Sunday after church, one of my girl friends gave me this lovely bouquet of lilacs! This particular friend has been really struggling with her teenaged son, and  I felt like I should have been the one doing something special for her instead! What a surprise!

Joel’s been a fabulous help this year. He works for us half time and writes half time. Here he is coming back from planting some new fruit trees. I thought our orchard was pretty much dead, but I discovered that 9 of the trees are actually thriving, so I bought three more fruit trees, and we may have a lovely orchard after all. What a happy surprise!

The apple trees are just about to burst with blossoms! Don’t you love spring??

This morning I was supposed to teach for the “Ladies’ Day” at our local rescue mission. My topic was from the Song of Solomon 2, on being “lilies among the thorns.” We have lots of lilies of the valley in our woods…and yes, they have to grow among the thorns…very like the extremely difficult circumstances in which my ladies at the mission have to learn to thrive. I was all ready for my message, but yesterday the ladies’ chaplain called to let me know that the meeting needed to be canceled this week due to construction downtown.

As it turned out, this was a very fortuitous surprise, because I woke up sicker than a dog this morning. In fact, I was so sick that I went to the doctor, only to discover that I couldn’t qualify for my upcoming surgery, scheduled for this Friday. Surprise again! Also, Daniel and Brianna, who had always planned to come back to GR after they finished school, couldn’t find work here, so Daniel just accepted a job at a dental clinic in Battle Creek. Jonathan, who’d hoped to get a teaching position at Cornerstone, is being flown out to Spokane, WA next week and may take a job there. Wow! Life is full of surprises and changes!

I guess we never know from one day to the next what will happen in our lives, but I’m thankful we can rest in the One who knows all things and intends our circumstances for good.

Cherry Blossoms and Willows

Seems like it’s been such a busy week there’s been no time to pause and reflect, but every morning I look out my window and notice the contrast between our cherry tree, which has burst into bloom, and our weeping willow, which is just beginning to think about whether or not to bud out. It makes me think about the difference in us as humans…in our growth and maturity rate in our faith. Some blossom at the first sign of warmth, and others take their sweet time about deciding whether or not it’s really “safe” to trust that the spring is truly coming. I admire the cherry trees’ bravery, but on the other hand, if we have an unexpected snow storm, that will kill all the fruit that might have been. The willow, on the other hand, blooms very late and yellows very late in the fall.  The lovely thing is…to each of us there is a season, and “a time for every purpose under the sun.” Whether we’re fast or slow, we can be confident that “he who has begun a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Stephen’s Senior Recital

Stephen’s senior recital was this past week. If I may say so, I thought it was an absolutely brilliant performance! Wish you could have heard him…or, maybe you did!! 🙂

Afterward, we had a little reception for him

So he could “meet and greet” and relax a little!

Here he is with one of his favorite friends, a lovely Korean girl who will be going on to the Cleveland Conservatory next year.

Stephen, on the other hand, is thinking to take a year studying pre-med again, trying to decide whether music or medicine makes the most sense as an ultimate career choice. He loves music, but he knows that medicine would be a more sure bet for a steady income. Whatever he decides, he is certainly finishing out his MSU undergraduate career on a high note. Congratulations, Stephen!!

Springtime in Germany

Michael got word that he’s going to be deployed to Iraq for 6 months in May, and so Alan and I made a flying trip over to visit and meet our new grand daughter, Nycteris, whom we had never even seen yet!

We had a wonderful visit and enjoyed many memorable adventures with his family!

We also enjoyed getting to spend some time with Gerlinde’s parents again, too: Christoph and Sarah

Germany is truly a gorgeous country! Here are just a few of my favorite shots:

On the way home, we stopped overnight in Amsterdam and took a canal boat tour the next morning!

Amsterdam is a charming city with 100 km of waterways and some 1700 bridges. We wanted to go to the Anne Frank house, but the line was SO long that we knew we could never get in before our flight left.

And so, we have returned home. I posted about 40 pictures on Face Book if you want to see any more! Hope you’re doing well. If you think of Michael and Grace, please do pray for them while they’re apart.

Iraq will be hot, boring, but still dangerous for Michael (as a dentist)…

And I’m sure taking care of two little girls alone will be very lonely and challenging for Grace!

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble: (Matthew 6:33-34)