Tag Archives: families

Love to the End

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I often speak of the friends that the Lord has put into our lives who love us unreasonably.  You know, those friends who have no reason to open their hearts to you, but they do.  They take a chance and reach out.  Those are the friends through whom I most feel the love of the Lord radiating towards me.  When that dear friend hugs me, I feel like God is taking me in His arms and smiling down into my upturned, little girl face.  Those are the friends that “stick closer than a brother”. 

Recently one of my Facebook friends posted this beautiful photo of her step mother and her aunt reconnecting at a funeral.  The story she posted with the picture brought tears to my eyes.  I wanted to share it here to show you how far love can take you.

Two hearts still connected after so long.

Two hearts still connected after so long.

This is a picture of my mom & my sweet Auntie Bernice yesterday at the funeral of my dear Aunt Hazel. They may look like two ordinary, older women but there is so much more to the story. I will cherish this picture because it reminds me of the long time & unlikely love these two women have shared.

Aunt Bernice is my first mother’s (Bernadine) sister.   My mother Bernadine died at the age of 29 leaving my father Dale a widower with 4 young children under the age of 7.  Aunt Bernice was so close to Bernadine.  They were born 20 years apart…to the day!  She being the oldest  and my mother being the youngest of 9 children.  What a sorrow she felt at the loss of her dear young sister!

Then my father starting “courting” my 2nd mother, Barbara the same year.  Many family members were not happy (that had to be so hard).  But dear Auntie Bernice, with so much love in her heart, just opened her arms to Barbara.  She insisted that she stay with her when Barbara came to visit us that first time.  When Barb and Dale married that following July, 1965, sweet Auntie Bernice LOVED my NEW mother just like she was one of her sisters.

Over the years Aunt Bernice has made sure to pass on all the memories of our first mother, her sister, on to Barbara.  So now our second mother had those to share with us (dad forgot so much!). Aunt Bernice loved on us so deeply over the years, even moving to be within a block from us so she could help.  What a wonderful link she has been to our first mother’s family.

Now they are nearing the next part of their journey.  Mom is 82 and Aunt Bernice is 98.  So yesterday at the funeral of Bernice’s other sister Hazel, I wheeled my sweet mother close to my dear 98 year old aunt and they spoke, quietly heads bowed.  We all stood in such awe.  Later when I asked my mom what Aunt Bernice said, she told me, “She said that she loved me from the first moment she saw me.” I am in awe of that kind of love.  It only comes from the Father.

Thank you Mari for sharing the story of your step mother and your aunt who loved her like a sister.  It isn’t just because I too knew Barb and Dale and loved them both that the tears swelled in my eyes.  This is such a beautiful story of the love of God shining through us and it’s power to heal and hold.  Because Bernice accepted Barbara who replaced her own lost sister, the children were blesses as well.  Her love brought wholeness where there was brokenness.  That’s what Jesus does.

Fresh Eyes

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This is called “Mamon Chino” here in Costa Rica. It’s “Rambutan” in other countries. It’s one of my kids’ favorite fruits.

This last week another batch of new language school families arrived in Costa Rica to learn Spanish at the school where we studied back in the day.  (I taught there for the last year and a half too.)  So Josh and I have dedicated a week or so to helping them get settled in.  Our language school directors can’t be in a dozen places at once.  They are good friends of ours, so we are happy to help them carry their load for a while.

But the thing that I like the best about receiving the new families is getting to show them around Costa Rica.  For most of them, this is their first experience moving overseas.  Some of them have never even traveled outside of the U.S.A.  So we get to be the ones that share their first few days of blissful excitement when everything is new and fresh and amazing for them.  I get to see my home through fresh eyes too.

It’s kind of therapeutic for me.  I’m not in the “honeymoon” phase anymore, haven’t been for years.  So there are things that get on my nerves, things that I have forgotten to enjoy, things that I no longer notice anymore.  But when I get to hear all the excited observations of the new students, it reminds me that I DO love it here.  I am so blessed to call Costa Rica MY home.

We get to tour the newbies around the city for a few days.  We take them on their first grocery shopping trip.  We take them to the farmers’ market and show them exotic fruits and vegetables.  We take them to their kids’ school and get their kids enrolled.  We take them to church on Sunday morning.  It’s a lot of fun for our whole family!

At the Feria (farmers’ market) with my kids.

My kids get to show off a little bit too.  They love to show the new kids how to eat tropical fruits, how to find the sermon text in their Spanish Bibles, how to order food in a restaurant, and which stores carry American foods.  They warn the new kids to watch out for dog poop on the sidewalk and in the park.  They remind them to pay attention in the street so as not to fall in an uncovered manhole.  They help translate for the shopping day at the farmers’ market and help take pictures of the group with their arms laden with their abundant harvest.  My kids get to be the experts for a few days.  It’s fun.

Keeping your eyes fresh is not in the job requirement.  No one checks up on us and makes sure that we are still in-love with our country of calling.  No one forces us to stop and smell the roses once and a while.  For me, keeping a fresh perspective on life is a key to my mental and emotional health.  Sometimes that fresh perspective comes from the joy of my children and sometimes it’s from the excitement of fresh faces on the field.  Wherever I find that refreshing, I like to camp out there for a while and bask in it’s rejuvenating energy.  It’s a good thing.