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Christmas Letter 2010

By Sherri @ GreenFlash Productions Photography

 

We hope this letter finds you well as we celebrate the love of Christ during this holiday season!  It seems the older we get the faster the years go by.  This year has proven to be a year of many changes for our family.

Sara has graduated high school and moved to Campbell University in the fall.  She is loving college and has made friends easily.  To celebrate her graduation, Sara and I took a trip to NYC with two special people in her life–her cousin, Elizabeth, and her mentor, Amber.  After graduation, Sara was busy with camps and mission trips to Belize, Uganda, and Islamorada, FL this summer and is currently serving again in Uganda during her Christmas break.

William and Tyler have moved to a public school (Broughton HS).  It has been quite an adjustment but they are making friends and trying to get used to the large class size (they’ve gone from approx 100 in their class to over 600 in their class). They’ve also been hunting with their dad a lot this year and tried something new this fall—hunting with a bow and arrow.

William had an opportunity to serve at our Joy Prom for those with special needs in our community, and the privilege of going to Peru with a team from our student ministry. It was a great experience for him as it was his first international mission trip. William has probably changed the most physically in our family as he has grown about 8 inches in a 15-month period.

Tyler celebrated his 15th birthday this year which meant it was time to get his permit in August, and he has been driving every chance he gets.  He started high school this year and has become quite the guitar player.  Tyler takes advantage of every opportunity he has to serve others and lead worship.

Steve started working on his PhD in Family Ministry at Southern Baptist Seminary in KY. He also changed positions at Providence BC to Pastor of Parent and Family Discipleship Ministries. He has had many opportunities to speak at conferences and encourage pastors, lay leaders, and parents to make the gospel the center of their homes and parenting.

I went to Belize this year with Sara’s senior SS class. My mom and Aunt Gail also joined us in Belize and did their own mission work on San Pedro Island. I was sitting at the table when our Belizian friend of 11 years, Lionel, proposed to his bride-to-be.  Steve and I had the privilege of going back to Belize this month for Steve to perform the ceremony!  What a sweet time of celebration it was with their families.

As we reflect on all the things mentioned above, we know they are evidences of God’s grace.  Steve and I are humbled to be blessed with such a precious family and to serve with such godly, caring people in our church community. We pray that you will join us as we celebrate this Christmas season God’s grace and Christ’s humble birth and sacrificial life.

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Cor 1:3

Steve, Tina, Sara, William, and Tyler Wright

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The Wright Family calendar for this past year signifies another year of God’s grace.  The color-coded calendar consists of important dates for each of the kids—Sara, William, and Tyler— and church, school, vacations, events, appointments, birthdays, sickness, milestones, and so much more.

We have been doing a family calendar for over 20 years, and each year is like a journal of God’s goodness and faithfulness in our lives each day.  We have saved all of them, and how humbling it is to look back through the years and see God’s mercy and what a great Savior we serve!

As we reflect on this past year, we see evidences of God’s grace through milestones we have celebrated as a family. Steve and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in April, and I turned 40 years old in May.  Sara started her senior year; William got his driver’s license, and Tyler went on his first mission trip to Belize.

We enjoyed a family vacation in West Palm Beach, FL with my parents during Thanksgiving week, and we look forward to being with Steve’s family for a week during the Christmas holidays.  We are so blessed and are so grateful for our family, church, friends, and most of all ~ our loving Savior!

It is hard to imagine God loving us so much that He would send His Son, who would live a sinless life and give His life for us and three days later rise victorious over the grave.

Merry Christmas!

Invitation to Ukraine

Steve was invited to speak at a youth leader’s conference in Kiev, Ukraine at the end of October.  After some last-minute planning, I was able to go with him.  When our host found out that I was coming, they asked if I would do a couple of seminars for the ladies.  It was an honor to be a part of this wonderful conference where over 200 youth leaders from all over the country of Ukraine gathered to be encouraged and equipped.  Oleg and Lena of Radooga ministries were so gracious in giving us a tour of Kiev and giving us a glimpse of their culture and ministry.  Fortunately they spoke very good English and have hosted many Americans.   They knew just what to do to help us with jet lag and get adjusted to their time zone quickly (they picked us up from the airport and kept us busy until their bedtime…..we were awake for almost 30 hours before we finally fell in the bed and slept for 12 hours!).

Steve leading a seminar w/ Sasha translating.

Steve and I had never spoken through translators before while speaking in front of a group.  We had wonderful translators, Sasha and Leysa, and they put us at ease and helped us communicate with the attendees.  I spoke twice to two different groups of ladies about serving with your husband in ministry. One group were all young single ladies who wanted to know what to look for in a godly man so we had a lot of fun discussing this topic.  I also led a seminar on Biblical motivation.  Steve spoke to all the attendees in one session and then led two seminars about family ministry and helping teens find balance.  Most of the youth leaders in Ukraine are lay leaders and have such a passion to reach students.  They were so hungry for direction in leading youth and knowing how to minister to their families.  The conference was a special time for them to fellowship and be encouraged.

Leysa was my translator.

After the conference and saying our goodbyes to our new friends, we started our 2 day journey home.  We had a layover in London so we took advantage of our time there and did a quick tour around the city.  It was already dark by the time we got there but we made the best of it.  We walked the streets and saw Big Ben, Westminster Abby, and rode the Eye of London.  It was beautiful at night with all the lights.  We had to take a taxi ride and Steve told the driver, “Take her to Harrods!”  It was amazing….I bought Christmas ornaments to remember our short trip to London and Harrods.

We were so grateful for the opportunity the Lord gave us to be a part of the conference and meet so many wonderful servants.  We will continue to pray for the people we met and their ministries.

View from the Eye of London

A Whirlwind Summer

Marcos speaking at camp

Marcos speaking at camp

This summer has been filled with a lot of activity and travel for the Wright family.  As soon as school let out, we found out that we would have some very special guests coming to stay with us for a month.  Marcos (18) and Jacklyn (13) are from Belize, Central America and arrived in Raleigh on June 20th.  Steve and our senior mission teams have been ministering to their family for over nine years.

Steve first met their older brother, Lionel, in 2000 on our first mission trip to Belize.  Lionel was only 12 years old.  He comes from a large family that lives in a refugee camp in the jungle of Belize.  Steve fell in love with the boy and began to encourage him in his studies and walk with the Lord.  The Lord made provisions for Lionel to continue his studies through high school (they do not have free public education for middle school and high school grades).  We invited him to spend a month with us here in Raleigh in 2004.  Lionel was also given an opportunity to attend the University of Belize for 4 years and he graduated the day his siblings arrived in NC.  Their mother rejoiced in Lionel’s accomplishments and how he had overcome so much to make this dream come true.  She was also equally excited about the opportunity Marcos and Jacklyn had to come to the United States.  Lionel and Marco’s dad passed away 4 years ago.

Jacklyn at camp

Jacklyn at camp

When Marcos and Jacklyn were first told that there may be an opportunity to come to the states, they both thought it was a joke and later dreamed for days about the possibility while they waited on their Visas to be approved.  After 9 hours of traveling and their flight being delayed, they finally arrived after midnight at RDU where we were anxiously waiting for them.  When we saw their faces, we could tell they knew their dreams had become a reality. They had a short night of sleep after they got settled and before they had to wake up for church.  On Sunday morning there were a lot of anxious teenagers and adults from past mission trips waiting to welcome them to Providence.  After lunch we were off to shop for clothes and supplies for our youth camp which started the next morning.  We literally shopped until we dropped!  There was no rest for the weary because they had to pack for camp when we got home and get up early the next morning.

After an exciting week at camp, all seven of us headed to GA for a family vacation.  We stayed with Steve’s parents

Family Prayer before 4th of July feast!

Family Prayer before 4th of July feast!

where there is always room for one more….two more in our case.  There are already 9 teenage cousins so we added our two guests and other friends and family that would stop by, so it was definitely a happening place to be.  The week was full of swimming daily, shopping, a trip to the zoo and a Braves’ game, a 4th of July celebration, and a lot of eating!!  The following week Marcos and Jacklyn stayed with a church family in Raleigh who so graciously opened their home to our guests.  We stayed in GA to prepare for the first grandchild’s wedding (Brittany).

We drove to Valley Springs Lodging in Rabun Gap, GA to spend the weekend for the wedding .  We stayed in cabins and helped where needed with preparations.  Steve performed the ceremony, Sara greeted guests, William and Tyler were ushers.  I ran around acting like I was doing something all the time except when I had to sit behind my sister-in-law during the ceremony to keep her in line. 🙂

Sunday morning I drove Sara to the Atlanta airport to send her off on her first solo flight to meet a school mission team.  I think I was more nervous than she was.  She acted so cool and collective right up until she was standing in line to board the plane and then I think she finally realized what she was about to do (and I was about to lose it).  I ran all over the airport trying to follow her plane down the runway and watch it take it off.  That was one of those moments that I had to solely leave her in the Lord’s hands and trust Him with her.  She made it safely and met the team leaders who were taking her to meet the rest of the group.  I drove back to Steve’s parents to meet him and the boys so we could head back to Raleigh.

When we returneJuly 2009(3) 033d, Steve left the next morning for a pastors’ retreat and I picked up Marcos and Jacklyn and brought them back to our home for their last week.  We had a fun filled week visiting the mall, Build-a-Bear, bowling, going to the movies, buying gifts for their families, back-to-school July 2009(3) 062shopping, and hanging out with their friends from church.  Probably one of the most memorable highlights for us and Jacklyn was when she was baptized in the lake in front of our church family the day before she left for home.  We celebrated with a trip to Goodberry’s (a famous local creamery famous for their frozen custard). After giving them each an additional suitcase to get everything home we still had to sit on a few to get them closed.  🙂  We relunctantly sent them on their way back to Belize early in the morning on July 20th.

063Before completely recovering from a crazy month, I decided to make a quick trip to TN to visit my parents before school started back.  So Sara, her friend Kelsey, Tyler and I loaded the car a week later and went to Townsend, TN to visit my parents at their “Riverhouse”.  It was a quick 3-day trip but I’m glad we went.  My mom and dad are doing well from their recent health issues.  Mom is feeling good although occasionally overdoes it at work a074nd feels some pain in her chest where the incision is from her open heart surgery.  Daddy has finished rehab while recovering from his stroke and has been released to drive although he isn’t 100% recovered.  He still gets tired easily and is having some pain in his hip and tingling in his right hand.  He is a very determined man and walks several miles twice a day and faithfully does his “at home” exercises as he continues to recover.

014I forgot to mention the reason William didn’t go was because he had just turned 16 and gotten his driver’s license two days earlier and wasn’t ready to leave his jeep (a 12 yr old jeep w/ over 300,000 miles on it that his papaw gave him and he loves it) and his new found freedom of driving himself places (although those places were very limited at the time….golf course and fast food only).  Steve stayed with him because he didn’t need to take anymore time off since he had been out of the office for almost a month.

I’m not sure how it fit on the calendar but we also threw in several baseball and golf tournaments in the midst of craziness of the summer.  So here we are a week from school starting back.  Backpacks are packed and ready, new school clothes washed and ironed, and the kids are anxiously waiting to see their friends and class schedules at Open House this week.  Sara starts her senior year, William will be a sophomore, and Tyler will be in the 8th grade.  May the Lord give us wisdom and discernment as we manage our time and schedules.  I pray that we will keep our focus on the things that really matter…on heavenly matters and not things of this world.

Do you remember sitting in class thinking you would be in school forever?  The next best thing to graduating was completing another year of school.  There was always something special about the first day of the school year and then the anticipation of the last day of school.  What would it be like not having any more homework and to sleep in?  Ahhhh…  My kids just finished this school year and are thrilled!  Even as a parent, I look forward to the change of pace and daily routine.

I can’t believe this school year has gone by so fast.  It is so hard to believe that Sara will be a senior next year, William will be a sophomore, and Tyler will be in 8th grade!  But for now, we will look forward to enjoying a wonderful summer and spending time together as a family!

Dad Had a Stroke

Mom and Dad at their Riverhouse

Mom and Dad at their Riverhouse

A few weeks ago on Tuesday, April 28th my dad woke up not feeling well.  His speech was slurred and he had some numbness in his arms and legs so his balance was off.  My mom had noticed he wasn’t feeling well the day before, but she thought he was still recovering from a bad cold he had the previous week.  However, on Monday morning she decided she better take him to the doctor.  After his exam, the doctor determined that dad needed to see a neurologist.  Unfortunately, after the nurse called seven different neurologists and told them they had a possible stroke victim, the earliest appointment available was in 6 weeks!

Mom took dad home with prescriptions for medication and she was told to take him to the emergency room if his symptoms didn’t improve.  So Tuesday morning she noticed the same symptoms and knew she could not wait 6 weeks to find out the diagnosis, she drove dad to the emergency room.  Of course, when they arrived dad refused a wheel chair and stumbled into the emergency room until the nurse insisted that she was getting him a wheel chair.  🙂 They took him back immediately and began tests.  His blood work and Cat Scan came back clear but the doctor wasn’t satisfied because it was obvious that something was wrong.  He strongly suggested an MRI, which we are grateful my dad agreed to have done, because they were able to determine that he had a stroke in the middle of his brain.  The location explained why it didn’t show up on the other tests and why both sides of his body had been affected.

After mom called to tell me dad had definitely had a stroke, I was on the next plane from Raleigh to Knoxville so I could be there with them.  My oldest brother, Rusty, drove in the next day.  I stayed at the hospital with my dad so my mom could go home and rest each night.  Most of you remember me blogging about my mom’s open heart surgery last fall (she had a mitral valve replaced).  She had finished her rehab from that surgery only 2 weeks prior to my dad having his stroke.  She had also taken a trip overseas to visit one of my brothers and had just returned on Saturday prior to his stroke.  Needless to say, she was exhausted and overwhelmed with all that was happening.

We are so grateful that further tests done in the hospital came back clear and there was no major blockage in his neck nor in his heart.  We also received encouraging news from each of the therapists (occupational, physical, and speech) that came by to evaluate him.   They were all amazed at how well he was doing and how strong he was.  They agreed with the doctor that dad should make a full recovery after a few weeks of therapy.  Although he experienced some numbness in his left arm, his right side was mostly affected.  Dad was very determined as he fed himself with his right hand and didn’t want any assistance getting in and out of bed.  For the most part, you could understand everything he was saying and would never know he had had a stroke by looking at him. However, we did notice his words became more slurred when he was tired.

He was able to go home on Friday (only 48 hours after being admitted), so I was able to help get him settled at home before returning to Raleigh on Saturday evening.  He started therapy the following week and only has a few more sessions left because of his progress.  Mom said that he is very diligent doing his exercises at home that the therapists assign him to do each week.  Dad says the hardest one is putting pencils in a plastic cup without knocking the cup over.  I’m anxious to see him again to see his progress and give him a big hug.

Again, we are reminded that life is so precious and just how special our parents are to us.  I praise the Lord that my parents have assurance of their salvation in Christ and when their lives are threatened by sudden illnesses or surgeries, no matter how dire the circumstances are, I know if anything happened to them that they would spend eternity in heaven with Jesus!

A friend of mine who is a pastor’s wife sent this article to me.  I wanted to share it with you because I believe Barbara Rainey does an excellent job helping us keep focused during these difficult times.  My favorite line is at the end..the emphasis are mine.

March 9, 2009  Since the U.S. economy started its sharp slide last fall, I’ve done a lot of thinking about what this all means to me, to my family, and to our nation and world. While watching this downturn, my thoughts have gone from, “This is interesting” to “This is perplexing.” If it keeps falling, the prevailing emotions could inch nearer to frightening. For now, the word “perplexing” accurately describes my vantage point. My family has been affected in several ways. My husband, Dennis, is working harder than ever here at FamilyLife, putting in 50-hour weeks trying to find ways to cut expenses and increase revenue. I just talked to one of our sons who said they are living hand to mouth, barely making ends meet. And I know it’s true. Their pantry was bare when we visited last month. Another son and our son-in-law are both doing the same, working harder than ever trying to keep their families fed and their payments made. These are not “business as usual” days. What our country is experiencing clearly isn’t a brief downturn where things will return to normal in a few months.

What complicates it even further is that the American economy is a global issue. This leads to the question, What is God up to? While I do not have the answer, I think it’s good that we ask questions like this. We who claim to belong to God must be measuring our experience against the truth. We know that God is not passive. He is not sitting idly by just watching. That is not His character. Instead, God is intricately and intimately involved in the rise and fall of nations and in the comings and goings of all people. Yesterday in my Bible study class I heard a verse that I do not think I’ve ever noticed before. It was as if lights flashed around it, dramatically grabbing my attention. This one short phrase fits this season of our American life perfectly: “And He will be the stability of your times” (Isaiah 33:6). That’s the bottom line. No matter what God is up to in the world today, no matter what course the current economic crisis takes, no matter what the political leaders in Washington do, God is the stability of our times. It reminds me of the first line of an old hymn: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Our hope cannot be in money, a job, our house, our friends or family, and certainly our hope cannot be in Washington, D.C. All of those will disappoint.

Our hope must be in Christ alone for only there will we find true stability as individuals, in our marriages and in our families. In Christ alone, and in the power of His Word, we can find the strength we need to face the challenges of today. I remain perplexed at our current state. And at the same time I am cautiously optimistic and even hesitantly excited at what God might be doing. Could this be part of the end times? It’s possible. Will our businesses and families be better for this pruning and winnowing work of God? If we cooperate with Him in this there is no question we will be better for having been pruned. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:8 that he was “perplexed, but not despairing” when he was in the midst of trials and troubles. I have found great comfort in recent seasons of suffering in that short phrase. It is okay to be confused, baffled, and even mystified at the circumstances of my life. I can be perplexed and still be found having faith. Only when I move to despair, which means hopelessness, am I not living in faith. We cannot know what tomorrow will bring but we know the One who will bring it. And that alone can keep us from despair as He brings stability to our times. © Copyright 2009 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

<http://www.familylife.com/site/c.dnJHKLNnFoG/b.3842485/apps/nl/newsletter3.asp?utm_campaign=CON-090309-MMemo&utm_source=CON&utm_medium=email>

Embrace Heavenly Wisdom

The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure…” James 3:17

One of themes of the book of James is Genuine Wisdom. James contrasted two kinds of wisdom. False wisdom produces envy and selfish ambition (3:14), whereas genuine wisdom results in humility, deeds of mercy and right conduct (3:13). Wisdom helps Christians control their speech (3:1-12) and promotes peace, consideration, submission, mercy, good deeds, impartiality and sincerity (3:17).

Two Kinds of Wisdom James 3:13-18
13) Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14) But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15) Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16) For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.  17) But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 ) Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Based on this scripture, think about the life of a woman guided by spiritual wisdom. What are the primary evidences of a wise life? Which quality do you struggle with least? Most? How might attaining spiritual wisdom affect your life this year? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The book of Proverbs has two themes: Wisdom and Practical Living. Wisdom is a personification of God’s attribute of wisdom and ultimately stands for God himself. The truth expressed is that there can be no real wisdom apart from God. To fear God is to begin on the path of “knowledge”—understanding or insight (1:17). Knowledge is to have understanding and wisdom is the ability to apply the knowledge. Proverbs presents principles for godly living and has much to say about wealth, work, giving and matters of the heart. The range and scope of its subject matter encompass nearly every aspect of life. Proverb’s purpose is to propel us into a relationship with God so we might live out the truths He shows us in this guidebook.

Prologue: Purpose and Theme (Proverbs 1:1-7)
1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight;
3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and
just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young-
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning
get guidance-
6 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise
wisdom and discipline.

Based on this scripture, what words did Solomon use to describe the various aspects of wisdom? (1:2&3)
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What kind of wisdom do you rely upon the most—human or spiritual? How is your life affected by your choice? Do we go to God and His Word to seek wisdom before we go to others or try to find a good book with answers for us? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

The information in this devotion came from the Introduction to Proverbs and James in my Bible (NIV Archaeological Study Bible by Zondervan: 2005) and from a book study called Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for a Postmodern World by Sue Edwards, Volume 1.

A friend sent this video to me recently.  I thought it was a wonderful reminder of why we do what we do, even when no one seems to notice or care.  Hope you enjoy and are encouraged!

As much as I love things of the past like traditions, memories, and my Christian heritage–I love new beginnings.  There is nothing like a new purse and wallet to organize; a new journal to write current thoughts and prayers; a new friendship to explore common interests and share a cup of coffee; and I especially love a new calendar with a clean slate of dates and goals for the year.  “New Year’s Resolutions” have gotten a bad rap over the years because most people lack discipline to fulfill those resolutions.  However, it doesn’t stop most of us from repeatedly setting new goals each year.   Traditionally, the following have been in the list of the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions: weight loss/healthy living, get out of debt/save money, get organized, enjoy life more/reduce stress, and spend more time with friends and family.  These are all such worthy goals.

Are New Year’s Resolutions a waste of time if we don’t succeed in keeping them?  I don’t think so.  It is always good idea to reflect on the past year and to reevaluate our priorities.  This helps us move forward to the new year.   Ultimately, our goals usually center around wanting to be a better person and be better managers of our time, finances, and talent.  As Christians, our focus should be glorifying God in all that we do…pointing others to Christ.  Do others see God’s grace in our lives?  Do they see us treasuring Christ? Do they see us giving our best to God and His work?  When we do succeed, do others see us pointing our success to Christ or do we take the credit?  When we fail, do others see us looking to Christ for direction or do they see us searching for someone or something to blame?

In closing, go ahead and list those new resolutions, goals, and priorities (even if it is the same list as previous years).  Here are a few suggestions that may help you stick to them: 1) Carefully consider them–pray about them, 2) Write them down, 3) Set short and long range goals, 4) Have a way to track progress–have some type of accountability, 5) Truly commit yourself to change but don’t expect perfection 6) Prepare for obstacles and know how you will handle problems that arise, and 7) Remember to keep Christ at the center of all we do and give Him the glory for all that is accomplished!

Happy 2009!!  It’s time for a new beginning…

Family Gathering

Bennett Family

Bennett Family

We just returned from visiting with my family in Tennessee for Christmas.  We all (siblings and families) met at mom and dad’s home where we all grew up.  We all live in different states–actually one of my brothers and his family live in another country–so it is a rare occasion when we all get together.  Of course, there were a lot of cameras flashing and the dreaded (by the kids) family photo shoot.  We decided to make the family picture before our Christmas Eve dinner while everyone was still presentable.  It was quite an escapade trying to coordinate 18 people in the living room for a self-timer family photo.  My camera was on a tripod and ready to go after making all the other individual family photos; however, there was a problem.  I couldn’t figure out how to get my self-timer to work!!  After several attempts and a rising disgruntle crowd, Sara came to the rescue with her camera.  We made two quick pictures and released the mob to the dinner table.

After dinner we all gathered to exchange gifts.  Before we began, mom shared her gratefulness to the family for our prayers and support through her surgery.  She shared with the children that the Lord answered their prayers because she was doing great in her recovery.  We all agreed that we are a blessed family to have one another.  Mom and daddy went first making their presentation of “the envelopes” with everyone’s Christmas money gift.  Next we began handing gifts out one family at a time.  It is fun having a range of ages in our midst…from 3 to 69…because there is always a wide variety of gifts…toys, purses, collector knives, clothes, jewelry, books, baskets, dishes, blankets, socks, etc.  The reaction for all is the same no matter what the age…excitement and gratefulness.

Once gifts were opened and the aftermath was cleaned up, it was time for dessert…cookies, pies, cakes, fudge, etc.  The kids played with their toys and the adults sat around visiting.  Later a game of Rook started up which is a Bennett family tradition on Christmas Eve.  The older kids were anxious to learn the game so each of them sat by an adult to observe and receive instruction of how to play.  After a while, the kids and Nana and Papaw made their way to bed one by one.  The guys were playing another game of Rook when my oldest brother, Rusty, started to have some pain in his stomach.  After 2 1/2 hours of medicine and pacing the driveway, he decided he was at a pain level of 10 and needed to go to the emergency room.  He had had a few other episodes with this type of pain over the last couple of months but it had never gotten this bad and usually subsided with medicine.  So Darlene, my sister-in-law, drove him while my youngest brother, Ted, and I followed them in my Suburban.  It was 1:15 am when we left and after 2 hours in the emergency room a diagnosis was made.  He had gallstones.  He was given pain medicine and was told he would need to see a surgeon next week.  Ted and I drove him home while Darlene went to get his prescriptions filled.  He was groggy from the medicine but still found some sense of humor when we wished him Merry Christmas on the way home.  We got him settled and fell in the bed around 4:30 am.  He was tired and sore the next day but seemed to be feeling much better by the time we all departed to go home.

Needless to say, it was a lazy day on Christmas day….many of us taking naps.  We ate a big dinner and more desserts.  Chris and his family left on Friday to drive back to Jacksonville to prepare for their trip back to Saudi.  Shopping was scheduled for the girls on Friday while the boys went on an adventure exploring a cave.  We all had fun and gathered back at the house for a Taco dinner.  Later that evening, I was able to see a childhood friend of mine who had recently lost her father.  Saturday our family and Ted’s family packed up and left before lunch.  Later in the evening after we had arrived at home in Raleigh, I talked to mom and she said it was so quiet after we left that she had to get out of the house and go to Wal-mart.  Sam Walton probably never dreamed that his stores would be therapy for young and old mothers who need to get out of the house!  🙂

Christmas Eve dinner

Christmas Eve dinner

Christmas Letter

The Wright Family Christmas Letter Album

The Wright Family Christmas Letter Album

For several years now, we have been doing a Christmas letter to share with our family and friends that we don’t see often what is going on in our lives.  Since we have served in four different states and churches, our mailing list continues to grow.  Many times we have thought about not doing the letter but it is inevitable that we run into someone that says, “We always look forward to receiving your letter each year.  It is nice to see how the kids have grown and stay in touch with you.”  For the past few years, we have sent out over 250 letters.  It gets a little overwhelming at times trying to get it all done but in the end, I am always thankful that we’ve done it.  It really has become an archive for our family of highlights throughout the year.  In fact, a couple of years ago I decided to buy an album to put them all in….The Wright Family Christmas Letter Album.

Wright’s Christmas Letter
2008

The years seem to be picking up speed with each passing year. When our kids first started school, I bought a schoolhouse picture frame that holds school pictures. Each fall when the kids’ school pictures are taken, I add another photo to the frame. These past couple of years I have gotten teary eyed when I put their pictures in their frames. I am realizing how little time we have left with them at home…especially Sara with only one more blank space for her senior picture!

As a junior in high school, Sara is starting to think about colleges and what she wants to study (education and business have been mentioned so far). She drives her brothers to school and helps us take them to their sport and social activities. She played Varsity Volleyball and won best defensive player on her team. She loves talking with her friends via texting, Facebook, or in person when possible. Sara is babysitting a lot to earn gas money. She is great with children—they love her! She has also recently taken up Disk Golf on Sunday afternoons with her friends.

William is a freshman in high school and got his learner’s permit over the summer. He is still enjoying the game of golf and has taken over the bonus room with an indoor putting green for rainy days and winter practice. He received his first letter from a college golf coach stating that they are keeping an eye on him. William also enjoys hanging out with his friends and making videos. If you want to get a good laugh and see his productions, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/xXTHEMUSICXx .

Tyler is in 7th grade and still loves playing baseball year round. He has made the basketball team for the 2nd year in a row and enjoys the change of pace for the winter months. He is really enjoys playing basketball but he also likes the idea of it keeping him in shape for baseball. Tyler has such a big heart for others and his sincere prayers are so inspirational. Tyler has started a new blog for teens called http://www.devotions4teens.webs.com.

Speaking of blogs…Steve and I both have started our own blogs, joined Facebook, learned to text message and discovered Skype this year. This is a new technology era for us. Our teenage children were mortified when we joined Facebook…thinking only teenagers were on it until we showed them how many “old folks” were already on it and became our FB friends.

Steve has worked very hard this year to write and publish another book, ApParent Privilege. This book is a follow-up to reThink but is written for parents in an effort to encourage them in their role as primary disciplers of their children. The Lord has also provided opportunities for Steve to travel to various churches and conferences to share his passion about churches partnering with and training parents to disciple their children.

Although real estate has been slow due to the economic struggles this year, I have managed to stay busy with other things: keeping up with three teenagers always on the go, coordinating Steve’s speaking schedule, working at InQuest Ministries, blogging… did I mention doing laundry and feeding my hungry bunch??

Merry Christmas from Steve, Tina, Sara, William, and Tyler WrightFamily Christmas Picture

Celebrating Christmas

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Waiting patiently to see what Santa brought...

Christmas is almost here.  We have done things a little different this year.  We actually celebrated Christmas this past weekend in our home.  We had our Christmas Eve on Friday evening.  We started the evening by the whole family going to watch Tyler’s basketball game.  His team was playing our school’s #1 rival team–Ravenscroft–which is usually victorious over us in most sports.  I was so excited about our evening that I decided to bring the video camera.  Tyler just rolled his eyes and said, “Tonight is not a good night to video my game nor for Sara and William to come watch me.”  On the contrary, it was such an exciting game and much to Tyler’s surprise, the Middle School B team was able to beat their rival opponent in overtime and mom got it all on video!  Now that is a great way to start their Christmas break!!

During an eventful trip from the school to dinner, Steve managed to embarrass Sara with some of his driving techniques.  Let’s just say that Steve and the kids were following me in Steve’s truck, and he wanted to give me some “love taps” to my bumper every time we stopped at a red light.  Sara called me on her cell phone begging to come get in the car with me.  We finally made it to Outback Steakhouse and enjoyed a nice dinner together.  Our waiter happened to be a former student athlete at our kids’ school, so he was thrilled to hear about the victory.  Steve somehow managed to embarrass Sara a little more when he asked the waiter to help him…when Sara returned from the restroom, the waiter asked her if she would care to have her picture made with him (they really didn’t have their picture made although Sara wouldn’t have cared :)…Steve just wanted to see her expression when the waiter asked her).

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Three little Christmas Eve gifts

After dinner, we made our way home to open the much anticipated Christmas Eve gift.  In past years, these gifts may have been pajamas, slippers, Odyssey Cd’s to listen to while going to sleep, or something to do on Christmas Eve like puzzles or games.  However, before we open our gifts we spend time reading the Christmas story from the Bible.  This year Steve did something a little different…we listened to an audio of someone else reading it to us via the Internet.  Steve then gave each of us a Post-it note to write down one thing that we were blessed with this year.  We individually shared our blessing…and what a precious time of sharing this was. Now it’s time to open their Christmas Eve gifts….Sara was thrilled with her Crayola markers and pencils she so desired for projects and making cards for her small group at school; William loves listening to story CDs while going to sleep…he says that it helps him forget everything and just relax…so he opened a new set of Cd’s; and Tyler opened up a new PS3 Snowboarding game that he had never played but had put on his Christmas list.

Whew!  Santa’s visit on our “Christmas Eve” was rough because convincing three teenagers to go to bed wasn’t easy.  After midnight, I announced that Mrs. Clause was about to cancel Christmas because she was about to fall into bed if the kids didn’t go to sleep soon.  Even though the kids are older now, there is still a lot of anticipation about what Santa has decided to bring off their list….and William was especially worried because he never turned in a list.  🙂  I love this time of night…setting their gifts out by the tree in our living room…thanking the Lord for my family, our home, and the provisions that He has blessed us with so that we might be able to give to others.  Morning finally came and I was really grateful for teenagers because they all slept in…it was even daylight when they woke up!  It is tradition in our house that no kids are allowed downstairs until mom and dad are ready with camera and video camera in hand (the kids wait on the steps while dad purposely takes his time getting out of bed and in position to video tape).  We start out downstairs to see what Santa brought and then we go upstairs to the bonus room to open gifts from each other and extended family.  We had a wonderful morning opening gifts and playing with all the new toys (especially Dad’s Wii he got for Christmas).  We had a nice Christmas dinner at home after being lazy in our pajamas all day.

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Grandmother Bennett's Famous Fudge

We are traveling to TN today to be with my extended family for Christmas.  We haven’t all been together on Christmas Eve for several years so we are looking forward to it.  We will attempt to make a family picture with all 18 of us….yes, using tripods and self timers on our cameras…no time for professional photography.  We will enjoy a traditional steak dinner on Christmas Eve and exchange gifts.  I’m sure there will be a Rook tournament (card game) all night long among the siblings….another family tradition….while nibbling on Christmas goodies and drinking mom’s hot chocolate.  I have made my Grandmother Bennett’s famous peanut butter fudge recipe to take to TN which is a family Christmas favorite…which I have made for over 20 years!  Before my grandmother passed away, I asked her for a handwritten copy of this recipe which I will forever treasure.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours. May your hearts be filled with joy and happiness as we celebrate the gift of God’s Son, Jesus.

Moving on to Christmas

Living Room Decorations Completed

Living Room Decorations Completed

The day we returned from GA after the Thanksgiving holidays….the Suburban was unpacked and laundry started, and the Christmas decorations were brought down from the attic.  There is nothing like planning a party on December 3rd to force you to complete your decorating quickly and get your house in order for the holidays.  Needless to say, it has been a crazy past few days.  Did I mention that I got up at 4 am on Black Friday, shopped for 3 hours, went home to wake up my crew, packed the car and we were on the road home at 9:04 am?

Saturday and Sunday were spent decorating with a little to do on Monday.  Tuesday was spent ordering party trays and grocery shopping for the party (with work and a basketball game in there somewhere).  Before I finished shopping and could get home to put the groceries away, I received a phone call that the anticipated time had come for my dear friend, Amber, to have her baby!!  I was told I needed to come to the hospital right away if I was going to make it for the birth.  I hurried and checked out, went through McDonald’s drive-thru to get a nutritious meal 🙂 for my family at 9:00 pm, drove home to leave the Suburban for Steve and the kids to unload while I hopped in Steve’s truck to head to the hospital.

After a quick and successful delivery, it was announced at 11:30 pm that Baby Boy #4 had arrived (yes, that is 4 boys under the age of 4).  After ooohing and awing over how cute he was and how incredible Amber looked after just having given birth, I took Amber’s mom back to their house and fell in my bed about 2:30 am.  The alarm went off at 6:20 am and it was time to get the kids moving for school.  I did sneak back to bed for a few minutes while they were supposed to be getting ready.  Fortunately, I didn’t fall back into a deep sleep due to sleep deprivation and got back up to do a second wake up call 15 minutes before they were supposed to leave.  This time I had to stay awake to start the final preparations for our first Christmas party of the season.  We had about 15 guests at our party with lots of food and our traditional white elephant gift exchange.

Today I enjoyed a Christmas brunch with some of my most special friends–the pastors’ wives from our church, Providence Baptist.  Our senior pastor’s wife hosts a Christmas brunch each year for us.  We always enjoy delicious food, sweet fellowship, an ornament gift exchange, and prayer time.  We have 17 pastors’ wives, and we are all grateful for the precious fellowship we enjoy with each other; as well as the incredible support and encouragement our husbands receive from one another.  Because we do not see each other on a regular basis at church like the guys do, the wives enjoy monthly fellowships that we take turns planning.  We usually meet for lunch or dinner and share our praises and prayer requests.  This is really highlight for us each month.

My next two Christmas projects are getting our family picture made and preparing our annual Christmas letter, which I hope to accomplish this weekend!  Thanksgiving has come and gone….so we are moving on to Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

178Meal planning was done a few days ago, multiple trips to the grocery store have been made, and many dishes were prepared yesterday.  We are in GA visiting Steve’s family for our annual Thanksgiving vacation.  All of Steve’s family lives in Gainesville, so when we come down it is a week-long party at Grammy and Gramps…with cousins coming and going all week.  There are 11 grandkids ranging from 12-21 in age (4 boys and 7 girls).  If you do the math, you will figure out that we had at one time 11 kids running around here under the age of 9!!  Yes, those were the days…lots of dirty diapers, spit up, baby food, crying, baby toys strewn all over the house, pallets in every room for nap time, and a lot of loving from Grammy and Gramps.

Today we look around and we have practically all teenagers and a couple of young adults!  The house is crazy in a different way…5 licensed drivers, 3 permit drivers, 3 in college, 5 in HS, 3 in MS, 20 cell phones constantly buzzing or making funny rings, the boys are constantly hungry, the girls are huddled around their cell phones giggling, the boys are making crazy videos, the computer is constantly in demand, and then there is shopping, movies, and errands to run for the adults. Did I mention a lot of hormones??

While all the craziness is happening, you can always find Gramps sitting in his recliner twirling his back scratcher and Grammy sitting close by on the couch knitting or reading a book (or in the kitchen making homemade biscuits)…both with big smiles on their face because they love having their grandbabies all around them no matter how old they are.

Well, let the day begin.  I’m off to help my mother-in-law with final lunch preparations.  We will have our feast around noon.  The house will start filling up soon with family which brings a lot of activity, eating, smiles and laughter.  After our meal, the guys will watch football and the ladies will start going through sales papers to make our shopping lists for tomorrow….what fun!

On this Thanksgiving Day, I would have to say besides my salvation that I am most grateful for my family!  Thank you, Lord, for such a precious gift!  Happy Thanksgiving!!

Technology Overload

Remember the days before cable TV, remote controllers, computers, cordless phones, cell phones, digital cameras, Ipods, PSPs, and other modern technology that we can’t imagine living without. With 3 teenagers living in my house, I believe we are about to exceed the national record for the number of chargers & USB connectors in one household (5 cell phones, 1 iTouch, 2 Ipods, 2 digital cameras, 4 flash drives, video camera, 2 remote controllers and a bluetooth headset for PlayStation, rechargeable batteries, and the list goes on). Consequently, I had to buy an USB 7-port hub because we had some many that needed to go in our computer. Not to mention, we have a whole drawer in our kitchen dedicated to chargers that we aren’t sure what they go to but are afraid to throw them away.

It’s amazing that we have 6 home telephones (5 are cordless) and 5 cell phones in this house, and we still have to look for a phone sometimes to use. I knew it was getting bad when my kids (who were upstairs) used their cell phones to call me (I was downstairs) on the home phone to ask me a question or tell me they were hungry. Ha! It also amazes me that the phone will ring and no one seems to care and just lets it ring as if a phone is not right beside them. I guess the kids know it isn’t for them since their main mode of communication is their own cell phone or Facebook (by the way, do not email a teenager..they do not check emails anymore…that is an ancient way of communication for them). Unfortunately, our generation is still clinging to email (Steve and I have 3 email accounts each between work and personal) while testing other avenues of communications.

Speaking of communication…can you believe how many different forms of communication is available online. Just in the last 7 months, Steve and I have started 2 blogs and both joined Facebook. That is a full time job within itself. I am not as faithful as Steve in posting on his blog and chatting on Facebook but it has been fun. Well, guess what our latest communication discovery is? We have had family and friends tell us about Skype before, but we didn’t pay much attention to it until recently. Steve saw it in action during a planning meeting last week while in FL. He just had to try it out. So now we are on Skype and we have talked with family and friends all over the world (yes, the world…my brother and his family live in Saudi Arabia and we have a missionary friend in China).wall-telephone

Most days I am so grateful for all the modern technology; but there are some days when I think about sitting on a kitchen chair near the rotary dial telephone with the long, spiral phone cord–really paying attention to the conversation without multi-tasking or being interrupted by an incoming call or text, or a reminder going off on my Palm.

Home Sweet Home

No matter where you go, it is always so good to come home. In addition for caring for my mom during her initial recovery, I had a few projects I wanted to do before I left–make a medical information notebook and medicine schedule; clean out pantry, refrigerator and freezer; send thank you notes for meals and gifts; etc. Those projects were done, mom was doing good, and now it was time for me to be reunited with my family in Raleigh.

I told my mom goodbye the night before I left, since I was leaving around 6 am the next morning and didn’t expect her to be awake. Much to my surprise, mom woke up and came into the kitchen while I was finishing up a few things late into the night. I think we were both thrilled to have just another few minutes together before I had to leave. After a quick trip to the hospital to see my older brother, Rusty, and his wife, Darlene, and her family (her dad was having open heart surgery 2 wks after mom), I arrived home on Thursday afternoon and was greeted by my sweet husband. It was so nice to be home and back in his arms. I also had a sweet reunion with each of the kids as they arrived home after school, golf, and play practice.

You will be glad to know that the house was in one piece when I returned and it was somewhat in order. Steve and the kids made a great effort putting things back in order before I arrived. Mom surprised me with a special thank you gift, so I spent some time at a spa on Friday getting a massage and a pedicure while my house was being cleaned. What a special treat…clean house and relaxed…ahhhh! Now back to taking care of my family and fattening up my boys (Steve lost 10 lbs while I was away!). Lots of cooking on the schedule and making sweet tea (I just made my 3rd gallon since I’ve been home :).   It is so good to be Home Sweet Home!

A special thank you to our friends and church family for all your prayers, cards, comments on Facebook and our blogs, and providing meals for my family while I was away.

PS Darlene’s dad made it through his 5-bypass surgery fine and is doing well in recovery. We are thrilled to hear this report!

There are a lot of things I have gained a new perspective and appreciation for after going through this surgery with my mom.  First, I will always be sensitive to families going through similar surgeries and will pray diligently for them.  I may have found my calling when I retire..volunteering in the Critical Care Waiting Room.  What a blessing those sweet ladies were to so many of us.  It was so sad to see some waiting by themselves with no other support there–one of the volunteers even shared with me that there was one patient that had been there over a week and had not had one visitor…my heart broke.  This also made me most grateful for our family and the love and support that we have from so many.

Second, I will take more seriously the need to pray for families who are separated for a long period of time due to military involvement, medical issues, missions, international travel, etc.  It has been very difficult being separated from my family during this time, although we all know that it has been necessary for me to be with my mom and a blessing.

Third, I have a new appreciation for nurses and doctors.  Fortunately, we had a wonderful surgeon, nurses and assistants.  There was one assistant that stood out more than the others, Janice.  She was so precious and really cared for my mom during recovery.  When mom and I were complimenting her the day we were leaving, she was in tears.  I hope others, Christians especially, show their appreciation and gratitude to those who care for our loved ones.  After mom’s doctor’s appointment today, I delivered some chocolate/peanut butter bars to the 2nd floor nurses’ station.  Wouldn’t you know it, the person I handed them to was mom’s nutritionist.  I just laughed and said, “I know these are not very nutritious but it is a special treat for the nurses who took care of my mom.”  She smiled and said, “I think it will be just fine.”

What a Blessing!

Today has been a good day.  Not only are mom and I not being awaken by nurses, but we are also not waking up to any alarm clocks nor on our normal work schedules.  I cannot ever remember getting out of bed without an alarm clock before my mother.  This morning I laid there just waiting for her to wake up…there came a point I couldn’t lay there another moment, so I got up and made coffee and breakfast.  After drinking two cups of coffee (decaf, that is….we’ve gone all decaf in the Bennett household) and eating breakfast, I decided I better go check on her.  Thankfully, I heard mom snoring so I let her keep sleeping.  She finally walked into the kitchen about 10:35 am thinking it was around 7:30 am.  She was grateful for the extra sleep.

It wasn’t long after breakfast that she decided that she needed to rearrange some flowers she had received in the hospital.  The beautiful pink roses were starting to wilt but mom knew just what to do….she cut them off and floated them in a shallow crystal bowl.  She took the lilies and other foliage that were part of the arrangement and made another beautiful centerpiece for the kitchen table.  She has such a special gift for arranging flowers (unfortunately, this gift was not inherited by her daughter).  For those of you who don’t know, my mom has been a florist for over 35 years.  Only in the last couple of years has she even considered retiring.  She and my dad are in the process of selling her flower shop.

She and I have had conversations about why the Lord didn’t bring a buyer prior to surgery.  We both agree that it could be for several reasons….one being that it could be the very thing that helps her recover quickly by keeping her mind preoccupied with things that need to be done in the shop (although daddy doesn’t want her going back to work until after Christmas…she can still bark orders from home :).  Another reason has to do with a new employee she hired before scheduling her surgery.  The Lord orchestrated mom finding a lady through a temp service (who would have ever thought you could find a florist through this type of service).  The designer was available immediately and could work full-time.  She was so awed with my mom and dad and how they treated her that she couldn’t wait to get started.  Because of the urgency of the surgery mom didn’t ask a lot of questions getting to know her like she normally would.  One day before mom’s surgery she sat with her new designer during lunch and began to ask questions.  Through their conversation, mom found out that she wasn’t a believer and felt like mom and dad were not like the other believers she had known.  So if the Lord has delayed the sell of the shop in order for mom and her other employees to share Christ with this young lady then we will all rejoice.

I am so grateful to have the opportunity to see how the Lord continues to minister through my parents.  I cannot tell you how many people that stopped by the hospital and sent cards commented on how mom is such a blessing to them…how she special she is to them.  I kept track of her visitors in the hospital and the count came in over 80 people….of course, not all of these actually saw mom as many came to sit with my dad, brother, and me during her surgery and others stopped by to show support to my dad.  But what a blessing to know how they are so loved and how they have blessed so many!  What a blessing!

We are Home from the Hospital

Mom made tremendous progress in the 24 hours before coming home (Tues am-Wed am)….the last tubes and oxygen were removed and she walked out of her room for the first time and then around the hallway two more times on Tuesday.  She was able to get in and out of her bed by herself.  After 7 days in the hospital, mom’s surgeon discharged her yesterday (Wednesday). We arrived home around 2:30 in the afternoon.

Mom was so grateful to sit in the recliner–we had moved into her bedroom for her recovery–and enjoy the fresh air from the opened door leading to her deck.  After getting mom settled and the car unloaded, I was off to Wal-mart to get her prescriptions filled and buy groceries.  Mom and daddy had a good nap while I was away.  By the time we ate dinner, unpacked a few things, and gave mom her nighttime medicine, we were all ready for bed.  I called home to check on Steve and the kids and took a refreshing shower and fell in the bed.  Mom and I decided that it would be best if I slept in her room for a few days in case she needed me in the middle of the night.  With only one waking around 2 am for a pain pill, we slept until 8:50 am this morning.  Praise the Lord….no nurses to wake us at 4:30 am!

Mom has had a great day.  We got up and enjoyed coffee and breakfast together.  She walked around the house a little and then rested.  I was catching up on my email while she was resting and then I heard something…I went up to see if she was awake and I caught her up tidying her room and putting more things away…she said she had a burst of energy. 🙂  For those of you who know my mom…she is a burst of energy and hits the ground running after a good night’s sleep.  After slowing her down, we decided to wash her hair.  She felt like a new person.  We had lunch and visited for a while in the kitchen before she laid down for an afternoon nap.

Well, I better go check on her and start supper.  Thanks again for all your prayers!

Update on my Mom

Thank you so much for your prayers…God has truly been answering them.  We found out the night before the surgery that mom’s surgeon is a Christian and we continue to hear that he is the best in this area.  Mom’s nurse doing her prep work said she prays for her patients the minute she meets them until they return to her floor.  We have had wonderful nurses and assistants.  So many friends, especially my parents’ church family, have been so supportive and stopped to check on my mom and visit with my dad.  My youth pastor from my home church was so sweet to sit with us during surgery (even brought donuts that we shared with others in the critical care waiting room) and has continued to check on us often.

Mom’s surgery was a great success..the surgeon replaced the mitral valve with a tissue valve (this was a huge praise vs. the mechanical one) but saw no reason to do any repair on the aorta.  The surgery lasted 3 1/2 hours and she was in a room on the cardiac floor less than 24 hours from her surgery.  She has slept most of the time only waking up to eat, take medicine, and do her breathing exercises.  The nurses and surgeon say she is doing good although she is still weak and only setting up in a chair twice a day.  She did have a little appetite today at lunch and ate very well.  She will need to build up enough strength to walk the halls before they will let her come home.  Her surgeon will let us know tomorrow morning when he anticipates she can come home….we are hoping by Wednesday or Thursday.

Please be praying for the following:  speedy recovery, protection from pneumonia, strength to do physical therapy-walking the halls, and wisdom for the surgeon as he makes decision about her care.  Pray for my strength and stamina as I continue to care for her.  My dad is holding up great and loving on mom with such tenderness.

My brother has been such a great help this weekend (especially kicking me out of the hospital for a few hours yesterday and today)…my sister-in-law, Darlene, was so sweet to bring prepared meals for us.  Her mom and dad came down with a virus last week and her dad was hospitalized.  He was in the same hospital as my mom.  Darlene has been taking care of her parents and quarantined herself from us and mom for the first few days because of the virus.  They will go home tomorrow.

Thank you again for your prayers.  I was hoping to be able to update you more often but the wireless Internet service at the hospital has not been cooperating.  So I will probably not be able to do another update until we bring mom home.  I am off to the hospital until the surgeon releases us….

Surgery Preparation

I am in TN and we are preparing to go to the hospital.  My mom and I had a leisurely morning visiting and sipping on coffee.  We got dressed and went shopping to get her out of the house.  We enjoyed lunch at Panera and did a little shopping.  We only stayed out a couple of hours and came home for her to take a nap.  After she checks in tonight at the hospital, they will do some preparations and then give her something to help her sleep through the night.  They will take her down for more preparations at 5:30 am in the morning.  Her surgery is to begin at 7:30am.  They anticipate the surgery to last about 4 hours to replace the mitral valve and the surgeon will make a decision whether he needs to work on her enlarged aorta….if he does proceed this will add another 2 hours of surgery.

There is still some question about which type of valve they will be able to use….flesh or mechanical.  The concerns are that she may be too petite to use the flesh, which would be the overall better choice.  If he has to use the mechanical, she will be on blood thinners the rest of her life.  The surgeon is concerned about his choice because of some complications she has had concerning blood thinners in the past.  So please pray that the flesh will fit and that the doctor will have divine wisdom for the decision he will have to make.

One last prayer request…please pray for me to have the stamina I will need these next couple of weeks and that I will be strong in front of mom.  Many people have tried to prepare me for the first time I see her after surgery.  My dad and brother will also be with me and they do not do very well in hospitals…pray for supernatural strength for them as well.

Heading to TN

I am heading to TN today to be with my mom for 2 weeks. She is having open heart surgery this Thursday (Oct 16th) to replace a valve that isn’t working properly. Please pray for her surgeon and others that will be caring for her in the hospital. Pray for my dad and extended family as we care for her while she recovers. Also, pray for Steve and our kids while I’m away….this will be the longest I have ever been away from any of them. The cupboards are full so no one should go hungry, the color-coded schedule is done so everyone will know where to go each day, and Tyler just learned to make sweet tea to keep his daddy and brother happy while I’m away.

After two snake sitings last week–a 4 ft one in the garage and a baby one crawling up Steve’s leg in the driveway, things have settled down around our house.  Sara found the first one and thought the boys were playing a trick on her.  She leaned down to pick up the “fake snake” but when his tongue came out she screamed!  She and I were alone at the house…no boys here to protect us.  When I heard the scream, I thought the house was on fire.  After we stared in amazement that there was a snake in our garage, we went and found a neighbor to help us.  As he was trying to get the snake, it took off…much to our dismay, we never found it.  At least William killed the second one.  Sara will still not go through the garage and watches her every step to her car.

I took the boys shoe shopping today. Can you believe Tyler is wearing a size 6.5 and William a size 10!?!  They are so proud that their feet will be bigger than their daddy’s (Size 8).

The boys aren’t the only ones growing….Steve is strutting around here like a rooster showing off his new figure…he has gained 20lbs in the last few months.  He has tried to gain weight his entire life with very little success due to his high metabolism.  Guess what is finally slowing down at age 43???  He is so excited that he wants to gain another 20 lbs before Christmas…I’m not so sure about that. It will be so strange if I have to tell him that he has to go on a diet when he can’t bend over to tie his shoes. Oh well, I will let him strut a little more until then.

It seems like I should still be a 17 year old in high school….not have a 17 year old who is starting to make plans for college. I panic one minute thinking about how much I still need to teach her before she leaves home, and then the next minute I see a beautiful young lady who is very responsible and so grown up.

Sara enjoyed celebrating her birthday (Oct. 4th) all weekend. The celebration started Friday evening when her dad gave her a bouquet of Gerber daisies and took her on a date to Angus Barn. On Saturday, she slept in and enjoyed figuring out her new camera (birthday gift from mom and dad) and opening other gifts (mostly much wanted cash) the rest of the day. A friend slept over and they made brownies which ended in a food fight and funny pictures. On Sunday, she had a few friends over from church for pizza and ice cream sundaes. They played board games and had a lot of fun around the kitchen table chatting and laughing.

Steve and I can’t believe how time is going by so quickly. We wouldn’t trade the memories we have and are still making with our precious daughter whom the Lord has entrusted in our care. We pray that she will keep her focus on the Lord (and things that matter for eternity) and seek His direction for her life in the coming days.

My first post…

Welcome to The Wright House! It is so exciting to finally have a blog. A special thanks to my dear friend, Norma Weekman, who encouraged me to start a blog and helped me name it. I have really been fighting the idea of having one more thing to keep up with; but I gave in when I decided to do a family blog. I love sharing about my family and for some strange reason others seem to enjoy stories about the Wright household. Be sure to click on the About tab above and you can read a little background information about me and my family. I do pray that this blog will reflect God’s goodness and grace in the daily life of our family.