Category Archives: Family News

A Farewell to Martin

This last week Joshua and Rachel were both away, attending a week of camp at Black Lake Bible Camp. They were very excited to go, having worked all year to earn scholarships through attendance and memory programs. Both of them had a delightful time, and we were looking forward to hearing all about it when they came home – especially from Rachel, who usually does not lack for something to say.

Daniel and David really enjoyed playing ‘carpetball’ at the camp. Er, they were glad to have Rachel back, too.

Rachel’s homecoming was marred, however, by the death of our pet Guinea Pig, Martin. We had left him outside the night before as an unintended result of his weekly cage-cleaning, and for some reason (although he had plenty of water, and the night was not particularly cold) he died. Even more unfortunate, Rachel was the one to discover him when she returned home from camp that morning.

The traditional exchange of contact info at the end of camp with a new twist — writing addresses on your head.

It was a hard day. Rachel wept and wept, and Kathy and I felt guilty for not caring for him as well as we could have. Daniel was at first not particularly sad, but when he saw how much it hurt Rachel, he began to cry in sympathy for her. Joshua was pretty stoic about the whole thing, but I noticed that it was he who ended up digging the grave and carving a cross as a marker.

David and Sarah were largely oblivious, although they both went around with solemn faces, saying “Poor Martin” from time to time. I suspect it may be several days before Sarah really understands what has happened – and I don’t think that David was ever really close to our sharp-clawed guinea pig.

At sunset, we held a little memorial service for Martin. I had each of the kids say something they remembered about our little pet and then toss a handful of dirt (or clover, or grass) into his grave. Rachel wept through much of the service, especially whenever anyone would talk about the way Martin looked. I think it really saddened her to discover his lifeless body, halfway into his little house.

We prayed and filled in the hole, and Rachel put some rose petals on top of the grave. We asked a friend who had recently lost a dog to talk with her, because Rachel knows that neither Kathy nor I loved Martin as much as she did.

I think that the little graveside service was a good idea … I think it will help the little ones to understand death a little better, and it will provide the older children with a context for grieving when they lose a family member or close friend, as they surely will, but hopefully not soon.

Rachel at Martin’s grave

The next day Rachel seemed to have processed some of her grief – I almost wept when she told me, “Now I know how hard life can be.” She is already angling for another pet, confident in her ability and willingness to love another animal, even though it may die and cause her sorrow. She told me that she thought she loved God more now than before Martin died: “I knew before that sin was bad, but now I see what it causes, and I understand why God is so strongly against it.” When faced with death, it is good to remember the One who has conquered death and removed its sting, so that we can live forever in the joy of His presence.

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Weekend Alone

The sun is out! The sky is blue and crisp and the air warm. It’s a gorgeous day in western Washington.

Joshua worked on the yard this morning before heading out to the doctor’s office. Doesn’t he look cheerful. Now if we can just get rid of the weeds I’ll be smiling too!

We have spent every afternoon, since Monday, at the pool. Somehow, however, I haven’t taken a single picture. How can that be?? I’ll remedy that as soon as possible. I’m sure it’s because, when we travel, we carry bags with towels and sunscreen and swim floats, not to mention crackers and snacks of some sort. I bring a bag of reading material for myself, keys, cell phone, water bottle, etc. Each child has a bag of their own and is responsible for their towel and goggles and any other swim paraphernalia they would like. We exit the van with full hands–I’m sure we are quite a sight. Ha!

4 kiddos
Need to photoshop out that trash can–adorable kids but not exactly a scenic background.

I’m just thrilled with this pool membership. I think it’s going to be a wonderful addition to our summer. It’s fairly expensive but I think we will get our fair share of fun out of the money. We calculated how many times we would need to go to bring the price down to lower than guest fees (cost $3 per person as a guest). So far we’ve been four times and Joshua and Tim take great delight in counting down the remaining necessary pool visits.

One of the greatest benefits of the pool is something I hadn’t even figured into my calculations–Mommy relaxation time! When we go to the pool I am forced to relax–I can’t do laundry or wash dishes or tidy up the house. All I can do is read, write, play with the children or visit with friends. What a gift! I hadn’t really expected the pool to result in a more relaxing summer for myself, I only thought of what fun it would be for the children. [Of course, since I'm not home I'm also not making dinner so we'll have to work on that aspect of things. Ha!]

Today, with the sun blazing and the temperature warm, is a perfect day for a long afternoon at the pool. Instead, I’m sitting alone in the family room, not another soul in sight. Ahh, the bliss of an empty house. Of course, there are many reminders of children all around–a huge white teddy bear of Daniel’s from his time at the children’s hospital, a little doll house and Playmobil of Sarah’s, Rachel’s dress shoes she left on the floor, and so on.

Sarah and the backpack
Sarah is ready to go–only 5 more hours!

The children themselves, however, are happily off with their grandparents, driving out to the Duckabush for a weekend away. Hooray!! For our anniversary, Tim’s parents gave us a certificate for a babysitting session. Aren’t they wonderful to take the children for the weekend. I have two hours here by myself in the house before Tim gets home. Tonight we’ll go to the theater to see a play. Tomorrow we have the whole day to ourselves (including sleeping in as long as we like!!!) and then we’ll pick up the children Sunday morning.

Here’s a boy who is ready for the Duckabush!

Tim and I have been tremendously blessed to have parents (on both sides) who are willing to watch all five of our children. They are extremely supportive of our decision to have a big family (mind you, compared to some friends, five isn’t that large of a family) and help out as often as they can. Not only do Tim and I benefit in having some time to ourselves, to reflect and enjoy each other alone, but the children gain a deeper relationship with their grandparents.

I’m very thankful!

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Shilo Sleepovers

I wanted to be sure and post some of the pictures from our visit with Mamie and Grandad (my parents). Usually we travel to Michigan to see my family. The past two years we have been blessed with tickets (no small gift for a family of 7). Two years ago my dad’s church surprised my parents by flying us to Michigan for the big 25th anniversary. They brought us out on stage in the middle of the ceremony for my father. That was a special moment! We stayed in Michigan for several weeks.

playing cards
Notice there are actually two different games in action here.

Last year my father was awarded a three month sabbatical. Part of the sabbatical included a week at Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference Center. We had a lovely time with the family (all three of my brothers came as well).

Dan, Thom and Phil with Chase and Aydia

This year my youngest brother, Phil, got engaged. There was some talk of an October wedding so we decided to save our Michigan trip for the fall. We love to spend some time in Fort Clark, Texas each August so we settled upon that as our family vacation this summer. When Phil’s wedding plans shifted to June 2007, Mom and Dad began to talk of coming to WA to visit us. Hooray!! It certainly is more economical for two to travel than seven. August seemed like such a long time to wait until we could be together again, so I was thrilled to hear of the possibility of a May visit.

The children will miss the fun of going to Mamie and Grandad’s house in Michigan–the tractor rides, playing in the creek out back, the big tree fort, cousin time, and so on–but the essence and joy of the visit comes from being WITH Mamie and Grandad, it’s the relationship and not the location that is important.

And so we thoroughly enjoyed our week long visit. We ate out several times (Tim usually tried to steal the check).

Mexican dinner
Here we are enjoying a delicious Mexican meal.

The kids took turns sleeping over at the hotel with Mom and Dad. One night they took the older four and the day next all five slept over. What luxury for Tim and me–sleeping in! These are some special grandparents.

reading girls
Girls night out–everyone has to bring a book!

We swam and swam at the hotel. We read books, played games and watched movies. Mom and Dad were able to see some of our co-op day as they joined us for the final friends and family presentation ceremony.

Posing around the hot tub

We introduced them to several of our friends at church–Tim even led the Sunday School class on James chapter 4. Dad helped out with several home projects–he installed a screen door on the front and back doors and put new light fixtures in the hall way and Joshua’s room.

Traditional shaving time with Grandad–Girls allowed??

It was a very satisfactory visit. The sun even came out for the last two days. On Wednesday Tim worked from home and I was able to drive my parents to the airport. The older three children woke up early and went with me to the hotel (had to sneak in one more swim and continental breakfast).

Saying goodbye

One last gathering before off to the airport.

Joshua came with me to the airport. Goodbyes are always difficult. They are made more bearable when I know we have the next visit already planned. We will end our summer with almost two weeks of family time in Texas. We are hoping my mom’s two sisters will join us for some of the time (they grew up spending their summers in this little corner of Texas). There is also some possibility that my brothers and their families will come as well.

Dinner at the Outback

Sometimes I think of the people I have met over the years and all the ways I have been blessed by godly friendships. My best friend from junior high/high school and I met our (future) husbands while spending a week working with Habitat for Humanity. I had wonderful roommates in college. Everywhere Tim and I have lived we have been a part of couples Bible studies and Sunday School classes. Life and jobs and family move us around from place to place and, even with the internet, it’s difficult to stay in touch with people. I wonder in amazement at what heaven will be like. We will have eternity to spend with the Lord and other dear friends. All the believers we have met through the wandering of our lives will be there. It will surely be like coming home. So when I occasionally feel sad about the friends that have come and gone in my life and ones I know it’s unlikely I’ll ever see again or at least live near them again, I rejoice in the hope that our paths will cross again in the heavenly realm. I have our future visit already planned.

2 Peter 3:13
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.


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Family Pictures

My folks and the 'grown ups'

A couple of weeks ago we all went out to the Duckabush to take family photos while my sister Posie and her family were in town. Mark and Elizabeth and Posie and her husband Greg were there with all their kids — we made quite a tribe, with proud grandparents looking on.

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Trying out something new

A dear friend of mine (college roommate) has been blogging up a storm these days. It has been so much fun to read about her life. I really enjoy keeping up with all the comings and goings in her busy family (they are in the process of selling their house).

I write lots of e-mail, especially to/with my family (EMF–email family) but I don’t spend much time blogging. Reading Rachel’s blogs make me want to do more writing myself. Tim did some research and found us a new blog editor. He wanted to make it easier for me to blog and post pictures. Yay! This is my first try.

Kathy's college friends, 1992

Dear College Friends–Jodi, Me (Kathy), Anne, Cara, Kim and Rachel 

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