Friday, June 29, 2012

Dance

Today's topic at thegypsymama is 

DANCE....

I grew up in a church background that did not allow dancing.  I know there were plenty of  reasons for it, some of them very good, others a bit flimsy.  I have, for example, reservations about someone who is married involved in an intimate dance with somebody who isn't their spouse.  I have reservations about dancing in places where the main purpose is to pick somebody up.

But I've discovered that dancing at weddings is a blast.  For one thing, it is a family setting and the purpose is simply to have fun.  

I'm not saying I'm any good at dancing, since I've never danced much.  And anybody in my family could tell you I've got no sense of rhythm or beat.  But so many of the dances I've seen are people just doing whatever they want so who cares if I'm not in time with the beat?

Photo by Jooshin "DK" Kim
Taken by a guest on a "throw-away" camera
Recently I got to dance with my son at his wedding.  And to watch my husband dance with our daughter at her wedding.  Both events were a culmination of a life-time of loving, mentoring, disciplining, feeding, taxi-ing, playing with, and being blessed by our children.

Taken on a "throw-away" camera
Now they dance off with their spouses and begin their own lives, someday raising their own children.  I can't help but think of the song called "Dancing in the Minefields" by Andrew Peterson:

I was nineteen, you were twenty-one
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much too young
But we did it anyway

We bought our rings for forty each
From a pawn shop down the road
We made our vows and took the leap
Now fifteen years ago

We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for

"I do" are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I've heard
Is a good place to begin

'Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price
For the life that we have found

And we're dancing in the minefields
We're sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I loose love's chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me

'Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man
So there's nothing left to fear
So I'll walk with you in the shadowlands
Till the shadows disappear

'Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos, baby,
I can dance with you


No, marriage isn't an easy dance, but with their marriages having Christ as their focus, they will get through.
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Want to join our favorite free writing exercise of the week? It’s easy peasy

1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt: “Dance” with no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Daniel DeValve


Saturday was Daniel's wedding to Kelly Hammond.  We started "wedding week" by traveling to Iowa.  Last weekend we were in Connecticut, so Monday we drove back to Pennsylvania.  We had things to do there before continuing on our way on Tuesday.  That day we drove to Ohio and stayed overnight with my parents.  On Wednesday we drove on to Iowa. We saw quite a number of these "wind farms" in Illinois.  We went through all the "I" states except Idaho.

We stayed in a hotel in Dubuque and then drove the 21 miles to Bellevue where Kelly lives.  This is definitely Iowa's best-kept secret.  If you think Iowa is just flat cornfields, you've never been to northeast Iowa.  It is beautiful, beautiful country!  This is a picture of a picturesque church on the road to Bellevue.

Kelly's brother is in the Air Force and was trying to hop on an Air Force flight from Japan, along with his wife who the family had not yet met. He got to Guam and was stuck there for days.  Every time he would call he would think he got a flight, but then it would get cancelled or there wouldn't be enough seats.  You can imagine that this was quite an emotional roller coaster for the family.  By Thursday he still hadn't gotten a flight.
  
Thursday the Connecticut/New Jersey/Virginia DeValves arrived, in a 12-person van bursting at the seams.  Laurie, Keri, Shannon, and Katie set to work right away making fruit pies while all the guys went to the reception hall to set up tables and chairs.  The girls had their bachelorette party on Thursday night.



Friday the guys went out and did guy stuff for the bachelor party....canoeing on the river, etc.  All the ladies went to the lodge and decorated. In the evening we had the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. Kelly had ordered for us catered sandwiches and cheese and fruit platters from a local store.  The sandwiches were a local tradition...turkey and stuffing sandwiches.  They were pretty good.  Daniel and Kelly invited all the out-of-town guests as we knew there wouldn't be much time to visit at the wedding. Two of John's three brothers and their families came to the wedding as well as both my brother and sister and some friends from Niger.  Some of us ended up on the front steps of the church, talking and singing.


Meanwhile, we heard Kelly's brother got a flight and might arrive in time.  A lot of people were praying he would!  I think by then he was flying from Japan to Alaska.


Friday evening during rehearsal Kelly stubbed her toe and it was bleeding and was quite painful.  You may think this is a minor detail, but it's really an important part of the story!


Saturday was the day of the wedding.  We were all at the church, ready for the 11:00 wedding, but we heard that Kelly's brother was on his way....on the road....due to arrive at any moment, so we delayed the start of the wedding.  The aunt and uncle who picked him up at the airport pulled up at the church with him and his wife at almost exactly 11:00!  He ran into a building next door where his uncle works and got dressed and shaved.  He had to shave since he can't wear his dress uniform and look scruffy!  Talk about a last minute thing!  Everybody was so excited and thankful he made it in time.  He ran downstairs to see Kelly and then the wedding began.  


It was a beautiful, beautiful ceremony.  I don't have pictures of it....we'll have to wait for those.  Kelly was gorgeous in her dress and Daniel looked so handsome in his suit.


After the wedding we were standing in the receiving line greeting all the guests.  Somebody accidentally bumped into Kelly's toe, this time really ripping the toenail.  She got through all the pictures with family and then family left to go to the reception.  We thought the bridal party were having pictures taken, but then Suz called me and said they'd taken Kelly to urgent care because her toe was so messed up.




 Obviously when they saw this bride come in, they took her in right away.  Apparently they asked if she wanted two shots to numb it or did she just want them to yank the toenail, she said to just yank it.  So she held on to Daniel, the nurse distracted them, and the doctor yanked.
 
The reception dinner was delayed about an hour, but that was ok.  Once Daniel and Kelly arrived, we had a great reception.  The food was good and people (ok, mostly the young people!) had a great time dancing. The other crazy thing that happened is that the sound system kept overheating.  So just when people would get into a dance, the music would suddenly stop.  The system was in a closet and no way to bring it out where there was air circulation.  So my nephews rigged up a fan to blow over a bag of ice to cool the system.  That seemed to do the trick!


The bridal party decorated the car.  They stuck a tree branch in the trunk, so when Daniel and Kelly drove off, the branch was dragging behind them.  They only got five miles down the road into Bellevue when the police pulled them over. I guess the policeman laughed, but told them to get rid of the branch.


We came back yesterday.  We have a trunkload of their stuff and so do Suz and Theo.  We plan to go visit them next weekend before we go back to Africa so we'll take it to them then.  Their car was also stuffed with stuff.


It's hard to imagine myself as a mother-in-law, but I'm sure glad to have Kelly as well as Theo as my new kids!
 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Risk


Today's topic at thegypsymama is
RISK
Tomorrow my son gets married.  It's hard to believe how fast these 23 years have swept by.

Risk is a situation where one exposes themselves to danger.

Perhaps love is one of the biggest risks we take.  No, love probably doesn't expose one to physical danger.  But what if you offer love and the other person doesn't love back?  There's a huge risk in that....a risk that your heart will be hurt beyond repair.  It's been fun watching Daniel and Kelly open their hearts little by little to each other.  Love has grown and now they're taking the risk of committing to each other for life. 

There is a risk in marriage, too. Statistics tell us that divorce is a probability.  But it doesn't need to ever be a reality.  Marriage takes work....it isn't just days and days of endless romance.  It takes commitment.  It takes applying I Corinthians 13 and putting the needs of your spouse before those of yourself.  It involves risk.

But it's a risk well worth taking.  The benefits far outweigh the risks!  


"He who finds a wife finds a good thing."


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Would you like to join me for Five-minute Friday?  Here's how:
It’s #FiveMinuteFriday free write time! <—click to tweet this!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Path


It's 5-minute Friday at thegypsymama.  OK, it's Sunday here, but better late than never.  The challenge this week is to write for five minutes only with no editing or over-thinking on the word

PATH.

As a missionary, this time of year is the time for good-byes.  We say good-byes to people we've known for years and years who God has called to stay in their home countries for awhile. These friends feel like family. We say good-bye to short-termers who have come for anywhere from two weeks to over a year.  We've come to love them, too, and have been challenged by their refreshing point of view.  Some are friends who are going away for a year and will come back.  There's hope in that, but still, we miss them the year they are gone.


This was my great-aunt's house where the entire family gathered on Sunday afternoon.  My dream is for a similar house and a similar life.
My dream is to live in a farmhouse on the edge of a small town.  My kids will all live in the same town. Every Friday we'll get together for games and every Sunday we'll have dinner together after church.  I'll attend all my grandkids' school and sports and church events.  Best of all, nobody will ever move!

A canal path in Oxford, England
But God has given me a life where I follow many different paths.  Think of all the paths I've followed since the 10th of April.....Oxford, England....Xenia, Ohio.....Saginaw, Michigan.....back to Xenia.....on to Jefferson Township, Pennsylvania......Cromwell, Connecticut......back to Pennsylvania......back to Xenia....on to Dubuque and Bellevue, Iowa for Daniel's wedding....back to Xenia....and finally back to Niger.

My heart longs for a place to stay and never move.  Yet God has given me the ability to love this life of always following another path.

**********

So, here’s the skinny: every Friday for over a year hundreds of people join a kind of writing flash mob over here.
For five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real. All on the same prompt that I post here at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday.
Write and see what comes out. There’s no right or wrong.
It’s a #FiveMinuteFriday flash mob! <—click to tweet this!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Setting up New Homes

As everybody who reads my blog knows my now, both of our kids got/are getting married this summer.  Suzanne was married three weeks ago and in a week Daniel will be married.  We've been in the US much of the summer because of these events.  


I was able to help Suzanne get their apartment somewhat organized.  They weren't starting to pay rent until June, but the landlord let us move their stuff in and put things away in the kitchen.  We couldn't organize everything as the landlord wanted to do some painting and furniture rearranging.  It was a lot of fun to help her organize her kitchen and see how she is making good use of a small space.  Their apartment is a basement apartment, but it is fully furnished and rent includes utilities, so they've got a really good deal.  The downside to a basement apartment is that it's a bit dark. I'll try to post more pictures when we visit there again and they've got everything organized.

After Suzanne's wedding we came to Pennsylvania for three weeks.  We've been staying at Missionary Retreat Fellowship, which is a great place to just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.  During these three weeks, we made a weekend trip down to Arlington, VA to see Daniel in his new apartment.  Kelly found it on-line and it will be a nice place for them.  It also includes utilities, but is not furnished.

Last year when we lived in Maryland we bought a few pieces of furniture to supplement what was in our furnished apartment.  We also have a Turkish rug we inherited from John's parents.  So we rented a cargo van and took the stuff down to Daniel, as well as boxes of his books and "stuff" he had in storage.  It took John and I about 1.5 hours to load the van....the big struggle was trying to wrestle a queen size box springs into the van.  Then, five hours later, when we arrived at Daniel's place, everything had to be wrestled about to the third floor!  Thankfully Daniel's cousin, Jeremiah, who lives nearby, came over to help.
  
Jeremiah had found a couch along the curb which he brought over.  It was a four-seater couch, so it was really long.  They got it up the first section of stairs, ok, but then there was no way they could turn it to get it up the next section.  And by then it was wedged in the stairwell, and it wasn't moving. It was 11:00 p.m. by then and we were trying unsuccessfully to be quiet.  We finally all voted to take the couch back out to the curb!

The floors in Daniel and Kelly's apartment are wood, and they have to be at least 70% covered with rugs.  So John and I spent a lot of time cleaning the Turkish rug. We vacuumed the top, then the bottom, then the top again.  We also went to Home Depot and bought a piece of rug, 12' x 10'.  We didn't have a tape measure to get a proper measurement of the bedroom, so we were just guessing that the room was 10' x 11' and that we'd have to cut a piece off the rug.  But when they got the rug rolled out, it fit perfectly!  Jeremiah loaned them a rug for the dining room, so with a few more rugs in the kitchen, they'll be set for rugs.

We didn't do too much arranging in Daniel's apartment, because we know Kelly will want to do that. They still need to get a small couch or something for the living room, a mattress and bed frame, some dressers, and a dining room table and chairs.  I think they could also get some shelves for in the kitchen.  Their kitchen has brand new fridge and stove so it's pretty nice.

I'm so happy to have had a part in helping Daniel and Kelly and Suzanne and Theo get settled in their new lives.  It does my mom heart good.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Expectation

Fridays are for writing for five minutes.
Only five minutes.
Stream-of-consciousness style. Like you did when you were in 9th grade.
Write and see what comes out. There’s no right or wrong.
Got 5 minutes? Come to thegypsymama and spend them writing

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on:
::

Expectation…

Mother-in-law....it's a new role for me and I don't know what to expect.  How do I do this "job" called "mother-in-law"?

23 years ago Daniel was born.  And I had no idea how to do the "job" of "mother", either.  I kind of learned as I went.  I prayed a lot.  I watched other parents that I thought were doing a good job.  I read the Bible and looked for principles there.  I made mistakes and learned from them.

Then 21 years ago Suzanne was born.  I thought I knew a lot about parenting, and it was, indeed, easier with the 2nd child.  But she was a totally different personality than her brother, so how to parent her in a unique way meant learning some different parenting skills.
Theo with his mom on his right and me, his mother-in-law, on his left.

Daniel and Kelly will be married on June 23 and I'll be a mother-in-law again.
And now I'm a mother-in-law....and will be again for the 2nd time this summer on June 23. What are my expectations?  I don't think I really have many.

I will attempt to stay out of their way and let them do things the way they want to. 

I will attempt to be available when they ask for advice.

I expect to need to continue reading my Bible for principles on relating to those I love so dearly.  

I expect to continue to need to rely heavily on prayer and I commit to pray daily for both couples.

I expect to grow into this role and to enjoy it as much as that of "mother".  

Other than that, I have few expectations.  As mother I was involved in a hands-on way.  But as mother-in-law, it will be much less hands-on. I will sit to the side, watch the game, help where I can, and just enjoy my new role. 

Friday, June 01, 2012

See....A Bride and Her Bridegroom

So, here’s the skinny: I’ve been thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing.
No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Just painting with words. Finger-painting even.
So now on Fridays over here a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
Your words. This shared feast.
A Five Minute Writing Challenge here at thegypsymama

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on:
::

See…

Saturday my daughter was married.  Nobody had told them the tradition of not seeing each other on the wedding day.  She went downstairs before the girls started getting ready, and there he was....we were staying at his house, after all!  I heard one of her sister-in-laws telling them that they weren't supposed to see each other on the wedding day.

They laughed and didn't really take her seriously.  For one thing they had decided to take their pictures before the ceremony. 

But she came back upstairs and the girls began getting ready.  Next thing I know, she's at the window, looking out, looking for him, the man she adores.  And then, there he was looking up at her.

 

Then she was all dressed.  Her man stood in the front yard with his back to the door and she went out to meet him.  On cue from the photographer, he turned around and saw Suzanne in her dress, in her beauty.  He took her in his arms and they shared their first kiss....with all the family and bridesmaids and groomsmen at the windows peeking out and cheering for them, wiping tears from our eyes.  

Later they shared their vows, with Theo promising to love her and give himself to her as Christ loves and gave Himself to the church.  Suzanne vowed to submit, to honor, and to respect him as the church honors Christ.

What a beautiful and perfect picture marriage is of Christ and the church.  How does Christ see us?  He sees us as a beautiful bride with love in our eyes for him only.  How do we see Christ?  As our handsome groom who will take care of us and love us in spite of our weaknesses.