Always and Forever

When Jake, Caleb and I embarked on our journey home to South Africa from Portland last November, it was a poignant moment. Literally, the day before the boys and I stepped aboard our first plane to return to our mission life, my parents had just taken the courageous and bold step to sign a rental agreement in a retirement community. This was a momentous deal for our entire family. Significant change was at hand. For our family, this meant that my parents’ home that John, Micah, Jake, Caleb and I had returned to on each home assignment since moving to South Africa in 2006 would soon be sold.

This photo was taken on February 5, 2006 – the day before our family departed for the mission field in South Africa. My parents’ home served as the launching pad.

For the past six months, my family has been preparing my parents’ house for a proposed April 2019 sale date. My sister, my brothers, and my parents put forth a masterful, amazing, inspiring and even Herculean effort to make this important event happen. I am indebted to them all for doing the work that I could not. One of the greatest challenges I face as a missionary are the times when my extended family is involved in necessary, time-sensitive tasks that can only be done – over there. I can support. I can cheer-lead. I can listen. I can pray. But, I can’t be there. And that’s hard. I miss being available to assist  them – in person.

My parents’ home has served as the backdrop of many family and friend gatherings – here it’s Jake’s birthday!

This is another one of those weeks that I wish I was there.

My parents’ home, my family home, is ready to be sold. Even as I type these words, my heart is lurching, and my eyes are welling. The emotions are real, and they are raw. Honestly, I’m surprised how easily I choke up at the thought of our family home being sold.

It’s a good, good thing, though.

I am incredibly proud of my parents for down-sizing and moving into a place that offers positive, affirming and helpful amenities at their season of life. They are living in a brand new, beautiful home. And our family cannot wait to visit them there one day.

Here we are celebrating my mom’s birthday – the day before Jake, Caleb and I jumped on a plane to return to South Africa in November 2018.

Recently, our family was encouraged to compose different thoughts and memories of our house. It was such a meaningful experience for us. It was a true delight to read what my parents, sister and brothers shared about their lives at 10375.

Caleb and Jake literally crashed upon their big brother after so much playtime at Mom and Dad’s – this was March 2007.

In tribute to my parents, my family, and our lives well-lived at 10375, I thought I’d share some memories:

Another photo shot from March 2007 – my parents, Doug and Sue Ann, along with my sister, Kristina, and brothers David and Gordon all gathered on the front lawn. It’s rare that you’ll find us all in one place. We love these times!!!

What I most appreciate about our family home on 10375 is that my dad purposely designed and built it with his family in his heart, in his mind, and always in his sight. How would Dad know that 40 years later, this home would be the gathering place for countless birthdays, graduation parties – high school and university, engagement and birth announcements, after-wedding festivities, and other joys upon joys year upon year. Thank you, Dad.

Our Joy Boy loved receiving this fun Christmas gift – spending lots of time at his grandparents’ dining room table building and building and watching and watching as the marbles rolled.

There are way tooooooo many of these times to count, but I loved sitting in the kitchen – either around the table or near the wood stove – to listen to my parents, my siblings, our kids, our spouses, and our nieces and nephews recount their life experiences and share what they’ve been learning. So much laughter. Tears, too. Just life. So special.

Caleb was able to celebrate his 12th birthday at his grandparents in 2015 – at their kitchen table. This was Caleb’s first birthday celebration there since 2005!

I will never ever forget Dad using his executive planning skills and his purposeful mind to put six cars like intricate puzzle pieces into the four-car garage to prevent them from suffering damage from the falling ash of Mt. St. Helens in 1980. Oh. My. Word! What a feat! (Sorry no photo! 🙂 )

I loved my bedroom. Loved it! It was my place to rest, to think, to dream, to hope, and to pray. We painted the walls a soft, calming shade of green. Entering my bedroom was always a restorative experience. I loved looking out upon the back garden with its rhododendron and hydrangea bushes that literally framed my windows. I always felt like my bedroom was an extension of my mom’s beautiful garden.

2006 Deck Pix Grandparents and Grandkids
I’m pretty sure this is 2006 or late 2005 of my parents with their grand-kids on their deck.

One of my favorite things about my parents’ home was when they installed the large, over-sized deck. The grandchildren found it to be the perfect play place. In their younger years, they launched into big wheels and raced each other round and round and round on the deck – it was joy to behold. Later in life, Jake often perched himself tall and proud on the deck benches to enjoy his solitary me-time.

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Caleb and Dad in January 2016 – they love their hugs!

Morning hugs. So many hugs of love and appreciation as we greeted each other at the start of each day. Forty years of love at 10375!

Walking to school, walking through the neighborhood, walking to the park, walking down the hill to Safeway for doughnuts, our family enjoyed every single step! Jake, Caleb and I took morning walks nearly every day and appreciated the different treks we would make together.

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We walked through East Butte Heritage Park often.

Playing in the snow in the front and back yards through the years – building snowmen, throwing snow balls, and appreciating the moment with Grandpa and Nana.

Grandpa and Micah built a snowman after dinner in December 2009.

For Micah, Caleb and Jake, they found 10375 to be their home away from home. We spent the bulk of our time, when on home assignment, at my parents’ house. I cannot tell you how grateful John and I are for my parents during this significant season of our lives – especially when the boys were so young. My parents were available to be with the boys, while John and I went out to meet with supporting churches, mission teams, and our mission support team.  A special memory for Jake and Caleb is that they will always cherish is sitting on the couch with Nana and Grandpa and holding their hands as they all watched “America’s Funniest Videos” together on Sunday nights. They liked when everyone shrieked or grimaced when someone got ‘bopped’ on the show.

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My parents built a house for our family forty years ago. But it was their encouragement, love, commitment, and dedication to our family that made 10375 a home.

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I am so grateful for all of the love and all of the life we’ve shared as a family in this extraordinary place. It’s my prayer that this house becomes a special home for the next family for decades to come – just as it has been for our family.

Thank you, Mom and Dad.

Thank you so much.

I am so proud of you.

I love you – always and forever.

4 thoughts on “Always and Forever

  1. I love these people who were the caretakers of 10375. Reading this morning, I can now answer a question given to me yesterday…….what is one regret you have in your life? My guess at some point, every child who has had loving parents can answer the same way. I just pray the best for you all. 💞💔💞

  2. My parents never stayed in a home longer than 3 or 4 years so memories of a “home” were not there. I have been in my home for 41 years and hopefully my kids will be able to write about their memories made here someday. I know I have so many in my heart. I hope that 11900 will be in my kids’ hearts forever and always too. ❤️

    1. Hi Shara,

      You have memories to last a lifetime and beyond of your home with your family. Our realtor, and my good friend, Claire Widmark- Wright encouraged us to write memories of the house – she actually put many of them in the brochure that will be on display at the house when people come to look at it this weekend. It was such a fantastic experience for all of us to write out what we most remembered and wanted others to know, too. I hope you all are able to do that one day. It was very meaningful for us. All my love, heather

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