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Dossier to the Philippines & trip to S.D.

So much has been on my mind since I "talked" to you last. Maybe it will help to just go through the last few days one event at a time...

Thursday ~
We packed our van and headed towards South Dakota for Grandpa's funeral. The day started out crazy, as not only were we trying to pack and get to work, but the daycare provider called and said she had the flu, so we were frantically trying to figure out what to do with Caleb that afternoon. The stars just didn't seem to be aligning that day. One weird thing after another happened, and then the work day was over, we loaded the van, and miracles of miracles, we got out of the house BEFORE our goal time! During the trip we called our case manager at AGCI to make sure she had all of our dossier paperwork (as she had been gone a few days on a mission trip) and we learned that just that afternoon she had sent all of our Dossier paperwork to the Phlippines!!!!!  Woot! Woot!!!  Now we wait for them to look over it all....

Friday ~
We spent the night in Owatonna so we didn't have to make a full 8 hour trip to S.D.  We got up early on Friday and while getting ready, Caleb went and played with the old LEGO sets. Often, Caleb likes to follow LEGO directions, so we were surprised when he came upstairs with a "jet" designed completely by himself! We were so proud of him for using his imagination and making something that really did look like a jet. It's so much fun seeing him try new things and grow up!



We finally hit the road and made the rest of the journey to S.D. with Caleb only asking a couple times the dreaded question of questions: "How much longer?". When we arrived in S.D. the person I was most excited to see was right there inside the doorway... Claire - our newest niece! Yes, this was a sobering weekend, but because of it, we got to meet beautiful little Claire. I am absolutely in love!

That evening we joined family and friends at Grandpa's wake. Everything was well put together: Grandpa had been well taken care of, the flowers were beautiful and plentiful, and the pictures were fun to peruse. Some of the parents with younger children took the kids for a bit to the nearby playground. The weather was a marvelous 55 degrees, a bit windy, but oh so glorious compared to the -20 degree weather I felt a week ago. The evening ended with a late night sleep.


Saturday ~
We had an absolutely beautiful celebration of life.  So many family and friends - hundreds - gathered to remember Grandpa. I was in awe of how many people came to his funeral, the church was completely packed - a true testament to how many lives he touched in his (almost) 90 years. Grandpa Eben would have loved every second of the day. Music was exactly what Grandpa would have loved. Grandpa had asked me to sing at his funeral, and Grandma chose the song - "What a Day that Will Be."  I had to keep my eyes in the music, as I knew if I looked at Grandma, I wouldn't be able to hold it together; but with the strength of God, somehow I managed to finish the song without starting to sob. The sermon, given by Jon's cousin, Jamin, was absolutely perfect and brought me to tears more than once. The power of God's love and comfort was felt with every breath taken in that church.

Following the funeral, burial, and luncheon, the family all made their way to Grandma & Grandpa's house, where at least 50 family members sat and stood around the kitchen, dining room, and living room (and that wasn't the whole family!!!). My voice was hoarse by the end of the night, we were so loud! But worth every minute of time to be there.

Sunday ~
It was time to say our goodbyes to Grandma. It was hard leaving her, knowing she is going from 100's of family and friends to support her, to a very quiet house. Jon's mother and one of her sisters will be staying with her the next few days. There has always been a coffee group that visits every morning and other family will check in on her daily, but it still will have to be quite hard to not have her husband around. The two were married for 68 years. I can't even imagine what it must feel like to be in Grandma's shoes right now. We know that she feels blessed that he is no longer suffering, and she truly believes he is with God in a better place, but we don't know how she feels at night when she is alone in their bed, or sitting in the kitchen with no one but herself to cook for. It will be a big adjustment for Grandma. Please keep her in your prayers as she goes through her time of mourning.

Before leaving, we made sure to take some final pictures - of course! Couldn't miss some photo ops with the beautiful Claire and we wanted a couple with Grandma too.




It was finally time to get on the road for our 8 hour trip home. The trip was uneventful, other than realizing spring really wasn't beginning - as S.D. had tricked us into thinking - but rather, WI was still full of snow - blah. We were very thankful we had the time to travel over the weekend. Even with the long time in the car, it was very much worth spending time with our family and taking the time to thank God for such a wonderful man that He blessed us with.

Monday ~
Let Caleb and Jon sleep in today! Jon worked from home today, so when he woke up, I "surprised" him by letting him know he would take Caleb into school today so that he could sleep in. We all needed some extra zzzz's after the weekend, I wasn't quite able to get any, but was glad that Jon and Caleb did. We went about our days and had some very interesting adoption talk today.... but more of that to come soon!!!  You will just have to stay posted for an upcoming blog post.  :)

Hope you all have an excellent week! Will "talk" to you again soon!

In Christ ~
Mara

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