Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jeanne Stinson 1921-2011

If I ever had a doubt that Africa has a way of worming itself into your heart, my doubts would have disappeared with the introduction of Jeanne Stinson into my life.

We met Jeanne in the late 80's, when our interest turned to short-term missions, first in South Africa, then in Kenya, and finally to long-term mission plans for West Africa. We'd studied the "dew breakers" of missions in Africa--the Merritts, Lawyers, Sherriffs, and Hobbys who walked before the rest of us, shaking the heavy dew of darkness off a continent that was ready to receive the light. We admired their sacrifice, leaving home and family to travel for weeks by ship to reach the distant land. Some of them stayed in Africa for years before their first furlough. Some never returned.

Jeanne's father was one who lost his life in Africa, his blood spilt out on the red soil in a senseless hunting accident. But like so many things that seemed to go so wrong, God was able to use it in ways so right. Jeanne, only 5 at the time her father died, had the language and faces of the Chitonga people firmly planted in her heart. Throughout the years of being raised at Abilene Christian College, Harding College, and the years she spent in the schools in Portland, the heart of Africa still beat strongly in her spirit.

How many times did Jeanne sing "Jesus Loves Me" to us in Chitonga? More times than I can count. As I held her hand and sang the words to her in English only days before her death, I wished I could make the foreign sounds of a foreign land that was home to her despite the fact that she left it 85 years ago.

Jeanne passed from this life to the next 2 weeks ago today. She joined her husband Don, an old boat captain who "crossed the bar" 3 years ago, her mother Zelma, father Ray, baby brother, and so many others. I imagine, though, that she was most excited to stand face to face with Pencil and so many of the other brothers and sisters of Southern Rhodesia who can approach the throne of grace with confidence because Jeanne and her family carried hope and life to them.

Jeanne made the world a brighter place for me and for so many others. She kept a bucket list to the very end, though in recent weeks that list had very few items left on it. One item on the To Do list was to clean out the back bedroom. We all knew that wouldn't get done. The only other item on the list was to finish teaching the gospel to a woman she was studying with.

What will be on your list when you're 90?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quick Review

No deep thoughts tonight, but it's been a while since I've posted. Here's a glimpse of my past 10 days. Perhaps they'll help you understand why I haven't written.

Saturday-got news that our dear friend Jeanne Stinson had passed away. Not unexpected, but I'll miss her dearly. More on Jeanne later.

Sunday-the kids all headed to the pumpkin patch, a rare chance for me and hubby to be home alone. It lasted all of 30 minutes, though, as kid #1 saw something moving on kid #3's head. Lice! I ran to pick up the infested kiddo, stopped at couple of stores for all the supplies we needed, and headed home to begin the onslaught. Poison, combing, checking everyone's heads.

Monday-Laundry, laundry, laundry. Everything that had possibly been touched got vacuumed, washed, disinfected, or stuffed in plastic bags. Hubby's birthday. We shared carrot cake then dropped him at the airport to go visit his family for a few days.

Tuesday-More laundry, checking everyone's heads (again!), Mom's place and homeschool

Wednesday-roasting pumpkins, chilies and tomatoes. An afternoon jog in October had me sweaty and thirsty. Must enjoy the warmth while we have it. Last minute tweaks to the weekend's talks. Forgot to go to the pharmacy. Tried to visit a friend in surgery but he was still under the knife. Forgot what time the kids get off school. Glad my head was screwed on.

Thursday-hectic day running kids around, wrapping up some things at work, packing, picking up hubby from airport, finishing packing, then on a plane to Alaska. Peace at last.

Friday-Spent the day caring for 4 little ones with my sister-in-law. If I had 4 under the age of 3, I'd never go anywhere. She stuck us in the car, though, to go feed the ducks. Visited my brother at his school, which was where I spent the first 7 years of my education-good memories. Fabulous Thai food for dinner.

Saturday-Spoke at a ladies' day at the Juneau Church of Christ. I talked about listening to the truth God tells us about ourselves, not the lies we hear from culture, other people, and ourselves. I think it went well. Good to see a lot of friendly familiar faces.

Sunday-worship with the Juneau family. Nephew was sick with bronchitis. Once he was down for a nap, my brother and I hit the East Glacier Trail (best trail in the world, IMHO). I could hike it a million times.

Monday- Sore calves. Watched 3 kiddos while nephew went to the dr. with his Mommy. Spent a quick half hour at the friends of the library store (great store-found some treasures), then tea with the preacher's wife, halibut for dinner, and coffee with long-time friends.

Tuesday-climbed the McDonalds play place with nephews before getting on the plane. Many hugs and much love to Dana, Geoffrey and the boys. Sweet nephew cried when I left. I'm pretending that the fact it was nap time had nothing to do with it. Came home to a louse free house. Hurray!

Wednesday-Back home. Learned about Greek ships in the morning. Finished a puzzle at Mom and Dad's in the afternoon. Good visit with another long time family friend. A couple hours of work, an hour of TV, and I'm off to bed.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Warm Fuzzies

On June 26 I posted a blog on what to do for a loved one with cancer. Little did I know how soon I would be called on to put my actions where my words were. I try to spend at least a part of every day with my mom, hoping my mere presence is enough.

I have been touched by the many ways people have reached out to her with love and encouragement. Here are some recent outpourings of love.

A friend flew over from Idaho on a Saturday, cooked a beautiful dinner for Mom and Dad, and flew home on Sunday.

Mom gets 3 or 4 cards in the mail every day. She loves to read them, often several times, and treasures the love and prayers behind the words.

Several people have provided meals. Some of them cook enough for Mom and Dad, for my whole family, and for my brothers.

More than one friend has come from Alaska to offer hugs and supports. A group came for an evening to sing gospel songs.

A dear friend knitted a shawl, each stitch a word of prayer, the shawl and warm embrace.

A couple from church offered the use of their beach house to our entire family.

A life group pitched in to pay for gas, snacks, and a cleaning lady.

At least two different women have dusted the living room.

A steady stream of visitors comes to pray with her, play games with her, or just to chat.

I'm sure more people have done more things, but these are the ones on my mind right now. Many, many thanks for the warm fuzzies.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Jessie for Kindle

5 years ago last week, Mom's book was available in print. This week, it's for sale on Kindle.
For only $3.99, you can read this riches to rags story of one of the strong women who shaped the Last Frontier.

A tireless researcher, Mom worked hard to get this story right. Her years in Alaska, her fascination with Jessie's story, and the love she developed for the people of Eagle all come through in this book.

If you haven't had a chance to read it, get your Kindle Edition or your print edition. Or, if you'd like an autographed copy, let me know and I'll pass the word on to Mom.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Shameless Plug

It's been 9 years since I was cookie mom. The baby then is the girl scout now and her troop is doing a fundraiser.

Nuts ($5-6/can)

Candy ($4-8/can)

Magazines (various discounts)

If you'd like to help support her troop, leave me a comment or drop me a line and we can send you a secure link for ordering.