SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Not worth the effort?

I was picking up some toys yesterday. Gabe saw me holding one of them and announced,
"Hey! That's mine!"
I gave it to him and told him to go put it in his room. He thought about it for a few seconds, threw the toy on the floor and said,
"No. It's yours."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A man's best friend is...

I knew Owen (12) was listening to a Country Music song when he I heard him ask,
"Is he singing about his wife or his dog?"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How "Those Days" Change

Yesterday I had "One of Those Days". It started slow and continued to get bogged down as the day progressed. It wasn't an "everything that could go wrong did go wrong" day. It didn't even compare to this day that I navigated over 3 years ago. It was a day that just kept chipping away at me until my nerves felt exposed. There wasn't even any 'thing' or any 'one' that I could point to as the culprit. It was just a-lot-of-straw-on-the-camel's-back kind of a day.

Keith came home and asked how my day was. I just said it was "A KT Oslin Never Gonna Come Back" kind of a day. I'm not sure where my mind went to dig up that decades old song. I'm not even terribly familiar with the song (I got the title wrong). I just remembered the thought of wanting to run away from everything, but stopping and coming back. I didn't go anywhere but I felt like going.

A successful birthday evening for Shane with a crowd of 15 around the table and a great night sleep later and the KT Oslin song was forgotten.

Until I received a blog comment in my email box this morning. It said,
I would like you to know that your blog brings a smile to my face every week, also a tear.. whether in sadness or in laughter..
Thank you so much for sharing the experiences that many of us probably couldn't handle!
God bless,

My run-away song came flooding back to me as I pondered how well I "handled" the experience of yesterday. It also made me think back on how things have changed over the years and how I've reacted to the changes.

I used to call my bad days "Calgon Days" from the Calgon-take-me-away commercials.

I remember my Calgon Days being the 20+ years ago when I had 2, 3, and 4 children under the age of 5. My poor sister-in-law, Jodi, heard way too much about my Calgon days! I don't dismiss the difficulties of coping with dozens of diapers a day, spills, messes, runny noses, shoe-tying, lots of crying, and no help or conversation. But I didn't see the benefits that came with that time in life. Night time for the children lasted close to 12 hours and they all took a 2-hour nap in the afternooon. Keith and I had hours a day to ourselves. My house was clean--beds made, clutter tended to, laundry done systematically (there was so little of it I hardly remember doing it), dishes kept up with....all daily. And weekly I cleaned everything--floors vacuumed and mopped, bathroom scrubbed, dusting done, even the doorknobs and light switches got disinfected. I routinely kept up with letter writing and sewing projects.

When I had "One of Those Days" it looked a lot different that my current "One of Those Days". Thanks have changed. Laundry is no longer a project to start and complete in a day, it's an ongoing part of life that fits into my daily routine. The floors get mopped when I'm sticking to them or Gabe's feet are dirty just from walking through the house. I cleaned a doorknob a few weeks ago,...somewhere. And I've morphed into not being stressed about any of that. It gets done, it's just spread out among a lot of different people and not nearly so scheduled as it once was. We've lived in our home for over 13 years and I've never had the entire house picked up and clean all at one time. One day I might.

What pushes me to my new edge now is the juggling act, physically and mentally. I still deal with the diaper changes and messes, along with the shoe-tying, runny nose, and crying--but not from several children, I only have one with those "challenges". I now work with--a couple of siblings who think their purpose in life is to correct, admonish, and otherwise destroy the self-confidence of the other. A child who works through weeks of math lessons perfectly then completely blanks on the test. When in the middle of the Algebra 1 book and faced with the problem 4x = 3 1/3 I really struggle with the the comment, "but they don't tell me what x is". I now have schedules to keep, people who know what to do but don't do it, and expectations to meet from those who used to just be satisfied to know I was only as far away as the next room.

And it's not that any of those things are impossible or might not even be humorous on some days. But some days they become part of "One of Those Days".

I looked up KT Oslin's song and learned that it's called, "Hold Me". It's also about the relationship between the husband and wife more than their day to day life. Still, the message is there about wanting to take off, but not doing it, and being willing to pick up and get back at it.

There will probably always be "Those Days". The commitment keeps me going, and not just filling shoes and making a presence (which I admit is kind of what I felt like I was doing yesterday). But I'm committed to draw deeper from the well of Jesus so I can smile and love while getting piled with straws. The straws seem to pile up a lot faster and feel a lot heavier when my countenance is down. In fact, I think most of the straws are actually created by the sour countenance!

So, Kelsey, thanks for the encouragement to keep on "handling" "Those Days".

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend Entertainment

My description of this year's Thanksgiving weekend--a fabulous, fun-filled, friend and family frenzy. We set a record for the number of people gathered for dinner (56) and even added a few more for pie. Our habit for decades has been to open our home for any family and friends who want to gather and/or don't have any family in town. We were thrilled to have so many join us this year! The weather was perfect for the annual football game and gave everyone a chance to get out and run off the meal. I suspect, however, that the old guys were calling huddles just to catch their breath. (Light and Mendo, you remember how cold it was when you were here that we even had trouble keeping warm by the bonfire--this year was warm and I didn't even wear a coat when I went out to take pictures!)

For some people it is strange that anyone would not live near their relatives and for others it is the norm. We discovered that out of the 9 couples present (18 of us) only 2 were actually born in Wisconsin. Even more surprising was realizing that 7 of us were born and/or raised in California. We felt like a real example of the mobility that is available in our modern society.

On Friday, we planned some meals, activities, and game times for our immediate family and one of the highlights was having Bryce produce and direct some lip sync videos. Most of them will remain private and be enjoyed only by the ones who are now regretting letting their inhibitions run away with them. This one, however, shouldn't embarrass anyone and was our favorite of the bunch.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Recipient of TOYM (Ten Outstanding Young Minnesotans) Award, 2011. Go Kari! I've seen her "at work" and she is just awesome and amazing and inspiring at what she does. She was probably their number one pick (out of the ten) for this award.

Here's her modest bio:
Kari has been producing human potential events for disease-related causes since 1998. She is the founder and executive director of Charity Events of Minnesota – a non-profit organization created in 2007. CEoM produces the Breast Cancer Ride and in 2012 she and her team will be producing a new event that focuses on men’s cancers. Before founding CEoM, Kari was the original executive producer of the Red Ribbon Ride, which is a four-day bike ride for HIV/AIDS and was also a staff member at Pallotta TeamWorks where she helped produce the AIDSRide and Breast Cancer 3 Day Walks. In the first three years of the Breast Cancer Ride, she has helped raised more than half a million dollars for their beneficiaries: Open Arms of Minnesota and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Minnesota affiliate. In her time with the Red Ribbon Ride, Kari helped raise 2.7 million dollars for nine different nonprofit beneficiaries. Kari also dedicates personal time to serving her community as a member of the Community Services and Planning Commission for the City of Richfield and volunteers her time with organizations like Open Arms of Minnesota, Stone Family, Dakota Woodland Feed My Starving Children, Rosemount Family Resource Center Special Olympics, and serves as a “Big” for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters. She credits the many people in her life who have “poured their life into her” and acted as a mentor. Kari wants to raise young leaders up and lives by the motto “my ceiling is your floor” – words shared by her pastor that resonates with Kari and motivates her to mentor others.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Welcome Veda Dawn!

At 6:31 am EST (this morning, November 19) Chet and Priscilla welcomed little Miss Veda Dawn into the world (pronounced VAY-da). This beautiful little girl weighs 8 pounds 5 ounces and is 20.5 inches long. Priscilla was admitted to the hospital at noon yesterday with high blood pressure and early signs of pre-eclampsia. There was talk of having to induce her amid some concern for her health. God answered our prayers and not only brought her blood pressure back down; but, just as they were beginning to set up for an induction her water broke and labor proceeded naturally! Priscilla felt like she was birthing "forever" because she had spent the entire day in the hospital, but her actual labor was only 9 hours long and everything went very well. Even though she claimed her make-up all got wiped off during labor I think she looked every bit as radiant as Dana.

Two babies in two days! It sure brings back memories. Dana was born just two days after her cousin Mark and she is excited and hopeful that these two cousins will have as much fun growing up with each other as she and Mark did. The two girls are just 27 hours apart.

I mentioned in the last post that we were all together for supper on Tuesday night, but what I failed to include is that we had a cake for dessert that I jokingly named "Labor Cake". It was actually the top to Chet and Priscilla's wedding cake that has been in my freezer for just a few weeks shy of two years! Yes, we all braved it and actually ate a piece. It survived quite well and tasted pretty good. I don't know if it had anything to do with bringing on their labors (both in less than 72 hours). But, just in case there's anything to it our advice is: Save your frozen wedding cake until you're ready to go into labor. And if you want the exact recipe you can contact Priscilla's dad for the recipe (yes, he made her wedding cake).

Here is Veda with her Daddy, her Granddad, and Uncle Gabe.

Veda, 8 hours old, sleeping with a little bit of a scowl

Chet, 24 hours old, sleeping with his own little scowl

Nana holding my 4th granddaughter, the daughter of my 4th child (I just have a thing with numbers!).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Welcome Sadie Jean!!

At 2:12 am (this morning, November 17) Dana and David became the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl. Sadie Jean weighs 7 pounds 7 ounces and is 19 inches long. Wonder-woman-Dana only had 4 hours of labor. I went and saw her this morning and she looked radiant and way too lively for not having slept at all last night. David looked great, too, but I won't say radiant (I think he'd prefer I kept it that way).

Both Dana and Priscilla were here for supper on Tuesday night (both overdue) and I suggested that they each have their baby on the 17th. Our first four grandchildren have birthdates with the numbers 1 and/or 7 in them (11th, 17th, and 7th) which makes it very easy for Nana to keep track of! You can't get any better than 11-17-11. Apparently, Sadie thought it was a good idea because she complied beautifully!

Unhappy Baby Sadie

Almost 21 years ago, an unhappy baby Dana

Holding my 5th grandchild, daughter of my 5th child.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Not to change the subject...

You just never know what to expect when you're talking to 5-year-olds. I'm sure my Kindergarten teacher friend, Lynn, has a book full of funny kid comments. Sitting in on our local homeschool group classes yesterday, I was privy to some classic kid-comments myself. This was my favorite:

Mr. Johnson was leading 30-minute character classes for three different groups of children between the ages of 5 and 10. I was shadowing Gabe who is part of the 5-6 year-old group. When I walked into the classroom and saw the word "Attentiveness" on the board I had to laugh. I asked Mr. Johnson if he was going to be leading a 30-minute lesson in futility with this age group on that subject. I'm not so sure if he knew exactly what I was getting at but he gave a half-hearted chuckle. After this exchange I'm sure he knew what I meant.

He was talking to the kids about ways that they could show that they were being attentive. That included sitting up straight, not fidgeting, looking at the person who was talking, and responding as the person spoke to show that they were listening.

As he gave the list to the dozen children in the room about half of them were actively demonstrating how NOT to show attentiveness, and I think they were all boys. One little girl was answering every question correctly with her quietly-raised hand while sitting properly in her seat. (I think Grant was daydreaming of getting even with her on the soccer field, which is probably why he fell off of his chair.)

Mr. Johnson asked the children how they should respond to an adult who is talking to them and not even Miss Answer-right was raising her hand. He proceeded to give them ideas,
"You could say, 'Yes sir', or 'Yes maam', or Yes Coach', or 'Yes mom', or 'Yes dad', or maybe 'Yes grandpa', or 'Yes grandma'."
A little girl raised her hand and Mr. Johnson called on her. She added,
"My grandma had a cat....but the dog ate it."
She proved one thing for sure, some subjects are sure to get everyone's attention!

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Lovely Ladies

While Keith and Daniel were half a globe from home and Chet was half a day away playing football, I planned a White Women's Weekend for my daughters/daughters-in-law. What a pleasure it was to spend an evening and a day with such an exceptional group of young women!

It took a bit of doing to make it all possible.
--Joey stayed home with Carson and Keira and gave Jamie the weekend off to be with the girls. Thank you Joey!!
--Keith and David kept Vince and Karissa at Keith's house so that Ellen and Coley could be free and we could use Dana's house for our night out and slumber party. Thank you Keith and David!!
--Lisa's friend Katie had a birthday overnight party allowing Lisa to get a fun night out while I spent the evening with just the adult daughters (Lisa joined us for the baby shower the next day). Thank you Katie!!
--And finally, Clara F. came to the house to care for Gabe while my boys were at the homecoming football game. Thank you Clara!!
It took a lot of cooperation, love, and sacrifice to allow us to have our weekend!

We met at an area restaurant for supper--yeah, no cooking!

After dinner we headed to Dana's house for the evening. We talked, ate M&Ms, had a devotional, and wrote out cards for each woman telling her something positive that we appreciated about her or an attribute that we saw in her. You can see how seriously everyone took it.

It wasn't all serious, though. We played a game, ate more M&Ms, and drank coffee and hot chocolate. Beautiful girls!!

On Saturday, a baby shower was given to first time moms Priscilla and Dana.

Our three expectant mothers, all looking wonderful!

I feel immeasurably blessed to have these six lovely ladies in my life, and to have spent a very special weekend with them all.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What Love Looks Like

(Note: Keith has now returned from India and I will post a summary from him when he has one, hopefully Sunday night. )

When Keith left for India more than 2 weeks ago this was in our backyard.

Every year our friend Russ delivers a load (this is 12 cords) that Keith and the boys cut up and stack to feed this.

Thus, our home is heated, keeping us alive through the brutal winter months (21st century or not, no we do not have electric or gas back up). Usually, there is a small stack left over from the previous year that gets added to when the next load comes in. Here's what we had left from last year.

And that is all we had when Keith left for India. You may be thinking, "Go to the ant sluggard" and chiding him mentally for not getting the job (or at least part of it) done before leaving. However, your thinking would be amiss.

The wood was scheduled for delivery the first week of July. It came the first week of September. Shortly after the delivery of the wood Keith received an email from one of the missionaries in India with a schedule of preaching/teaching/evangelistic services in which he was to participate (he and Daniel ended up leading a combined 18 hours of services in 4 days). Keith spent every minute of free time (ie not at work) studying and preparing for the trip.

While Keith was taking care of "God's business", God was watching out for Keith's, in several ways. First of all, we had an unseasonably warm 2-week long "Indian Summer" during Keith's absence. We didn't need the heat. Secondly, he raised up a group of family and friends who chose to show their love for us in a very tangible way.

David, Dana's husband, organized an effort to come to our house after work one day last week and attack the wood pile. I offered to feed the crew and the result is the closest thing I've experienced to an old-fashioned barn raising.

I spent most of the day making muffins, baking bread, and cooking beef roast with onions and carrots. The first vehicle pulled into our driveway at about 4:50 but I never saw the workers, they went straight to the woodpile. I continued cooking and setting out dishes with the help of some of the wives who added more food.

At about 6:00 I took a break to see the work in progress. I was blown away and moved to tears by what I saw.
David, the mastermind of the operation

Jerry (rear), the chainsaw wonder

The cut logs were loaded onto a truck and driven about 75 yards to the barn for stacking. Bryce was in his own little heaven as he was given the job of driving the truck.

Marty (green shirt below) was a walking miracle among us. Just 13 days before this picture was taken he lost control of his motorcycle, hit a semi, and laid the bike down on the highway--wearing jeans and a t-shirt (and a helmet) and going 65 mph. He is definitely still in recovery mode from deep bruises, scrapes, abrasions, and a puncture wound; but, he joined the crew, and even threw a few logs...amazing.

The chainsaws shut down at 7:00 when it got too dark to see. I had supper ready but no one came in. I headed out at about 7:20 to see what was going on and found the entire crew gathered in the dim light by the barn still passing and stacking.

It doesn't look like much here, but those 20 workers (and 10 additional wives and small children) downed 12 pounds of roast beef, 4 pounds of carrots, 12 pounds of potatoes, 3 quarts of applesauce, 3 loaves of homemade wheat bread, 55 cranberry walnut muffins, a pan of oatmeal bread, 2 pints of apple butter, a pan of pumpkin bars, and a pan of blueberry cobbler.

The tears came to my eyes more than once during the evening. Love can be overwhelming.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

India Trip Part 7

This is Ellen~

I just received this from Daniel, he typed it at about 1 pm their time, or 3 am our time. They're looking forward to coming home--not too much longer before they can get to the airport now.

what else should we have expected but more of the unexpected. there wasn't anything we could do. the way the Delhi airport is set up, we had to get from our arrival at 10:50 through a mile (?) long hallway to the main terminal area, get through some checkpoints before we could get to the baggage claim. by that point it was already too late to get our boarding passes, because the American Airlines counter closed at 11:15 for our 12:30 departure. frustrating. I kept repeating 1 Thessalonians 5 in my head over and over. God blessed us though, because an Indian immigrant to the US 20 years ago, was in the same situation as we were, and with his language skills, it was all arranged for Air India to get us a hotel room 5 minutes away, the cab service and everything. what a blessing! versus sleeping on some bench in the airport. we are getting our meals for free today, and at 9pm we head back to the airport and everything is just delayed 24 hours. strange that we experienced exactly a 24 hour delay at the start of our trip too.

I have to look at it as an opportunity to trust God, to find my joy in Him, and not to rely so heavily on my own plans and expectations.

we're stuck in the hotel until 9pm, so I'm hoping to read a bunch, maybe use the gym, pray, and reflect on the trip.

I can hardly wait to have him back! It's been such a good thing to be in a busy household full of distractions and diversions so I haven't had to watch the clock tick!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

India Trip Part 6

I believe this will be the final post before the men return. As expected we heard very little from them during their final leg of their trip. I received a few texts that give a small picture of how they were interpreting their surroundings:

Sunday night:
Laying down near the end of the earth.

Monday morning:
Last travel day today. About 10 hours of driving ahead in between service stops. Looking forward to tonight back at Saripalli home in bed.

Monday evening:
We're currently in the 4th lane of a 2 lane road. By far the craziest driving experience of my life--far worse than Manhattan and more dangerous than anything with all the thousands of humans along the way. Spaghetti supper awaits with Gaynor and family if we make it.

Monday night at 11 pm:
Made it. Able to sit down to table for supper. Looking so forward to bed.

Received earlier today, Tuesday evening in India:
Am on the plane in Hyderabad. Halleluia. I have enjoyed this immensely and have no regrets about the effort. Heading for 5:20 am arrival time in Chicago, IL USA

Ellen and I watched the clock throughout the day and commented on where they were and how soon they would be here. Kind of like counting your chickens before they are hatched I'm afraid. The phone rang at 2:30 pm (1:00 am India time) when the plane should have been flying westward over the western edge of India with Keith and Daniel in their seats. It was Keith, not in his seat. His first words were, "I have bad news". Thankfully it wasn't catastrophic news, just bad. They were not able to board for reasons that Keith was not willing to divulge during his one-minute call. He mentioned something about "rules in India" and "closing the gate" and "not making sense". Lord willing, they will be on the next flight (24 hour delay) and there can be a full post of the more significant aspects of the trip by this weekend.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

India Trip Part 5

This email was sent on Thursday night
This will probably be my last contact. Am writing you from Saripalli living room. Wonderful family. Tomorrow we begin the journey to the field for days till the end. Excited about the new experiences that await us. The time in NE India exceeded all expectations.
However, it was not our last contact. I have received a phone call and several texts. I seems very strange to be texting half-way around the world, for 5 cents a text! He said there is no more need for secrecy. Saripalli refers to Indian native/pastor/missionary Joel Saripalli from near Hyderabad. (In our homeschool research we have learned that Hyderabad is a sort of "Christian stronghold" in India--with a 'whopping' 2.9% considered to be Christians and 1/3 of those considered evangelistic.)

Keith and Daniel spent Thursday evening the Saripalli home with Joel, his wife Gaynor, and their four sons. He spoke very highly of them all. We met the Saripallis about 2 1/2 years ago when they were in the US and it seems their gracious spirits are present at home as well as abroad. More from Keith, Friday morning:
Off to Gloyland today and points east till reach ocean.
Sent Friday night:
Laying down to sleep. 11:20 pm. Vijawayda, in "house" on bank of Krishna River where many Durga goddesses from Hindu festival have been disposed in tonight while we were worshipping in bldg adjacent to Pastor Boaz (Christian name) house. What an experience.
I'm not sure if he may have meant "disposed of" but then I'm not too sure what that would really mean either. It's something when something is so foreign that the explanation needs explaining. I hope to hear more.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

India Trip Part 4

Here are a few observations from Daniel on the first leg of their trip. They are now at their second destination and I look forward to hearing news of their travels soon.
It’s been an incredible trip. This first part ...has been amazing. The people are wonderful. The way the classes have gone, we teach for 30-45 minutes, and _____takes notes the whole time because only half the theology class (of 45 students) understands English and the rest speak ____________. Then, when we are done he goes over what was taught in (their language) so the rest of the class can get it, and even the English speaking ones can get another take in their mother language. Can you believe the classes have been some of the best parts of the trip? .....Maybe I am just getting more and more comfortable as a teacher, but really I think it is all just the Lord. He has given me insight in preparing that I could not have manufactured on my own. He has helped me put the classes together just right, and then has given me additional words and points to make once I am actually teaching that I didn’t plan on saying, but fit perfectly into the flow of the message... I took the chapel time this morning for the students of ____________, (grades 6-10)...

Anyway, all this is just to say that the teaching has been a huge blessing, and that’s a surprise because I thought it would be the worst part. I’ve been convicted of my lack of faith, and lack of trusting God, and His design in putting me in this situation, and instead grumbling about “why me, why this burden.” He has provided me with everything I have needed and more in order to do this work, and sometimes He has done it the day before, or the day of, or even in the very moment.

I keep thinking how cool it would be to take some young guys from the church over here to see the campus and the culture and everything involved. it would be such an eyeopener for some people. It’s very similar here to what I experienced in Haiti, except not quite as bad. Haiti is pretty bad. Maybe it will be worse in __________, that’s what _______said anyway, like hardcore slums, but here it isn’t so bad. _____________still has swarms of people, cars, bikes, animals all swarming everywhere. It’s crazy.

We just got back from hanging out with some medical students from the medical university here in _________. They are believers, and were actually at the campus that ________oversees this past weekend for a camp. They are all involved in....a campus parachurch ministry, similar to Campus Crusade, but I think a bit more doctrinally sound. We met them on Sunday, but they went home Monday and your dad wanted to see them some more, so we went in, looked at the hospital and medical center, and then saw their dorms and hung out for a couple hours. It was really fun, good fellowship with these guys, and just a blessing.

I’ve been praying more, reading, meditating, memorizing, studying, preaching, teaching, fellowshipping, singing, praising, thanking, laboring for the Lord to a degree I don’t think I ever have before, and it feels good. I am tired but not worn out. I feel spent in a good way, because I know that it matters. I feel so blessed to be here, and I’m just looking forward to what else the Lord is going to do.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

India Trip Part 3

I received this yesterday:
Wow! Another day done. We are back in hotel room at 8pm. Dark at 5pm here. I will list events only with little commentary to give you sense of our experiences.

October 1, Day 1 in India, land about 2pm, picked up at airport by _______ and _______ , 30 minute drive to hotel – mayhem and chaos that takes your breath away, 3 hours of conversation at hotel, prep for preaching/teaching.

Day 2, Sunday - hotel breakfast; picked up by _______and taken to “campus”; 45 minute drive for about 15 miles with roads and living conditions that are stunningly bad; stop at _______village where church has been planted, enter one of Hindu believers “home” where 7 people live (you would never again complain about anything in your home); arrive at campus; I preach message from John 3 on “Seeing/entering the kingdom of God” to group of about 250; Daniel and I are honored with gifts following service; lunch at _______house; sit down with _______children; give (2) ________college of theology classes; conversations with _____and ______; back to hotel.

Every trip to/from hotel is a somewhat overwhelming experience as you take in your surroundings and the hundreds of activities you see going on during the drive including various stops along the way for miscellaneous supplies and military check points. The effects of the economic blockade are apparent with gas lines and increased tension felt by “campus” people as regular food supplies dwindle and concern grows over availability and prices.

Day 3, Monday – _______picks us up again; conversations understanding the ministries; (2) _______classes; lunch; (2) more classes; tour downtown region including touring marketplace by foot (will take hours to describe the scenes).

Day 4, Tuesday – _______picks us up 7:30; errands along way; coffee and conversation upon arrival; chapel with children from _______, Daniel speaks; final _______classes including presentation of music CD to me and Daniel, farewell; lunch; tour of campus (again hours to describe the homes, agricultural features, animals, facilities, etc.) including meeting _______’s parents 84 and 82 yrs old; on to town with stop to visit pastor of _______, evangelize Hindu family, speaks of his own conversion and the influence of resurrection upon his own change; __________ Medical Services facility visit and visit with medical students who had attended the Sunday services as part of evangelistic crusade; back to hotel about 8pm.

Expecting tomorrow to focus on children ministry. I get to experience your day.

Daniel also sent an email that had quite a few descriptions of what is going on and how he feels God working in and using them this week. Ellen offered to let me post some of it which I will try to do tomorrow.

The men are leaving today for another part of the country and will tour with another missionary before returning home. My understanding is that their situation will not be quite as restrictive and secretive but I'll wait to hear from Keith and let him confirm that.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

India Trip Part 2

Here are some excerpts from yesterday's communication.
Time is going incredibly well here.
Overwhelmed with newness.
Not yet adjusted to clock. Trying to stay up later tonight. I think if I can make it to 9pm will be good.
Food has been ok. no digestion issues.

In response to my question about what to post on the blog he said:
I have not looked at your blog yet, but can tell you they have been very specific with instruction not to put anything specific on internet. And after seeing all of the military guns and spies and “intelligence” people evidence just for me and Daniel - I get the local picture very well. More convinced than ever before that America has been richly blessed by our God for our collective worship of Him as a society. The effects of spiritual darkness are so clear here as you take in the “normal” way of life of the non-believing portion of the people.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

India Trip

Keith, along with our son-in-law, Daniel, went to India for a 2-week missions trip last week. I've been updating so many people that I thought it would be easiest to just post the update here for all interested parties to see.

The men were scheduled to leave on Wednesday evening but upon check-in at the airport they were told they could not access this at-risk country (even as tourists) without a visa. Not knowing if they could get a visa or switch their flight plans they pushed ahead asking God to work the nearly impossible. One airline ticket agent told them it would cost $3000 each to make the switch. The visa application states that it should take 1-3 days to get an approved visa.

They spent Wednesday evening driving around Chicago to locate the embassy and find a hotel close to it. They showed up at the embassy at 9 AM with their completed visa applications (with photo thanks to a late night Walgreens). They were given no promises but told to come back before the 6:00 pm closing time. They ended up walking out of the embassy with approved visas at 5:50, made it to the airport with 20 minutes to spare (check in regulation time) and departed at 9:45. The additional cost was $0. They knew the fault was theirs that they didn't have the necessary paperwork completed. They knew the credit was God's that they were delayed by only a day.

I heard from Keith to know that they made it to London (1st leg of the trip). Last night I got an email that confirmed the next 3 legs were successful as well. It took them 30 hours to arrive at their destination (exact locations are being withheld unless I get permission from Keith to post, they are being warned of secrecy for the safety of those with whom they are working).

Here is an excerpt from the email:

Following examination from Indian "intelligence" at ________ airport, were met by _____________outside terminal building.

Evidence of 3rd world surround us--everywhere.

Being cautious/careful, yet friendly as much as possible (example, when guy exchanging USDollars to rupee asks me where I am staying in __________ and what is phone number, I say myob).

Both of us are wide awake (for hours now--it is 4 am). I will be preaching for the main worship service 10 am or so. Will be extremely full Lord's day with as many as 4 separate teaching/preaching sessions with variety of audiences--entire church assembly, children 13-17 years old, theology adult students, and college students 20 years old and higher. Speaking challenges will abound. Looking forward to see how the Spirit works out this day.

Join me in praying for them on this trip. I will keep posting as I learn new information.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Family Milestone Weekend

I had some pretty big family reunion milestones last weekend. My aunt and uncle (mom's sister Shirley and husband Roger) were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Their oldest daughter and her family live in Spain so plans were made well in advance for a large family gathering. My siblings and cousins from Iowa, Wisconsin, California, and Spain all gathered in Minnesota for the event.

The night before the party my sisters and brother and I got together with some of my kids for the evening. It was the first time the four of us have all been together in one place since May of 2002. We sat around and talked, reminiscing about our visits to Roger and Shirley's farm as kids and comparing memories.

Saturday morning we met our dad for breakfast. Our family experienced some major breakdowns and seemingly irreparable damage in the late 80s. Our dad had not been with all four of his children in one place, together, since Christmas of 1986. Each of us, over the years, has worked out our family connections in our own way and on an individual basis, especially with our dad. Saturday morning was comfortable and happy. It was a long time coming, but it came. And Dad was SOOO happy!

We took some family pictures outside the restaurant. The one of the four of us turned out well.

Something about black and white makes a picture just look more "permanent" to me.

I got one really nice picture of Dad with Tom and Kathy. I know Kari got quite a few, and has one of him and me so I wasn't too worried about getting my own. I tried, however, and couldn't get Dad and Kari to stop laughing.

They kept laughing

And laughing

And laughing

And laughing!

At the anniversary party there was another long overdue reunion. There are 10 cousins on my mom's side of the family. Eight of us are only 6 years apart with Tom and Kari trailing along 2 and then 4 years later. My mom had the oldest (me) and youngest (Kari). I followed in her footsteps as my son Joey is the oldest of the next generation and Gabe is the youngest. We tried to figure out when we were last all together and the best concrete date we have is 1978 at the funeral of our grandfather. We were probably together in 1980 but can't be sure. Our last photo together was taken in 1977. After 34 years we made sure to get another.

"Quisley" cousins, 1967



Our final stop was a gathering of the immediate family and us cousins back at the farm. I don't remember not going to the farm to be with family. Most of our reunions were held there, and that was where we headed for family weekends. Uncle Roger milked cows so it was always easier for us to make the 90 minutes drive there than for him to get help doing chores. We enjoyed sharing a list of our farm memories. The four of us were the "city kids" of the family. I think our favorite lesson learned from our farming relatives was, "a man's entire arm can actually disappear in the rear end of a cow".

So much was the same, kids playing ball in the yard.

The big tree with a swing

Teenagers who didn't want to go, asked to leave early, and then begged to stay later as they got to know their relatives and started having fun. Shane and Bryce enjoyed meeting and playing a game with their Spanish cousins Nicole and Natasha. Lisa asked me when we would see them again. I said I didn't know, possibly never. "That's not fair!", she said, "I just met them and I like them and I might not see them again!?" Hopefully we will.

The reason for the gatherings and joy was this couple, Uncle Roger and Aunt Shirley. They represented our home away from home. My brother Tom lived with them for almost 6 weeks when he was 2 while my parents, Kathy, and I went to Norway. Tom was always close to them, spending weeks there during the summer throughout his childhood. Before I went to England I spent time with Uncle Roger photographing and learning about his farm. I started to enjoy my uncle as a person, and since have cherished my visits and benefited from his very practical and sensible way of looking at life. After my mom died 9 years ago Shirley has done what she could to take her place, if not in a physical way (because of our distance) in an emotional way. My daughter Ellen and granddaughter Karissa were with us at the gathering and Shirley referred to herself as "great-grandma", and I loved it! Shirley and Mom definitely had one thing in common, a dislike for cameras! I could not get her to really smile for me.

When we grouped together for a picture of the four of us with them you can see that we were having trouble figuring out which camera to look at.

Kari said something funny, people got silly, and Shirley started to laugh. So even though it's not much of a picture I just love how happy she looks here.

The only trouble with Milestone memories is that they are just way too few and far between. I think it's about time for a Duluth get-together...