Saturday, May 31, 2008

God's surprises as He takes cares care of us

Dear friends,

I have heard from a few of you regarding my last blog entry that was pretty emotional- for me to write and for you to read. I will give an update so you know I am OK.

Just after writing, the girls got a call from a friend and former Caleb Project staff member. She let them know that one option for a place to live this summer in Denver (that they had heard about many weeks ago) was still a possibility. They contacted the owner and it was all set, for 1 1/2 days! The owner sent family in to check it out, and there had been a significant water leak. So, she called to tell them it needed to be repaired and was unlivable for the time being. So, as of Tuesday, they were homeless again. Jesse still thought Allison's car would be adequate.

On the same day, a friend of mine from Denver called to encourage me, and she did! She reads my blog regularly and they pray for us faithfully. Her daughter and Laura "happened to" share a locker in middle school. Laura and Nickie have remained friends all this time, and we got to know Janet and Sean through the girls. Janet mentioned that if Allison and Jenni needed a place to stay this summer, and that they are totally welcome to stay at their house. I assured her that they finally had a place to stay and thanked her for her offer.

Several hours later, Allison called to tell me about the other option falling through. I talked to Janet again, and she was excited about the idea of the girls staying with them. They are empty nesters and have room, in our old stomping grounds. So praise God for His provision! You can imagine that this mother's heart is deeply grateful! I told the girls God would do something amazing! This is a blessing for the girls and Janet says it is for them too.

Allison and Jenni started driving on Thursday and arrived in Denver today. They had a smooth trip, and didn't even complain about the lack of air conditioning in Allison's car. Jenni is already out applying for jobs today. Allison has a nanny job with the same family she has worked with for many years. The two girls she cares for have become like family to us. They are growing up fast!

Another exciting thing happened this week. Jesse has gotten a job- at Starbucks! He has wanted to work there all year and starts on Monday. He has definitely been persistent and it finally paid off. He also has been doing some other odd jobs and has taken up golfing. 6-8 of his friends were over last evening hanging out with us. All of them are seniors and graduating next week.

We got our church newsletter yesterday, and I had Greg check to see if the Women’s Ministry article I wrote got printed or not. They printed the article and included a picture I didn’t even remember them taking of me! So I guess that makes me a published author! Hmmm…

We are going to a farewell party tonight for our backyard neighbors. He is in the Air Force and was here to get his doctorate at Gonzaga University. They leave in a few weeks and will be very missed. Our gift to them is going to be a copy of a book I have read called The Shack, by Michael P. Williams. It is an excellent fictional allegory dealing with who God is, the problem of sorrow and pain, etc. The main character meets God face to face and gets to ask questions and get to know God intimately at the same time. I am reading it for the second time to prepare for a book discussion with my Bible study ladies. I highly recommend it to any of you. Some of the scenes in the book have come back into my memory when I catch myself judging others. If you read the book, you will know what I mean! They are having a hard time keeping it on the store shelves here in Spokane.

I am doing OK physically. I have had a few late rises in the morning and one in the early afternoon due to tiredness and aching. Those days seem to occur with or shortly before the rain arrives so I suspect “rhuematiz.” I am seeing the chiropractor about every 5 days. I tried a week and was really hurting by the time I went...I have made progress on the curriculum this week and turned some of it over for editing to a friend. Greg and I are preparing for 5 days of teaching at a Christian camp 45 minutes from here the last week of June. We will be with 13 eighteen year olds and teaching about missions.

Yesterday another friend and I took Madeline, my Swiss friend who is moving to Stockholm soon, to the Lilac Gardens in town for a last picnic together. What a whiff of heaven!...Laura is doing well in Baltimore, and Lindsay Reitsma is moving in on Monday for 5 weeks or so. We went hunting for a sister for Jesse so he won’t be so lonely until Allison and Jenni come in August. Lindsay will be a senior at Whitworth Univ. in the fall.

I need to go since I am feeling the urge to write a poem for Brian and Jessica, our backyard neighbors. Blessings, and as always, thank you for reading, caring and praying for me and my family! Nancy Fritz

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hi friends,

I want to give you a quick update on Jenni and Allison's living situation this summer in Denver. I explained this in my last entry if you want to look there for the background. Anyway...a friend contacted the girls to let them know that one of the options that was open before, was still open. The girls jumped at it as it looked like a great situation.

This lady sent a family member to check on her place and they discovered a large water leak and a great deal of damage. So much so, that her home is "uninhabitable" and needs to be repaired. So the girls went from, "Whew! We finally found a place with 4 days to spare!" to, "Mom, we have no options. What do we do?

They begin driving from Florida toward Denver tomorrow afternoon since Allison's car has no air conditioning and they don't want to drive during the hot part of the day. Allison's roommate decided that she isn't going to Denver for the summer, so it will just be Allison and Jenni. Jenni will be looking for a job.

A sweet friend called me from Denver yesterday (you know who you are!) and really encouraged me. She mentioned that the girls could stay with them even temporatily if they need a place, so maybe that would work out(?). I'll try calling in the morning. We would appreciate your prayers for the Lord to continue to help this to all work out.

I have been making headway on the curriculum I am working on. I am really looking forward to getting it finished!

We had a report today at Partners from the Myanmar and China disaster areas. We have partners working there right now. They are getting very tired and one leader broke his tooth, and is in pain. One of our Partners just finished training 20 leaders from that area on disaster relief. They are giving aid strategically so that the supplies actually get to the people who need them. One huge need in both places is counselors to help all those who have lost loved ones. I can't imagine that much loss all at once.

I will stop for now, but did want to give you this quick update so you can pray for these 2 girls driving across the country, for a place for them to live in S.Denver and for Jenni to find a summer job and Allison a long term job. The AT&T job did not happen, so the Lord must have other plans.

God bless you! Thanks for reading! Nancy Fritz

Thursday, May 22, 2008

How am I feeling today? My heart response.

Dear friends,

I am feeling somewhat melancholy today with lots of emotions whirling around inside of me. As I ponder the pile and identify them, they are unwinding into discernable entities. I am learning by processing them.

One I am feeling is contentment. I am making a lot of friends and am plugged in at church and am also connecting in our neighborhood. Although I really struggle to learn names because of the damage chemo did to my memory in ’99, I just keep asking for names until I get them down. People are very understanding. I get phone calls from my new friends and enjoy the networking. I am actually co-hosting a baby shower for a new friend tomorrow night. And after so many brought us meals following my two surgeries in the fall, I have been able to pay it forward and take dinner to a few others. It is so nice to be connected to others here…contentment.

Another feeling stirring is unsettledness. We have been here almost a year and I still have an unorganized basement to deal with. My shoulder injury and surgery prevented my doing much until this spring, but now that I am cleared by my doctor to do whatever I want to without limitations. The sorting and organizing can happen now, and I have to do it myself- that is to say that the things that need organizing are mine and only I would know what I want to do with them. Slowly I am making progress, and Greg has built me shelves to organize my kids’ missions curriculum and supplies. Now it is just taking the time to go down there and get it done.

Inefficient describes how I feel when I need to find something here in town. I know just where to get it in Denver, but I have to learn where to get it here. That just takes time and energy. It is a process. My friend told me that studies show that it takes 2 years to acclimate after a move, even if it is just across town. Learning new grocery stores, and figuring out where to go for the best prices on things takes a lot of energy. Then there are the tasks of finding new doctors, labs, the library (and remembering my password there!), supplies for children’s ministry and … you get the picture. I wish I could just KNOW these things!

Isolated. That one is interesting, isn’t it? I have been trying to nail this one down for a few weeks. This is coming from the holes in my heart that used to be filled with my Denver relationships. I am not there anymore, so those friends have moved on to other relationships. I was part of so many lives for so many years, and now my friends are moving on without me. Their children are graduating from high school or college, or getting married, and I am not there to see it happen. Friends are going through cancer there. My support group, small group, outreach committee and Bible study table friends are still meeting without me, and Colorado family are feeling very far away. There were promises made about staying in touch that haven’t been kept- as much from my side as from theirs. This is bound to happen when you move, but it is a new type of loss for me to process. I am just feeling far away right now. A friend here told me the other day about being in California recently. She told some people there that she is from Washington. All of a sudden it hit me that I am from Washington, too! How did I get here?

Helpless. Jenni and Allison, and Allison’s friend Kim, will be heading to Denver toward the end of this month, and still need a place to stay. The house sitting situation they thought they had set fell through last week, and so far nothing else has fallen into place. A few other options were open a month ago, but they didn’t take them because they thought it was settled. (Jesse says Allison has a car, so they could just live in that!) I just wish I lived there so they could stay with ME! I trust that the Lord will supply a place for them. He knows their need and loves them even more than I do. So my feeling helpless is actually an OK place to be, because God will shine as He takes care of it. In our weakness His power is made perfect. I am entrusting my girls to Him, and that is a safe place for them to be. (If you have any ideas, email or call me at or 509-990-8465. Thanks! They plan to be there June 1st-the end of the first week of August.) We are having a Whitworth student we know from Denver live here with us for 5-6 weeks this summer.- Lindsay Reitsma. We are excited about that!

Feeble. I am feeling so old! I think it is worse when wet weather comes through here- like today. One of my medications to deter cancer growth is called Femara and makes my joints hurt. I am supposed to take it for the rest of my life- all my doctors think so, even the naturopathic ones. I deal with the aches symptomatically. I take medicine for the aches and pains when it gets bad. It usually isn’t terrible, and I can still get around when I want or need to. Femara causes high cholesterol and osteoporosis also, so Greg and I try to walk in the evenings, which my doctors also want me to do. So it is just part of life, and other than needing extra rest and having no desire or ability to push my limits physically, I think I seem pretty normal to those who know me here. If I push myself one day, I have to sleep extra the next day. I also have to get some teeth made to replace the ones that had infections under them. I’m one tooth away from having nowhere to chew! I keep praying that one tooth will stay healthy and strong!

Excited. Last night I taught 22 kids my Olympics lesson at church. We had the “Cockroach Olympics.” (Now there was something that was impossible to find in Spokane- a gross of rubber cockroaches! I really depended on the U.S. Toy store near our home in Denver.) We did some Olympic events with the bugs and then a lesson about the nations being represented in heaven, and how that is similar to the opening and closing ceremonies with the countries walking in behind their flags. The kids really seemed to “get it.” That is one of my very favorite moments in life- to be teaching kids about missions and they understand something that will make a difference for their whole life. They each got to pick a country to represent for the evening and since I did a two week lesson on Uzbekistan, the boy who got the Uzbeks was the envy of all the others. It was so sweet! I let them each take a cockroach home, but assured the parents that they won’t reproduce.

Grateful. I have had 9 years since my cancer first showed up, and I am grateful for every day. I am grateful for my fantastic husband who is an amazing and talented guy. I am grateful for 4 healthy and mission-minded, godly kids who love each other and are coping well with their lives. I am grateful for a lifetime of fantastic friends. I am grateful for a chance to be connected to Partners International and the strategic ministry it has in the 10/40 Window. We have people on the ground in every area of the world where these horrific things are happening, representing Christ and bringing help and good news to the hurting. I am grateful to be part of the Body of Christ and to know brothers and sisters from the other side of the planet. I am grateful for God’s provision for us at every turn. I am grateful for a new community to settle in that has been very welcoming. I am grateful that I have assurance of salvation in Christ and that my time in this world is only a short stop in light of eternity. I could go on and on, but I will stop for now.

Thanks for letting me share the deep places of my heart with you. It helps to put it in writing. God bless you- Nancy Fritz

Friday, May 09, 2008

Lots of places!

Dear friends,

I wrote a long entry in my blog for you last night, and at the very end I pushed the wrong button and deleted it by mistake. I hate when I do that! So I will attempt to rewrite it tonight and try to remember all the things I need to tell you- again.

On April 25th Greg and I used the tickets we got in Feb. from being bumped on the airline and went to Florida to attend Allison’s graduation. On the way we had a 3 hour layover in Denver and discovered that Jon Hardin (former co-worker at Caleb Project/ I360) was going to fly into our concourse while we were waiting. We met him and got to visit for a little while before he had to leave to have his 3rd chemo treatment for colon cancer. It was a blessing and encouragement to catch up with him. He said that he often has people tell him how much they miss Caleb Project and are grieving the loss of the ministry even now a year later. We are missing what was, but are grateful for how the Lord has brought us to where we are now.

We had a wonderful time with Allison. She graduated magna cum laude with high honors with a degree in Elementary Education. We went to church with her and enjoyed being with her college friends. She has a treasure in that group of friends. On Monday we went to the beach with her and saw dolphins. And a sea gull stole Allison’s sandwich right out of her hand without her seeing it coming! It was pretty funny! She will be staying there for a few more weeks with Jenni who will join her on Tuesday after her finals at Grove City. At the end of May they will drive to Denver for Allison’s summer nanny job. Jenni and Allison’s friend Kim are going to look for summer jobs. Allison is expecting a second phone interview with AT&T for a job that would start in November. That is a matter of prayer. By the way, Allison’s car ended up having just a detached hose and is working fine. Thanks for praying for this!

I just finished doing a two week lesson with the Kids’ Club Program on Wednesday nights at church. We focused on the Riffi Berbers of Morocco. Next week is Turkey and we finish for the summer with a focus on the Olympics and teaching them how to pray for the nations and peoples mentioned in the Bible as they watch the Olympics this summer. We are trying to order some rubber cockroaches to do the cockroach Olympics for fun that night too. Then I get a break from this program for the summer.

Last week was the Partners International Board Meeting. One highlight for me was meeting a lady named Myrna. She lives in Indonesia and the Lord has placed the Province of Aceh on her heart. Her story was amazing. She was healed from cancer and arthritis before she even started. Her life has been threatened many, many times, but she recounts miracles of how she was protected each time. Now there are 100 believers among the Aceh people. There is a seminary training workers to go into Aceh and a radio station focused on Aceh. There are seminary grads living in Aceh villages.
This woman kept us spellbound with these experiences she has had. I feel like I got to visit Aceh which our church in Denver has been praying for for at least 16 years. The tsunami opened lots of doors for the Gospel to get into that area. There is an Aceh child sponsorship opportunity through Partners International. Again, I feel tremendously privileged to meet and pray for these Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I hosted a group of ladies in our home for a luncheon on Friday to give us a chance to spend some quality time with Myrna. Afterwards another PI staff wife took Myrna up on a mountain to her house so Myrna could see snow for the first time. It was a great memory maker for hre.

I saw my naturopath doctor this week and we are having to adjust some of my supplements to bring my cholesterol down more. It came down 30 points in the last 3 months, but he had hoped that it would come down faster than that considering all the things I was doing with diet and supplements. So we are adding in niacin for 6 weeks and then I have to get it tested again. One of my anticancer meds is causing my cholesterol to go up, and has also done this in a few of my friends. It is called Femara and is like Tamoxifen which you may have heard of. Anyway, I’d appreciate prayer that my cholesterol would decrease. I have a lot of family history of heart disease, so this is important. I may have to go on statins if this doesn’t work.
Otherwise, my chiropractor is still working out muscle spasms on my right side by doing deep massage. It is definitely helping. I must be feeling more energy, and so I am saying yes to too many things. I need to be careful not to overdo it. Dr. Valley told me that the niacin can make my short term memory shorter, make me achy and make me more tired. I am already dealing with all those things, so this should be interesting.
Jesse was in the school talent show tonight playing guitar and singing a song he wrote. He did an excellent job. He has the prom on Saturday and wants me to help him find a light moss green bow tie to go with his tux.
Jesse received an invitation to 2 ministries in Africa next spring. He graduates early and plans to go overseas to experience community development, disaster preparedness, living with the poor, and servanthood to give him an idea of what to study when he goes to college.
Jenni called to tell us that she auditioned for a Grove City small singing group for next year, and made it in. They will travel to churches next spring and do programs weekly.
Greg had a successful board meeting from his angle last week and the budget was approved. He has enjoyed preparing garden beds in our yard. We now have berries and flowers planted that are leafing out. It is fun to watch them grow.

I need to sign off before I loose this again. I know I am forgetting things, but you can email me and ask questions. or call me at 509-990-8465. Thank you for persevering to the end to read this. I know it is a work out.! So is writing it twice!
God bless you- Nancy Fritz