Friday, July 20, 2012

4290 Orchard Creek

The 5:30am alarm came all too soon on Monday morning.
 It would be the last time our alarm would ring in Burgessville…just another last. In a few minutes we would take our last shower, eat our last breakfast, watch for the last time the cow and her calf quietly munching on their breakfast and listen to the birds chirping ever so merrily. They didn’t understand the mixed feelings that we were feeling…they were too busy singing. Everyone threw their sheets and blankets in box #324…one of the final boxes to be packed. We felt like we were packing for a very big holiday but as we joked we knew this was just something to comfort one another for for the pain we were feeling. Soon it was 8:00am and the final items were put into the Semi-truck and several “last checks” were done throughout each room of the house. As each room was given the “all clear” the door was shut. People started arriving and our minds began swirling. The moment of truth had come; it was time to depart.

Last farewells were said…tears were shed…one last trip through the house was made and the caravan of vehicles made their way out of the driveway, leaving 13 years of memories behind.

The caravan itself needs some explaining. First went the truck. Following him was our van, Rachael in her car, Micah in his car, Jeremy and Aje in their car and last Henk & Michelle Vrugteveen in their truck. As we slowly drove out of Burgessville we spoke little…each buried deep in our own thoughts. We decided to go to the border on our own and meet at the duty free by Port Huron. At that point my husband would go with the trucker and we would each take our vehicles and meet together again 30 minutes beyond the border at the rest area. This plan worked well. The truck went ahead and our little caravan went through the border without a single problem. We stopped at the first exit and all got gas and some food. Soon we got word from the truck that they were going to have to go through the X-ray machine and go in to fill out some paperwork which they did without too much trouble. Again our plan worked and about an hour later were all together at the rest area.

This time we and our kids decided to stick together which we did the rest of the way to Grand Rapids.
About 2:45pm the surrounding neighbors of 4290 Orchard Creek must have thought an army was moving in. All of our vehicles arrived and finally the truck. The kids took a quick look around the house before the flurry of activity began.

Photo: Unloaded.......
By 6:00pm the truck was empty and we and those who came to help were exhausted from the heat, a mixture of emotions and hard work.Reality did not sink yet and by night we fell onto our mattresses ready for sleep.
The next days were days of discovery and this discovery continues to surprise us till this day. 4290 Orchard Creek is a very interesting place. In this house one can actually get fact one little visitor couldn’t even find a bathroom and resorted to using the stair landing as a port a potty. If you do get lost and someone tries to find you this can also pose a problem as there are two separate stairways to the upper level so as one goes up one the other person is going down the other and so the search can continue.
The third night in our new house I went to go upstairs to get ready for bed and walked in our master closet only to find my husband’s entire wordrobe (including about 30 dress shirts which I had so carefully tried to preserve so as not to iron them all again) laying in a crumpled heap on the floor. The inside of our closet is made up of metal white shelving and the previous owners didn’t understand the concept of putting braces into studs. Thankfully, I have another week before his work begins to re-iron.
And then there is Grand Rapids water. If we drink the water out of the tap we can almost imagine being in a swimming pool. So we toyed with the idea of buying our water but that just seemed weird as well as expensive so we were told to get a Brita filter which we did. But this only made the water taste like the chlorine level was low in the pool. So we decided we could use the water from the fridge system but it took about 2 minutes to fill your glass. Finally, we had the bright idea of finding the filter in the fridge and changing it. So my husband went to the store got a filter, looked up how to change the filter for our particular fridge and took it out. The sight that we saw about made us all want to throw up thinking we had actually drank that water. The filter was a combination of black and green when it was supposed to be white. For the next several hours we hardly would drink any water because the thought of that filter was so horrible.
And so life continues here at 4290 Orchard Creek. My dear husband is the world’s best Mr. Fixit man and hardly takes any time to sleep he’s so busy fixing “It.” "It" being finishing off a under the stairs closet and installing a under the stairs unit from Ikea.
Previous Owners

Completed Project

"It" being installing cabinets above the washer and dryer. It being putting up shelving in the basement.

Previous Owners

Completed Project

"It" being putting up numerous pictures and the like. The latest “it” project was to try to find out if our flower beds actually had any dirt or plants under the 4 ft tall weeds. Of course tackling this project on 100 degree days may not be the smartest, but when we stopped for the day we just jumped in the shower and drank some of the water and could imagine that we were swimming. On the second day of this project it seemed to be there were some other issues that needed addressing so Mr. Fixit went at it again. I stepped in the house for a few moments and when I went back out he was repeating the words "Uh oh" and I saw him covered with water and mud looking bewildered at a broken sprinkler line that was spouting water and mud. Apparentely there were other things under the 4ft weeds.

At this point I seriously wondered if he thought the list was getting too short to he had to make a new fixit project. Well the old farmer in him just got down in the mud and dirt and started digging…mud literally from head to toe until the break was found. Yes the rest is history…back to Home Depot once again.
Anyway we bought a sectional for our family room but haven’t gotten a kitchen table and chairs yet. This hasn’t been a problem, as we have a patio set, until it rained most of the day today. Old mean mom won’t let the kids eat on the new furniture so tonight we used the kitchen island as a table and had a stand up supper…makes life interesting.
All kidding aside we are settling in. Last wednesday had been a very hard day as Jeremy & Aje and Micah left us…it was a struggle for all of us. We are looking forward to when they visit us again and are thankful for Skype. As far as the unpacking goes I think about 80% of the boxes are unpacked and things are coming together nicely. By Sunday reality began to set in for most of us. Sunday was a hard day. We missed church in the morning as my incision became infected and we had to go to the Dr.  But in the end it was a blessing in disguise as he also took out the stitches which he said were put in a special way as it was a high tension area and I think if my husband had to do it, as was planned, we probably would have needed marriage counseling. Sunday afternoon was a time of no work and we all could think. Burgessville was much on our minds. Our thoughts were drawn to how much we really miss our children as well as everyone in Burgessville. As I sat outside quietly reading I again heard the birds singing their songs. They didn’t know what thoughts were going through my mind but it didn’t matter…they have a mission which is to sing and that’s what they do. We too have a impact the lives of the student body at PRTS and so with God’s help we will press on in our mission. Dear friends in Burgessville…press on in the mission which God has laid upon your path…we love you!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The End of One and the Beginning of Another

Once again the kids have been after me to “write” on my blog. Little have they known that I have begun the next blog post several times over the last weeks but it has never “turned out.” You see how can I accurately and fully explain the feelings that have gone through my head since January 2?
How can I explain how much more meaning the sermon of January 1 (No Fretting Allowed for 2012) had on January 2 than it did on January 1? On January 1 we as a family were excited about our upcoming trip to Florida – a much needed time of rest for us and time to spend with the kids. But on January 2 while sitting in a Detroit motel the phone call came and our life would change forever. Instead of “feasting” while in Florida there was “fasting.” Instead of much “playing” there was much “praying.”
How can I explain over the course of the next 4 months what transpired in our family? If you had a video camera that constantly played throughout those weeks you would see a family that was, unseen to the outward eye, tested and tried almost beyond our strength. You would find a husband and wife who prayed, cried and pleaded to know God’s will. A family that made more trips to the emergency room in 4 months than almost the entire time spent in Burgessville combined. A family that was attacked by the Devil on every side and almost didn’t have the strength to fight. A family that sorrowed greatly at the loss of a loved member of the congregation. A family that longed to stay together but grappled with the fact that separation might happen. 
 A family in which the children each struggled with so many emotions and feelings…2 would be leaving very good friends and their only known home….one unable to complete his final year of highschool here….one whose University program didn’t transfer though he would rather go….one who would need to leave a very good job and friends…2 who are happily married to each other but would lose a father and pastor. A family who on the outside had to carry on with daily life while inwardly battling many emotions.
How can I explain the depth of love that we feel towards this dear church family after spending 13 years of our life rejoicing in their joys, sorrowing in their sorrows, praying for their souls. We have had the joy of seeing sinners struggling and agonizing with the burden of their sins and as a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, they in time come to faith in Christ. This I believe has been our deepest moments of joy during our time in Burgessville. Often if someone would come to us with the burden of their sins not seeing a way out, they would be sorrowful but inwardly we would rejoice.
And…how can I explain how we mourned with those that mourned especially with the families of those who died so young or suddenly? How do I explain how these things affected our children over the years even to the point that sometimes they didn’t want to answer the phone for fear that it was another tragedy and if the phone would ring really late or very early in the morning sometimes they would jump out of bed with that fear in their minds?
How can I explain what it was like on Saturday evenings before bed my husband and I would sometimes walk together up to church often talking about the needs and cares of the congregation? We would then copy and put the bulletins in the mailboxes, walk around and make sure everything looked good and then walk back home. How do we express how much we will miss these times??
Now that the decision is made and moving day is within a week how can I explain the emotions that are going through my mind? I am very willing to follow behind my dear husband and often together in the past years whenever we heard the song of Ruth there was a look of love that passed between us which conveyed many things, also knowing that there could come a time when this might be tested. But this does not mean that I don’t have any emotions…there have been times of great weeping. I loved being a part of this congregation, and I would be a very unusual mother if I didn’t grieve about leaving 2 sons and a daughter-in-law behind. Yet I know that I must leave this all in God’s hands. Change is not always easy…we love what we had in Burgessville and will miss it greatly.

Perhaps the greatest lesson i have learned through all is has been a gradual but sure one. I am coming to realize that if our desire in life is to live our lives to further Christ's kingdom there will be times when the Lord will test us to see if this desire is really true. Over the last weeks and months this is part of the “testing” that has been taking place. When we move to Grand Rapids many of our legitimate earthly joys will not, for various reasons, be possible and the question is…knowing this, is my heart still willing to follow Him or am I going to hold back. Am I willing to give up earthly pleasures for the sake of His kingdom? Will the Lord give us other joys that we cannot see now? It is possible but if not we still must be willing and ready to follow Him knowing that all that this earth has to hold is temporary and our true rest is not in this world or its pleasures. The Lord is calling us to a new part of His kingdom and once again these words hold so much meaning, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

My dear friends at Burgessville I do love you and will miss you greatly…please continue to pray for us.