Finding Solace at the Homestead

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This week I have been thinking a lot about the many blessings God has granted me. With Thanksgiving just days away I have much to be thankful for and I find my heart filled to the brim with humble gratitude for God’s loving providence in my life. I have been blessed beyond measure, certainly much more than I deserve.

As I count my many blessings, the blessing of family can be found at the top of the list. I grew up not fully recognizing the treasure I had in my family. With no other frame of reference to compare my life to, I assumed everyone enjoyed the same love, support, care and companionship within their families that I did. I had no idea that the special bond I enjoyed with my parents, my siblings, my grandparents, aunts and uncles, was a unique gift that many others have not been blessed with. This revelation became all the more pronounced as we stepped into the world of foster care and became aware of the horrors found within so many families. The gift of a loving family gave me a life advantage far beyond any other blessing in my life, and my heart is full of gratitude for that.

Sometimes in the midst of the busyness and craziness of life we forget to be grateful. We lose sight of our blessings and all that we have to be grateful for. We become focused on the minutiae and forget to step back and focus on the big picture…on the things that are really important.

A few weeks ago I received an unexpected phone call from my parents. They were calling with the news that Dad’s cancer is back. For those who have followed our blog for years, you might remember his initial diagnoses. He had an aggressive form of prostrate cancer that resulted in the need for surgery. At that time we asked for prayers from our friends both near and far and those prayers were answered. The surgeon found the tumor to be encapsulated and contained, and no further treatment was needed. He was cancer free, but now we have discovered that cancer cells have returned. Radiation is required. And we are asking for prayers again…prayers for healing, for wisdom, for minimal side effects to the treatments, but mostly for peace for my parents.

We ask for your prayers…

Prayers for the peace that only God can bring during those unexpected bends in the road of life.

My Dad starts treatment this week, so last weekend they took advantage of the time they had before he begins treatment and invited Rusty out to the Homestead to enjoy his belated birthday celebration. For each of the kids’ birthdays my parents invite them out to the Homestead for a special one-on-one weekend where they enjoy lunch out, movies, board games in the evening, and all the fun that the Homestead has to offer. It is a special tradition that all the kids look forward to.

On Sunday, the rest of us drove out to Ohio to celebrate Rusty and Tyler’s birthdays with my parents and then bring Rusty home.

We arrived to find my parents wearing the shirts we bought them for their anniversary last month. This year marked the 41st year of marriage and their 42nd year together. What an example they are to me!

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When we walked in Rusty was eager to show us the birthday gift he received from Mimi and Pop Pop. They had taken him to the toy store and let him pick out a Lego set. He was allowed to enjoy it early and by the time we arrived he had it completed.

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Tyler was allowed to open his birthday gift as soon as we arrived. Mimi and Pop Pop know Tyler so well and always hit it out of the ball park with their gifts to Tyler. This time was no exception. They bought him a laser tag set that he and Rusty enjoyed playing with the rest of the day!

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My Mom had an unexpected gift for me as well. She had come across a picture I had drawn for my Dad when I was in early elementary school. It was a picture welcoming him home after his time training in the field and she had it framed as a surprise. What a treasure! I was thrilled!

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We enjoyed our time at the Homestead.

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There is something about the Homestead that brings feelings of peace and contentment. It isn’t the home of my childhood, but it is filled with the objects and people of my childhood, thus feels like home.

Our day was spent enjoying a meal as a family:

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Playing card games:

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Enjoying the critters:

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And counting our blessings…

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As we pray for my Mom and Dad during this unexpected season of life, we also count our blessings, for we have so much to be thankful for. God will take this struggle and from it create something beautiful and blessed, as He always does.

God is good!

Always good!

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