#40Yearsin40ishDays 1999 brought the passing of my maternal grandmother, 18 months after grandpa’s homegoing. Our family spent a lot of time with Grandma in their room at the care center. We ate meals there and played bingo. We faithfully watched Touched by An Angel every week together and I helped her get birthday cards sent out to the family as she had for all our lifetimes. I could often see her struggling between earth and heaven.
Where my grandpa taught me about beauty and nature and celebration and spiritual things, my grandma taught me many practical things about building a home. She was an exquisite home cook and specialized in pie and candy making. She cared for my physical needs as a child in their home and loved me unconditionally. She is my grand model for grandmothering and I hope to come close to the richness in my own grandchildren’s lives that that she brought to mine.
We took Abbey on a trip to the Oregon Coast. What a fun, bonding time together. We stayed at a B&B in Astoria and gave Abbey the Rose Room to enjoy. Scott and I grew up spending a lot of time at the coast and love to back whenever we can. The ocean is a place to regain perspective, to feel the smallness of standing beside largeness.
Music, Music, Music
You may remember Y2K … we all spent 1999 preparing to avert a technological disaster. There is still debate about the scope of the would-be disaster but I think we’re all glad for the preparation that made midnight on 1.01.2000 just another technologically smooth New Year’s Eve.
Scott and I turned 40! Kind of traumatic so I decided to throw a birthday bash. Our house was filled with friends and family and, for one night, it was the perfect way to deny turning 40. Just another birthday for Scott. LOL!
Adam graduates from high school! The first one out of the nest. It was an emotional year as I tried to be fully in each moment and ponder them in my heart. I followed him around everywhere with my camera. We had a big party to celebrate. Adam’s band, Vote for Eduardo, played. Yes!
… and then moves out! What a transition to suddenly be the parents of a young adult. Another new season for us. It took some time to learn how to be the backup plan instead of steer the ship. This season was harder for us than being brand, new parents. The learning to let go. There is much too much hovering and enabling and stifling adulthood in parenthood today. We have to let our children go so they can be strong and independent. They need to make their own way and begin sharing their glorious selves with the world.
The first ever Wendt family reunion (Scott’s mother’s family) in Bend, Oregon
#40Yearsin40ishDays In 1997 we experienced life and death. Adam was working at at a
local burger place and had a serious burn incident. His entire inside, lower arm was burned on the grill. I can’t tell you how my mother’s heart grieved to see Adam go through the next several weeks of treatment and physical therapy. He was a trooper. He went through all the painful appointments and was a good patient. Today there are no scars and we’re so grateful.
Scott’s family published a book about his dear paternal grandmother. The book was written by an aunt and based on Grandma’s diaries. It’s a pretty spell-binding story and includes a family tree. A cherished family keepsake.
But the most impactful event that happened this year was the passing of my precious grandfather. He was always my rock. Other things and people changed but he never did. He told me Bible stories, took me on hikes in the woods, taught me the parts of a flower, how to leave a trail, how to whittle whistles out of sticks. He sang old cowboy songs, played the guitar, fiddle, harmonica and steel guitar. He was like the pied piper. My grandpa was a busy bi-vocational pastor who always worked a huge garden. But he always had time for me. He poured time and unconditional love into my life. He lived what he believed. His passing left me feeling adrift but I have never forgotten that he always pointed me to Jesus who never leaves us, whose love never ends. I’ll see you in the morning, Grandpa Ken.
#40Yearsin40ishDays 1996 A wonderfully fun and full year for our family! Our kids will appreciate this picture the most. We call it the “spaghetti incident”. Who doesn’t love it when Dad makes a mess?!
The New Heights worship team practiced at our house every week for four years.
This was the year New Heights built a church! In June we moved out of the school and into a brand new building. It was the culmination of vision, prayer, generosity and the hard work of many. And God continued to do amazing things.
We participated in our first Experiencing God study. This study absolutely changed my spiritual life.
Our family took a vacation to Yellowstone this year. This vacation was unlike any other. We didn’t visit relatives. We weren’t with anyone else besides just us. What an experience! Beyond the indescribable, jaw dropping beauty of nature, our family experienced being unplugged together. No phones, no Game Boys, no Walkmans. We had pillow fights, read books, sat on the porch in contented silence, ate ice cream cones and had actual meal conversations. And one evening Scott and I shared some of the milestones in our family we had never shared with our children … ways God had provided for our family, answers to prayer. Some of our fondest memories.
You will enjoy this poem Adam wrote, inspired by the peace and beauty of this time in Yellowstone. Settle in and take your time in reading this. Your soul will come to rest if you do.
The Land of the Yellow Stone
A beautiful sunset marks the greatest time of the day.
The winds die down; the birds nestle in their trees.
The great bison grow tired; the elk hide away.
I’m the only one left standing there, admiring their ways.
In the distance I see the snow-capped mountains;
The pines dress them green.
Their immovable posture
Looms over everything.
A slight breeze picks up;
The wonderful scents enchant my stay.
A baby fawn cries for his mother . . .
She comes right away.
The canyons and the waterfalls
Take my awe every time.
I feel peace and resolve
From the pressures that claim my all.
But right in front of my eyes
I see the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen!
A lake so vast . . .
It goes miles from me.
Its perfect blue waters
Sit still and undisturbed;
I can see my own reflection in it —
Down to my very soul.
I stand in wonder of this beautiful land
Which God has grown.
This soul-capturing land . . .
The Land of the Yellow Stone.
Adam D. Troutman
Camp Sanders 60th Anniversary Celebration:
Abbey and I drove to northern Idaho to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Camp Sanders. Why, you ask? Camp Sanders is a Christian camp ground that was owned for decades by our church denomination. Our family was involved from the beginning, building some of the buildings, pastoring the little church on the grounds and being caretakers of the camp. I spent all my summers there from age 10 to 18. This was my happy place. My life at home as a child was dysfunctional and scary. The summers with my grandparents at Camp Sanders were a respite of unconditional love, the beauty of nature, lifelong friendships and the tangible presence of God in my life. So I wasn’t going to miss this celebration milestone. I reconnected with beautiful friends, honored those who will always be a part of who I am, enjoyed the fellowship of the saints and thanked God for it all.
These pictures are a snapshot (forgive the pun) of our life in 1995:
My grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary
I worked at a new church plant in Meridian as the office manager/bookkeeper. They ran the same campaign as New Heights had five years earlier, only I was the office “team”. LOL! I assembled all the lists, created all the mailers and even did some time on the phones. Scott and Abbey also helped out on their first worship team to get them started. We’d been hauling those drums around for 18 years, and that’s just since we were married.