Our personal anthem for this past year has been 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redmond. It expresses our feelings about the past twelve months.
I felt like I couldn't talk. The words were in my head but they were coming out of my mouth. It happened just before Labor Day in Lansing as Gladys and I walked into a neighborhood bar for lunch and a craft beer.
It’s been that kind of year with lots of life-changing moments that touched our hearts in extraordinary ways. It included two hurried runs to hospitals in two different states and experiences that almost got me to bust out in song.
We had just finished our Meals on Wheels route in south Lansing when we decided to catch lunch at a nearby craft brewery, Eagle Monk. They have a somewhat healthy thin crust pizza and beer that you can split with another person.
My eyes were adjusting to going from really bright sun to a darker bar when I felt the tug at my leg. I heard this little voice excitedly saying “Bubba, bubba, bubba.” It was my two year old grandson Miles. I looked over and saw my kids, Krista and Justin and spouses and their kids.
They surprised me big time for my 70th birthday. They wore special t-shirts with my picture, including my two new grandchildren. The picture of me they took shows the shocked look on my face.
Other top tier highlights include the birth of our two new grand babies.
Krista and family are back in the states
Krista and Adam have returned to Indiana from five years in Bosnia. She came home pregnant with her third child. That’s why we got an early morning call and went to the hospital on the north side of Indy.
Their son—Jacob Wesley—came into this world quickly. The nurses delivered him before the doctor arrived. Yes, they took my name for his middle name. Again, I was caught without words. Really honored.
Justin and Lauren added Eloise Martha
After the weather warmed this spring, we got a call from Justin in St. Louis. Lauren was ready to deliver their second a daughter, Eloise Martha. We had the honor of being able to share the first day experience with them.
And again, the name is special. Little Eloise’s middle name Martha is my mom’s middle name.
In the course of all this, I developed a severe case of “smile ache.” It comes from holding and looking at new grandchildren for an extended period of time.
Drones, reading, puzzles and selfies
The older grandkids: Xavier is in first grade who has a big heart and an insatiable curiosity. He’s developing into a real reader. Gretchen is four who has a rock solid sense of her own identity. She’s smart and she’s charming. Justin’s son Miles is two and knows how to take a selfie. He’s very mobile and very social. He calls me “bubba” and Gladys “amma.”
I love looking at You Tube videos with Xavier about drones and listening to him read. Gretchen loves puzzles and has a delicate voice she uses when she says, "Grandap will you play puzzles with me?" Miles who is two-plus knows how to take a selfie and how to use Face Time.
Gladys is still in the classroom
Gladys is now a student teacher supervisor for two universities. She gets into different grade school classrooms several times a month. She’s guiding these new teachers through the cauldron of educational changes.
This past year, we’ve spent more time at the local Goodwill than usual. We takeover stuff as we empty our house to put it on the market. It’s time. Someone with kids can make better use of the space.
We are looking at condos in the outlying area. Our goal is to have it on the market in early spring.
That’s a longish, but quick summary of our past year. We invite you to let us know about happenings in your life.
Grab onto the hope of Jesus
Times right now seem to be getting more chaotic in our country and in the world. It’s hard to cut through all the noise of the times and to know which leaders to believe. Our God, at times, seems to be farther and farther away.
But, at this Christmas, we will be basking in the reality of His coming to earth. With his birth, death on the cross and his rising from the dead, we have real hope in the real God who will never leave us.
May the joy of His birth be real to you in a special way this year.
Those are the highlights. Please stay in touch. We'd love to hear from you.
Wes and Gladys