"Touch a thistle timidly, and it pricks you; grasp it boldly, and its spines crumble."
– Admiral William Halsey
This was a good quote for me this week. If you have been reading our posts on a regular basis, you know that this week was spent in Sycamore Illinois as I was attending what is called a "modular" class for my seminary studies. A modular class is a style of class where you do a lot of reading and prep work prior to attending class, sit in a classroom for 5 straight days, then read a lot more and write several papers. This past week was the classroom piece of that coursework and wow did it kick my butt. I haven't sat in a classroom for school in many many years and then to do it all day long discussing a subject matter that is very intellectually challenging exhausted me.
My class was Apologetics and World Religions which was fascinating. I learned about Hinduism, Bhuddism, Islam (including the Nation of Islam, which is not the same thing), and other worldviews or religions. Additionally, I studied apologetics, which is not what the name would imply. The word apologetics comes from the Greek word "apologia" which means "to give an answer". The purpose of apologetics in Christianity (or in any religion) is to be able to explain or define your faith. It is really a very intense Christianity 101. When I say "explain", I do not want you to think that it is my intent to get on a soapbox at the Daytona 500 and spew Scripture to passersby and become an "in your face" Christian. Quite the opposite, actually. The purpose of this class is to help me to answer questions like "If your God is a loving God, how did he allow something like 9/11 to happen?" See what I mean? That's a tough question to answer and now I have the tools that I need to be able to handle those types of situations in a more effective manner. Now you know why this was an intellectually challenging week for the old girl. Additionally, being an on-line student left me a bit nervous about what to expect from the other students in the class, etc. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was not the only "old person" in the class. There were 5 other people there over the age of 50 who were also beginning their second careers like me. One guy just retired from the Army where he spent his career as a surgeon. He intends to become an Army Chaplain and get out into the field with the soldiers. Very commendable.
Ok, so on to Steve. The poor guy had time to himself finally. I am sure you can appreciate that the 24 x 7 atmosphere in which we live can push any marriage to its limits so I would dare say that Steve welcomed the 8 hours he had to himself the first couple of days. After that, we were extremely blessed with a visit from our daughter and her family. Jill, her husband Gary, and two of their three children -- Jeremiah and Kendra -- came to hang out with us for the balance of the week. What a joy it was to see family! We haven't been gone that long, but when you are used to seeing someone all the time, and then suddenly you don't see them at all, it can be a huge void in your life. The Peanut (as I call my granddaughter Kendra) told me on the phone that we have been gone so long that she turned 16 already -- so I would say the visit with them was very much needed. We had dinner together on Wednesday night and then Steve and the gang went to the planetarium the next day. I will say that they truly did not appreciate the Chicago traffic at all. It took them 2 hours to go 20 miles or so, which with an impatient 4-year-old in the car can make the trip even worse! Anyway, they had a great time and Steve has some nice pictures from that visit to the Planetarium. At the end of the day, we all met up at our camper and went fishing in the pond that was right in front of our campsite. We roasted marshmallows on our campfire and just talked and it was beautiful. They went home on Friday and we moved on to Goshen, Indiana when I was finished with school for the day, so once again, Steve and I are ALONE!!!!!!
Anyway, we are in Goshen to have some warranty work done on our travel trailer. We have to completely empty it of personal contents so we rented a storage unit and spent the weekend packing up our stuff. The warranty work will require that the entire side walls be removed and replaced and they are moving the axle back about 8 inches which may, or may not, require us to invest in a new truck due to the revised weight distribution the axle move will cause. We are not excited about this, but thankfully we didn't anticipate that this trip would be without hiccups. While our "Wendy" is being surgically enhanced, we will be staying at the cottage in Gladwin, Michigan (referred to as "at north" -- a phrase coined by my niece Bridget when she was very young). Several of my relatives also have cottages in the same area (it's a golf resort) so we will be visiting with them while we are there. I am not sure what we will do with so much extra square footage in the cottage since we are used to living in 300 square feet, but I am sure we will manage. It will be very strange, though, to be in a full-sized kitchen again.
While in Goshen, it wasn't all work. We did get a chance to visit the RV/Mobile Home Hall of Fame. This was a chance for us to spend some time looking at the history of the lifestyle that Steve and I have adopted. WOW was that cool! RV's have been around since 1913 and were actually starting to become luxurious around the 1930's (relatively speaking, of course). We had a great time walking through the display and would recommend the stop if you are ever headed to Chicago. It is right off the turnpike in Elkhart, Indiana.
Ok, that is all for now. Have a very blessed week and we'll write again soon!