Friday, April 28, 2017


The past week has been one of important-to-us milestones, the ones you mark that others may not find to be of much consequence, but to us they really, really matter.

For one thing, we are now parents of a nineteen year old!  How did that happen?  Seems that just yesterday she was the feisty almost twelve year old we arrived home with, and now, she is a sophomore in high school who is blossoming into womanhood gently and happily.   Still asserting firmly that she does NOT think of herself as nineteen and wants to continue to have time to feel deeply embedded in her family, Angela has learned how to live in the present moment and squeeze out all the joy she can.  What a beautiful soul we all live with!

It must be boring to see our birthday pics every year, they all feature the family favorite chocolate cake with sprinkles!  We are a boring bunch :-)

Our entire family has been on pins and needles for weeks as Matt's last opportunity to test for his final rank advancement with Civil Air Patrol approached.  Five and a half years of very hard work in content areas such as leadership, aeronautics, physical fitness, and character and the final chance to pass and become a Cadet Colonel was at hand.  The Spaatz test, named after a WWII general, is the highest award a cadet can earn in Civil Air Patrol, and it is quite rare for anyone to get that far.  In fact, fewer than 2300 cadets in the 50 year history of CAP have ever attained it...1/2 of 1% of all cadets.  

Sitting in the room as he tested, I kept hearing sighs and thought to myself, "Oh man, it sounds as if he is struggling.", and I saw his hand shake as he lifted it and held it mid air before finally pressing "Enter" to see his results.  The look of relief on his face moments later as the results were shown on screen was unlike any expression I had ever seen on from him before!  He did it!!   

All of us rejoiced with Matt!  
Soon to be 3 diamonds on that uniform!

Perhaps the most significant milestone for all of us came as we joyfully joined our new church, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Grand Junction.  This was truly an important moment for our entire family, one that was born of great turmoil, much grief, and a need for rebirth.  Heartache led us to deep listening as we asked God to show us the way to a place where we could all grow in our faith, and feel part of a community that spoke to each of us.  We were astonished when my best friend, Candi, showed up on our doorstep a few days before to surprise us and be present for our special day!  Also in attendance were dear friends, Jane and Steve, whose presence also meant so much to us.  Being loved so deeply by others really matters, and though we left behind many who we also love very much at our old church, we were warmly embraced by our new congregation and we have felt at home since the moment we first walked through the doors.

My heart smiled as I heard Olesya say over lunch afterward that, "I woke up at 6:00 am and couldn't go back to sleep, I was so excited to join the church today!".  Yesterday, we talked about grief and loss, and about the process of claiming others in our lives.  Angela said that Sunday she felt that not only had we joined the church, but that through the warmth and acceptance of others, we had been claimed by our new faith community...a pretty powerful statement to make, and indicative of what we all have felt.  

 Smiles all around :-)
We are home!

 The best friends show up.

 Handsome man in pink, he read the Scriptures this morning for the first time!

 Happiness from ear to ear!

Celebrating milestones...loving friendship.

New chapters in our lives often begin by creeping in, we don't always know it until we look back and can discern with great clarity, "Oh, that was when it all changed."  We are beginning a new chapter in our lives, a new church family, a new graduate soon, a new freshman in high school, and probably many more milestones that are not yet recognized as such.

I love reaching new ones with these special people in our lives, the ones who carry our name and the ones who carry our hearts.

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