Saturday, December 30, 2006


summary of 2006

Summary of the year 2006

January - I traveled to Nagercoil, India (state of Tamil Nadu) with students from Taylor University. Working with local Christians, we worked to build the foundation of a center to train local women to be seamstresses. The students (about 15 of them) performed songs, skits, puppet shows, and did this all to present the Gospel. We mostly were at schools, a few churches, and some local sites. My goal was to take these students, keep them healthy, and hope they came away from India loving the people they met. I also hoped for positive connections that will last a long time - friendships being the most important souvenir to take away with each of us.

One of the sites was on a beach where the tsunami hit one year before. The government has set up some sort of housing, mostly made of corrugated metal. I was told that the people don't have sanitary facilities, clean running water, or medical help. It was getting dark when we arrived, so it was hard to see. I had a couple of little girls to take me around - there was one light along the beach, but it was DARK as you navigated through the "alleys."

I am not good at describing any of this, but at each site, people gathered for singing, dancing and watching. WE were the show! I remember the faces, the tea, the gifts, and the wonderful outpouring of hospitality - thanks, Marty, Prabha and Nilo, Joseph, Pastor Joseph, Mrs. Joseph and family, Dipti and Andi, and to all my team.

February - Florida, at the condo. I started sewing and made rag quilts, finished a baby afghan. My friend, Laurie, came to visit. It was a relaxing time.

March - I returned home to wait for Arya to come! She was born March 24 at about 5 p.m. Ray was here and we all waited where Karen preferred us to be: the waiting room! No problem, as we have had plenty of time with her since she and Rajeev welcomed little Arya Caroline into the world. :-)

I also came home to a lot of work at the office. It's not possible to do everything away from home, so I made plans for assessments and I listed the office for sale - at a higher price than it was assessed. My realtor said it might sit there for 2-3 years, but I knew I couldn't "give" it away.

April - Easter at my Dad's house (next door to me!) My daughter, Liz, figured out a complicated Egg Hung game for all the grown children. Each team of two people contributed $2 and were assigned a team color. The teams hid a dozen eggs, all different colors. They made up clues using visuals cut from magazines, which they gave to the other teams, about where they hid the eggs. Then with a time limit imposed, the teams had clues to find all of the eggs that matched the team color. They could use all of the two houses (mine and Dad's) whose lots combine to be about 6 acres, some of it wooded. I've never seen adults look so hard for dozens of colored boiled eggs! The winning team won the pot of $20!

May - Indy Mini-marathon! Ray came to town for the big plan for engagements: Sara and Landon, Ben and Liz. Rajeev, Sara and Landon all completed the race. In the afternoon at Ray's hotel room, we babysat for the first time while Karen and Rajeev did a photo shoot. Landon's plan was a surprise to Sara and he presented her with a question and a ring. Ben sat and talked to us about his desire to marry Liz. (Son) Phil came to support them all - and in the evening we all gathered for dinner with Landon's family to congratulate and celebrate the engagement of Landon and Sara. By the end of the month, Ben had proposed to Liz - and we got to start planning TWO weddings in the upcoming year!

Here are Landon and Sara right after they finished the race!

- I again went to Florida to enjoy the beach and the sun. It's quiet down there in June. Ray came over for his birthday and we went to Busch Gardens for the first time. Toward the end of the month we started wedding plans for both of the girls' weddings. Liz and Ben set their date for November, Sara and Landon's for June 2007. Liz ordered her dress and we found sites for the ceremonies and the receptions. woo-hoo!

JULY - Tour de France! Liz has a way of describing our travels better than I can. See her blog entries in July 2006:

Traveling with my girls Liz and Sara was wonderful. Even with Sara having to do online schoolwork (so she can graduate in only 3 years), we managed to see the Cathedral at Strasbourg, (one of many that we saw), the Fort of the Dukes at Guise, Mont St. Michelle on the northern coast, the Eiffel Tower, Alp d'Huez, the beach at Bretignolles/Brem sur Mer, and, of course, cyclists of the Tour de France every day! (I just keep wondering why more girls/women don't hang out to see guys in tight pants!)

Here is a picture of Floyd Landis on the first Time Trial, which was in Strasbourg.

August - Wedding plans went into high gear! I asked everyone to gather for a BARN PARTY to clean up and throw away all the junk they'd been storing in our pole barn. I anticipated a time when we might need the space if we sold the office. Who knew it would be so soon?

September - I started getting offers for the office/building/property! By the middle of the
month I had an agreed-upon offer. It just had to be approved by a local congregation, which was to vote on Oct. 1. That done, I left again for the condo. I switched into high gear to make quilts for two grandbabies of my friends. Wondered sometimes, "why did I think I could make a quilt?" By the end of the month I learned what a "fussy cut" was and the quilts were really, if I do say so myself, beautiful.Add Image
October - While Ray kept saying, "There's not that much stuff..." I kept looking at it all, wondering where we were going to put all the sound, lights, furniture, records (documents),inventory, and all the rest. I discovered the use of DUMPSTERS. I forget how many we filled. Thanks to family: Ruth, Estel, Bill, Tammy, Jade, Sara, Landon, Karen, Rajeev, and more; and to friends: Barak, Mariah, Austin. To all of you who helped int he next two months (until Thanksgiving), I say a huge Thank You.

November - We had a WEDDING! Ben and Liz, Congratulations!

- Finally finished with all the work of the office, Liz's and Ben's wedding, Thanksgiving, and a trip to Iowa for another reception (put on by Ben's family), we settled in to Christmas. I finally got a digital camera so I don't have to depend on other's photos!

I've actually described events here, with little attention to emotions. It's been a year of change, where I've moved toward living with the hand I'm dealt. I've learned so much from so many people that I've never met, but I've read your many of your blogs, others who have written books. Thanks to all of you who reveal your thoughts, your lives, your hurt and your hope. God bless us.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Our favorite dentist

Through my childhood, I had a LOT of cavities, and got a LOT of fillings. I always had shots of novacaine (which I hated) and drilling (which I dreaded) and it hurt and I hated it. My fears and dread of dentistry have never fully been overcome, but one dentist's office has made a positive impact in my life and the lives of my kids.

When I was a small child, I went to a mean dentist, who I will call Dr. XYZ. The first time I was in his chair I wet my pants I was so scared. I was probably 4 or 5? He used clamps and screw-on fasteners to keep my mouth open, and I was scared. I wanted my mom, but she wasn't allowed in the room. I remember feeling intimidated and had to pee so bad, but couldn't ask to get down from the chair, and I lost it. No one from the office ever confronted my mom and it was never mentioned, and I kept going to that same dentist, even though a couple years later he SLAPPED my sister for not sitting still. This guy should NOT have been a children's dentist!

When I was 14, I became too old for the children's dentist, so my mom took me to a new one, Dr. Donald Jennings. Since I spent years dreading going to see Dr. XYZ every six months, I didn't know what to expect. Dr. Jennings was my Mom's and Dad's dentist, and he wasn't so bad. He cleaned my teeth, treated me well, and he would always ask about Mom and Dad, or one of my brothers or my sister, who also saw him for dental work. In all the years that I saw Dr. Jennings, I never once even came close to wetting my pants in his office.

As my kids each became 4 or 5, they each started seeing Dr. Jennings for check-ups and cleanings. Even when it was hard financially, we always took them in. They hardly EVER had any cavities! Through braces, cleanings, fillings, and capsand crowns, Dr. Jennings was our family dentist.

Sara, 20, is a whole ten years younger than my oldest, Karen, and Sara longed to start her visits way before she got to go for her first appointment. She wanted to go, but always had to wait while the older kids saw the Dr. Finally, about the time she began kindergarten, Sara finally got to go to Dr. Jennings for a check-up the first time. She sat still - no accidents (and no reason to be afraid, either). She had no cavities, and she got her free toothbrush. And Dr. Jennings, through the years, would almost always say, "Sara, you've done a good job. No cavities."

At Dr. Jennings' office you could look overhead while in the chair, where there would always be a new poster with some funny saying. On the walls of Dr. Jennings office, original poems were framed - words he wrote to his grandchildren. And there were always pictures of trips taken with the nursing and office staff: hot-air balloon rides, dental outreaches to needy patients, and complimentary letters from youngsters who came to "tour" the dentist office.

Some time ago, I realized that I had been seeing Dr. Jennings for over 35 years! and then it was 36, 37, and now...40 years - longer than any other medical professional in my whole life! Last Saturday, I got a letter, and it says that Dr. Jennings has sold his practice and is retiring. The first person I called was Sara. "What? Who will I go to? Where will I get my toothbrushes? Where will I ever find another dentist that is also a poet?"

I don't know, Sara. There aren't many like him. Thanks, Dr. Jennings, for all the good years.

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