Author Archives: Dad

Here’s the report …

Sabbatical Report

Voxer is great, but let’s not lose this! :-(

I know I’ve been very remiss!

Practical:  I’ve got a grey plastic car seat base/booster seat and a Sunbeam Fan/Heater.  Can anyone tell me who’s they are?  🙂

So much has happened!

We are very concerned about Luke.  Please earnestly pray for his (and everyone’s) safety down there.

Joel and Katie may close on their house this Thursday!  What a saga that has been, but it seems as though God has been consistently surprising and blessing them.  It is wonderful to have them here.  So much fun, and (frankly) a great comfort as Faye and I face a difficult present and very uncertain future.  I visited David Aikman recently in an “Old Folks Home” and was reminded what a great joy to hear Caelyn’s laughter and to see Silas learning to climb up the steps, to be greeted with a “Hello, Gwandpa” at unlikely times and places.

It is also wonderful, wonderful, wonderful to have Liesl at PHC and home so much.  To see her in Western Lit class, to read her papers, to see her “around campus,” to ride back and forth with her almost every week, and to have lunch with her every Wednesday!

I am discipling four young men every Monday and enjoying it so much!  Their names are Tim, Trent, Andrew and Drake.  Please pray for our growth!  The Christian Life class is also going well and I’m enjoying it a lot.

Faye and I walk for a full hour almost every day.  I really enjoy that time, and it keeps us very “caught up.”

Elizabeth’s “last day”!!! Hooray!!! I have been praying very earnestly this whole time, Elizabeth, for strength, patience and safety!

Becky, the “huge pizza” was so much fun!  I love all your pictures and news.  And we have been following with avid interest the adventures of Cinnamon the Pig!

Feel free to skip over the rest, but this is the report I did on my sabbatical (!!!):

Photo looks great!

Enjoyed your two posts, Kevin.  It was funny and very last minutes that Elaina came along.  Entirely her idea!  She was super sweet and helpful.  And very sweet, too, on the long ride back.  We got back about ten and I heard this wild music.  I traced it to the basement, and Faye, Luke, Liesl, and Elsie were just beginning to watch McFarland (second time for us).  So Elaina and I settled down and joined them.  I liked it even better the second time.

The horse camp went really well.  I think all the kids really enjoyed it, and Faye, Luke, and Liesl really enjoyed their part of it, though they were very ready for the relative quiet of our home after those two, wonderful weeks.  I made the most of my week at home by really focusing and getting things done at PHC.

I preached this morning at New Hope and baptized three more Beaty children (Niko and Christianna now that they are both fully and finally adopted) and Ayala Shalom (with a big bow in her hair).  Quite a saga, and pretty amazing. The Howard kids sang a couple really beautiful songs during offering and prelude.  And Abby Messinger came.  Luke took her out to the Thai restaurant for lunch and they are both here for dinner tonight, so that’s really fun.

Faye was supposed to begin her third type of medicine yesterday, but I think she is actually beginning today.  Please pray!

Last night during a wakeful time I thought about the verse, “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it to the glory of God.”  I wondered what “sleeping to the glory of God” would involve.  God never sleeps, and does not need to.  He has created us to need sleep, just as we need food.  There will be no night in heaven–will we not need to sleep?  There were “evenings and mornings” before the fall, and God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep when He took his rib out to make Eve.  Did Adam and Eve sleep before the fall?  I think so.

In any case, it seems to me to sleep to God’s glory involves being thankful that He promises to watch over us while we sleep, that indeed He is the one who gives the gift of sleep (Psalm 127:2).  It is an opportunity to obey, quite literally, the command to “be still and know that He is God.”  And to express our grateful faith by banishing all fear and anxiety, indeed all thought and concern, and giving ourselves up to Him completely in sleep.  These thoughts, and others like them, were helpful to me.  They are kind of an extension of what I shared Saturday night.

Life is full.  Overwhelming sometimes.  But good, because God is good.  We need each other so much!  Pray and never lose heart!

Joel and Katie have potentially good news on the house across the street.  They are willing to sell it “as is” at a very reasonable price.  Please pray as inspections are done, and the bank and Poortengas make final decisions.  Guide, Lord! We give this to You!

Question from Dad …

I just sent this also via email, but wanted to put it up here as well:

Faye and I would like to ask you a question.  It’s coming kinda late, and we apologize for that.  Our lives have been pretty full, but that’s no excuse.

We are wondering about having the family reunion at Rivendell North this year instead of Rivendell South.  There are several reasons for this.  Rivendell North is on the market and may be sold before we could ever do it again.  It would be an opportunity to “say goodbye” to that very unique and wonderful place.  It is also “picture perfect” at the moment:  grass manicured, plumbing and electric all works, beautiful inside and out.  It would be kinda nice to enjoy it when it’s “never been nicer.”  We would have the creek, kayaks, the go-cart, we could get hay to jump into out of the loft, etc.  We could have a lot of fun.  We could also comfortably accommodate everyone with almost no work on anyone’s part.  And meals would also be very convenient.

Joel and Katie just moved here (Rivendell South) and things are a bit “topsy turvey” at the moment.  By the same token, next summer, especially if Rivendell North sells, we plan to do some things at Rivendell South that would make the family reunion (summer 2016) better than ever.  So this summer would be a good one to “go north” in that sense also.

Kevin and Jessica, if you drove up to Rivendell South, we would really like it if we could “mix things up” for the further drive to Rivendell North, so that you and your kids could begin to enjoy fellowship with siblings, cousins, etc., even while you made that further drive.  (If that seems like a good idea to you all.)

Jesse and Elisabeth, Isaac and Hannah, Kevin and Becky—please let us know honestly what you think.  We have no idea how this would affect each of you.  You can either email me, or call.  If I don’t hear from you all pretty soon, I’ll call you.  J  It would be good to settle this either way for obvious reasons.

We love you all very much!  We are VERY EAGER to see you all SOON!

We Gotta Get People Back On This Thing! :-)

I am speaking to myself as well, of course.

Us “Non Facebook People” don’t want to miss precious news.

Faye, Elsie, Elaina and I tackled the backyard and house with as much gusto as we could bring to the task.  Always wish we could do more in a day, but God helped us to accomplish quite a bit.  Many layers of stuff got dealt with, including some we’ve never done before.

Faye is napping, which is so good.  We’ll walk when she wakes up.  Elsie’s family night tonight. One of the things we did was weed through all the videos, including all the ones form Rivendell North.  After working hard all day and evening, from ten to twelve thirty Friday night we watched the old Steve McQueen “The Great Escape” (a double video cassette–LONG, but fun!).  Really brought back memories!  Elsie and Elaina practically memorized it after one watching, and have been quoting snatches of dialogue to each other ever since.  They are now watching it for the second time.  They just helped me pick up a ton of sticks in the yard from the tornado we had the other day, and helped with the pool, so this is a kind of a reward.

What’s your billy goat’s name, Kevin?

The tornado didn’t last long, but was rather awesome.  I watched it from the window in front of me (facing the back yard–“Grandma and Grandpa’s room”).  Sun is shining now, but during the storm all I could see was a sheet of white blowing sticks and leaves violently toward the house.  We were without power for a couple days, and my generator didn’t work, so it was kind of a pain.  🙁  Seems to have hit this immediate area hardest, and took some huge trees down.  We lost only some limbs, but it made a big mess.

Liesl comes tomorrow, and Luke Tuesday.  We are super excited.  It will also be fun to drive up to the Farm for the 4th.  We plan to leave Thursday morning, and return Sunday afternoon.

One of the things we did is make the “kitchen” part of the garage much nicer.  It’s only a bandaid, but a much needed one.  While working out there, the huge black snake began to show up.  Six feet long, almost two inches in diameter.  Once at midnight Faye was putting things on the shelf.  A thing of tomato paste wouldn’t go back all the way, so she reached up to investigate, and it was the snake.  She screamed bloody murder and couldn’t go  back to work or sleep for two or three hours.  🙁  I didn’t even wake up.  I came back from the store the next morning, and saw the snake slowly disappearing into a cinder block.  I grabbed a flat shovel and chopped with all my might.  I had him pinned under the shovel.  He pulled and the shovel was sliding! I was wondering madly what to do, and didn’t want him to get away, so I reached down and grabbed this back end and pulled.  He came apart.  He left a bunch of his guts behind him, so we are sure he’s a goner, but he got down into the garage foundation.  We haven’t smelled him.  Jesse, he’s got to be dead, right?  We also haven’t seen him, or any of his friends.  We found a bird’s nest in one of our lunch boxes, and also a piece of snake skin!  It was up high, too.  You can see that this area had suffered from some neglect.  🙂

The whole kitchen has been gone over, and is now wonderful.  Anything Faye works on always comes out both very practical and very pleasant.

Nasty case of poison ivy.  I’ve got to be more careful.  🙁

Very eager to see all of you soon!  Jesse said they may get a house offer this Tuesday, so please pray, everyone!  Would be wonderful!  Pray, too, for Rivendell North to sell!

Faye’s up.  Gotta walk!  Love you all so much!

Hope your move went okay yesterday!

We thought of you!

So enjoyed catching up on this wonderful stuff!

Our two weeks at the ocean were wonderful.  Saw almost all of you!  So wish you could have joined us, Kevin and Becky!  🙁  And Luke!

June has been getting ready for the Poortenga’s arrival–their house looks so beautiful!  Pray for Rivendell, the Poortenga home and Jesse and Elizabeth’s home all to sell!

Faye and my trip to the Jersey shore for a couple days was also wonderfully blessed.  Ginny, Andy, John, Connie, Faye, me, John, Margie, Cathy and Michael were all there.  We talked and laughed a ton.  Very wonderful–we were all so glad we could do it!  I told Faye that getting into the car to make that trip was like getting into a time machine.  So strange, but wonderful, too.

Faye and I watched “Still Alice” last night.  Very sad, but very worth watching.

We took Goob to the airport a week ago tonight!  🙁  You all have seen their wonderful photos.  Nice to think of them all together.  I know that it meant a ton to Liesl to spend this time with Luke and help him.  Getting the 87 pound keyboard onto the plane was an adventure, but God blessed, and Luke now has it for his big concerts.

My heart is very full.  We love you all so much, and are so proud of each one of you.  Please pray for Faye, and pray for wisdom as Joel and Katie come and we move forward.  Faye has been pretty miserable, and we need to make some tough decisions.  Thank you so much for your prayers and your love!


Well, we are all thrilled and excited about Elsa’s arrival!  Wonderful photos, and quite a stunning video!

And, Luke, those were amazing Krin Krin photos.  So glad you are back!  (Though I confess that we are very concerned about the fungus infection that sounds most recently, from Goob, that it’s worse. Please, Luke, get the care you need!)

Liesl came home with Abby and it’s been wonderful.  She has a ton of studies, but somehow still manages to do so many nice things with everyone.  She and the girls were late home from church (we took two cars) and found out they’d gone to the “ruins” on an adventure, and then had ice-cream at Sheetz’s!  She goes back tonight.  🙁

I wrote a prayer journal entry this afternoon about “moving parts” and “stakes in the ground” listing all the many unknowns in our lives right now, what I hope will happen, prayers, concerns, questions ….  Quite a list!

Yet we are so blessed!  Crazy blessed!  Thank you, God!  Please guide us all!

New oil furnace being installed at Rivendell North.  Ouch!  He’s a good man, and doing it right, I think, but finding quite a bit that needs to be dealt with.  I’m praying for him–his name’s Steve Wysox.  So that has slowed that down a bit.  We put everything pretty much all summer on our LONG calendar hanging in the kitchen.  Lot’s of cool stuff coming up!  Sailboats, horses, writing books–you name it!

Best of all–seeing all of you!  Can’t wait!

Not much other news.  I’ll go see if Faye would like to take a walk.  Gotten a bit cloudy and cooler.  Had the corners off the pool yesterday, checking the chemicals and the temp, beefing up the chlorine.  Luke and I opened the pool this time last year.  Remember that, Luke?  Kind of a whim, and rather premature.  Opening will probably wait till as soon as we are back from the shore.  I think it will be easy and rather dramatic this time around.

Love to you all!


So much fun!

I love the name “Villa Caprice”!  What does it mean?  🙂

Cool to see pregnant Hannah by the “sold” sign!  and the happy couple with that all-important “key.”  🙂

Great visit with Jerry and Dottie! Also Andy and Jenny Pense!  And it has been super nice having Mom here, and of course Liesl.  She leaves tomorrow.  🙁  Mom Thursday.

I leave (again) for Rivendell North Wednesday, with Faye and girls to follow hopefully Friday.  The furnace guy comes Thursday morning.  Pray that goes well!  Still a ton to do.  We want to have it pretty and on the market ASAP.  Gaiges will help again this weekend.  Tom and Jesse were both a huge help a week ago yesterday.  Very cold, no running water, grim, but productive.  I would so love to see a big SOLD in front of that one!  I’ll put that on the BLOG!

Thinking and praying a TON about Luke.  Couple more days and we hope to hear that he’s back.

About to leave for the Eckels.  Lungs also invited, so that’ll be fun for us all and nice for Goob.

“Moving parts” seems to be the word for many of us.  It is wonderful to know that all our lives are in God’s strong hands, and that He lets NOTHING “fall through the cracks.”  There are no “oops” moments for Him.  How thankful we can be!

Very exciting to welcome the soon arrival of the also much-prayed-for “MRS. FRANKLIN.” 

Such interesting posts!

So much fun!  Hilarious and interesting!  Thank you, everyone!

Just had a long conversation with Joel and Katie, and then Isaac and Hannah.  Faye is skyping Liesl now, I think.  What a world we live in!

Elsie and Elaina are singing loudly in the basement.

I’m taking stuff for Luke to a lady in Leesburg tomorrow when I’m at PHC.  She’s from a church sending a team to Nicaragua very soon.  His electric violin, a HUGE supply of gummy vites, and a few other things….  Pray for Luke’s infected foot to get better, especially before he goes to Krin Krin next week.  🙁

Reading about the lives of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy–very interesting!

I better get our two songbirds into bed.  We love you all a ton!

I head up to Rivendell North Thursday (very early) to do some final repairs before an all out push to sell the place.  Jesse kindly offered to come up Friday night/Saturday to help, and Tom Gaige as well.  Please pray for that whole project, and that the place would sell.  Lots of moving parts in our lives.  Seems strange, in a way.  Wonderful Sunday School class this morning on the absolute sovereignty of God.  Our best and only comfort!  “When the foundations of the earth shake, it is I who hold steady its pillars” (slightly paraphrased).

Love you all! Thank you so much for your prayers!

It’s a beautiful, blowy, sunny afternoon!

Hope that Faye and I can take a least a short walk, yet.

We need your prayers so much, yet God is wonderfully good.

So enjoyed all the pictures below.  Tell us some stories, everyone!

Jesse and Elizabeth joined Liesl (and her roommate Laura) for a HUGE birthday celebration for Elsie and Elaina.  It was very festive, multifaceted, and lots of fun.  One big project was the four younger kids made their own chess sets.  Tobin made “Lukes vs. Liesls.”  His own idea!  We’ll have to get a picture of Luke and Liesl playing a game with it!  Elsie did the Colonists vs. the Redcoats, because she’s studying early US history at the moment.  A wonderful George Washington on horseback as the king, and a demure Martha as queen.  Kind of a nice historical irony there…

Our “humongous snow fort” is a rather shabby pile of dirty snow at his point.  But it may still last awhile as it was so big.  Looks like continued warmer weather this week, so maybe not!

God’s richest blessings on each of you–we love you all!