Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Life Well Lived~In Loving Memory of Fawn Winsted

I first met Fawn Winsted in Beruit, Lebanon. Our family was attending a conference and Fawn and her husband, Brad, along with two of their eight children had come to do a program for the children. As young parents, Dear Husband and I were in awe of this family who lovingly cared for our children and had them enthusiastically reciting a multitude of Bible verses after just a few days, so when we heard that Fawn and Brad would host an informal session to talk about marriage and family issues, we eagerly planned to attend.

Brad and Fawn shared many words of wisdom that afternoon; what I remember most was Fawn candidly telling us of how she, as a mother of many young children, had struggled with embracing her role as a mother and with respecting her husband. We were amazed! How could this be true? She continued by telling us how God graciously showed her the destruction she was causing to her family and how she turned to him for the strength to be the wife and mother that he was calling her to be.

The wisdom shared that afternoon many years ago was not the last we were to receive from Fawn and Brad as our paths crossed again and again, directly and indirectly. We met next in Jordan, where we've had the joy of knowing, fellowshipping, and serving with three of the Winsted children, now grown up. Four more have visited and we've also been blessed by knowing four of her precious grandchildren.

Fawn's children are a testimony of a life well lived, submitted to God with a purpose of glorifying him. All eight of her children walk closely with God, living their lives to love and serve Him as they love and serve those around them. A pioneer home educator, Fawn educated her children as well as developed a children's Sunday School curriculum, and trained others to reach children for Christ. All of Fawn's children have joined her and her husband, Brad, at various times, in teaching and ministering to children all over the world.

As her own children began to spread out around the globe I know that she believed the truth which she once shared with me via a quote by the mother of writer and missionary Patricia St. John:

""Only yielded up in the place of sacrifice are our children perfectly safe." (Psalm 84:3)

Not only her biological children, but her spiritual children as well, rise up and call her blessed. And as the psalmist, Moses, exhorted, so did Fawn Winsted live her life well, numbering her days so that she gained a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:10).

Many hugs and prayers to the dear Winsted family as they mourn the loss of their beautiful wife and mother.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Between Two Worlds

Traveling from Jordan to "the States" or "home" (our kids always use the first term) for an extended period of time--six and a half months this time, though it is usually three--causes a disturbance to my equilibrium beginning approximately 72 hours before departure. I no longer become anxious about the items that will inevitably be left on my to-do list--the plane will depart and we will be on it--but I still experience an unsettled feeling as I prepare to be lifted out of one world and, approximately 24 hour later, set down into another. The first world is my second home, yet the home I have become accustomed to, the home where I have lived most of my adult life, nearly all my married life, and my entire life as a mother. Our last two trips to the States have involved repatriating eighteen year old children who have not lived in the US for more than three months every two years, an event made all the more poignant by the realization that, though they will visit, they will likely never again reside in the country of their birth and childhood.

Here in the Twilight Zone
The odd occurrence that is international travel seems a fitting transition to my other world, especially when we leave Jordan in the middle of the night. I find peculiar comfort in the familiarity of baggage check-in, security checks, and passport control and there is nothing quite like the relief of discovering that none of the checked baggage is overweight. Strangers become comrades as we commiserate over flight delays, narrow aisles, lost baggage, and tired children. Our various worlds intermingle as we meet friends from the past in international airports and even in the airplane seats next to us, as they, like us, move between their different worlds. And now it is happening to my children: during a layover at JFK, Tayta ran into an American friend in Egypt whom she met at a conference in Turkey.

Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is? Does Anybody Really Care?
Perhaps when one decides to move their watch forward or backward while traveling tells something about him. Some leave their watches synced with the time of the place of departure, changing them only when they have arrived at their destination, some change their watches as soon as they arrive at the airport and some re-set them at each stopover. I've taken various approaches over the years but have found that none of them relieves the confusion which comes with crossing nine time zones. The jet-lag that comes with east to west travel is less severe than the return trip and a melatonin tablet before bed really does promote sound sleep.

Baby, Remember My Name
In general, I have a good memory for people, both faces and names, but changing worlds somehow short circuits my internal roladex; I can find myself greeting someone I've known for 20+ years, trying to remain calm and confident as I inwardly grasp in panic for their name. I also begin calling my children by the names of my siblings--that only happens in Boise. Weird.

A few more challenges, delights, and noted cultural differences of moving between worlds, in no particular order:

Driving: In Jordan I must play close attention while driving because of traffic disorder and the"spontaneity" of the other drivers. Sort of hazardous, but I'm sort of used to it. Now back in the U.S., I must pay close attention while driving because of the traffic order and the predictability of the other drivers. I'm just not used making lane decisions 200 meters (yards) before a turn and merging has a much fuller meaning in Jordan than it does in Boise.

"Better Days Are Coming. They Are Called Saturday And Sunday." A plaque with these words hangs in the home in which we are staying. People in the U.S. really look forward to the weekend. I noticed that by Thursday the weekend was being mentioned and by Friday, it was all about the weekend. People wish each other a good weekend and it isn't unusual for a stranger to ask about your weekend plans. I admit that I am really enjoying the two-day weekend.

Generosity: While scientist Marie Curie worked herself literally to death, she received little financial support from the French for her experiments which led to world-changing discoveries. In contrast, she remarked on her first trip to the US how generous she found the American people. Likewise, we have most certainly enjoyed the generosity of many since we arrived in the US. People in our church body have loaned us their house, two cars, a cell phone, printer, and even a drum set for Artist Son to play on.

Medical Insurance: I'm still trying to figure this out. When making a doctor visit I humbly plead ignorance and ask the doctor's receptionist or pharmacist to tell me what I need to do.

Liking: organic salad greens in a box, $4.99 roasted chickens from Costco (how do they do it?!), quinoa and barley, returning things to stores for a full refund, no questions asked, simply stepping out the front door onto the sidewalk to go running, World Refugee Day, complete with a citizenship swearing in ceremony.

Ironic: After living-mostly peacefully-in the volatile Middle East for 20+ years, it is in the quiet suburbs of Boise that we are awakened at 2am in the morning by the police ringing our doorbell. Our mailbox, along with the neighbor's, had been vandalized by a minor explosion.

Words I've learned to pronounce properly thanks to Oldest Daughter: chipotle, quinoa.

The Green, Green Grass of Home
We've now been in Boise for just about two weeks and my equilibrium has been restored: our family is all together, including Oldest Daughter, to whom we've re-adjusted and who has re-adjusted to us, our suitcases are unpacked, and I've planted some basil in our borrowed back yard. For now, this is home.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

My May blogging hiatus...

...has now extended into June. I can tell we've been too busy when various ones among us (primarily me, Tayta, and Artist Son) can no longer suppress the urge to create something, bursting through the busyness with small works of beauty. As we prepare to receive guests for Active Son's graduation celebration in just a couple hours, Artist Son finishes up my birthday rock, adorned with Star of Bethlehem flowers (birthday was in April) and Tayta puts the final touches on a hand-embroidered purse. Lovely! As for me, I'm finally able to return to my reading, and then there is the recycled denim quilt for Active Son that I'm working my mind.