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Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Night of Thanks

It's not a party until Auntie Faye and Uncle Lin arrive! We love you two!
Ginger and her mom....

Ginger and her cousin, Julie... Big smiles run in our family!

Ginger and her good friend, Erin... one of many friends it will be hard to say good-bye to.

Jim and Ginger with Boppa and Juju.... so glad they made the trip from Texas!
Us with Ric and Sally, sweet friends and hosts of the beautiful evening. Thanks Engrams!

Aimee made the blog! Yippee... Angela, Ginger and Aimee (Phoenix Aimee). Love you girls.

"Not a Good-Bye......."

Last Saturday night, Jim and I had a wonderful celebration for our engagement. It was night to thank God for His wonderful provisions. It was celebrated with many of those who have made up my loving network of friends here in Phoenix. My "family" here in the desert. I hesitate to try to put into words how I feel for these sweet people here. I know I will do it an injustice. Troy and I came to Luke AFB exactly 4 years ago. We viewed it as "another non-operational flying assignment" and a nice chance to be near home after 3 years of living in Italy. The thing we had no idea would happen was that our lives would become so intricately woven in the fabric of our community here that we began dreading leaving years before it was supposed to happen. As I have told many, God made a nest for us here. What Troy, nor I, nor anyone at this engagement party ever dreamt was that this nest was the only protection I would have from the twenty foot fall from the tree that would happen to us on Nov. 27th, 2006.

Our pastor Steve and his wife, my dear friend, Tami were the first to my aide the second I was told Troy was involved in an Iraqi plane crash. They did not leave my side for virtually months on end. So many leagues of friends rallied around me that I would literally fill the pages of this blog with their names and their kind deeds. They faithfully "....mourned with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15).

As I am preparing for this, our 8th Air Force move (my first alone), I feel my roots here being tugged a little from the surface. But I am(and my friends I leave behind here should be too!) rest assured that those roots run deep in the landscape of my life here. We will always return to visit our friends and the bridge over Luke AFB bearing my husband's name. It's not the end of the book, just a new chapter. Thanks for a lovely evening and an amazing place to call home. And thanks, too, for "Rejoicing with those who rejoice...." (Romans 12:15).

(These are Jim's reflections on the night):
I wish I could have sat with everyone there and expressed my thanks to them. I can't help but feel a debt of gratitude to each and every one of them as they all cared for Ginger when life was at its most arduous. We have all experienced hard times and we all know that it can be difficult to see a purpose in the midst of trials and at times to see a way out. Last night I met so many people who had given so much to Ginger and the kids. Even though I shared in Ginger's trial, too, it was only through emails and I never had to see the reality of the words she wrote. It was these friends that bore the brunt of Ginger's pain and suffering. They are the ones who cared for the kids when Ginger was lost in grief. They are the ones who took care of the management of the house, paying bills and ensuring just the mundane events of life were taken care of. They moved Ginger to a new home, hung the pictures, organized the closets, and threw a first birthday party for the twins. This and countless other acts of love and kindness are what these people represent. And last night was a time to celebrate God's answer to so many prayers spoken by so many.

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