, from middle schoolers to a lady who could almost be his grandma. His heart for the badminton community continues to grow and he is working hard at his training, lifting and running and researching. Others doors appear to be opening in badminton, opportuntiies that we are watching unfold.

Kaleb is thankful for sunshine and clear roads to do his street BMX riding on these days. He's met a few guys in our new neighborhood that also ride BMX, either street or jumps. He continues to meet young guys and is constantly asking God how he can best invest in their knowing Him. It's a challenging and exciting journey. In between riding he is also working on a longer animation that is a strong allegory. School, interning at a local studio, and having fun with friends fills the remainder of his days.

For my part I'm enjoying working with Garry a little more, planning Kaleb's next steps in school, meeting with women for coffee, and keeping house. I'm often reminded that even in very clean suburbia it still takes time to keep a house looking like a home and meals don't make themselves. I've also enjoyed getting to know people at Moody better as I've helped Garry with preparations for a couple of events.

Family. It's a gift. Thanks for walking this journey with our family!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Two Weeks Ago vs Today

In the midst of the busyness of planning this year's Safety Seminar and working on details for Moody Aviation's Safety Audit I began a post that I never finished. It started like this:

"Two weeks and this will be over! It's a happy/sad thought today as I ponder the many hours we've invested in this year's Safety Seminar and Aviation Audit. When you're focused on a task, working at succeeding at something you feel you are meant to do, it is easy to lose the bigger picture. It's easy to get lost in the details. It's simple to lose sight of the world in the pile of papers, the much-corrected calendar, and the list of tasks that are waiting for you. It's easy to forget what it's really about and the people who matter most."

Those two weeks are now gone, the Safety Seminar and Audit are finished, and I am looking back at what I had been looking forward to. My perspective has changed. I've not forgotten the effort we put into these events, but the effort seems small compared to the results. We didn't make things happen, but things happened. We didn't force God to act, but He did. We couldn't make people engage and learn, but they did. And from this perspective, it feels so worthwhile and I am so thankful we got to be a part of it.

I didn't feel the earth tremble or see a revolution happen. But I see change happening-- new conversations, new understanding, and a new level of engagement. Seeds sprouting and I believe these are seeds that have great potential to produce good fruit. This is what we were asking God for. Not so much a huge one-time change but the start of a process that would carry on and spread. That God would use these events to both encourage and challenge us.

As I look around at the piles of unfinished work around me, I am encouraged by looking back. That set of piles is now finished. And this is mostly a new set. If this is worthwhile, I want to do it. If it is not, I want to leave it undone and move on. But this will not last forever-- none this stuff will. Yet in some small way God allows us to do things and learn things that WILL last forever. That's the kind of thing I want to do, and I have a suspicion that the lasting things have a lot to do with my intentions and my heart.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The New Place

I've promised a few of you more info on the new house, what's changed, and what hasn't. And this morning I realized a post might be the easiest way to do that. So, here are a few photos of the house as it now stands.

A few things we love about our new place:
  • We are on a quiet cul-de-sac
  • Kaleb has space for his animation studio
  • The house is bright and cheery
  • Kevin has space downstairs to spread out
  • The backyard looks like it will be beautiful in summer and we have a nice deck out back
  • We are still close to our church and places we are used to shopping and the drive to those places is actually easier
  • Kevin is a few minutes closer to school and one of his badminton locations
  • Garry and I enjoy walks around the neighborhood

This is not to say there aren't things we miss-- the view out the kitchen window and dining room was stunning. We also knew and enjoyed several of our neighbors and Kaleb particularly had a lot of friends in the neighborhood. The first house had high ceilings, which we enjoyed. We also miss the large windows in the basement.

We are thankful for God's provision of this house for us. We are enjoying where we are and are feeling very settled for the short time we've been in this place. Thanks for being part of the journey!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Praise Alert!

We got a US Immigration Fingerprinting appointment for Kaleb! This means that his process is moving along and there isn't a snag, at least in the initial application. After all the delays and questions we've had, this is a huge answer to prayer. Thanks for praying. Please thank God with us for this step being accomplished and pray for the remaining steps to go smoothly.

This weekend Kaleb was at Winter Camp, a new experience for him. I can't wait til he gets home in a few hours and tells us all about it! He is enjoying winter thus far, gaining experience riding street BMX on ice, a day spent snowboarding, and practicing winter driving. He has spent a lot of time recently on Lego Animation, his latest project being an entry for THAC that he did with a friend of his. Check it out here.

Kevin is currently suffering a nasty bout of the flu in Manitoba. He arrived there last week and has enjoyed seeing a few people, visiting some of his favorite places, and getting some training in. He plans to be there for a couple more weeks before heading to Saskatoon for Canadian Nationals then back here for school.

Then there's Garry. This week he is teaching a few classes on how to use the new risk management software. We are super excited about this. The software is a powerful tool to share information, and sharing information is key in risk management and accident prevention. Sometimes the process feels long, and yet in retrospect we see that there have been a lot of interesting steps along the way. One thing Garry has gotten really good at is putting together presentations-- good graphics with a reasonable amount of interaction to keep listeners engaged in learning. I love seeing what he puts together these days!

For my part, I spend the majority of my time helping, it seems. I love being a mom and wife, keeping three hungry guys fed. I enjoy the office work I'm doing with Garry, helping organize the safety seminar as well as learning more about the software so I can help manage it. Touching base with friends, blogging, e-mailing. Focusing on prayer for the women at Moody-- staff, students, and wives. These are the things that keep me busy these days.

Also check out and follow our new blog, where we will be transitioning everything to in the future. Our latest post is
Reflections on 25 Years Together. 

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

Despite moving just before Christmas, we made some great memories over Christmas and New Year's. We enjoyed taking about all God has done in our lives, remembering other Christmases, eating great food, drinking hot chocolate and coffee, and getting used to our new home. We also made a quick trip to Leavenworth to meet some of Garry's family for a great time. It was an answer to so many prayers about our move to have this time to slow down between moving and heading back to work. (I blogged about some of it here.)
Now we're back into normal routines and excited about what God has in store for today, this week, this month, and this year. I've been challenged once more to be present-- to live this moment rather than waiting for that someday when things will be different or better or harder or easier. To enjoy the blessings of today instead of trying to arrange blessings for tomorrow. To spend the time I have right now enjoying God and loving those around me. To use my energy pursing the things God has led me to do. Right now. It's such a simple place when I stay here. 
The first days of the year at Moody Aviation are set aside for staff meeting, planning, and preparing for the next semester. Today Garry is presenting to all staff members on how to report using the software. We are excited about the capability of this software to grow our ability to share important information and look forward to seeing how it works as we use it more widely. 

Kevin is heading to Manitoba soon to work for a few weeks there before heading to Canadian Badminton Nationals in Saskatoon, SK the first week in February. He is looking forward to connecting with various people in Manitoba and in the Canadian badminton world.

Kaleb has been making good use of his new animation studio lately. Yesterday he released his entry for a Lego Rebrick contest,  Batman At the Movies.  This weekend he'll be working with a friend on an entry for an annual 24-hour animation contest, a sure-fire way to have some exhausting fun. 

I trust your year is starting with presence in this moment and hope for the future.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

New House and Home

We moved last week! In fact, it's been two weeks since we got the keys to our new place. We are currently renting from another missionary family, which is a huge blessing in so many ways. We love our new place and are feeling at home there already, despite the remaining unpacked boxes.

The move has been a blessing in a myriad of ways, most of them unexpected. We decided to take the house just before the snow fell, and moved just after the ground was well-covered. Our nephew from Canada stopped here on his way home and helped move the bigger furniture. Friends from church, work, and the neighborhood showed up to help.  With their energy we were out of the old house and had the place cleaned up in record time. The work they did was a blessing, and the friendship and community it reflected was amazing.

We are settling into our new place and love the neighborhood already. The location is not where we were hoping to be, but we are finding that is much better than we anticipated. In fact, it is better than where we were looking.

Kaleb's papers are submitted and we pray that this application is approved without any more issues. He is busy these days with a Lego animation he is doing for a contest.

Kevin had a challenging but good tournament in California last week and this week he is working in Seattle. We're looking forward to having him home for a couple of days over Christmas.

As we think about where we are and what is happening we are blessed by what God is doing. We are amazed by the prayers that have been answered and thankful that He continues to answer. As we take a break from packing and unpacking to celebrate Christmas we are humbled and blessed once again by the reality of the incarnation. God Himself becoming man. Talk about a major move!

May your Christmas be full of the realities of Christ in us, the Hope of Glory. May we celebrate Him with abandon as we thankfully enjoy the gifts He gives-- family, friends, and material goods.