Saturday, December 17, 2011

What have we done these past years letter 2011

Dear Friends and Family,

Another year has passed us by and we have done our best to live for God and do His will.

Our son, Seth, has been gone from our home for 3 ½ years now.  We hear bits and pieces of where he’s at and what’s been going on but we’re not sure what’s rumor and what is truth.  We pray often that God will grab hold of his heart and life.  That’s all we can do for him right now.

In 2009 Calsey moved to her place of birth, Sioux City, SD to live near her birth mom.  On May 18, 2010 she gave birth to Ayden Jackson and then on November 6, 2011 she gave birth to Gaven Lucas.  We don’t see her often and mostly communicate through phone and Facebook.  She have proven herself a very attentive mother and know that our grandsons are well loved. We pray often for her that she is happy, healthy and will seek God in the decisions of her life.

Our little 3 lb 12 oz miracle continues to amaze us.  She is now 41 inches tall and weighs 36 pounds.  She is tall for her age and people often think she’s older than she is but tall is in her genes so she doesn’t have much choice.  By 2 ½ she knew all her letters (upper and lowercase) and number 0-9.  At that time her favorite show was WordWorld which she would watch on Netflix.  Earlier this year it was taken off Netflix and she now has a new show: Dora the Explorer.  At first I didn’t really like that she got consumed with that show.  I don’t tend to follow fads and what’s popular and I knew Dora was popular.  But I see now that she is learning so much more like Spanish words, counting higher, patterning and many other things. She is a very smart little girl and doesn’t always tell us right away what she knows.  She’ll keep it in her head and then at some come out with like “I knew it all along.”  She’s very much a daddy’s girl and for the most part she happy and healthy.

Linda’s parents, George and Helen Feil, continue to live in Zumbrota, MN.  They are doing well and still living on their seven acres and keeping it up.  Dad broke his foot in the spring and it has taken some time heal.  We are there often to help them with things that need to be done like cutting and hauling wood for their winter heat and fixing their vehicles and for them to spend time with the grandchild who lives the closest.  We spent Thanksgiving Day with them and were joined by our nephew Matthew Nelson and Aunt Rosella Staub.  It was a very pleasant day of visiting and relaxing.

Dan’s dad is living at The Clubb House in Bemidji, MN.  It is a sort of assisted living place.  Dolor has his own room and bathroom and shares meals with the rest of the group.  He celebrated his 80th birthday in July and we traveled up there to see him for that.  We had some conversation with him and he said that while he enjoyed living there he wished he could be at home but we all know that isn’t possible.  Dan’s sister and brother-in-law (Flo and Jeff Richards) have been busy getting the house ready for sale.  I believe it is on the market and they continue to clean it out and sort through the items with sentimental value and get them to the siblings that would want them the most.  We haven’t gotten in on much of that.  When we’re up there Dan pokes through the garage and takes what his dad has promised to him from there.

I am still operating my business but it has gone at a different angle than what I have been doing.  After 2 ½ years of working at Young America Corporation being verbally and emotionally abused I am finally free of that place.  God had his hand at work through the transition.  The day after Easter I received a phone call from the sister of someone I had worked with several years ago.  She asked me if I would be interested in doing their payroll and accounts payable from home.  I said yes and we agreed to talk later in the week.  The next day I went to work and after 2 hours suffered a severe kidney stone attack which landed me in the hospital overnight and granted me three weeks of medical leave from work.  During that time I talked to Susan about the bookkeeping job and we made plans for me start working for Rakhma Homes, which are shared homes for the elderly, about 15 hours a week.  After my three week leave was up I still struggled to continue to work at YAC because I don’t think I was fully recovered from the kidney stone issue.  In early July we had another conversation about adding to my workload at Rakhma.  I explained that in order to leave YAC and have more availability for Rakhma I would need them to give me 25 hours a week.  The plan was to start that on August 1 but as it so happened the office person found another job and it was decided that I would take over some of her duties that I could also do at home.  So the date of July 18 was set for me to quit YAC and start with Rakhama 25 hours a week.  I do all of their bookkeeping expect for accounts receivable.  I do backup scheduling.  I keep track of resident and personnel files and just anything that Susan needs to drop onto my lap so she can be out talking about Rakhma.  This whole process was God’s doing.  Everything from the timing of the kidney stone to the timing of the office person leaving.  Susan says she loves me and everything I do.  In turn, this is the first time I can say that I love my job and can’t wait to do it every day.  I do have to go into the office about twice a month and sometimes I wish I could be there more but it’s an hour’s drive away.

In October I was contacted by one of the elders from our church who has a publishing business that he runs from his home.  His office person decided that she wouldn’t be able to continue to work for him because of her full-time job so he called me.  He showed me around and what is done there and I decided I would do the job for him.  It’s about 6 hours a week for me doing database maintenance and bookkeeping.  I do have to drive to their house which is about 20 minutes away but it’s working out well. 

For both of these jobs I name my own hours which gives me a chance to spend more time with Lilyana and gives Dan the chance to work at OEM in Green Isle doing computer aided drafting and running the CNC plasma cutter.  It’s not consistent work but when they need him it’s nice for him to be available.  When I’m busy he still watches Lilyana and keeps our home heated with wood and does the work on our vehicles.

We have been attending Living Rock Church in Norwood Young America, MN and we are very happy there.  The worship is awesome because our worship team is top notch.  We recently underwent the search and change of a new pastor and things are going well.  It’s nice to see the new pastor involved in the programming, like game helper for AWANA.  He is very supportive of all of our ministries.

We have gradually gotten involved in various ministries at church.  We started going there in the fall of 2008.  In January 2009 I started working in the nursery as Lilyana was 8 months old.  I did that for two years and then last year Dan and I taught Sunday School for two year olds; those who were too big for nursery and yet too young for preschool class.  It was an awesome year of getting to know the same kids and have them go from being really clinging with their parents at the beginning to just running in because they were so comfortable with us.  Having us as a constant presence was what really helped them.  We could have done that again this year but we decided that Lilyana needed some space from us.  When we were around we didn’t feel she behaved or participated as well.  So this year which she is in preschool class we go to the service.  Two Sunday’s a month we work in the first service nursery and one weekend a month Dan helps with setting up for Sunday morning.  We meet in a school so everything from Sunday School rooms to the sanctuary to the coffee table have to be set up each week.  It’s quite an endeavor but our people step up to the plate and get it done.  They also have to take it down after the second service so Dan usually likes to stay to do that and while it was summer and nice out I would take Lilyana out to the playground and play until he was done.  I’m not sure what we’ll do this winter.  As if that’s not enough there are always work days the farm and men’s ministry.  I’ve done some things with women’s ministry but not too much.  Lilyana is participating in singing Christmas songs with the kids on December 18.  The husband of our worship director who is also a music teacher at a local school is leading it and I think it’s going to be great.  It’s just like music class.  We are also helping with AWANA this year; the first time in about 7 years.  Only this time Dan and I are working with Sparks because Lilyana is in her first year of Cubbies.  She loves it and learns her verses every week.  We love our Sparks kids and are enjoying learning a different area of AWANA because all we knew was Cubbies.

Aside from all that’s going on with us we continue to struggle to get back to who we were 10 years ago.  Within the last ten years we’ve had the life sucked out of us to the point of wondering what was left.  When that low hit we found out Lilyana was on the way and so we’ve given our all to her knowing that God must have a plan for her life to give her to parents old, tired and emotionally and physically exhausted.  But I believe that God is sovereign, sitting on his throne making decision in our best interest, maybe not in the timing we want.  So we plod along trying to give Lilyana a “normal” childhood with all the memories that go along with it.

We still live on our 3-acre hobby farm.  Currently, we do not have any chickens but we do still have several cats and our dog, Cinder, who is now about 10 years old. 

That has been our last few years in a nutshell.  If you think of it, please pray for us:
1.                  That Dan and I would be healed from the depression, anxiety and sleeplessness that plague us day after day.
2.                  That Calsey and Seth would give themselves over to God and be willing to walk in His ways.
3.                  That Lilyana will stay healthy.  She had her first ever bout with ear infection a couple weeks ago.  We worry sometimes because she barely eats anything but our pediatrician says it’s okay.  She is the poster child for health.  Pray we won’t worry and that she’ll start eating better soon.  And that she’ll decide to be ready to potty train.

Thank you for your prayers.  And we would love to hear any of your prayer requests and bring them before God.  How great that we serve a God who came as a baby and lived as a man preparing for his ministry.

We’ll leave you with my favorite verse for this time of year:

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."  Matthew 1:21

Dan, Linda and Lilyana


  1. I loved the update and pray that God will continue doing a healing work in your lives! We will be in MN next summer and hope we get the chance to see you all! Have a wonderful Christmas!
    Linda Mitchell

  2. Thanks, Linda. I hope it works out for us to go to your parents anniversary. Not sure yet.