Thursday, October 31, 2013

Not Just Another Trip to Kansas

Going back a full year from today, we have taken five trips to Kansas.  

The first was in December (2012) when we flew to meet the birth mom who had chosen our profile book.  This was the most harrowing trip in terms of travel, as we nearly died trying to land in St. Louis.  But that's another story.

The second was in December/January when we met and fell in love with our beautiful Evie.

The third was in May when we visited Evie's birth mom and Grandpa.  This was a quick trip, but we got to spend time with Grandpa, particularly Sunday afternoon when we just sat around and talked and I got him to reminisce about growing up on the farm in Idana.  

The fourth visit was in August for the adoption-related trial.  Not a fun trip.

And the fifth was just last week when John, Evie and I went to Kansas City for Grandpa's funeral.

Grandpa died Sunday, October 20th, surrounded by sons and grandchildren singing Psalms to him.  Just the way he wanted to go, I think.  He was 92 and had lost most of his sight, most of his hearing, and other physical abilities which frustrated him.  He never lost his sense of humor, though, nor his love for his family and his Savior, and for those blessings, we are grateful.

As soon as we got the word, Copelands across the country mobilized!  

I found generous friends to take the kids, then I drove to Beaver Falls, where Evie and I flew with Mom, Katie and Sean to Kansas City.  I was so very thankful to not have to fly by myself, especially with a baby!  (You all know how much I love to fly!)

The funeral was Tuesday at the Shawnee RP Church, the church where Grandpa and Grandma attended for...well, a long time, since before I was born, so that is a long time. Also, it is the church where I was baptized, lo, these many years ago.

Grandpa served in the army during WWII and was proud to have done so.  

Wade Mann led the service.  Grandpa was in charge of constructing this building 40+ years ago.

If anyone wasn't properly overcome with tears yet, this just about did it.  Here, my cousin, David, presents the flag to my dad, the oldest son, with the words spoken to so many families of veterans and soldiers. 

 David and his sister, Faith, are in the army (she's proud to outrank her older brother now!); their younger brother, Daniel, was in the army for a time, and their father, my Uncle Stan, recently retired as an army chaplain.

The next day, many of us drove up to Superior, Nebraska, to lay Grandpa to rest beside his wife, who died nearly 14 years ago.  

It was a sad time, yes, but also a joyful one.  We had fun seeing family and friends from all over and spending time together.  We reminisced about Grandpa and commented often on how much he would have enjoyed such a gathering, especially as it contained a good amount of Psalm singing.

Grandpa gave us many things, but he most wanted to hand on his faith in and love for Jesus Christ.  Grandpa was by no means a saint, and he knew it, and was infinitely grateful to the Lord for taking him in hand, forgiving him, and blessing him in spite of his unworthiness.

"As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers we are dust.  As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the blows over it and  it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.  But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children -- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.  The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all."
Psalm 103:13-19

Friday, October 11, 2013

October 11

I am trying to get the house ready for my in-laws' arrival this afternoon, but I've been thinking about my grandma today and just wanted to write about her here.  

Her name was Ida Louise Briars Edgar.  October 11 was her birthday.

Grandma grew up on a farm in upstate New York.  When she was a young woman, a local church got a new pastor, a handsome guy from Colorado, newly graduated from seminary and in need of a wife.  They married on July 15, 1935, sixty years to the day before I got married, but they didn't know that was to come.

They moved all over the country, serving wherever the Lord led, serving whomever the Lord brought to their table.  

Grandma loved to cook and loved to make a pretty table for her guests.  This was way before Martha Stewart and her ilk came along and shamed us all into stressing over these things.  Grandma was a hostess who made her guests feel welcome; fed them good, filling food; and sent them away feeling blessed.  I would even say, she showed them a tiny bit of the fellowship of heaven.  

Of course, she and Grandpa were a team in this, but Grandma set the tone for hospitality.

Grandma loved Christmas.  She loved the bustle and fuss.  She loved picking out presents and wrapping them and arranging them under the Christmas tree.  She loved decorating the tree (no matter what scraggly thing we found in the back pasture!) and decorating the house.  She loved all the baking and cooking.  She's the one who used to suggest we pester Grandpa to be allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve.  He never gave in, but she tried valiantly every year. 

Grandma could not carry a tune in a bucket.  I know she was self-conscious about her voice because she would sometimes stop singing in church and just listen.  When I was very little I thought that she hated the Psalm tune I loved (53B, aka "Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus) because she wouldn't sing it, and for some reason that delighted me, naughty child that I was.  Later I figured out that she loved good singing, but could not do it herself so sometimes she just listened, especially to her husband and daughter who had/have lovely voices. 

Grandma loved people.  That was the "secret" to all of the ways in which she left her mark on the people around her.  She cared about people and was interested in them, from old friends to folks at church to eccentric neighbors down the road who carried potatoes in their pockets to keep away the rheumatism.  

When she was in her 90s, she was still baking treats to take to the "old people" down the street.

She was an extraordinary woman and I am so thankful for the years I had to know her and learn from her and love her and be loved by her. 

I miss her.  

Lisbon RP Church where my grandfather pastored and my grandparents met.  They retired to land on Grandma's family farm and attended this church as retirees.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Typical Day

In the lazy, hazy days of chaos summer, I sometimes look forward to the relative order of the school year.

  You all know I am not what some might call organized.  I have occasionally been known to fly by the seat of my pants.  I'm a "pantser" not a "planner," as they say.  Routine feels so...routine, and I have to jazz things up when that happens.

But believe it or not, too much chaos bugs even me.  

What with five kids and a new house and city, there is more than enough chaos around here to suit me, so the routine of the school day is very much welcome.

Every day (almost) I get up at 6:15 (-ish) and start rousing the kids.  If someone requires more than two or three wake-up calls, Dad gets involved and is much less pleasant than Mom!  A few people have had to take breakfast with them on the run, but so far, not too bad.

Everyone gets dressed in clothes which were supposed to have been put out the night before, eats breakfast, then picks up backpacks and duffle bags which were supposed to have been packed up the night before, and heads off to the bus stop, just down the street. 

Sometimes, this all goes swimmingly.

Sometimes, it does not.

Either way, by 7, the house is quiet again. 

Some days, the baby is awake by this time, but more often she is still asleep and I sit down to check what's happening on the interwebs and to eat my breakfast.

When John deems it safe to come out, he gets up and gets going.  Just kidding!  His schedule is different each day, so sometimes he's up and out before the kids are and sometimes he goes a little later to the office.  And sometimes he's on the road and enjoying the quiet solitude of his hotel room!

During the day I watch soap operas and eat bon-bons diligently keep the house spotless.  No, that doesn't work either.  I do work on the house, but somehow it never reaches "spotless" status.  

Anyway, I do dishes, laundry, etc. but I also play with Evie, go for walks, get groceries, run errands, and, yes, take naps occasionally.  I really, really enjoy these quiet days at home and am so thankful for them.

About 3:30, Sam arrives on the afternoon bus.  He tells me about his day and gets a snack.  

A little later, we get in the car and go back to the school for someone's soccer game.  This week we have nine games, plus practices.  I know Sam wanted to play, but I was just a little bit glad we had missed the cut-off to sign him up to play on a community team this fall!  "Maybe in the spring, buddy!"

When the game or games end, we go home and eat some supper.  The crockpot is my best friend right now.  Depending on how far away the other game or games were, we might wait for everyone to get home and eat all together, or we might go ahead and eat so that homework can get started.  

From supper to bedtime, it's homework and showers and getting everything ready for the next day.

Bedtime is 9 p.m.  As the school year progresses, a couple of kids have voluntarily put themselves to bed earlier than that because these are long, action-packed days and morning comes early!

So, this is what our days are like, with some variation.  For instance, yesterday, I was at school most of the morning to help give tours to prospective families, then back later for a Bible study before going to Johanna's soccer game.  And variations like that make me all the more thankful for a typical day like today where I can catch up with some laundry and update my blog!

There's Sam's bus!  Gotta go!

(All of the photos in today's blog are from the kids' school.)