My apologies for a mostly-absent summer. I have literally been too busy and/or tired to get anything posted here. Let me try to rectify that by giving at least bullet point updates with some photos...
Since the grandchildren are the most delightful news, let me share something about them:
Ezra joined the family on April 4th. He is now 3+ months of charm, and big sister Emma is proud as a big sister can be. Ezra adores her, of course. Tim and Nikki are doing well, have adjusted beautifully, and are in the midst of even more change as they try to sell their house and move into one being built some time this fall.
Carys joined the family on June 16th. Ada was not at all sure about the whole "little sister" thing, but it was love at first sight! Elsa once again made the whole pregnancy-labor-delivery thing look easy. Elsa's mom, Donna, was sad not to be present, but she was helping Elsa's dad, Chris, who is recovering from a tractor accident, start learning to walk again. Donna got some face-to-face time this week when Ben and family met her at a conference. Our prayers are with Chris as he continues to recover, and that he will meet this precious grand daughter soon.
I picked Dave up from the airport in Phoenix and headed to Tucson for the weekend on June 20th. The plan was to give the Phoenix kids some space, see the Tucson kids, then bring Nikki and the kids back to Phoenix the following Monday. Tim was headed on a short-notice trip to the U.K., and Nikki understandably didn't relish time with two little ones, no husband, and a house on the market. So we were all headed back to Phoenix to stay in a friend's empty apartment and help Ben and Elsa while Ben had surgery. You heard correctly, Gentle Reader: double-hernia surgery one week after a newborn. Elsa needed a hand!
However, God had different plans. On Sunday, June 22, Marilyn, Dave's mom home in New Mexico, suffered a stroke. Folks from church took her to the emergency room, and she was then transferred to Albuquerque. I am so grateful that my parents met her there and stayed with her until we could arrive. We threw Nikki and kids all into our car, and headed first to Albuquerque, then on to Los Alamos. It was a slow trip with a nursing baby, a recently potty-trained toddler, and a stop for a visit at the hospital! But Marilyn was in good hands and doing well, and we all made it safely to Los Alamos in the wee hours of Monday morning. The next day, Dave and I returned to Albuquerque to spend the day with Marilyn, then I took Dave to the airport and sent him back to Phoenix to be there to take Ben to his surgery.
Ben's surgery went well, but he definitely needed a man for support since his wife was not allowed to lift more than 10 pounds! Dave loved the time with Ben, Elsa, and the girls, and by the time he flew home on Friday, Ben was over the worst of the pain, cutting back on his pain meds, and was reasonably cogent and moving pretty well. Above Ben is in his post-op comfy chair, where he slept for the first few nights.
Meanwhile, I brought Marilyn home on Wednesday morning. By God's grace, the stroke left her with almost no physical symptoms, and we are all beginning to figure out and adjust to what the new normal will look like for her and for us. There are difficult transitions afoot, and we appreciate your prayers for all of us to love God and one another well, and to make a smooth transition to wherever God is calling us to go.
It was a blessing having extra time with Nikki and the kids, and then have Tim join us for the Fourth of July weekend before taking them all home. I'll end with a few photos from the Fourth below.
Throw into this mix: two work-related trips for Dave, two infusions for me, one bout with acute diverticulitis for me, and what is brewing into a major battle with my insurance company, and you will have a pretty good idea why I haven't had time to blog much. But I am tolerating the infusions well, continuing to regain a little much-needed energy, and remain without active disease in my eyes. Praise God!
Through everything, I am constantly amazed at the goodness of God, his attention to detail, His tender answers to prayer, and His mercy and care for us all. I hope your life is a bit calmer, Gentle Reader, but that your amazement of God's love is just as great!
Over the last two weeks, both of these sweet nieces of mine (pictured with their parents) got married. If you go back a few weeks before that, Myka on the left got her Master's degree, and Rachel graduated from college. Add a few significant family moments to that, and you can image the last six weeks these precious people have had! Talk about emotional exhaustion!
These sweet, smart, talented girls love the Lord, and their new husbands. I am so very proud of them and happy to call them family!
I made picnic quilts for each couple, and thought I would share. For Rachel and Jordan, I made "All Star Picnic" (about 42 x 50 inches, and backed with the multi-color stripe.)
For Myka and Jeremy, I made "Parisian Picnic", (about 60 x 60, made with French reproduction fabrics, and backed with the striped fabric).
I enjoyed praying for and thinking of each girl while these were made, and pray they will be used for fun occasions for years to come.
I have so enjoyed other people posting throw-back Thursady or Flashback Friday that I thought I would give it a go. Here is a photo from somewhere around 2000 or 2001, loading a car of speech and debate kids, their luggage and bins, coming home from a tournament. Here's to those amazing and fun days with Josh Baer, Emily and Carolyn Thomson, Joey Piotrowicz, Josh Spill, Michael Francisco, et al. And here's to thinking of the current crews-- Hallie Brown, Drew Hollis, et al., heading to current Nationals tournaments.