This and that.

Dennis is coming home!
He left nine days ago to travel to India with his colleagues to train teachers and advise administrators.
The people of Chennai welcomed them with enthusiasm and, as always, Dennis found great joy engaging with a new culture, a new people, and experiencing the sights and sounds of the country.
One of the non-educational highlights of the trip was worshipping with the Christians in Chennai.
This is an excerpt from his letter that day:

Our worship in a village church was an experience that will not soon be forgotten.
As we were driving out to the church the pastor asked me if I would share from Scripture. Of course, I agreed and then realized he did not mean read a verse in the car. He meant at the service. I figured, when will I have another opportunity to share the Word of God in India? So I went for it.
The church was singing worship songs upon our arrival. Everyone was seated on the floor. The people were singing and clapping and shouting Amen and Hallelujah. 
They prayed like heaven was wide open, and they shared testimonies. 
The pastor invited me to come and share the Word, so I greeted them and thanked them for their hospitality and shared that this moment reminded me of the book of Acts when people from many diverse backgrounds heard the Word in their native tongue. 
The service, which lasted nearly 2-1/2 hours, ended with the pastor and elders praying for those who came forward. He invited us to walk to the edge of the stage and lay hands on the people who came to pray. So we did. Amazing.

How I envy these moments! What a wonder it would be to travel the world with the sole purpose of worshipping with brothers and sisters in Christ in every tribe and every nation! A small taste of what heaven will be like when we worship together before the throne of God.

We have been taking care of a Holland Lop rabbit for the past week as an experiment to see if we are
a rabbit kind of family. One of my girls is getting married and her future husband is allergic to her favorite pet, so she needs to find Charlotte a new home.
Everyone in the family (except Micah) likes her, but Ellie LOVES her!
Charlotte is sweet, potty trained, low maintenance, and loves being with people, so in terms of a pet for the Eastmans she is a great match.
The main reason we would say "yes" to the rabbit, however, is because animals are able to calm and soothe anxious, troubled hearts in ways humans cannot. As a mother with five severely dyslexic children, I am on high alert for anything that will bring peace to the frustrations and stresses they are forced to face every day, not just in education, but in life. If this soft, big-footed rabbit will provide comfort and joy to my children, then she will very soon become part of our family.

Speaking of dyslexia ...
If anyone is looking for a wonderful resource for your learning needs library, this is one of them! I have read dozens of books and articles on this topic, and have recently ramped up my research for a myriad of reasons.
This book was recommended to me by a friend at church, and it is terrific! It is the first book I have read that focuses on what dyslexics CAN do rather than what they "can't."
The key word in the title is ADVANTAGE.
The dyslexic brain is not damaged - it is different.
And the differences are wonderful!
This is not a light read. It requires focus.
Brain research, statistics, theories, and observations fill the pages, all of them highlighting the same premise: People with dyslexia think differently, therefore they DO differently. And what they do is GOOD!

~~~ Summer is here, which means BEACH NIGHTS! Actually, they are beach DAYS since we arrive by 2 pm. Yesterday was gorgeous. Sunny, clear, blue skies, a wonderful breeze, great waves, and warm water. The kids and teens threw themselves into the ocean with wild abandon, moms sat on the sand chatting away, and the families drew together near the firepit for food and conversation for the remainder of the evening.
I love this tradition!

We had the privilege of hosting our friend/brother Caleb before and after his trip to Israel and Paris.
He and Dennis have much in common as they are both teachers, Cross Fit psychos, I mean, enthusiasts <grin>, and outdoorsmen. They have as many similarities as they have differences, so they are a good pair!
Our children love him, and Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie believe he is their personal court jester.
He did workouts with them every morning, made breakfast with them, and let them inspect and try out all of his cool camping gear he brought for his trek through Yosemite.
The older boys appreciate his humor, his eclectic music savvy, and his enthusiastic willingness to engage them in both ridiculous and rational conversations.
I love him because - he is Caleb!
He is five years my junior, so when we met I was dubbed his "honorary older sister" and we spent a good decade or more in those roles - big sister and little brother. But now, as middle-aged adults, we are simply friends. The Lord has used us to encourage, pray for, and support one another, and we wouldn't have it any other way!
Thank you, Caleb, for investing in our family. It was a joy to have you with us, and we are thankful for your thoughtfulness and your friendship!

These three could not decide which of the spectacular backpacking items they liked best (blow-up LED lanterns, folding utensils, camel pack, propane burner, solar chargers, knives, tin cups ...) until Caleb strung up his tree hammock in our backyard. DING! DING! DING! We have a winner!

~~~ Happy Friday! Enjoy the weekend - take the time to be still - thoughtfully reflect on God's goodness - serve someone - clean out a closet that has been bugging you - write the note you have been putting off - and praise the Lord every day for the untold and generous blessings He pours on us each day. Though trials and temptations await us at every turn, He is a GOOD GOD, and He loves us. Even in the darkness, His faithful mercies fall on us like a steady rain ... for He knows what we need.

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