Saturday, June 25, 2016

A final week in Washington

Wildflowers in seed
Wrapping up paperwork, I'm preparing to fly out next Tuesday. The hum and click of the printer tells me the chores are wrapping up, the last signatures almost ready on paper. I have one more office visit: hopefully, the government is well-staffed on Monday. Then there's laundry, packing, and cleaning in the flat.

On the other side of the Pacific, home and husband await. Hurrah.

Tuesday, June 22.2016
Kim and I are tired but we still show up. I'll miss this friend! By 7, we're chatting, saying goodbye, and sharing prayer requests.

I zip home to rewrite a 13-year-old letter from Cambridge into a more readable form. I print it and dash back out to a writers group I attend when I'm in town.

Go Leona!
Leona is publishing The Third Season, a book about calling and legacy as a Boomer (+55). How do we choose purposeful activities and contribute with all the strengths and wisdom of post-work life? Cowritten with her husband, the book comes out next month: it's HIGHLY recommended, especially if you're asking, "what now?" before or after retirement. (I'll post a review in the next weeks at 3 Books Full.)

I read aloud the revised letter of Cambridge Week 2. "Is this material for a book?" I ask them.

No. Turns out, it's still just an old 24-letter collection. There's too much detail and not enough personal memory left to fool around with this project. I can read the letters whenever I want. No need to spend more time.

Jen and I have lunch. The final visit is always sad. I miss her when we're an ocean apart. Both of us dislike phoning, so our personal times are golden.

We sit by a window but it's dark dark dark. I crave the tropical sunshine.

Before noon, I'm on the road to Spokane.
Where is everybody?
Eastern Washington on a rare cloudy day:
the only thing on the horizon is a semi-trailer truck,
4 lanes over.
I have a few things to accomplish - but the most important is a visit with dear family and advisors, Mel and Martha. Their hospitality refreshes, spoils, and relaxes me.

Mel offers good counsel on church planting, creating teams, and working within a skillset. I take notes - a conversation with him is like drinking from a firehose. I'll wonder what I missed if I don't write it down. I like to reflect on what he says and I hear. Sometimes things come to mind months later, just at the right time. Thanks, friend.

Martha's a heart-friend. We stroll through the Manito gardens after dropping in on Hannah (their daughter). Hannah's kids are charming, polite, and all smiles (made a good impression, I must say, Hannah!)

The rose garden is a particular favorite. The skies spit a bit but the rain holds off. Happy, Martha's Havanese, loves the walk, too.

After our walk, we get good news of an illness in remission. How we thank God.

And another friend sends a note: her husband is very ill. Tests are underway. Life is wonderful and awful, isn't it? We are grateful for God's tender presence through it all.

I take a bath to finish reading a book I've had on my list for months. By midnight, the last page is turned and I'm sleepy.

Happy boy, an adorable Havanese
Fresh banana muffins for breakfast! Thanks, Martha. It's a pleasure to catch up, but more than that, to sit together. To walk through the rooms, praying over the house. To relax on the deck overlooking fields of grass, wildflowers, and pines.

I'm at the gas station by 10:30. It's complicated. Why? Between lines, try to pay cash, and checkers who swap machines, etc. I don't leave the station until after 11.

The wide-open vistas of sprawling ranches and swaying fields of grain enlarge the heart. What a big empty space!

There's a lot of construction on I-90, which means slow-downs, narrow necks of creeping traffic, and impatient speeders. I set cruise control when I can, watching the road. My Contigo mug of black tea drains slowly to empty.

By 4, I'm nearing home. I pull off the freeway to stop at Northwest U, where W and I used to work. When I quit (as my dissertation called), I left some artwork on loan.

Finally, halfway across the mountain pass, I remembered those pieces. (Yay, I'm thinking about them at an hour the university is open!) I pick up 4 of our 6 framed Harvey prints. Hopefully the others will show up sometime. I can't find the last 2 though I peer in offices and wander the library, Davis building, and visit with President Castleberry in the Barton building.

It's fun to stroll the campus after a few years, howdying with staff and faculty. I spot a forgotten modern picture, hanging in someone's office. Bill graciously lifts it off the wall; then the car is full. Home sweet home at 5:30, just in time to babysit the grandkids while their parents attend a fundraiser.

Miss K, Levi, and I play games until supper is eaten = Oma tricks of the trade. Isaac, the youngest, cries bitterly until he gets distracted by the shenanigans of his older siblings. He goes right to sleep when his head hits the pillow. Whew!

The older two come downstairs to sleep at Oma's. After storytime, prayers, and the Bible tape runs twice, I put on Christian worship radio. That's what the kids are used to, so in a few minutes, they pass out on the fluffy white blanket, clutching their little security blankets - monkey and trucks.

Finally, I get to my own supper. Yum - those shu mai dumplings from Trader Joes are excellent. A cup of tea, unpacking, sorting, thinking. By 10, I'm ready to turn off the day. In 4 sleeps I'm on a plane again.

Read more:
*Then Hannah prayed: "My heart rejoices in the Lord! The Lord has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me. No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:1-2  NLT

*You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand has supported me. Psalm 18:35 ESV

*O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3 ESV

*There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. John 1:6–7 ESV

*'In the last days,' God says, 'I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

'And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Acts 2:17-21 ESV

*The kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. 1 Corinthians 4:20 NASB

Moravian Prayer: Guide our nation and world leaders, grant them wisdom, conviction, courage, and compassion. We pray for an end to hatred and war, for a world united in love and peace. We pray for the ecological healing of our world, that we may be conscious of our impact on your creation. Help us to be better stewards of the world we live in and all those who inhabit it. 
God, thank you for our church families where we share and strengthen our faith. Empower and inspire us to live your love in the world each and every day. Amen.

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