There is a saying that my siblings and I use to say all the time and because I am the middle child I thought it was the best saying... "first is the worst, second is the best, and third is the one with the hairy chest."
What does that saying have to do with Soaring Wings you may ask. Well as I sit here typing this blog I can say that we have been hit by the stomach bug in our house! Normally by now everyone would be awake, making coffee, having breakfast, getting ready for a full day, dogs barking, coffee making- yes we really love our coffee maker! But today it is quiet.
Everyone is either still sleeping, staying in bed for the day or sadly in the bathroom. It is strange how quiet it is and how none life like today feels being that Christmas is only 2 days away. My last blog was about going to Montana. We went and we kept saying when we get back we will get our Christmas tree and now we have been back for over a week, we have the tree, I can see it laying on the porch but that is as far as we have made it. Maybe today or tomorrow we can muster enough energy to at least get the tree standing up with some lights on it.
I am not surprised that this is going to be a bumpy first Christmas in this house. We use to say that the first missions trips were always the bumpiest. I can recall my very first missions trip (I have now been on 13 or more) but the first missions trip still stands out as a bumpy one. My parents were the youth leaders and we were going to North Dakota from New Hampshire.
There were 12 of us in a 12 passenger van towing a UHaul. I remember the van very well as we DROVE for 4 days to get to North Dakota. The van was not the best to put it nicely, it's brakes would come and go as they pleased and the floor of the van got so hot that we couldn't put anything on it. I remember someone put a bag on the floor forgetting they had chocolate in it and it was a mess. We made it to North Dakota and had a very good trip but on the way home I was so sick and the first night we were camping. I remember thinking is there anything worst then being sick to your stomach on a missions trip while camping, oh yes that we still had 2 full and long days to drive home!
This is our first Christmas at the Soaring Wings Ranch and I don't know why we weren't fully prepared for the bumps. We have hit them, literally- had a minor car accident- everyone is safe and the car is fine, and continue to push through this virus knowing that God has better things for us in the near and distant future. The first may be the worst but God is better than any worst. We continue to lean on God and look forward to the day that we laugh at this Christmas. We continued to do missions trips even with the bumps and we will continue to work and live and do Christmases as Soaring Wings even with the bumps.
We serve a mighty God who has given us strength to continue on serving and loving because he came to this world as a baby- and like most babies He had to learn to walk and have bumps but continue on with His calling to save us and I am grateful for that gift and that reminder daily!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Merry Christmas from All of us here at Soaring Wings Ranch
Hello from 499 Trinity Lane in Wellington, Colorado! So many of you have asked us what it is like to live under one roof together. It is an interesting experience for sure and it brings out the best and the worst in each of us. It teaches us patience with one another and also gives us a lot of joy. Just recently our patience with one another was stretched and stretched some more! There are 5 adults and 1 two year old living in 1700 square feet. I have never liked huge houses. It just seemed like a waste of space, time and money to have empty rooms in a house that were hardly ever used. I have always believed in living in a home that would meet our family's needs without being extravagant and wasteful. When I think of us all living in 1700 square feet and my belief of not having wasted space...I have to laugh! With all of us living in a rather small house we truly use every inch of space!!! I have to say this again WE TRULY USE EVERY INCH OF SPACE!!! Our dining area has a large table in the center of the room but we don't have an office so our desks, desk chairs, filing cabinets, printers, and bookcases line the perimeter of the room. Our entry way into the house from the side porch is used as a mudroom, play area and it had one rocking chair in there which was a delightful place to sit and read when you wanted to be by yourself.
Notice that I use the word HAD because the rocking chair is no longer there....it had to be moved out to make room for THE CHAIR!!!
THE CHAIR entered our home on Thanksgiving Day when all of us were home preparing our Thanksgiving feast and looking forward to our family time together. Our daughter Meredith and son-in-law Todd got up very early on Thanksgiving morning to go buy THE CHAIR. Todd, who has muscular dystrophy, was needing a recliner for better neck support when he is reading or watching television and there were some excellent buys on recliners early Thanksgiving morning. I completely agreed that Todd absolutely needed the chair so that he sit without his neck getting tired. I never once thought about the impact that THE CHAIR would have on our family.
Meredith and Todd were not out chair shopping very long as they knew exactly what they wanted, purchased the chair, had it loaded on our pick up truck and returned home with THE CHAIR. The first problem with THE CHAIR was unloading it from the truck. THE CHAIR weighed a ton and was in a huge box. This required our son David to help his sister unload THE CHAIR from truck. The truck was backed up inches from our porch and the box with THE CHAIR in it was slid from the bed of the truck onto our porch. The next problem was getting it through the sliding glass door. You would think that fitting a chair through a sliding glass door would be no problem but of course it didn't fit and so THE CHAIR had to be removed from the box and brought inside in two pieces.
At this point in the story, you have to remember what I mentioned in the first paragraph about us using EVERY INCH OF SPACE in our house and you have to remember that it is Thanksgiving Day with a bit more chaos than usual going on in the house. The furniture in our entry way, dining area and living room had to be moved out of the way to make room for THE CHAIR. THE CHAIR was brought into our living room where we have already used EVERY INCH OF SPACE. In our small living room we have a chair, that was given to Ed from the staff at his work when he retired, two couches, two end tables, a cedar chest, a large assortment of toys and a television. Into this small living room, already filled with furniture, we begin the family process of trying to figure out where to put THE CHAIR.
This is how the discussion went that Thanksgiving morning. "How about we move the smaller couch to the other wall?" "How about we take out one of the end tables and put it in another room?" " How about we put THE CHAIR and Dad's chair next to each other?" "How about we put THE CHAIR in the corner?" And I am not sure which one of our children came up with the great idea of "How about we move Dad's chair?!!!!" Or better yet "How about we move the television?!" Amidst all this discussion, I heard "How about instead of talking about where to put THE CHAIR we just start moving things around and see how it fits?" It was at this point that I decided it was best to retreat back to the kitchen. Somehow, even on Thanksgiving morning, with all the busyness of preparing a Thanksgiving meal, the kitchen seemed like a much more peaceful place than being in the living room with my family trying to figure out where to put THE CHAIR!
The furniture in the living room began to be moved around and it was at this point that our different personalities began to emerge and it was at this point that our patience began to be stretched. Ed, being a man of few words and yet quite decisive, made it clear to his children that they could move whatever furniture they wanted and put it any where they wanted to but his chair was not to be moved and the television needed to stay where it was. Todd, also being a man of few words and one who goes with the flow, only wanted to sit somewhere in his new recliner and watch football on TV. David, being strong in his opinions and also realizing that he was the one that was going to have to move THE CHAIR each time a new suggestion came up, thought that it was best that THE CHAIR stay right in the middle of the living room until after our Thanksgiving meal. Meredith, being a woman of action, determination and perseverance, continued with the task of finding a permanent spot for THE CHAIR. Her family, minus myself, rallied around her and began to try different furniture arrangements to accommodate THE CHAIR! With each furniture arrangement, I was called into the living room from the kitchen to give my opinion. I had to admire their determination and their attempts at finding a permanent spot for THE CHAIR, but I have to be honest and say that my retreat to the kitchen was not only to find peace, but to keep peace! My personality also emerged that Thanksgiving morning with the arrival of THE CHAIR. Being a woman of strong opinions, especially when it comes to furniture arrangement, I knew that for the sake of my family and the peace that we all wanted for Thanksgiving Day, I was going to have to temper my opinions of the furniture arrangement. Quite honestly, THE CHAIR looked awful in our living room. I had never seen a tiny room with so much furniture in it!!!! It was at this point that I said that there was too much furniture for one small room and something was going to have to go. The uttering of these words from my mouth moved the task of finding a permanent home for THE CHAIR to a whole new level! This now meant that as a family we had to decide which piece of furniture was to be moved out of the living room and the big question in a house where EVERY INCH OF SPACE is used....what to do with the furniture that was to be moved out of the living room?!
With the task of finding a permanent spot for THE CHAIR being moved to an entirely new level, our individual personalities emerged even stronger. For those of you that don't know, we are not an easy going, nice family that just lets things roll of our backs. We ALL have very strong opinions, we are all intense and we are all stubborn! These are not the personality traits that you want to have come out on Thanksgiving Day when you are about to sit down to a Thanksgiving meal and thank God for all of HIs blessings and most especially for the blessing of time together with family!!!! We realized that if we were going to have any hope of having being a nice family and having a nice Thanksgiving meal together that, for the time being, we had to put aside the task of finding a permanent spot for THE CHAIR. So we left THE CHAIR right in the middle of the living room and continued to prepare for our Thanksgiving meal together.
You know those nice pictures that everyone posted on Facebook of Thanksgiving Day(I even posted one of us!) with everyone smiling and a bounty of food on the table? Well, I was reminded this Thanksgiving, after THE CHAIR entered our lives, of all the effort and genuine love it takes to have a family that is joyful and happy and grateful to be together. The picture that I posted of our Thanksgiving Day was a genuine one. Even with THE CHAIR, we did feel happy as we sat down together and enjoyed our Thanksgiving feast. We did feel joyful and we were grateful to be together in a tiny house on the plains in Wellington, Colorado. This happiness, joy and gratitude of being together did not come without effort. THE CHAIR brought out the worst in us and it caused us to dig deep to find the traits that define "family". For our family, one of our strongest traits is love. We genuinely and deeply love each other. This love gave us strength to persevere together this past Thanksgiving Day. It also gives us strength to continue together in Soaring Wings Ministries so that we can share this love with people that do not know anything about love or family.
I am happy to report that after relocating 5 pieces of furniture in 4 different rooms, THE CHAIR now has a permanent location. THE CHAIR has a permanent location because of the love and determination of our family working together. I couldn't write this blog and share this story without recalling the love chapter in I Corinthians 13 "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and I have a faith that can move mountains , but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres". May God give our family and everyone the grace and strength to love each other even on difficult days and may we also all in turn love others as deeply, genuinely and deeply as God loves us.
Soaring Wings Ministries
Anita Rennells is the author of this blog. She and her husband have moved to Colorado when Ed retired and are in the process of opening a ranch to help homeless young adults.
Soaring Wings Ministries