What is with the updates?! Where are they? Am I still on your list?

I recently heard these questions in an email and have also been asked that in person. The updates have not stopped, they were simply too much for me to do while I was sick. Matt has been pretty faithful to write especially for a guy that has been a busy as he has. My apologies. I became ill in late January with laryngitis and chest congestion/coughing that lasted until almost Easter
My laryngitis came on suddenly at the conference I wrote about in January and I felt fine (without a voice) until the following week. Then a number of symptoms developed at once and a roller coaster effect began. I would get better for a couple of days and then land right back where I was previously – silent except for the coughing fits and fatigue. I thought Matt would enjoy the silence and having me home. He did actually, for about 2 days! Then he tired of all conversation being written out or just pantomimed. Needless to say, conversation was limited. We had a lot of decisions to make and things to talk through so it was frustrating at times. I had very little energy for anything that I didn’t have to do. I spent time reading while in doctors’ offices or just being by myself as Matt was studying until all hours every night and weekends. This has been a defining time in my life as I look ahead to what I still need to accomplish in my life and evaluate where I am in relationship to that. My God is a loving and wise Father. He will use everything to my good if I allow Him to and I chose to allow Him in this time. I know this block of time was a reflective moment that He is using to refocus, refine me.

I am reminded of a story Stephanie Grace Whitson tells in her new book, A Hilltop In Tuscany. One of the characters relates how Michelangelo sculped the statue of David. He started with a very large piece of marble that no one (including Michelangelo) thought would be ‘worthy’ of being sculpted. It had a large crack in it and had lay dormant and unused in his studio for a long time. When he finally sculpted David, he was asked, ‘How did you take that large marble piece and create something so beautiful?’ His reply, ‘It was simple, I just knocked off the parts that didn’t look like David’. I believe that is what God did to me over these many months; He knocked off what didn’t resemble Jesus. I am not a perfectly completed work like ‘the David’ but I am headed toward the plan and purpose God is sculpting out of the cracked, marble slab that is my life. This time alone has not been wasted but fruitful.

I am now a better listener. I have learned about setting boundaries. God has softened me with His love and kindness so that I am more gracious to others, cognizant of their needs and frailties, more realistic about my own. There was quite a bit in my life that needed to be broken away. I am so grateful for the experience!

Matt is through with school for the semester and only has one more year to go! That is a relief just to type that sentence. He has taken 2 semesters off this past year to spend time with Josh and Kristina. Kristina moved back to Colorado in January and needed time with us. Josh has been here almost a year now and we have had some great times together. Josh is healthier than he has been in almost 4 years! He rebuilt the suspension on his truck which I believe Matt wrote about earlier. THAT was a huge project and Matt left his studies occasionally to go out to the garage and work next to his son. The timing for Matt’s Masters degree has been rearranged a bit in all of this but well worth the cost!

Matt wrote about the honor we had hosting Jennifer Stellema, a friend from Michigan, for 3 months this spring. Yes, while I was fighting the coughing and laryngitis. She was a blessing to us both! I had started decorating the house and painting but had not gotten far when I got sick. Jennifer came in and took charge. She repainted, furnished, and finished the spare bedroom, painted all the woodwork in the house and then painted the downstairs bath, fixed dinner, shopped for other house remodeling items and prayed with me to name just some of the ways she served us. She brought much needed laughter and perspective to our lives, challenging us in so many ways. We have grown a great deal since she came in March. She is now living in San Diego and loving every minute. We know that God has awesome things in store for such a faithful daughter of His. Thank you, dear Jenn! We love you!

My former boss and good friend, Cynthia moved to Florida in March. It was disappointing that I could be of little help to her as she prepared to move so far by herself. God provided in so many ways and she is successfully planted by the beach (I’m a little green) and loving the morning jogs in the sand. Think of me when you run, Girl!

March also brought Spring Break!! Yeah! The windy, dry, cold spring was hard on my lungs and my wonderful husband thought moisture would be beneficial to my healing process. Matt surprised me with a two-night stay at the Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn and Spa over by Buena Vista. We enjoy the drive over to that part of Colorado and it was as fantastic as ever. Unfortunately at that time of year, the pass itself is closed but the springs are running and hot. The inn is situated next to 3 hot spring pools. We spent most of the two days in those pools! It was fabulous! I could talk so much better with all that moisture and it felt great to just relax and be together.

My brother Terry, sis in law, Danelle, and kiddos, Alex and Katie came to celebrate Easter with us. What a treat!! Lots of eating, hanging out on the patio and guitar playing. We also got to share the fabulous New Life Church stage production of “The Thorn”. If any of you are able to make a trip to Colorado Springs at Easter we would love to share the production with you. It is as stellar as any Broadway production and very moving. Each year it is a bit different but the message of Easter and the price Jesus paid for you and I is always there. This year we even had live lions on stage! Imagine that in your local church! People come from all over the country to see this production and it sold out so fast this year that an extra performance was added. I believe around 50,000 folks saw the production, if memory serves me correctly. That is only the adult performance. There is a similar production for the kids at the same time as the adult performances.

Those of you who are on our ‘auto notification’ list will be getting several notifications as we have been busy since the middle of May. Get your reading glasses and favorite reading location warmed up as there are a few more chapters coming your way. We will try and keep them in the ‘Readers Digest Condensed Version’ but I know it will be hard as we had an anniversary trip/vacation that was off the charts!! There really is more coming………..soon! Love and blessings to you all!