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July 17, 2014 / danaemckee

A Good and Perfect Love Story, Chapter 18 – Our Nest Contracts/Expands – part a

Lula4 copy 4  DanaGirlsGastonia BenMomGastonia 001

We moved, letting the house on Bill Wilson Road sit empty for a few months. The real estate lady called to inform us there was a “moisture problem.” Roger drove down to see what was going on; a small, leaking drip untended had become several gallons of water pooled in the drop ceiling of one basement bedroom. What a pain to take care of a property remotely! When we got a buyer for the Lula house, we were relieved and thankful. We felt free as a molting bird shed of old plumage.  How marvelous to have that off our minds and off the check book.

Roger and DanaGastoniaEaster

We had one child in college in GA, and four with us in NC. It was the right thing for us to move to NC and get our family back together, but the new house was short one bedroom. There was no good place for Ben to squeeze in. He was “grown,” so rather than adjust to a new life on a couch in NC, Ben moved to CA to be with his dad. He was fine. But I did hate it that we did not have a room for our Ben. He went off into the real world of work.

Our move from Georgia to North Carolina came midway through Ginger’s 11th grade, a trying time for her to be uprooted. She took some months off school and drove with Ben to visit their dad when Ben moved. Before she left for her summer trip, Ginger applied to a couple of colleges. Not only accepted, Ginger won a great scholarship to attend a good college near us. She also worked at a gift shop part-time. The second year of Ginger’s college, I ended up doing something I had to apologize to Roger for later. I disregarded my husband’s wishes and manipulated him to do this one more thing my way. When Ben’s plans changed and he put off attending college in CA, the FAFSA* situation changed for Ginger too. Available money amount from grants and scholarships shrank. Roger’s take on it was,

“If there is not enough money, there will be no classes.”

But I pushed him –
“No, don’t allow this college opportunity to slip away for our girl! She faithfully worked hard and did so well this first term.”

He caved and gave in to me, signed a small loan for her to continue, and she returned for the start of another year. Ginger also took out a loan, and so did Clay.

After the gift shop job, Ginger started working part time with Roger at Aramark. Seeing the level of responsibility he had at work and how much people relied on him gave Ginger a new, grownup respect for Roger. A move onto campus made sense when school started up again, and she got more involved in some social aspects of college. Following a couple more semesters, Ginger put college on hold and she moved to CA to be near her dad. I knew that the Lord was at work in both the older kids; there was something important about the dad/son and dad/daughter relationships that needed to happen for them. As the children grow up there many things that may take place beyond our knowledge – those are God’s department for our kids. He covers and cares for them. Always.

my rag man

Roger’s job as Assistant GM turned out to be really the work of a GM. The titled General Manager was also Group Manager over that plant and three others. Roger learned much about being a General Manager there. He’d previously done everything in the service end of things; in Charlotte he learned production. More responsibility; more stress. After a year at the Gastonia house, Roger moved us to Charlotte, just twenty-five miles away. First we rented a large, beautiful home on the north side of town.
Ridge Lane Rd house
God answered a specific prayer and provided for us in a remarkable way that winter. The house was a huge open floor plan, and though the owner was renting to us for a price below market value, I was doing the bills, and was concerned about the power bill. I prayed that the Lord would provide wood for the two fireplaces so that we would be able to afford to heat that big place – 3,500 square feet. Bigger than any place we had ever lived in before. A day or two later, workmen for Duke Power knocked on the front door asking permission to take down a large dead tree on the land. I tried to refer them to the owner, but they assured me that I could give the ok as a renter on the property. So I agreed. The wood from that big tree was already cured perfectly, as it had been dead for some time. I was amazed and humbled, and so excited… I had cried out to Him, and the Lord of heaven and earth had heard me!  God hired three men to work at cutting wood for us for three days. They not only cut the tree down, they cut it up and split it into lengths that fit the fireplaces in the home. Roger was so busy at the Assistant GM job at the time, we did not see him a whole lot. And when he was home, he had small energy to help with household stuff. I cried tears of joy and gratefulness over that firewood, feeling the Lord’s everlasting arms around me. This was evidence of our Father caring for me/for us.  God is my Dad, and He is so faithful.

God had reminded me to ask Him about this looming problem instead of getting mad at Roger (which was my default mode when I wanted him to fix some budget thing for me. Roger typically would say, “I give it all to you, Dana; that’s all I can do. You figure it out. Spend less someplace else.” Which was all true and good advice, if frustrating.) Then God had fixed it without me borrowing or fretting (very much) or scheming or anything.

Only seven months after moving in we found that home was being foreclosed on, so we bought a nice house on Elwood Drive. There we settled in for a few years. While in the first Charlotte house, we became good friends with neighbors Chris and Alton. They introduced us to Abundant Life, a vibrant, new church meeting in a theater. The senior pastor, Brent Detwiler, preached the Word; families there seemed to have their kids in order in a way we had not seen before. Bob Kauflin led worship in a skillful, God-honoring way. They were friendly, lovely folks, and they welcomed us into the church there.

Homeschooling the younger kids was a full-time job for me. We found that some of them had eye/hand coordination and perception problems. Homeschool was a great option to gear lessons to their specific needs so they could learn at their own pace. The Lord sent us perfect resources for what we needed, and provided testing and encouragement through Mary, a new friend we found at Abundant Life. She had multiple degrees in evaluating and teaching kids with learning differences. Mary tested the kids for us, pointed us toward good curriculum, encouraged us, and showed us lots of strategies. What a wonderful help! We met life-long friends at our church-beautiful, sweet people. And we found more great friends in our neighbors, the Hearns. Their kids were similar ages to our Aaron, Corrie and Barney, and they also homeschooled.

CorrieBarnBDCharlotte  RogerDanaApr93trip

Roger worked lots of hours; the kids were growing; life was busy. We were challenged at church by a friend who worked in an adoption agency to become foster parents. Corrie, our ten-year-old daughter, asked if we could do it; we thought, “Why not?” If a baby needs someplace to stay for awhile, they can certainly stay with us. We went through the process and got licensed to do foster care in Mecklenberg county.

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