Category Archive: Laughter

post by carolnl | | 2

Love, Laughter, and Life

Sorry to miss posting last week. We enjoyed a fabulous cruise down the Danube River from Passau, Germany to Budapest, Hungary. More to come on that. But first, one more post about Rancho Santa Marta (http://www.ranchosantamarta.org/)

 

One of our team’s joys at Santa Marta is dividing into groups of four or five and sharing a meal with one of the four children’s residences. As our group of five walked to Monica’s house, we chuckled at the sight that greeted us. Monica’s girls, aged two to fifteen, lined up in front of the house in pairs, raising arms for us to walk through as we entered their home.

Bob Moorhead walks through the welcoming line

Bob Moorhead walks through the welcoming line

 

Our team leader is “Grandpa Bob” (pictured right). Don and I joined Bob, Judy and Peter in sharing a lovely meal prepared and served by Monica and her family of girls. We enjoyed our dinner together. Even more than our repast, we chuckled as we watched the two little sisters, two and five, mug for the camera, touch Bob’s very white hair, giggle and run. The older girls served us, the joined us at the table as we asked each other questions and conversed in our limited Spanish and their better English.

 

We’re grateful for the family environment in which the children of Santa Marta grow and learn.

Monica, Don and I after our wonderful meal and fellowship

Monica, Don and I after our wonderful meal and fellowship

As we talked and ate we shared so much more than food. When we left, Monica was preparing to have devotions with her family.

 

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Wisdom from Proverbs 22.6.

Enjoying laughter and talk around the table

Enjoying laughter and talk around the table

 

That is our prayer for the children of Rancho Santa Marta.

 

Santa Marta’s house parents–and staff and teachers–have many needs including a break from sometimes heavy responsibilities, renewing of their spirits so they can faithfully care for their house families, support, love and laughter both from within and without the ministry. Won’t you join me in praying for Monica and the rest as God brings them to mind.

A Few of my Favorite Things

bird in treeChristmas music.

Watching our family’s “littles” play together.

Enjoying delicious mealtimes together, including a tender smoked turkey and fabulous barbecued prime rib.

Laughter and some tears with shared memories.

Time with my hubby … walking the dogs through a tree-lined lane, opening gifts that express our love for each other, embracing each other at the end of a long day.

But I think my favorite memory from this Christmas was the look of joy and the tears on Mom’s face on her 94th birthday. Being a December 23rd baby, her day is often rolled into the Christmas celebrations. She’s had few separate birthday parties. Well, this year our expanding family’s get-together is actually next weekend, so my brothers and I determined to make Mom’s birthday special, just for her.

I brought Mom to our house the day before, so on the morning of her birthday she, Don and I ate a relaxed breakfast together. After that she worked on  some hand stitching (at 94!). We talked while I cut up fruit for our lunch salad. Mom didn’t pick up any kind of expectation.

The doorbell rang at 11:30.

SONY DSC

A very surprised Mom with Melvyn

“That must be the mail,” I said as I walked to the door. Opening it with my finger in front of my lips, I said “Hi Veronica” to my brother Melvyn, who had driven up from Fresno. He walked around the corner and Mom looked up. “Mel!” she exclaimed, tears springing to her eyes. She pushed herself up to give and receive a big hug. “I think I could faint!” The scenario was repeated a few minutes later as Bob, Sheila and Sheila’s mother (from Delaware) arrived. The moments of my dear mother’s surprise and delight will remain one of my best memories from this season.

I am grateful to still have my mother’s presence and love in my life. A godly parent, one who loves God, trusts Him (through challenges), and has led by example all my life is a rare gift. I treasure you, Mom. Happy Birthday!Froese-62627-07

TREASURES, REVEALED AND RENEWED

I had no trouble keeping awake. Between managing a business issue on my hands-free phone, having a long, lovely chat with Mom, and singing along with our choir’s Christmas CD, my “windshield time” (driving) flew by.

Arriving at the beach destination for our college buds reunion, four beautiful women who have meant a great deal to me in and since my college years at Fresno Pacific University greeted me.

The week before our girlfriends’ getaway, emails flew back and forth …morro rock

“Anyone bringing a swimsuit?”

“No way.”

“Hopefully we’ve become more accepting of ourselves than back when …”

“Can’t we be accepting and still clothed?”

We knew laughter would be on the agenda!

 

Jeannies wedding

Unpacking, storing the food we’d brought (enough for a small army, or at least for a week’s stay rather than three days!), we delighted in being together again. Four of us were bridesmaids in MarJean’s wedding to Conrad 46 years ago (left). While most of us have seen each other periodically over the intervening passage of time, we have not seen MarJean for about 43 years.  If you have reconnected with long-time friends, you will understand when I say we picked up where we left off, sharing laughter, tears, memories, and love. That night, over halibut and sweet potato fries, we remembered our college days:

 

  • The relationships that lasted, or didn’t;
  • Professors and dorm parents who challenged us, or didn’t;
  • Crazy things we did like falling asleep in the Fresno sun with baby oil as our tanning lotion, only to waken with second degree leg burns (that one was mine)
  • Opportunities to express our faith in a variety of ways; and
  • Our friendships, which held through the years despite our relocations across California and Alaska.

We include a missionary, two teachers, an office manager/bookkeeper, and a human resources manager. Between us we have nine children and 38 grand and step-grandchildren.

And we’ve all experienced challenges along the way. Part of life.Five on bench in cambria

But as He promised, God has been, and continues to be, with each of us throughout the E-ticket rides that embody our lives.

Friendships are a treasure; with long-term, infrequent contact, they may be hidden treasures, to be opened with joy at times of reunion. That’s how I felt this weekend. We ate, shared long conversations together, shopped, explored. No need for games or tv. There was too much life to catch up on.

I recently read that one who wants friendships must invest in them. We five took this time to invest in each other, to renew and deepen these precious friendships.  And what a treasure we uncovered.

“A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17)

Who are your treasured friends? How do you invest in those relationships?

Tel Aviv Surprise

After seventeen hours’ flying time, plus airport waits, Don and I approached the customs window in the Tel Aviv airport. Neither of us has been in Israel before. But seeing the land where Jesus walked, taught, healed, loved, and gave His life as a ransom for many (including me) has been a long-held dream. Standing in line, weary but excited, I watched Israeli nationals returning home, along with travelers like us entering the country. I didn’t know quite what to expect. Would we be grilled by customs? Would we feel intimidated by their security measures?

“Hi,” I smiled as I handed over our passports. The officer looked at them, then up at me.

“You’re Canadian.”

“Well, I used to be.”

“Where were you born?”free-angel-clip-art-.073

“In a little town in Manitoba.”

He looked up like he was waiting for more detail. I didn’t give any, thinking he wouldn’t know much about that frozen wasteland where Mom gave birth to me on a September long ago.

“Winkler? Morden?” He asked.

My jaw dropped. “How do you know about Winkler? That’s where I was born.”

“Mennonites,” he responded, and stamped our passports. “Welcome to Israel.”

Not wanting to keep the line waiting, I didn’t ask how he knew of these towns. The officer, however, told someone behind us in line that a lot of his friends had moved to those areas. Wait, that little farming community where Mom and Dad met in Bible school, that tiny place where my great uncle had a large, and productive, potato chip factory? Now a mix of Mennonites and Israelis? Who would’a thunk it?

And so began our journey in the land of Israel, with a welcome that connected my Mennonite heritage with a Hebrew customs official. What other surprises would our Father have in store along the way?