Friday, August 22, 2008

Letting Go....Again

It’s the most difficult time of the year for me, the end of August. It’s the time when students head back to school. Seniors from youth group are moving on to college and they are saying their “good-bye”s.

But for the 10th year in a row, I am saying “good-bye” to one of my own. Zach was home for about 3 weeks and it has been a joy to have him here. I love having him around – having his friends around – hearing him play his music at a wedding and at a coffee house. He has been working part-time and has been busy finalizing the details of his CD and upcoming recital. I try to be here most of the time when I know that he’ll be home. The time just goes by too quickly.

In the earlier years I would always be wondering if they were ready. Did we talk about money issues, friends, churches, studies…..?
This morning I find myself wondering if there are any last truths that I should be sharing, any words of wisdom that I should tell him, anything that God has laid on my heart for his life?

This morning it was Psalm 37:4, 23-24
“Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.

If the LORD delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm;
Though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with His hand.”

I tearfully read theses verses to Zach as he was about ready to head out.

You see, if we “delight” – find joy- in Him, then our ways WILL delight the Lord because we will be seeking to please Him in all that we do.

I notice that there are no extra shoes in the entry, no guitars at the bottom of the stairs, no books lying around. The only evidence that he was here is his name tag from work on our bench.
Oh, and a dirty bathroom.

I know that I will see him next week when we head to Grand Rapids for his Sr. Recital for his Contemporary Christian Music Major. He will be playing his own music and it will be more like a concert than recital. So, I’m excited to be there along with his grandparents and Dale’s two sisters.

I remind myself that he loves God, that he is where he feels God wants him to be, that he is developing the talents that God has given him.

But, the letting still hard.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Life Long Friends

Last week a friend of mine, who now lives out of town, was back to visit her parents. Usually when she comes there is only time for a short get together. In that time we cover all of the major goings on in our lives: spouses, kids, parents, jobs. The time goes by quickly and she is off again. This time she was able to stay for a few days without it being the rush of a Holiday. It was so much fun to be together again unhurried.
Linda and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. We were neighbors, classmates and attended the same church. That meant we were in the same Sunday School classes, youth group, attended church camp together and even sang together. We were together when we made our S.S. teacher cry – and they weren’t tears of joy either, sorry to say.

With another friend, the 3 of us pooled our great resources and bought a little tent which we would camp in during the summer. We would set it up in the back field behind my parent’s house, in fact, right where my house now sets. We would run through the fields in the middle of the night getting wet up to our knees from the alfalfa. Then we would lay on the highway that was still warm from the summer sun. Those were the years of trying to figure out who we were and who we wanted to be. There was the typical Jr. High game of Truth or Dare and others while we camped that seem to be almost a rite of passage. And I remember saying good-bye in her driveway the day that she left for college.
We stood up in each others weddings and celebrated with the birth of each of our kids.

We would go for quite a while without seeing each other or talking. But, it is so wonderful to be able to pick up almost right where we left off years before. I have been so thankful that for the past several years we have made it a point to do a better job of keeping in touch. I actually think that Linda worked on that before I did. I am so blessed by her friendship.
So last week did a project together. She had brought along a small bookcase that we painted and then did a feather technique to add other colors.
Late one night, when it was the height of the Perseid Showers, we laid out on a blanket and watched the show. Well, it wasn’t much of a show, it was rather slow. We only stayed out ‘til midnight so we didn’t see a lot of them. But, it was a wonderful time to talk, lying there looking at the expanse of the heavens created by the God that both of us love.
And to share:
To share what God has been teaching each of us
To wonder – and hope – that there is food in heaven :)
To share concerns with each other

In the book that I just finished reading the author says, “The gift of friendship among women is a treasure not to be taken lightly. … Friendships need to be nurtured and guarded and fought for. To have a women friend is to relax into another soul and be welcomed in all that you are and all that you are not.” We need to “listen between the lines.” When we do that and show love in the little ways “We offer our hearts.”

So, Thank you, Linda, for letting me help you paint, for Tiramisu Tuesday, for watching the heavens with me late one night last week, for praying, for pursuing, for being my friend.
I am blessed!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Family Camping '08

For the past, oh, maybe about 15 years, once a summer we go camping with family. When the boys were home it would be with Terry & Sandy and their kids, our family and also my parents. Early on Mom and Dad used to take just the grand kids for a fun weekend and give us some time alone. Then we all started going. Usually we stay in WI. One year we headed out to Colorado and had a wonderful time out there in the mountains and another year we went to Missouri – now referred to as “misery”. Sorry those of you who love it there. Picture 90 degrees and humid and us having our usual campfire while we sit 20 feet away. It was nuts!

Slowly the kids started dropping out of the camping scene as they moved on and out. The first time that we camped without either of the boys it just didn’t feel right. There was definitely a void. Now we are used to it and we are the ones at the campground and beach watching young parents with their kids. A number of times we’ve said, “Remember when….?”

This year we went to Ottowa Lake. It’s a state park near Eagle, WI just a little west of Milwaukee.

It is a little campground with a nice lake but not a lot of other things there at the park to do. Nearby there were hiking trails which we didn’t go on because the mosquitoes were AWFUL! We never even had a campfire in the evening because: a. the mosquitoes were so bad and b. it was too warm. So that was really weird for us.

I had 35 bites on one leg from the first night.

Dale's following at Ottowa Lake.

We spent one day at “Old World Wisconsin”. It is an historical park with century old homes that have been moved there and restored. They have people working there as if it were the 1880’s. It was a beautiful place and thankfully there was a tram that brought us from one area of homes and old stores to another. Each area was a little different because they were built by settlers from different countries.

Dale found a little hiking area with a trout stream and unbelievably clear pool where we spent a little time. It was called Paradise Springs. About 80 years ago it had a hotel, horse track, spring water bottling plant and a water turbine. Now all that is left is some of the stone walls. Of course, Dale wasn’t too interested in that. He spent his time fishing. He caught 2 while we were there. We could see them in the clear spring fed pool. But, after that he couldn’t get them to bite. He said that he tried every fly that he had with him. Believe me, that’s a lot.

Looking for more

For suppers we took our turn making supper for the 6 of us. That gave us the other meals off. That has really worked out well and we have fantastic meals.
After that we played “Jocker”. It’s a fun board game and it is the men against the women. Boy, do we get competitive. This year we tied at 4 wins each. We’re going to have a tie breaker in the near future.