Thursday, December 6, 2012

Getting Closer....

 As of now we are days away from receiving medical clearance to return to the field.  The girls have been interviewed and formally accepted for enrollment at the Christian Academy in Japan.  Yesterday we set the date for the movers to gather our stuff to "crate" overseas, and today we got word that an apartment has been found in the suburbs of  Tokyo.  The tide is certainly pulling us toward Japan.

Fall months have been filled with off-to-school early mornings, mid-morning trips to the gym, hectic homework afternoons/evenings, and a myriad of doctor appointments. Heather has patiently endured her "lab rat" season being assessed, tested, medicated, and re-assessed, as we get a handle on her personalized blend of ADHD.  We feel like we've finally arrived at the right remedy, which is medication-free and activity-intense.  Picture Heather rolling back and forth on an oversized yoga ball as she recites vocabulary definitions, and you'll know what we mean.

Future House Site
Our land, from the roadside
While stateside, we held out hope that we could explore opportunities to buy land here in Middle Tennessee, with an eye toward our eventual retirement.  God answered -- in fact, he surprised our socks off!  A local realtor took us out to look at land, and within 3 hours' time, we found a parcel of acreage that we knew we couldn't pass up.  12.5 acres set on a wooded hillside.  One step off a county road, lie 2 pastures separated by a creek bed.  From there one slowly climbs up a hillside to a clearing that's perfect for a house.  The  remaining property is wooded all the way up to a ridge line.  Not far from the house site sits a pond, which on that day was surrounded by fresh deer tracks.  As we explored the property, we startled a flock of wild turkeys that immediately launched into flight, and Stew knew we'd found the right piece of land.  The owners offered private financing, which is "huge" because as ex-pats we don't get loans easily when we don't have a stateside geographic address to provide to the bank.  

Fellow Cookie Monsters
Now with the holiday season in full swing, we want to maximize family time and focus on "leaving well."  We spent Thanksgiving in coastal Alabama with Stew's parents.  His dad, C.J. (81) suffered a stroke in early November and was recovering in a rehab center near home, so we made daily or twice-daily trips to visit him, in and around Thanksgiving dinners and birthday celebrations.  Stew's mother, Marge has been recovering from her own spate of medical setbacks, and now faces a role reversal as she becomes C.J.'s caregiver.  They can certainly use our prayers in the coming months.  During Thanksgiving, we did not visit a single "Black Friday" sale.  Instead, we spent our time with Papa and with extended family, knowing that this visit would have to "last us" for the long haul.

We anticipate Christmas with excitement since we'll have all four daughters, a son in-law and another "serious" boyfriend under our roof for several days.  Expect a lot of talking, laughter, eating, and we hope, some serious future planning during this family visit.  The adult "kids" have not seen our land yet, so we look forward to introducing them to the family property.  Stephanie and Ben only have a few days with us since her vacation time is being split between our family and Ben's.  Leslie and her boyfriend, Josiah, have a more open-ended timetable, so we will invite them to stay with us as long as they wish, up to our final day in country.  We expect to fly to Tokyo by the first week of  January.

Blessings to you this Christmas!  May you spend it with the people you love most, doing things that fill your heart with meaning and purpose.  We will post here again after the new year, possibly from Japan!