Thursday, September 20, 2007


Midnight Sun Bible Camp

In July, James and I had the exciting opportunity to be the daily Bible teachers for this year’s Junior Camp week. For two hours a day, the kids were OURS to teach and manage on our own. We taught on light: God created light; God, Jesus, the Word, and Christians ARE the light; and we must spread the light. We did shadow sketches and skits, light relay races, blind obstacle courses, and memory verses with prizes. By the time my two hours with the girls were finished each day, I was ready to crash, but then we spent the afternoons studying and prepping for the next day.

It was a blast! I loved working with James each day while studying and prepping for the next day. I loved our debriefing sessions on what worked and what didn’t. And although we DID work hard on our job, we still had a lot of free time to play with the kids, canoe, talk with other staff members, and play games. It’s a good thing it was all so rewarding, because that was our entire vacation for the summer! It wasn’t exactly breakfast in bed and a private Jacuzzi, but the cooks prepared a delicious, hearty meal every morning (there was usually some left by the time the kids got theirs!) and the dome was just down the hill with hot showers and flush toilets (if you really wanted to pass up the outhouses on the way—I usually did!).

Ah, there is no place like MSBC!

Life and Loss

This summer on June 18th, Grandma Kuenning’s birthday, James got news that his Grandpa Limberious (his mother’s father) had died. We quickly drove over to James’ parents’ house to be with his mother. His father and brother were out of town. His mom had some warning, but nothing can ever completely prepare you for the death of a loved one. While driving over, and trying not to cry about my own grandmother, I remembered what my parents had recently revealed to me, that although all of our lives, we had celebrated Grandma’s birthday June 18th, we had recently run across two separate birth certificates that showed that she was actually born June 19th! Why? Was she spunky enough to have decided that she preferred the 18th to the 19th and changed it? Yes. Was it possible that she was born an Italian immigrant in New York City in 1918 and the busy doctors wrote down the wrong date, so the family celebrated the 18th anyway? Yes. I just think how we’ll never be able to have one of her birthdays from now on where we don’t smile thinking of that crazy mix up. We’ll never know.

We arrived at the Smiths and James was a soothing balm for his mother. I played with Niki, our 3-year-old niece, and her doll house. For once, the doting men in her life weren’t around, and I got to be her best friend for a few moments. Then Jeremy came racing down the driveway! He had been out on a rural surveying assignment, but came in for just a few hours to be with his mom. With him came cheesecake and flowers, so we sat around the table sharing or hearing stories of Grandpa that made us all laugh. In the middle, Jeremy said, “So, is anyone going to ask why Sheila’s getting fat?” I shouted triumphantly, “I thought so! She’s pregnant, isn’t she?” Sure enough, there’s going to be another baby in the family, due in early January. God is good.

A few weeks later I was holding the funeral program for James' grandpa, and I realized with a shock that he didn't die on June 18th. He died early in the morning on June 19th, but since we lived in Alaska, we got news four hours earlier on the 18th. Maybe Grandma was born in a different time zone . . . maybe not, but it is eerie anyway.


Last May, my mother developed a condition that made her extremely anemic. While she was attempting to bring up her iron by supplement and diet, the family traveled down to Virginia one last time to empty Grandma’s house, close it up, and get it on the market.
Either from the plane trip or the lack of energy that anemia causes, Mom discovered on her return that she had developed blood clots in her legs. My active mother, who goes to Curves daily, runs a household for a busy family, and serves the ladies at church, was stuck in an armchair with only minimal movement until her abrasive medicines had started to kick in to dissolve the blood clots. Now, in addition to trying to raise her iron, she had to stridently avoid anything with vitamin K, a blood clotting agent—no more green leafy vegetables!

Still, I was unprepared for a phone call in June announcing that Mom had been taken to the ER because of tightness in her chest. Although she hadn’t suffered a heart attack or stroke, a CAT scan showed that the blood clots had definitely moved to her lungs. After a five day hospital stay to monitor her medicines, Mom went home. Good thing, because I think the lack of sleep was making her go a little loopy.

The past few months have been mostly slow for her with bouts of energy and listlessness. I worry for the lack of energy because it’s not like her, and I worry about the spurts of energy because she might overexert herself. Every once in a while, she will feel that same tightness in her chest, which she waits for to pass, but the doctors told her not to worry unless she passes out cold. Well, last Thursday, September 14, she did just that. An ambulance paid a visit to the house. Isaac and Adam loved the flashing lights and excitement. The EMTs ran an EKG on her with no results. Every test that they and her doctors ran on her that day showed no reason for her loss of consciousness. So we are still in the dark. She still has a potentially life threatening condition. Should a blood clot break loose and move to her heart, brain, or even a different artery in the lungs, we could loose her in an instant.

Please, please, pray for her and don’t stop.

Bits and Pieces

Well, one marathon blog entry once a season is not how I want to do things, but it works for now. I hope from this point to be able to make shorter, more up-to-date entries to keep you informed of our ongoing life. There isn’t enough room to write about decorating for VBS, teaching guy and girl teen classes through the summer, helping chink and stain my parent’s log cabin, going to the Alaska State Fair, and other things that kept our summer busy (maybe there will be a few pictures). But it's enough to say that we’ve had a very full summer.


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