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Monday, 26 December 2011

Grandpa is with Jesus

Last Christmas time I was with my grandparents in southern California. 
I asked them if I could take this photo. 
In February my grandmother went to be with Jesus and last night on Christmas day my grandfather joined her. 
My grandparents are so precious to me. Grandpa was ornery and feisty even before dementia began to take over his brain... but he also was funny and laughed and taught me many things about life. The last time I saw him was at my grandmother's memorial service in February. 
I am grateful for the moments in the last year of his life, that I got to see him in person. I look forward to one day seeing both my grandparents in Heaven.. with no more pain, sorrow, or sicknesses. 


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Sights of the Season

 My mother and I drove up to Kandern a couple of weeks ago and since then, I have been taking in the sights of the season. It was while we were up there that I really felt like the Christmas Season had begun.
 Lights hung all over the place...this is the Via del Corso. 
Christmas colours.. are also the colours of the Italian flag.
 Christmas cookie parties with students. We had a lot of fun. 
Decorating sugar cookies is not an Italian tradition.
 Decorating my apartment a little bit. Last year my Christmas decorations stayed in their storage container so it has been fun to pull them out and decorate... even though I will be packing up all my things to move out of this apartment in a couple months.
 Attending a children's Christmas concert at a church across the Piazza from my apartment. 
Fun to hear Italian children singing Mele Kalikimaka-the Hawaiian way to say Merry Christmas.
Something I love in Europe is the way so many people use Advent wreaths. I carried this one from a Christmas market in France back down here to Rome on the road trip with my mom. The Advent wreath helps me to remember the true meaning of this season.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Deutschland here I come! Deutschland, Ich Komme!

My mom arrived yesterday!  
Yay!!!!!  :-) 

Tomorrow I am driving us up to Kandern, Germany where I used to live. I am so excited for the following:


Time with my mom
the beautiful drive
a haircut by my favorite German hair guy
German Christmas markets
Seeing good friends in Kandern

Maybe we'll get to see some snow!!!
Please pray for us for safety and a sweet time together.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Thanksgiving Here and There

The week before Thanksgiving we had a massive Thanksgiving event for all of our Italian friends. We were praying for about 150 and we ended up with 160 in attendance. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!

Over 140 people who do not yet know Jesus personally, heard the gospel from students who have trusted Christ in the past couple of years.
160 or so people enjoyed turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin or apple pie! -Our teams cooked it all ourselves. I have the burns and cuts to prove it on my hands. :-)

Two days after this event, I flew to Birmingham in the UK for the week leading up to Thanksgiving Day. I was blessed indeed that my Northern Irish hosts, baked a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie for dessert that day. I should have taken a photo of the pecan pie. It was stunning!
Two days after my return from the UK, I was invited to the home of some staff friends here in Rome who were having Thanksgiving at their house with some of their closest Italian friends. Butterball Turkey (we thank God for the American commisary) Everything was delightfully delicious..including the conversation. 

I am thankful indeed for the variety of ways that I got to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Encountering People

This came out longer than I intended....
Yesterday I was on a train coming from Bologna back to Roma.

Car 5, seat 95. Car 5 seat 95. I memorized where my reserved seat was located for the trip back to Rome. The train arrived and I watched car 7 pass where I stood, then car 6 and amazingly car five stopped right in front of me!  I had a choice-to enter from the right or the left. I chose the left. 

Choosing the left entrance meant that once inside I had to make my way to the opposite side of the car at the far end... I should have chosen the right side. But it was quite an adventure to pass by people going the opposite direction. Babies, large suitcases, Big men, pregnant women, irritated Americans. It was an interesting journey just from one end of the car to the other!

Once I made it to the seat, I kindly informed the man sitting in the seat that the seat was actually mine. He was most gracious and moved over to the aisle seat. 

As the train began to move, Mario asked in Italian if I am American. I learned a lot about Mario on the trip. He lives a monastic life and travels from Naples to Bologna often for a weekend with other monastic brothers. He also told me several time how he had purchased a train ticket but lost it and he did not want to spend more money for a new ticket... This also resulted in Mario disappearing when the conductor came by... It made me wonder how much penance Mario would have to do for that... 

He had me look at several books he had acquired while in Bologna. One about the history of the Italian language which fascinated me. Three books about the saint who is in the centre of what he follows. And one book about three of the foundations of their order. We talked a lot about faith and living by faith.

The man across the seats was reading a book about Argentina. We began speaking in English. He was going to Rome to see if he could meet some ladies. Something about a TV show here that he was invited to participate in. At one point, he commented at how beautiful I am, but that I must hear it all the time. I laughed to myself as I replied with a "thank you".

I was struck by the difference in these men. One wanted to connect with me on our values of faith. Mario and I exchanged phone numbers and if I go to Naples he wants to get me a coffee. The other man, wanted to connect with me over english and my outward appearance. They both really need a personal relationship with Jesus.

As I left Mario at the train station and made my way to the Metro, I was thinking about the encounters I have with people.  Those people whom God puts in my path.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Jesus on the Walls

So often in Rome, I find my soul longing for Jesus. The buildings are beautiful. The people are inviting. The food is delicious. The nature is stunning. But all over the city Jesus in depicted on the cross. All over the city Jesus is on the walls. He is not in the hearts of the people. 
I have a temporary roommate who has been working with refugees. She met one this past week who had never met a follower of Christ. They had a good conversation and after they said goodbye, he came back and asked, "is Jesus dead? In Rome I see him always on the crosses."  
What a privilege to share with others that Jesus is not dead! He is alive! I was reading the crucifixion and resurrection acccounts in the Gospel of Mark last night and was struck again by how amazing the love of God is for us!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Just another week in Rome, Italy

This past week... Next week will be almost completely different. I think it is a good thing that I like variety. :-)

Monday-
*early morning meeting with my coach
*grocery shopping
*mid morning meeting with my team leader
*house cleaning
*pay bill at the post office
*late afternoon meeting with my city leader
*prepare living room for a guest to stay overnight on Tuesday

Tuesday-All Saints day in Italy. It was a holiday for us!
*sleep in a little bit
*meet friend at metro stop and walk home with her
*late afternoon go to a staff party for Autumn. We called it a Pumpkin Party and skyped in a girl who STINTed here for a couple years. We made sugar cookies and molasses cookies. We ate pumpkin gnochi, pumpkin soup, pumpkin roll, etc..
*8:30pm downtown with my friend. As we sat in the Piazza of the Pantheon, a girl started talking with us. She is from Brasil and is alone in Rome for one month. My friend and I ended up helping her get back to where she is staying as she was very drunk. Pray for Luana.
*One am... sleep

Wednesday-
*Went with my friend to find some things she was looking for in Rome. We had lunch together at a great restaurant I recently discovered.
*late afternoon I took her out to where her conference was going to be held in Rome. 1 long metro ride, 3 bus stops down and a short walk.
*I got back to my side of town in time to have dinner with some of my staff friends and a couple students we know.

Thursday-
*20 minute walk to 9am language class
*20 minute walk home
*12:20 leftovers for lunch
*12:40 to a staff meeting
*4pm home
*laundry, dinner, time with roommate

Friday-
*Morning work on staff training
*Lunch with staff team
*The ZOO!  once every six weeks we have a team fun afternoon so we went to the Rome Zoo. It was so fun to see the animals.

Saturday-
*today I am going to join the conference that my friend went to. It is a gathering of youth workers from Europe. People who have a huge passion for the teenagers. I have several friends from all over Europe who will be there.

Monday, 24 October 2011

on the train

Yesterday I took the train back to Rome from Bologna. I took the slow train because it is cheaper and I could use the down time. About 1 hour before arriving in Rome, a group of American's got on the train and took seats right behind me. 

I love listening to accents to figure out where people are from. This group sounded like West coast. When I stood up.. sure enough, one man had a Portland Timbers hat on!  It was so fun to hear how the team is doing. They described what the games are like. They said the feeling is more european with the waving flags and the way the fans act. They said that the games are always sold out. Soccer has always been my favorite sport. I so hope to be able to go to a game when I get to Portland the next time... of course that depends on which season I am in Portland.

The people in the group all live around NW 23rd. So it was fun to meet them briefly. They had a tour guide who was telling them about a restaurant to try which happens to be right next to a restaurant that many of the Agape staff enjoy... so I put in my two cents.  :-) 

It is just fun sometimes to hear news of culture and life from Portland. 


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The commonplaceness ness of life

We had a group of counsellors here in Rome from RTS in Orlando Florida. 
During one of the times that my team met with some of them, the leader was telling us about some of the things that challenge a team and some of the things that challenge missionaries. 

One thing he called "commonplacenessnesness" When the common things of life pile up. 

We have two apts here amongst our staff who had to replace their front door locks within the first weeks of ministry starting. One because a key was accidentally put in the wrong lock and the other because someone tried to break into the apt and damaged the lock and door.  These are not simple american locks.. they are a very intricate locking system that cost each apt hundreds of euros to replace.

Many of us are dealing with a range of colds and flues right now. So common but it takes on a new depth when you are finding ways to combat your illness in a different culture. 

To pay our bills, we must go to the post office with cash. It potentially takes a whole morning. 

Riots and strikes are pretty common in Rome. 

Grocery shopping generally requires walking to the meat store then to the market then to the small grocery. A couple of hours could go by before I return home with heavy bags. 

Personally, I am processing the loss of a dear friend's husband to cancer, the deteriorating health of my dear grandfather, not being able to hold my neice who was born in April, and the very poor health of my biological father. These weigh on me and cause me to lean into Jesus even more.

Ah the commonplacenessness... 
They are the things that wear us down in the midst of our call to mission here in Rome. 
But we persevere. 
We trust God.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

My beautiful niece Ava in the top that I got to send to her from Roma. I can't wait to hold her someday.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Napoli and Roma

This past weekend I went to Naples Italy. I was so blessed to be with the DELTA ministries group down there. Since 1998 they have come over to Casoria and Arzano to partner with churches for an evangelistic festival. God has blessed their efforts and grown the churches in the area through people newly giving their life to Christ. I went on my first mission trip with DELTA in 1993. God used them to change my life. 

I loved getting to hang out with Brian Heerwagen-CEO of DELTA and all the others who were there. I saw people I have not seen for years. I saw people I had not seen since last year when I was stateside. I met people I had only heard about from others. I met dear Italians who are sold out for Jesus! 

Federica is the daughter of dear family in Christ who live in Casoria.
I would have stayed through the end of the Festival but our ministry for the Autumn in Rome has begun this evening. 

 Staff friends are returning from the states and other places so our gathering for dinner tonight was the first time I had seem some of them since June. My heart is full of joy!  I have had so many dear friends visit me in Rome this summer and now many of my staff friends have returned. God is good. I am excited and expectant about this coming year!
Sabine and her husband Andreas came to Rome from Germany. Sabine and I became good friends when I lived in Kandern. We are enjoying the offerings of Insalata Ricca. :-) A great place to eat in Rome.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

my grandfather Robert Elston Sale

Today I heard from my mother that my grandfather recently had a heart attack. Last Thursday he had wandered away from the care facility he was in with my grandmother until she passed away in February.  He showed up in a hospital after falling while trying to get onto a bus. I thank God for the people who called 911 and helped him. He is often confused about current reality these days.

I just found myself tearing up... deep tears and sadness. I remember how strong he always appeared to me. I remember how sharp his mind used to be... even when it caused him to be too sharp to others. I remember how when my biological dad walked out of my life, how my grandfather became a strong male in my life. He taught me (and my brothers) so many practical life skills. And he taught me that it is normal for me to be treated like a lady.

As I became old enough to think about marriage, I decided that I wanted my grandfather to have a key role in the ceremony.

It hit me by surprise this past year when I saw my grandparents, how much their bodies were failing them. I knew they were getting older, but because it had been a few years since I had last seen them, it was kind of a shock.

Hearing the news today of how my grandfather is doing has caused me sadness. I know that when the Lord allows me to get married and have children it is most likely that my grandfather will not be around on earth. And that brings tears to my eyes. I already lost my grandmother... losing my grandfather is inevitable, but I am already mourning some of that loss.


Saturday, 6 August 2011

Permesso di Soggiorno

This past week I obtained my Permesso di Soggiorno (residence permit) and my Codice Fiscale (tax code). I am fully aware of how easy this process was for me in comparison to how difficult it has been for my other friends here in Rome.  I thank God for this small respite in the midst of the challenges of this transition.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Gingerbread Scones

So, I have made Gingerbread Scones a couple times now. When I was in the UK I bought a small container of Treacle which has been wonderful to use! These scones are so simple and so delicious!
Somewhere along the way I obtained a small book called "Biscuits and Scones" by Elizabeth Aston. I have used several recipes but this one I want to share with you. 
 
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup molasses
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut up


Heat oven to 425 degrees F. 
Measure milk in a glass measuring cup and add molasses to the 2/3 cup mark. Stir to blend

Mix dry ingrediants together in a large bowl
Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers until the mixture looks like fine granules.

Stir the milk mixture and add to the dry mixture.
Stir together with a fork to form a smooth, rather soft dough.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and give it 10-12 kneads. 
Cut the dough in half. 
Knead each half briefly into a ball, turn the smooth side up, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. 

Pat each piece of dough inot a 5-inch circle; cut into 6-8 wedges; leave the sides touching. 

Bake about 10 minutes, or until medium brown. Do not overbake. 
Cool, loosely wrapped in a cloth, on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

time flies when you are having fun

  Two of the waiters at a restaurant we enjoy. 
And sweet Rebecca who finished up two years of STINT this year.
There is a story here... if you want to hear it, just email me. 




 I saw Denise Stone in Rome! Denise worked at Multnomah when I worked there. :-) Also, her husband and their three sons Andrew, Matt and Tim. It was so fun to to see them all even though they were exhausted from their mission trip in northern Italy.

 I thoroughly enjoyed my day with the Ralph and Myrna Alexander, David Alexander and their tour group.There were so many connections with people I know from the states.

  I was privileged to be at the wedding of my dear friend Claudia in London and then I went to Birmingham and Oxfordwhere I saw good friends and worked with people on Heartbeat Tallinn (Agape conference next summer)


 


   I returned from the UK to the company of good friends. Tori, Bekah and Kristin are friends from Oregon. It is so good for my heart!

    















Monday, 27 June 2011

This week

I am anticipating this week. 
I am excited!
Friends will be here
Friends from Portland who are currently in Northern Italy will be coming to Rome on Wednesday!
YAY to see the Stones and Tori!
and 
Thursday I am privileged to spend some time with the Alexanders.
I get to hear Ralph's insights about Rome for a day! 
and
Friday I fly to London for the wedding of my dear friend Claudia!
yes
I am excited for this week

Sunday, 19 June 2011

World Beach Volleyball Tournament

A student who came to know Jesus a few years ago through some of our staff offered some tickets for the World Beach Volleyball Tournament. I love sporting events when I can be there in person! So I was excited to go. 
We watched a women's semi-final between Czech Republic and Brasil
Then we watched a men's semi-final between Latvia and Brasil
Then we watched a women's semi-final between China and the USA... Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh!  It was thrilling to watch this team that has been playing together for about 10 years!
I love this photo... can you see the woman on the side whose mouth is WIDE open? :-)
They won the semi-finals.  Today we get to go see if they win the final... again. :-)

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Summer Reading

Often thoughts of summer conjour up visions of rest, relaxation, holidays-vacations and in that...time to read. My work here in Italy and in Europe does not in any way stop during the summer months, but the pace does change. 
9 summer project students, one lovely Italian (it was Pia's birthday) and a visiting friend. I made up a pasta dish which the students helped to make, They cut up a ton of fruit for a fruit salad which was delicious...We laughed a LOT!
The 13 lovely people who were here from the US for summer project departed this morning. I am sad to see them go-their passion and tenacity for sharing Christ is powerful...
but their departure also means I get to go to bed before 1pm. :-)

So this morning I began to think about what I might want to read this summer. I have always been a reader. I moved multiple boxes of books over to Europe with me. Many of them I have not yet read. 
So... in all the options...a thought came to me...how about the New Testament? 
I found a reading plan online and hope to follow it. 
The New Testament in 90 days. 
I have never done this. 
I am excited!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

So much to experience in Rome

I was privileged to experience a massive track meet last week. The Samsung Diamond Series, Rome Athletic Meet. :-) I LOVE this stuff!

I went with dear friends who also work with Agape Italia and we got to see athletes from all over the world competing in races, hurdles, javelin, pole jump, long jump, triple jump, high jump, steeple chase, 4x100 relay...
video 
and in that mix was Usain Bolt (the fastest man in the world right now) racing and wining the 100m race. We were sitting on the 100metre line.

That is always a strange thought to me....that someone who is considered the fastest man in the world.. is only considered that until someone else beats him.

But it was so thrilling to be there!  thousands of Italians and other nationalities all amazed and impressed by the strength, agility and power of the athletes!

Monday, 16 May 2011

I cannot go to school today... said little peggy ann mckay...

I learned a Shel Silverstein poem for drama class in eighth grade... entitled "Sick". 
Most of the poem I still have memorized after almost 23 years... And as I sit on my bed now feeling like I could just lay down and sleep because my head hurts, my throat hurts, my skin hurts from too much sun, and I have irritatingly itchy mosquito bites... this poem enters my mind. The only difference is that it is Monday and I have lots to do! 
'I cannot go to school today, '
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
'I have the measles and the mumps, A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry, I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks, I've counted sixteen chicken pox And there's one more-that's seventeen, And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut-my eyes are blue- It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke, I'm sure that my left leg is broke-
My hip hurts when I move my chin, My belly button's caving in, My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained, My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb. I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak, I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth, I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight, My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear, There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is-what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is...Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play! '

Sunday, 15 May 2011

rest

The busyness of the city, the spiritual battle, the long days of ministry... if I don't rest as the Lord calls us to rest... I am not able to give the energy necessary for the work God has called us to here in Rome.  I am grateful for times set aside for rest. 
Sperlonga at sunset. ... yeah.. beautiful.
When God created the world... He rested on the 7th day. Sounds like a good model for us! 
In Rome, the leadership has set aside designated weekends as sabbath weekends. 
This past weekend was such a weekend. 

Sperlonga south overlooking the sea.
So I, along with a co-worker, went to a nearby seaside town. We both feel rested by sunshine at the seashore and this weekend was exactly what we needed.  

I don't have a photo of the sandy beach I got to sleep on... probably because I was so rested I did not think of taking any photos. :-) I swam in the sea, and rested with good music on the beach. 

I feel rested... even though I did take in too much sun. Sigh... everyone who knows me knows that I get too much sun at least once a year. 

Friday, 6 May 2011

my new Niece

I became an aunt on the 19th of April. 
Welcome to Ava Mae Wright
this photo of her just made me smile. :-)
 I find myself with tears in my eyes often these days. 
Wishing I could meet her in person. 
And longing for the day I get to hold her. 
I am so excited for my brother Matt and my sister-in-law Monique! 

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Psalm 27:13
"I remain confidant of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." 

My recent time in Germany brought me joy and a renewed confidence that I will see the the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  

This photo is near where some dear friends live in Kusel, Germany.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Happy Birthday to my brother Michael!

I am so blessed to have the brothers that I have. Today is the birthday of my youngest brother Michael James Wright.

several years ago...
 a couple years ago... but this really embodies some things that I love about Michael... 

He serves with a smile. 
He is a person who cares for others and works hard. 
He connects easily with people in any age or stage of life.

Happy birthday Michael!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Rome in March

When I returned to Rome in early March, I encountered Carnivale. It began the night I arrived. Throughout the week we encountered Carnivale events and remnants. The 10 students and three staff from Miami University in Ohio were a great group to work with. Reminds me of when I took my spring breaks and summers to go on mission trips. 
Part of Missional Team Uno.
Three lovely ladies from Miami University in Ohio joined the first week I was back.  Their passion to share the hope of Jesus with students was delightful.
Children in the midst of a Carnivale event. They go around showering each other with confetti. 
On the left is Courtney, she was a STINTer in Rome this past year. She helped to lead the group from Ohio. The group from Ohio reminded me how much I love to invest in the lives of University students. 
This little girl just wanted to play with the pretty confetti. :-) Smart girl. 
after the confetti party.... the confetti blows in the wind....

Monday, 14 March 2011

Spring Break

Last week we had 12 staff and students come from Miami of Ohio University to spend their Spring Break sharing the hope of Jesus Christ with Italian students here in Rome. It was a delight to see these students and their hunger to know God and to help others know Him too. 

We began this week with 54 students and 10 staff from Ole Miss University who are here to also spend their Spring Break sharing the hope of Jesus Christ with Italians. 

We are praying that God will do great things through them here!

I will write more on this when I have a working laptop with photos available and can put together a Musings for March. ... Melissa's March Musings... hmmm.. I like the sound of that. If you do not receive my monthly updates... you can sign up here.Melissa's Musings Sign Up

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Changes

Sometimes a lot of changes happen in a short period of time. 
... 
In the two weeks that I was in the states...
  • The direction of the streets around my flat changed Via Imperia and Via G. Baglivi swapped directions. Imagine my surprise when I could not turn on Via G. Baglivi.  But it is actually more convenient this way. :-) My roommates say it happened in a 12 hour period... new signs, new painted parking spots, etc... 
  • My roommate Amy got engaged to Joel. I am so excited for them! This also means changes in our flat
  • And my missional team structure changed. A change in the leadership and one team member moved to a different team. One thing I love about the team of staff here in Rome... they are not afraid of changing things around for the best fit of people.
Change is rarely easy to navigate... but I find that when I trust the Lord to navigate... it is much easier for me. In fact, I think the fact that there is now and has always been a lot of change in my life has caused me to cling to Jesus more consistantly!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

in memory of my grandma


This is what I shared at the memorial service for my grandma today:

Reflections of a granddaughter:

My grandmother has gone to be with Jesus. When I saw her this past December, she told me she was looking forward to Heaven. She had lived a full life.

She was a great example to me of a woman who never stops learning. The sheer number of magazines, leaflets and books that she owned was a testament to her desire to learn all she could on a subject.

I cannot fathom the number of new inventions that my grandmother learned to use in her life:

Band-Aids, frozen food, traffic signals, spiral bound notebooks, stereo records, ball point pens, silly putty, the microwave oven, Tupperware, Teflon cooking pans, audio cassettes, the food processor, computers and cell phones... to name a few.

As is typical of those who grew up through the great depression she was very very careful to save and re-use everything. This seems strange for my generation.. While I may not wash and re-use plastic bags 10 times before throwing them away...  I do take from this a principle of not wasting resources.

My grandmother was intelligent, gentle and strong. She knew her Bible and was always willing to help others. Her example of helping others is also in my mother and I hope and pray that it will always be a priority in my life.

I have never doubted that my grandmother loved me. She was not an "out of sight, out of mind" person. Whether it was sending settings of silverware or a note of the latest health newsletter or information about a subject she knew you were interested in... She was thinking about others a lot.

Because of her care for others, there is always room for one more person at
the dinner table. I wish I knew more stories of all the people who had dinner over at the sales house. And I am grateful that this practice continued with my mother so I could meet many interesting people.

Several years ago I found her notebook that had a list of all of her grandchildren, their birth dates and their children's birth dates. No grandchild or great grandchild was left off the list. Family was very important to grandma.

I loved that grandma and grandpa would both get on the phone when I called them. I loved knowing that I was important enough to warrant their time on the phone talking with me. Even when I moved overseas and the time zones were more challenging, they would both get on the phone when I called and want to know how I was doing.

When God called me to be a full time missionary, Grandma was one of my biggest supporters. She wanted everyone to know what God had called me to do. She prayed for me and called others to pray for me. Her support for me is already greatly missed.

Most of all...I am so grateful to the Lord for a grandmother who loved Jesus. And I look forward to seeing her in heaven where she is not experiencing any more pain.