The Next Phase

On June 2, 2010, we will be celebrating the transition to a new chapter in the life of our family. David will officially graduate high school. I believe this is an even bigger family transition than most others might experience because it feels like Stefanie and I will be graduating, too.

From the day we first decided to homeschool David, we had always planned to do so through high school. Sure, we had moments when we questioned our abilities or wondered if he was missing something crucial. But, each time we came to the conclusion that this was the best situation for him and our family. We have no regrets about being his primary educators for thirteen years. But, we have no illusions that we would have done as well without God, either. It is because of His strength and wisdom that we stuck to it and were able to guide David to where he stands today.

The result is a mature, bright young man who is ready to take the next steps into adulthood and to start building his own life. He will be going to Portland Community College in the fall while continuing to learn and grow as a musician and sound engineer with the fantastic staff at our church that has taken him under their wing.

The training wheels are coming off, but we will continue to offer advice and guidance as he needs it. We can’t wait to see what happens next.

Congratulations, David. It’s time to begin your own adventure.

Annual Update

If you didn’t notice, there’s a new tab at the top of the blog labeled 2009 in Review. This is the electronic version of our annual newsletter. Feel free to read about our year if you find that sort of thing interesting. If you don’t, well then I’m sorry to have wasted your time.

I’m Baaack!

Well, if anyone is still checking our blog, I apologize for checking out. A few things have changed in our lives since I last posted here that have changed the available time I have to write.

First off, in the middle of August I quit my comfortable, salaried job to do contracting. Why in the world would I choose to do such a thing? A couple of reasons, actually.

First, I will be doing all my work from home. With a more flexible schedule and being home, that means I can more easily fit my part of the homeschooling into David’s schedule. I am now able to work with him after lunchtime instead of trying to squeeze in between the end of my work day and dinner. This has turned out to work pretty well.

Second, I am spending ninety-five percent of my time writing software again. I enjoy managing developers, but I really was getting disconnected and feeling like I was losing my touch. The team I had been managing was working the Adobe Flex which was a technology I had never used myself. Now, I’m writing Mac and iPhone software all day. I’m gaining skill and knowledge in technologies that are vastly more interesting to me and it’s making my work fun again.

The downside for my faithful readers is that I only get paid when I’m writing code and I don’t think it’s write to charge my customers while I blog about my opinions. So, my available time is shrinking. While I will be posting less frequently, I hope to continue commenting on current events and any geeky thing that strikes my fancy.

The other event that changed my free time was that I was made a Deacon at our church. This simply means that they’ve noticed how much I was volunteering and made it official in front of the entire body. I can’t quit now! The day we were officially announced as Deacons, we were all prayed for by the congregation at each service. That meant I got to attend four services that Sunday! Anyway, here’s the video of one of them:

So, God is moving and things are changing and we’re loving every minute of it. Thanks for being patient while I figured out my new schedule and how I’ll be able to share my thoughts.

Twenty Years Ago

I have several specific memories of twenty years ago on this date. I remember laying by the pool at my parents’ home with one of my groomsmen who had flown in from out of town. I remember getting slightly lost on the way to the bed and breakfast where we were to spend our short honeymoon. But, most of all, I remember standing at the end of the aisle feeling vulnerable while I waited for Stefanie to step into the sanctuary. I was nervous. Oddly enough, I wasn’t nervous about getting married, I was just nervous that I would screw it up. The truth was that I wasn’t terribly concerned about the details of the ceremony or the reception. I just wanted to make sure we actually closed the deal and I didn’t ruin the moment for years to come.

Needless to say, it went off without a hitch (aside from the slightly longer-than-planned trip to the B&B). It’s been a fantastic ride for twenty years. I would have been terrified if I had known what was coming, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I also know that the adventure isn’t nearly finished and I’m looking forward to where God takes us next.

Stefanie gave a good summary of the events leading up to our wedding day on her blog here. So, I’ll just mention a very recent story that seems to sum up what a fantastic woman I’ve married.

I’ve been planning for well over a year to buy Stefanie an anniversary band to celebrate our twentieth. I’ve been held up by the fact that I didn’t know her ring size. I started with subterfuge in attempting to get the size, then moved to gentle nudges, and finally resorted to outright requests for her ring size as the date neared. At the same time, we’ve had another big event in our lives form. I will be changing jobs next week to one that’s better for our family, but will mean a lower income. Furthermore, there will be a gap of about four to six weeks where we’ll be living off of savings before my new income starts to appear. This led Stefanie to resist any large purchases, including the ring I had planned. So, she came up with a brilliant idea. She suggested that we buy new Bibles as anniversary gifts for each other.

After just hearing a sermon on understanding the real value of your actions and being good stewards with what God has given you, this suggestion floored me. She had hit the nail on the head. As our lives lead us into closer communion with our God, I’m realizing how blessed I am to be walking side-by-side with my amazing wife. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect partner in navigating life.

Stefanie, I love you more than I have ever been able to put into words. I can’t believe you put your faith in a cocky teenager twenty years ago, but I hope, with God’s strength, I’m providing some justification for that decision. I can’t wait for the next adventure as long as I get to share it with you.

I love you.

P.S. I think I’ll still buy you the ring next year.

In the Bag

I just wanted to drop a quick note here to happily proclaim David’s junior year complete! With the grading of his final Algebra 2 test last night (on which he scored 100%), school was officially done.

We plowed through Physics, Algebra 2, US History, English, and a semester of Latin all while learning to drive, play the drums, and taking the SAT for the first time. I’d call that a full year of accomplishment.

Way to go, David! We’re proud of you!

David’s Second Gig

Well, the camera is better and so is the video. However, David wore a dark shirt so he disappears a bit into the background. Also, I’m still learning how to prepare the video in a way that doesn’t take forever to download. This looks better, but it’s a bit bigger. I hope you enjoy anyway. There were certainly no problems with the performance.

David’s First Gig

David has been playing drums at home for quite some time. He finally had the opportunity to practice with the band that plays for his church youth group and, a few days ago, he had the chance to play in front of an audience for the first time.

Enjoy.

Click the picture to watch the 15 minute video. It may take a little while to download.

[ Javascript required to view QuickTime movie, please turn it on and refresh this page ]

Brrrr

Wow, it’s been far too long since I’ve posted. It’s been a combination of end-of-the-year rushing around, hard work on a new iPhone application (details to come later), and the last week of weather. We’re now a week into a winter storm that may not really thaw out until after Christmas. It’s been a combination of snow, cold temperatures, and then some freezing rain. As we now sit, we have about seven inches of snow topped with a half inch of ice with another inch of snow on top of that.

We’re locked in today and church was canceled, but we’re praying it’ll let up enough to go to Christmas Eve service. We’ll see.

More pictures of the fun we’ve been having are in the gallery here.

Hope you all are safe and warm.

Merry Christmas!

A Poke in the Eye

Uneven Eyes

On August 25th, David had a bit of a scare. While drumming he turned his head at the same time he was on the upstroke with his left hand. His timing was just right (or wrong) such that he poked himself in the left eye with some decent force. According to David, his first fear was that he’d hit his nose, too, and may have started it bleeding. There was no blood, but in the seconds thereafter, the vision in his left eye quickly clouded up. Stefanie and I were having lunch, so he quickly called us and Stef ran home to pick him up. A trip to the urgent care led to a trip to the optometrist which then led to a trip to a cornea specialist.

The end result was that he had not scratched his eye, which is very common in situations like this. The doctors hypothesized that he blinked just as he hit the eye (which is supported by the fact that his lower eyelid had bruising for days afterward). However, he did cause some internal bleeding in the eye. The leaking red blood cells is what caused the cloudy vision. In the hours after the injury, he couldn’t read the first line of an eye chart with his left eye.

The prescription was to keep the eye dilated for several days to let the internal injury heal, which it appears to be doing. So, the good news is that he will make a full recovery. He’ll go in for a normal eye exam in a couple of weeks to see if his prescription changed, but there appears to be no permanent damage.

During the week of the dilation, though, we found him a little odd to look at. The picture above was one of those nights when it was just strange having a face-to-face conversation.

David has also taken to wearing eye protection when he uses his full size drum kit. He tells us that his first day back on the kit, he wore his chemistry goggles. I wanted a picture of that, too!

Anyway, we offer up praise for God’s healing and an odd picture to remember it by.

Not Saying Goodbye

 Jack and Cari Orr 

It is hard to believe that it has been a year since my mother passed away. It's even more difficult to think that my dad has now been gone over three years. During that time, other family members have passed on and our lives have been a little more empty because of it. As I look back over the last few years, the Lord has really been working on how I see things. Do we really say “Goodbye”, or, for believers, is it just, “I will see you again soon”?

There's a hole left in my heart by the passing of my parents. I always thought there would be more time and that they would both be in their eighties and just fall asleep and never wake up. To have one gone at 67 and the other at 73 seems too soon. This last year has brought around many stages of grief that I had not even thought existed. I was never angry at God. I do believe that each hair on our heads is numbered and days of our life are known by God, so one can't be angry at Him. I did not realize I could get angry at other things, though.

I started out numb and just kept moving on. Since then, there has been anger. Yes, I was angry at my folks for not taking better care of themselves. That anger just turned into sadness. How does one process this kind of thing when you aren't ready for it. I then had to start talking with the Lord. I was not ready. I needed more time. It was all that stuff we talk with Him about. Then, it comes back to this: It is not about me or my plan, it is about Him. The journey of losing my parents was not about my adventure, but theirs as well. How one ends their life is as important as how one lives it. As I look back on the days leading up to my parents' passing, I have to look at how I dealt with things. What would I change if that had been me facing the end of my life? What do I want to change now so that people see the Lord and not me? Death is something that should not scare me. I should take great joy in knowing that the Lord has it all planned out. That the end of life is really not the end of it all. We say that while living. But, when faced with the end, even that of a loved one, do we really get it? In our hearts, do we really believe that the Lord has each moment of every day planned? If so, then watching loved ones pass away should not be so hard. Then again, I am human.:-) 

We do miss those that we love on a daily basis. If we didn't, we did not love them as much as we thought. We should talk about them, embrace all the good and bad, and remember both the wonderful and the ugly memories that we shared with them. I think we then need to look and see what the Lord has planned for us in our lives which they were a part of. We can't not talk about them. We are here, so they are still here, too. I have to look at myself and decide: Do I want to see them again or live a life outside that of the one the Lord has planned for me? I was blessed with two wonderful parents. To think that the Lord had not planned all of this would be turning my back on Him. That would hurt even more then losing my parents. Embrace each and every day that you have with your loved ones. Even if those days are hard, they are the days that the Lord wanted you to have. And do remember that, for believers, it isn't “Goodbye”, just “See you later”.

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