Saturday, July 31, 2010

We Asked For A Great Summer.....

Our whirlwind summer of 2010 is winding down for me as school starts on August 10.

You read that right.

Mike and I continue to enjoy our time at the lake with expected and unexpected visitors. Last week, like much of the country, northern Indiana broke records for heat and humidity. Our little cottage, so quaint and all, has no central air, just a puny window unit in the bedroom. People used to live like this. I heard, through the fog, something about 110 heat index, whatever that means. Three days of it and I was drooping around, lifting my feet slowly, as I stopped into the coffee shop.

“Does everybody look like I feel?” I asked.

“Pretty much,” he replied, from his air conditioned station. “You want this on ice?”

What a great idea, a thought I might have formulated had my brain not become so soggy.

And then the barista reminded me. “It (heat) kinda makes up for last summer. You know, it was so cold and rainy. We really didn’t have much of a summer.”

Someone who works in a lake town would notice such things.

I, for one, do not remember last summer’s weather. Actually much of last summer is as foggy as the mist that rises off the sidewalks these days.

I have gone back in this blog and reread a lot of what I was writing in 2009. We had been braced to expect that Mike would not see 2010. As much as possible, we were preparing for that. Mostly, we were trying to savor what life we had, trying not to waste any precious minutes on the insignificant.
We were growing closer to each other and to our Lord. Friends surrounded us, physically and spiritually, reaching out to show their love and concern. They followed us and prayed for us and we leaned on their strength.

Now, as I look across the table at my blond, tan and toned husband, last summer is a distant memory. He’s swimming across the lake today, as he does every day we are here. Later, he will jump on a trail bike and let my nephew chase him through the woods.

There’s a natural spring routed to a drinking fountain in the woods and he stops every day to drink. That and the lake water: magical healing?
Whimsical and fun to pretend.

What we know is that God, for His reasons, has given us the gift of this summer. It has been and continues to be a great summer. I should stop complaining about the heat, I really should.
With our latest good report, we are, of course, happy. And you, our friends, have been streaming your shared joy to us. You might think, then, that it’s all good.

It’s mostly good. Almost all.

But, there is this can’t-be-ignored, tightly stretched rubber band inside me that causes a tension, a stress that is never really gone. It’s possible to get busy and forget about it, but it’s still there. We live with it. We are not complaining. Life is better than death.

And although much of last summer is less clear, the lessons remain sharp. Our walk with the Father is closer and more sweet. Our connection with all of you is also a blessing every day.
I will be returning to my classroom; Mike has another appointment some time distant, like October. Between now and then, adventures will ensue.

Mike will compete with his buddies in The Hoosier Hammerheads, International Aerobic Club Chapter 124; the chapter contest is next weekend at an officially sanctioned aerobatic flying contest, The Hoosier Hoedown. It’s a two-day event at the Kokomo Municipal Airport. If you are nearby, this should be quite the show.
(Mike gave up aerobatic flying when he became ill; he’s back behind the, uh, wheel. Personally, although I like the alliteration, I cringe at the terms ‘down’ and ‘head’ in the same sentence as ‘flying.’ But, nobody asked me.)

Next week, hurray, is our annual Sisters Weekend, moved to mid week as one sister now pastors a church. This year’s location is Santa Barbara. Checking the weather, to see who else is sweltering, displays the weather there as perfect: sunny and 65 all the time. Sister Kris says it will spoil us for the ordinary. I am ready for a little spoiling.

Mike and Zach plan to travel to Seattle and kayak with the orcas.

I have no idea.

But, I will ask you, our friends, to continue to remember us. When God shows up mightily, Satan trains his guns in the same direction. We know who wins in the end. We need to send the bad guy packing

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Quick Cottage Post

Captain Allyson Fewell, MD, and her brood arrived Monday and will be Lakies until next week. Uncle Zack drove up so we are wall-t0-wall family.

Much fun here.

Details later.

Friday, July 16, 2010

News from the doctor

First, thanks to all of you who pray for us. Only those who've experienced God's presence can begin to understand what that feels like.

Second: we have now gone to 4 of these appointments; after the cheery nurse takes Mike's vitals, we sit, not too long, and wait for the doctor. She's so pleasant and charming as she enters, greets us both and sits down.

Then, in a practiced move, she opens the chart. She glances over it and then looks at Mike.

Her report: unchanged since January.


Her suggestion: keep living.

We will follow her instructions.

And thank God for this gift. Join us.

Lynne and Mike

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Old Friends

Growing up, my family was part of a larger Baptist church in suburban Detroit. I, myself, was ‘born in the pew’ as they say. Our family drove the 15 miles many times each week: Sunday School and church on Sunday morning; back in the evening for another service and Baptist Training Union (BTU); Wednesday prayer services; various social events; Bible School in the summer. Growing up among those believers is a legacy for which I can thank my parents. There wasn’t any question that we would be going to church regularly. No other activity took us away from that habit. And, yes, my dad was an avid golfer, but not on Sunday.

I formed deep friendships with many of my peers. We ate at each other’s houses, slept over, knew their parents and older siblings.

A recent trip to Michigan brought many of us back together after too many years. But with friends who have shared so much of one’s life, you can just pick up where you left off.

It was great to see Laura in person. She is a career veteran missionary and my main reader in Bangledesh. It was time for furloe and so we talked face to face.

And there's Nick. He has told me many times that I was the first person he met at church, that fateful Sunday night when his parents and their brood slipped into the long pew next to the Hayes family. Nick and I were 14 at the time. I don’t remember that first meeting but I do remember sitting with him on the floor of a youth group party, listening to the Byrds’ Turn Turn Turn (hey, the Bible set to contemporary music!) That’s one of those details that you remember as the short term memory starts to fail.

And Margaret. She and I became buddies when I was about 8. We remain best friends through our preteens, high school and college. Although we never really got into trouble, let me just intimate that I had more lively teen years than I might have, had I never joined up with her.
And the King twins. In a family album, there we are, 5 years old, at our Sunday dinner table, each with a shiny star on the center of her forehead. They are looking at me and I’m talking. (of course)
And Lee. His family, mine and another shared holidays and vacations together. There were the summer caravans, dads driving the station wagons, pulling the trailers that wound through roads up north, to New York, to Washington D.C. Within those families, there were kids other than siblings to play with.

Lee, the closest thing to a big brother: once we were riding on the floor of my mom’s car, behind her seat, when he pulled out this little metal ring and suggested that I put my thumb on it. I did. As the cigarette lighter branded my thumb, I’m sure Lee sat amazed that I was so trusting, or dumb.

Lee: who tried to teach me to water ski. Lee: who took me exploring at this huge quarry in the middle of the Detroit River. The rocks filtered the pollution and left a clear, cold lake.

Lee: the guy I called at least three times during high school when, by my own designs, I got myself into a mess. He got me out and never told. What a guy!

Lee, who stood up with us on our wedding day.

Lee, a man of God who, when he heard that Mike was ill, called and talked to both of us and then continued to be in touch, sending words of encouragement.

Lee, who fell ill in February and passed away in June, two weeks after his 60th birthday.
As I chatted with his wife, Karen, it seemed trite to mouth those platitudes about how we ‘never know when.’ But the irony of the situation was hard to dismiss.

The family stood by his casket as a slide show played overhead. There was a boy, kid, and man I knew. One photo, taken at his birthday party, confirmed reality. The illness had ravaged his body but he still shinned with the smile I recognize.

There came the time when friends could say something or share reminiscence. And here we nodded to recognize this man, a follower of God, a servant, a friend, a husband, father, grandfather. (I resisted adding the story of how he talked me into burning just wasnt' a good fit)

And when a child of God is freed, the pain of separation, though real, is tempered with a joy that he is with his Lord.

I remember that Tony Dungi spoke to a group of men about his son who 6 weeks before had committed suicide. Although still reeling in pain, he spoke of the hope of heaven saying, “And if I could call him back from his Father’s side? Would I? I would not.”

I did not take a poll, but I assume most of the gathered friends are believers who know, even as they may grieve, that this man is not the shell on display. He has moved into the arms of his Father and we will see him again.

As such, the funeral home was like an anteroom outside the throne….Lee got to enter. We have to turn back.

For now.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A little speed bump

We know that you who follow us also pray for us. What a blessing.
We began the summer boldly asking for a great summer. And God has provided so much of this great summer.
Now, we come to a speed bump, something to slow us down a bit.
This week (July 10 - 15), we've marked our calendar for our 6 month recheck appointment.

Tuesday, Mike will get another CT. Then blood work.

Then, on Friday, at 9 AM, we meet with Dr. Moore to discuss results.

Here's what we've experienced in the past and would ask for your assistance again.
As we sit in the doctor's office, as our friends are praying, we experience the presence of our Father, His arms around us, His arms under ours, lifting us up.

I cannot describe the power and comfort that God gives us at that time.

So, I would ask, again, that next Friday, at 9 AM (EST), you take a moment to pray for us.

God is good. His mercies are new every morning.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


My trip to Detroit was full of reunions and reminiscences. So many of the people I spoke to have known my people for most of my life. So many of them are an extended family, where you can be apart for a decade but just pick up where you were the last time you spoke.

I had a BFF long before texters created that shorthand. We’ve been buddies since we were 7. That means we shared all sorts of adventures like first makeup, first bras, and first boyfriends. She witnessed, close up, the tying of the Bolinger/Hayes knot to make sure it was strong.
But distance and time had left some blank sheets on our mutual diary so it was a special treat to spend about 8 hours, late into the night/early into the morning, catching up. Between the two of us, we recalled most of our adventures:

God’s grace and mercy saw us to adulthood.

As our intimacy returned, I confessed to her that I have to guard my brain from fantasies of worst case scenarios. She asked me what I meant.

“I will read or hear about some awful thing happening to a woman my age, or a child of a woman my age, or the grandchild of a woman my age, and my mind wants to drift towards: what would I do if that happened to me? From that momentary thought, my mind races toward a tragic ending scene, with me visualizing what I would be wearing and who I would be talking to and how sad I would be at this heart breaking outcome.”
“Isn’t that nuts? I’m grieving, often, someone’s passing who is just fine, healthy, and in no danger whatsoever.”

She looked across the table at me. “I do the same thing.”

We shook our collective heads and then, as close friends are want to do, we launched into a search for the reason we would engage our brains and hearts in such an exercise. Here’s what we came to.

It’s an attack from Satan.

Now for those of you who follow our path here but don’t believe in Satan, feel free to provide your OWN reasons after you’ve given me a minute. I will remind you that Jesus talked bout Satan. That’s enough for me. And he’s not the red suited, tart tongued, hooked tail cartoon figure created by animators. He is real. He has power. He will, ultimately lose the great battle between Good and Evil, but until that final fight, he will flex his esoteric muscles whenever he can.

I’m not saying that these attacks are common to everybody in this area. What I AM saying is this: I have all sorts of reasons to live a joyful life. I have healthy kids and grandkids, and sisters and brothers and mother, and friends. And, let’s not forget the BIG thing: my husband’s cancer remains in remission. We are living through 2010. Doctors gently told us in 2009 that this would not happen.

I have shared with praying sisters that the Father’s main method to get my attention is a spiritual “smack upside the hay-id,” as I am willful and so full of my own competence. These days, I am awash in God’s grace and when He needs to lead me, it is with a gentle hand. So what better target for Satan is my joy? The plan is to rob me of joy. And, if I did not have some insight into that right now, it would probably work.

My situation may seem unique, but as my friend suggested, Satan looks for ways to rob God’s children of joy, peace, comfort, whatever gift they are enjoying. And since life is so busy, The Evil One can break in and rob before we realize it.

A gift I have right now is some sort of discernment and wisdom to see these attacks as they come. God gives me the strength to identify them and, usually, to tell the Devil to back off, in the name of Christ. And he HAS to flee. At least for awhile.

But, let me say, and again this is just about me, that God has (gently) dealt with me in this area. Why would I venture into a fantasy scenario where harm comes to someone I love?
It’s clear and simple: I don’t trust in the Father.

Why is it? I can put my trust in the clock repair guy who told me, over the phone, that he would be able to fix my grandfather clock without taking it away. Why is it? I can put my trust in the cable company who tells me they will be at my house between 1 and 5. Why is it? When the temperature outside rises, I can flip a little plastic switch in my dining room and believe that the house will soon be cooled. Why is it? I can punch some addresses into a little electronic box, it can indicate a route and I trust it to be accurate?

And I struggle with trusting the Lord of the Universe? The one who loves me more than anyone, even myself; The One who sees all and knows all, and wants to spend eternity with me;
The One who has taken us through the valley, let us come up for air, and is using what we’ve learned along the way;
The One who has given divine ear to the pleas of so many of you, for healing, for more time, for grace and comfort;
Is that the same One who plots to hurt me? Tries to trip me? Wants to spoil my fun? No. That’s the OTHER one.
Why is it? I can’t give the definitive answer but I know it is because I, frail human, want to trust myself. Even as I’m helpless. I need to lean in to the Father’s chest and find protection from spiritual attacks.
So, as you pray for Mike’s health, if you have a few extra moments, please remember me, as I long to let go completely and rest in My Father’s arms.