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Monday, September 10, 2012

Our New Normal

Recently, we have been faced with changes and new beginnings:

Austin left for MIT. 
Hailey and Hope went to work at their new cleaning business they started together.
Andrew and Dave made and shot off a potato canon (Wow! It was crazy-loud and powerful!)
Hannah and Amanda started their new “official” dog care business together. (my babies!)
Hannah and Amanda also started riding bikes with hand brakes—no more little bikes for them!!!
Hope ran 19 ½ miles!!! (she missed a day of training during the week b/c it was 88 and full sun by the time she woke up—she ran two on the treadmill, but was bored beyond tears and biked six. She made up yesterday’s run this am and today’s run this pm!)
We all (minus Austin, but we thought of him frequently!) made marshmallow shooters and had a marshmallow war. Our dogs had a great time cleaning up after us!
Hailey took the ACT, swam for hardware in West Michigan Relays, and then finished at her part time job at a local ice cream shop.
(deep breath!)
Such is a day in our life.

Our days are full. Our dinner table is not. Even when we had Austin’s friend over for dinner, I felt that we were missing someone…Hailey asked who wasn’t there, and my first response was that she was…where???...who???...then I realized we were all together. Now we have a real opening at the table. Our lives are busy and full—I am not lacking anything! And yet…

I will be content with all things—but change is normal—and what will tomorrow’s normal be???
Praying for what God has in store for us!
All my best,

Called to Action

Allow me to share a bit of a story. It is like the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series of books, where the reader is given several opportunities to make choices that lead to different endings. Like those books, what happens next is up to you.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (aka southern China), there lived a poor little orphan girl. She lived with her foster family in a small village outside Kunming. While she was not living at her home, she lived at school, because it was too far away to make the journey daily. During her many years at her foster home and school, this girl made several friends, some close ones, especially with other orphans like her. The loss of parents has a way of binding people.
One day, just a few days before her 14th birthday, she was abruptly removed from everything she had ever known, brought to the orphanage for a weekend, and then handed over to two odd-looking, big-nosed, foreign strangers. Forever.
Over two years later, this girl has grown in her new land, her new home, her new family. She has blossomed into a lovely young lady who is becoming more self-confident than before and is sweet to her core. During this time she has kept in contact with her friends in China via phone and QQ (Chinese Facebook). It happened that in one of her first calls to her foster family she talked to one of her friends. This friend had become her foster sister, as the foster family needed a replacement to keep up with all the work the orphan girl was used to doing. During the phone call, the new foster sister was crying and asking, “Why you? Why were you chosen and not me? What’s wrong with me?” Enter survivor guilt! The conversation didn’t end well to say the least. This past spring, the former-orphan-turned-daughter was able to take a trip to visit her former foster village, family and friends. She was treated like quite the celebrity! The foster sister who had originally cried and accused on the phone was hugging this girl’s neck, claiming her to be her best friend. Two other former friends also came to spend the day with the girl, reconnecting and sharing their lives for a day.
Just as school has started in the US, school has also begun in China. These three girls, the former friends and foster sister, have been given the opportunity to continue their education, which doesn’t always happen for orphans in China. Two have made the decision to go to trade schools; one is continuing on in a high school. These schools are residential; much too far to travel daily and the two friends have been removed from their foster homes. They have no other place to go.
Here is the part in the story that you have a chance to alter the outcome. Love Without Boundaries has taken these three girls into their program to raise funds for their education. Right now they can attend school—but if funds don’t come in, they will be removed.
My daughter was given the opportunity to give them their Westernized names seen on the site. She researched name meanings and tried out dozens while looking at their photos. J
Will you please consider sponsoring one (or all three!) of these girls every month? My daughter prays for them regularly and is waiting with anxious expectation as to what will happen next. I rarely plead for financial assistance, but as a mom of a girl who has heard the call to action, I will do my part as well.
All my best,