easy travels

Flying to Arizona is cheap and easy when I (or we) fly Allegiant Airlines. Of course the schedule needs to be flexible enough to go and come on the two days a week flights are offered between Eugene, OR, and Mesa, AZ. The Mesa airport is a ten-minute drive from the Andersons’ house. And while Eugene is about double the drive time, it’s scenic and direct. The bonus is having friends who insist we let them know when we’re traveling through Eugene and they will meet us and drive our car to their home to save us the cost of parking.

It’s almost too easy to reap such a remarkable reward. You saw one highlight already—the gender reveal. But there’s more.

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Watching this boy imitate his daddy with the golf club.

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Watching my baby in his role as daddy to his sweet boy.

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When I arrived, Declan came running toward me, arms raised. I love this age! So easily entertained.

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Declan noticed Cassidy’s braces.

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Charmed!

The visit also included a few precious minutes with Dusty and Marissa; a couple hours with Dusty’s parents, Neil and Randee; and the great joy of attending a worship service with Quinn.

Allegiant flights booked for the end of May to attend Marissa’s graduation. Such easy travels!

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revealed

Lucky me! I got to be with Taylor, Beth, and Declan when they learned the gender of their twins.

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Thankfully, their friend Lyndsi was there too to make that awesome video. But I was able to snap some fun stills of the parents’ reactions. I think even Taylor was glad Baby A is a girl.

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Baby B—two girls! Beth’s sister Tara has twin daughters, so I’m sure Beth is excited to have twin daughters as well. (They’re not identical.)

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All the cheers and mysterious pink powder were a bit much for the big brother. He doesn’t know how drastically his life is about to change come summer!

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Congratulations, Taylor and Beth. Time to start thinking PINK!

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people are good

I’ve been preoccupied with some important work, using my computer to locate people at NFC who feel out on the edges of what I wrote about here. My job put me close to the action, but I was surprisingly unaware of what would be distributed to the congregation regarding the process laid out for deciding whether to stay with Northwest Yearly Meeting or to leave. Not all churches in NWYM face this decision, as they already know their position on its Faith and Practice.

But NFC is divided. And it’s complicated, way more than I could explain, and even if I tried, I wouldn’t get it right. But the chasm is wide between the two viewpoints and many are left dangling in the air, paralyzed and torn. We are all on edge, some of us doing or saying what shouldn’t be done or said. I wrote an email that included information I could have left out and still make my point. But I hastily sent it to a short list of NFCers of “unknown viewpoint” that was then forwarded far beyond its intended audience. I accomplished my goal many times over but at the expense of strained relationships with people I care about.

Yet people are good. Some came directly to me, and we were able to talk through the impact of my note. Others expressed their hurt in email, and replied to my response with forgiveness. It’s a scriptural model. So be careful how you live. “If your [sister] offends you, take [her] to task about it, and if [she] is sorry, forgive [her]” (Luke 17:4).

Quite a few have “been a bridge” in different ways. Hot chocolate, hand delivered, for example. And these . . .

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The note inside the card says: “Denise and Sherry, recognizing that right now this is your circus and we are your monkeys! Thank you for keeping this place from becoming a complete ‘zoo.’ Love you both.”

So I sent this thoughtful friend an email thank you, to which she replied: “Dearest Sherry, Yes, I know about the infamous email and it did sting a bit at first, but I also heard that your intention was not to be hurtful and I know you well enough to believe that to be true. We are all stuck between the fire and the frying pan these days and it’s heartbreaking to watch. I love you. I remain your sister in Christ and in continual prayer.”

See what I mean? People are good.

Other examples . . .

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I’m vested in the outcome, yes, but hold no illusions it will go the way I want it to go. But if I know anything at all about God it’s that he cares more about our relationships than he cares about buildings and property. So I will remain grateful that my friends reached out over the chasm to speak their hurts to me in order that healing of our relationships can happen.

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Team Eloisa

My dear friends at Women of Hillside took on a project with me to be part of Team Eloisa.

It all started when Quinn offered us (me first then WOH through me) a chance to participate in Eloisa’s passion to offer shelter to many women and children who need an escape from their unsafe homes. When we were in Juarez last Thanksgiving, Quinn took a quick break from the job site to see the land and building Eloisa had found.

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Quinn wrote: “Before and during our walk to the property, Eloisa (wife of Pastor Francisco) shared her God-given vision to help others in need. She is a dear woman with a tender compassion for women and children who live in domestic abuse situations.”

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Four years ago Eloisa began dreaming of building a women’s shelter, and God had nudged her to step out in faith, with no idea how he would make it a reality. And move she did! First, she needed to start the non-profit process with the name Bienvenido a Casa (in English: Welcome Home.) The property owner had been trying to sell it for a year, and offered to loan it to Eloisa until it sold. A blessing, yes, but she couldn’t establish roots in a borrowed building. But the extensive property was hard to resist—spacious, secure, with a useable building already on it. And close to church!

So Quinn wrote to several friends and family who already love the ministry in Juarez: “Wouldn’t you love to be part of buying this land, fueling Eloisa’s passion and giving shelter to many women and children who need an escape from their unsafe homes? The cost of the property equates to about $15,000 USD. Imagine the possibilities! The way I see it, we need only 29 more women willing to do one of two things: Donate $500 personally or fundraise among their set of friends to raise $500.”

Wouldn’t it be cool to draw in those I meet to study a book or the Bible on Saturday morning?

The following morning the purchase price was more than half way committed.

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A few weeks later Quinn wrote: “Greetings, Team Eloisa! You knocked our socks off! Thank you for your response to this plea and for stepping up so beautifully. You have given $9,250 and the pledged amount to date is $17,250. If all of it comes in, Eloisa will have her property with money remaining to start furnishing.

“I’m still wrapping my mind and heart around what God is doing through you. Thank you, thank you for being part of it.”

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And then these pictures arrived from Mexico. Eloisa and some friends went right to work cleaning and painting in anticipation of Quinn’s arrival with her troupe of enthusiastic shoppers and workers and stagers (think Fixer Upper). They hauled a whole trailer of household goods down to El Paso, then across the border into Juarez. It’s a familiar journey for most of the crew.

And zip zop—

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You’ve seen Lea in other posts. She has the gift of shopping, making a dollar double, triple quadruple in size at garage sales, Goodwill, etc. And all for the love . . .

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Heather, long-time friend of Quinn. The Andersons stopped to see Heather and family on their way through their Arizona hometown, and the following weekend she was in Mexico! Quinn’s enthusiasm is contagious!

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Even our beloved Jesús got in on the fun.

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Quinn’s final report to Team Eloisa: “Oh man, what fun we had representing you all down in the colonias. Eloisa was overwhelmed by how quickly God had provided and by all the support from the U.S. Thank you for being part of this work. It’s been such a joy to partner with you on this beautiful project.

“Eloisa and her crew worked hard to get the interior painted before our arrival. They were all still wearing the yellow paint to prove it! A welcome home indeed. On behalf of Eloisa and all the women and children who will find shelter at Bienvenida a Casa, thank you.”

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What could be more fun than mailing our checks to Quinn? Not much, I tell ya!

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delivery story

Doctor Dave Miller was the physician on duty when Pete was born. Folklore has it that as he was heading out into the world his dad asked Dr. Miller if it was a boy or a girl. (I’m sure Mauri was focusing on helping Margaret-Rose do her work and not watching the action.) Since only the top of his head showed at that point, the doc said, “I don’t know yet, but I can tell you this one has red hair!” Neither of Pete’s parents had red hair, so this fact was puzzling. But they would soon learn that a great-grandfather on Pete’s maternal side was a redhead, but this had never been apparent from the black and photo photos in their albums.

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Now that you see for yourself, it’s easy to “picture” red hair on Great-grandpa’s head.

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Here’s that red-headed baby. (And a look back at a former post about the Macy redheads.)

You’re probably wondering what brings this story to mind today. I won’t keep you in suspense! We had a way-too-short visit with Dave and Judy Miller, who are in Oregon for a family visit in Clackamas and took the time to share rich conversation here at 514.

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Oh, my, I don’t even know where to begin. This was my first time to meet these fine folks who worshiped at Denver Friends when Mauri served there as youth pastor back in the ’70s. I’d get it wrong if I tried to tell the whole story of their friendship, but the Millers were so close to their hearts that Mauri and M-R named Rachel for the Millers’ first daughter, Rachel. They told us stories of how their family grew to include six children. One of those got married and added two sets of twins, 17 months apart, to their family. Of course that caught my interest because of the grandtwins we expect in August.

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Joyful sums up the two+ hours that zoomed by, and even though the time passed quickly we only scratched the surface of the topics we could have covered. I won’t suggest any of us are old, but if it took me 23 years to meet these fine folks, I might easily assume our next lively conversation will be in heaven. I’m already looking forward to that!

Wait! Don’t go away yet. There’s more.

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Here’s that baby all grown up with a wife and babies of his own. None with red hair but altogether adorable. Linsey posted this on Facebook today with a cool reason for celebration, which they did!

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See? She’s somethun’!

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bentley

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When we visited my brother, John, in Jacksonville, FL, a few years ago, we stopped to look at this boat. It seemed perfectly reasonable since Johnny has always been a boat guy, usually unable to resist the temptation to purchase them. Thankfully, or surprisingly, he passed up this opportunity. My particular interest, given the photo, was what I thought was the boat’s name—Bentley.

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Until, that is, Ben’s friend shared this pic on Facebook, taken at a recent boat show in or near Grand Rapids. I guess I should spend some time studying up on on pontoon manufacturers. Why not; I don’t have anything else to do.

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counter space

This post had an unexpected starting place. I sat across the table from Mauri a few days ago and noted the large empty space left behind after he shipped off his espresso machine for repair or replacement. The whole story has been unfolding over the course of several months while Mauri tried to quiet the unacceptable screeching noises it was making. Somehow in the process I’ve forgotten the repair or replacement part of the story.

Naturally, the vacant counter space catches my attention in the same way you’d notice your couch had been removed from your living room. It’s been part of our kitchen landscape for, well, 23 years. But that’s not entirely true.

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I’m fairly certain Mauri’s first espresso machine is safely stored in the garage in its own carrying case. A coffee affectionado such as my dear man needs to pull his own caffeine shots, even when on the road. But this photo goes back to 2001 and shows his roaster and grinder as well.

2004

This 2004 scene defines the dedicated counter space and coffee corner. Now might be the right time to assure you I am perfectly fine with Mauri’s interest in fine coffees and the space we dedicate to it. (Our house is big enough to accommodate the various interests we each enjoy.)

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In fact, at one point in time we even had a little display on our cookin’ room mantle—a display, not a shrine! The Coffee Cottage mugs are originals and I’m sure would be collectors items by now. Mauri spent quite a bit of time (and money) at the Cottage when he was a single dad.

2005

Circa 2005, flushing the plumbing lines or something. The picture will have to speak for itself.

2008

Circa 2008

2012

And finally, this 2012 version, a Breville, is what he uses now, though it’s been repaired or replaced several times, likely why I can’t remember which of the two is happening as we speak.

So there I sat across from Mauri at the table and said something like: “I could get used to having that space open.”

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To know Mauri is to love Mauri. He made quick work of filling that space with some (certainly not all) of his other coffee-making gadgets that live up in several of the high cabinets in our kitchen.

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To assess the ratio of coffee-related to other kitchen-related stuff in our cabinets might indicate I actually DO care. But I don’t, so I won’t. Besides, I can’t reach them anyway.

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