Friday, February 17, 2012

End of Year Family Newsletter

 At a glance - 2011
It’s hard to believe John and I have been married twenty-seven years, but it’s true. Aaron has transitioned out of marketing for Sleaddventures and is working as a computer programmer for John Deere Co. from home; he is living in our guesthouse. Alexa has graduated from high school and is studying college courses from home. She traveled to Jacksonville, FL to compete and won third in the nation in a right-to-life speech contest.
Caleb is a freshman in high school and has surpassed his mother in height. Nathan’s continues to grow, adding an exciting new product soon. Nathanael continues as his warehouse manager. Nathan and Colleen produced a new granddaughter, Ember Felicity, born January 13th. Naomi and Nathanael had a third son,
Wyatt Benjamin, on May 23rd. That makes five grandchildren for us. All of our children are living in Grants Pass.  
Alexa's graduation photo Courtesy Josh Eddy

 December Happenings
Our month of flurried celebrations included a Messiah sing-along, a Christmas parade, at which we caroled the townspeople; a Masquerade Ball; another caroling party; a church Christmas party at the McMurrays’; a whole-family gathering at our house; and Christmas Day services at Household of Faith. Below, you see us at my folks' house for their 61st anniversary.

Below: Ember, 9 months; Wyatt, hours old

Coast trips
John and the three kids spent a week last summer on the Oregon coast and up the Columbia River. In October John and Arden flew up to Portland and drove from there to Cannon Beach to be part of a couple’s retreat for Household of Faith elders and deacons from around the country. We live in a beautiful state! 

Cape Blanco

 Ft. Stevens, the only fort attacked on the mainland by Japanese in WWII--shelled by a submarine

Health update: erythromelalgia and lead poisoning
The year held some all-time highs and lows for Arden’s health. Last summer she became housebound and finally wheelchair-dependent as her feet were unbearably hot, red, and swollen, exacerbated by the heat outdoors. She unwittingly made it worse with ice. After going off the ice cold turkey and going to ER twice with unbearable pain, she saw some improvement. The heat and swelling is still a daily reality managed with cold packs, fans, and a drug called Lyrica (wow! it really works!), but at least she has her mobility and productivity back. Thank the Lord! The cool winter weather also helps greatly. She is also having chelation therapy for lead poisoning. Results are pending.
Our hobby room got a facelift with new windows, laminate floor, trim and heat pump. The laundry room was finished off with new ceramic-tile floor and cabinets. The kitchen
now has an island—the final phase of our kitchen add-on project started two summers ago. We have lived in this wonderful house for sixteen years!

Have a happy and blessed 2012! From the Sleadd Family

Review: Created To Be His Help Meet by Debbie Pearl

It's been over a year since I finally read this book, so I can look back and say it has made a big difference in my marriage!  Created to be His Help Meet by Deb Pearl is a hard-hitter, pulling no punches when it comes to confronting the most common excuses we come up with as wives to justify our poor attitudes towards our husbands.

The most impacting statement in the book that has stuck with me is "You are not your husband's conscience!" That was like a sword to my heart. Here all along I thought I was his conscience, and didn't realize it! That realization alone helped me to back way off on pronouncements about my husband's plans, his time management, etc.  I realize they are not for me to correct or change. He is following the Lord, and the Lord will lead him or not, but it's not my game.

I have often tried to protect our family from lack of attention and time on his part, to a fault. Rather than ask questions, I have made pronouncements and judgements. Of course they were not well-received due to the spirit with which I made them. While there are some things I would still like to change, I am so deeply in love with my husband, who for 27 years has faithfully provided for me and has never been at lack for a well-paying job; who has stood by my side through 20 years of illness; who has aggressively led our family in spiritual endeavors and fun-filled adventures. Who am I to complain?

Deb Pearl has pointed out that a man's basic needs really are not so much to whine about. He just wants warm food for his belly, warm clothes for his back, and a warm partner in bed. Is it really so much to ask?

Pearl also addresses the hyper-spiritualizing trends among women today which are not grounded in scripture, calling it the spirit of Jezebel. She paints our lives as women in very practical, down-to-earth terms. Those women who aspire to great heights of spirituality are causing their own discontentment, when a few minutes a day of prayer and Bible study should be sufficient. Grow up, move on, give your man good sex, he's not a pervert. (She also addresses perversion where it is real.) What is the essence of being a true helpmeet if it is not to actually help?

There is one caveat I would offer. Some of her micro-descriptions of male types don't quite ring true. Take them for what they're worth. Her general observations on types are helpful if you don't carry them too far; they are, after all, generalizations.

There is more excellent advice on modesty, childcare, cooking, etc. On the whole, Created to Be His Help Meet is a keeper worth multiple frequent readings and may in time be regarded as a classic in Christian literature. While the issues addressed are especially relevant to our day, those issues have tempted and plagued women throughout history.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

CollegePlus is doing great things...

My daughter is continuing to make great progress towards college credit through CollegePlus!. Her coach, who is named Rachel, calls or Skypes her every two weeks and gives her some very good advice about preparing for the CLEP test she is taking. I somehow suspect Alexa would have given up this attempt at college-at-home without this outside help. Rachel is a wonderful young lady, and there is an emphasis on cultivating Alexa's spiritual growth as well as academic achievement. She asks how she can pray for Alexa specifically, and is very supportive.
If you are interested in knowing more about CollegePlus!, click here. I'll be up front with you--I'm an affiliate with them, so using my link--if you register too--will generate income for me :).