Category Archives: Family

Letters to Eisley #3

Dear Eisley Hope,

Grammie is staying at your mama and daddy’s house for a few days. Pops and I are getting a new roof on the house and it’s very messy and loud. Grammie isn’t real good with messy and loud, especially since you left us. So Watson and I came here to have some peace and quiet.

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I miss you so much. At first it was hard for me to stay here, I didn’t realize it would be….but you are everywhere in this home. We so desperately had hoped you could live here for a little while. After you left us, your Aunt Marie was careful to help pack all your things away before she returned to Romania. But I guess there are certain things your mama chose not to pack away.

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My heart gave a leap when I saw the quilt I had bought you this last Christmas. The cheerful yellow color peeked out at me as it is folded sweetly in the drawers of the dresser in the guest room where I stay. Maybe I will sleep with it tonight. Maybe I will feel closer to you. Maybe I will christen it with my tears. So many dreams we had for you baby girl. So very bittersweet.

The hardest part for me is your mama’s empty arms. The empty rocking chair. Your mama is such a natural mama, you might not realize this Eisley, but not everyone is. There were babies in your NICU with no mama around. However, your mama was created to understand little ones and she was beside you every moment she could be. She often noticed things before your NICU nurses did. I just wish people were more merciful with her.

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Mama’s are meant to fix things. Many things can be fixed with a kiss and a band-aid. I look at your mama and I realize there is no band-aid big enough to fix this pain. It is only something that Jesus can heal. The same was true for you. Your mama and I have walked a similar path. We both have beloved daughters with needs only Jesus can meet.

You are perfect now with no pain. For that I am thankful. The few times we could tell you were uncomfortable were unbearable. Your silent little cry coupled with our helplessness was almost too much to bear. Maybe that’s why Grammie desperately needs peace and quiet more than ever.

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I miss you so much Eisley. There will be more grandchildren…. Teddy is coming soon! But please know that no matter how many grandchildren Pops and I have, you will never be replaced, ever. Not only is your name tattooed on my foot, but my love for you Eisley Hope Klein Hutchinson is tattooed on my heart.

Until that day you run to greet me,

Love, Grammie XOXOXO

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Letters to Eisley #2

Dear Eisley,

I miss you. I’m wondering about heaven. Will you always be a tiny one? In my mind I see you running and greeting  me one day, like Mercy would. A couple weeks ago I was in the hospital with chest pains. As I laid on that table I was very peaceful. I thought of those I know who love Jesus and have left this earth and now are with Him.

There are many I long to see,  but no one more than you. I want time with you, time to get to know you with your little unique personality that God gives to each one and gave to you. One day I will have an eternity with you, but not yet. My physical heart is just fine.

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Last time I wrote you I told you several times that Grammie is trying to trust God. I try to search for joy each day. Most of my joy comes from looking at God’s creation.  Pops and I spend a lot of time on the boat we named after you. We go to Lake Rollins and just look at the beauty around us. The majestic ponderosa pines surround us and reflect in the water.  It comforts me to know in all it’s beauty,  it is just a faded glimpse of the beauty you dwell in right now. One day we shall join you.

This Saturday will be one year since your Grammie and Pops got in a horrible car accident. It has been a source of much confusion to me. When it happened our car was spinning in circles and I found myself crying out the powerful name of Jesus over and over. When it all stopped this thought went through my mind – we shouldn’t be alive, but we are!

accident

So this Saturday on August 8, 2015 we are having a Thanksgiving dinner to thank God for sparing our lives in that car accident. I realized something this last few weeks and it is this –  the enemy of our souls was trying to destroy us and God intervened.

I always thought of the car accident as a physical thing…..a person not paying attention and rear ending us and causing us to jackknife and roll. You are probably so much wiser than your Grammie in this area as you know about the spiritual kingdom, but I now know that it was a spiritual thing and God intervened.

“The God-begotten are also the God-protected.

The Evil One can’t lay a hand on them.

We know that we are held firm by God…”

1 John 5:18

But when it came to you Eisley Hope, I have thought, well God could have intervened and He chose not to. He took Eisley home with Him. As I have struggled to trust God in this situation, I have realized that I was wrong about Him and that He did intervene on your behalf several times. So this Saturday we will also be thanking God for your life.

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God gave you life, and in the brokenness of this world as a result of the fall, you got an extra chromosome. You should have been miscarried, but God intervened. You should have been stillborn, but again God intervened. Your fragile body would have died in labor, but God intervened. His Holy Spirit inside of your mama prompted her to go to the hospital nine weeks early. How thankful I am for that and how thankful I am that she listened.

“Since ancient times no one has heard or perceived,

no eye has seen any God besides you,

who intervenes for those who wait for him.”

Isaiah 64:4

God intervened by giving your mama a wise doctor who knew you needed to come out early and you did! Our world was turned upside down, and to be honest sweet baby girl, it’s not upright yet…but you lived and we loved you for twelve precious days. I am so thankful to have met you Eisley Hope. Your short life has made me a better person.

My friend Denise made ornaments for your mama and daddy and both sets of grandparents as a keepsake of you. Your name is on one side and an incredible truth on the other –

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The Bible tells us in Psalms that our days were appointed before we left our mother’s womb. Your 12 days + Eternity equals a whole and perfect Life. It’s been a blink of the eye since Pops and I raised your mama and our family – and it will be the blink of an eye until I see you again sweet baby girl.

Run to meet your Grammie on that day and we will have an eternity to get to know one another. Until then I will write you letters as I purpose to trust our Creator and Savior.

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Letters to Eisley #1

Grammie wept for you today baby girl. I was cleaning out my email inbox and I started at the bottom and there was a shared folder that your mama had sent me. Grammie of course would rather look at pictures of you than work, so I clicked on the link and there you were.

My heart lurched as I saw your mama in her hospital gown without me there. I was stuck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a cruise ship. Grammie is trying to trust God. Your daddy was at her side doing a great job. Your Uncle Andrew was making faces at the camera. God provided so many people to surround your mama and daddy and support all of you.

My tears didn’t flow until I saw this picture of your foot in the incubator. I remembered your mama telling me on the phone all about you, she was so excited. I still can’t believe I missed your birth Eisley. I’m sorry for that. I wish I had been there. Grammie is trying to trust God.

Your mama told me that your big toe was shaped like a heart. She was thrilled with you – love at first sight. Actually, that’s not true because your mama loved before she ever saw you – she loved you while you were in the womb. Your little feet would stretch out and give your mama a kick. We had no idea about your precious toes. We had no idea about any of your struggles. That’s so wrong we weren’t better prepared for you baby girl. Grammie is trying to trust God.

Eisley's piggies

So today Eisley Hope, when your Grammie was supposed to be working, I took a break to grieve. I just sat at the computer looking at your precious heart shaped toe and let my tears fall. How I miss you sweet baby girl. Today you would be approaching four months of age. I imagine if you were here that your Aunt Sheri and I would be arm-wrestling for who got to watch you when your mama was at work. But I bet Mama wouldn’t have gone back to work…she just wanted to take care of you.

Did you know I had a pack ‘n play all set up for you with little toys across the top? I had gotten out a yellow baby blanket that was mine. I’d never even used it on any of your aunties or uncles or your mama. I don’t know why. I guess I was saving it for something special. I had it in the little bed waiting for you to arrive. We ended up using it to line your resting box. I had no idea it would be used for something that special.

Precious little one how I wish I could play “This little Piggy” with you. When you were in the hospital I keep trying to figure out another line, since you had an extra piggy. Grammie played it with all the babies- your cousins Spencer, Addy, Emma and Mercy. You would be the perfect age right now to squeal with laughter.

It’s really hard without you Eisley. There are lots of babies all around right now so I am constantly reminded of the loss. My arms ache to hold you, to snuggle my face into your neck and to smell your baby sweetness. Nothing fills the void. Nothing. You are missed Eisley Hope Klein Hutchinson, more than you could ever imagine and Grammie is trying to trust God.

Life’s a corkscrew that can’t be straightened, A minus that won’t add up….

These are the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:15 – even in his great wisdom he can’t make sense of life.

Lots of things this past year haven’t made sense to me either. Life’s a corkscrew that can’t be straightened, yes I have found this to be true. The evil appear to prosper while the innocent die.

I shake my head in disbelief.

That’s what I found myself doing on Saturday, April 4th, shaking my head in disbelief. I was in a private hospital room with my family, watching my loved one’s hearts break as we knew our Eisley Hope would soon be leaving this earth. I stood there shaking my head and saying, “No, this can’t be happening, no, no, no.”

Just 24 hours earlier this precious granddaughter had been doing so incredibly well that even her very conservative doctor was optimistic.

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A minus that won’t add up….

My past couple years have had lots of equations that didn’t calculate the way I thought they would. Losing Eisley Hope Klein Hutchinson was by far the hardest in a long list of hard.

It certainly didn’t add up.

Somehow in my mind this sweet precious baby girl was going to be the plus in my life that would somehow cancel out all the hard…and our family could start with a clean slate. Instead I watched as my daughter Sarah’s heart was crushed along with her husband’s and her sibling’s, my husband’s and mine.

Days later, I sat beside my dear husband at our granddaughter’s funeral and witnessed him weep like I had never seen. It was surreal. Our pastor said something really helpful to us as he opened the service. He told us that we don’t have to have our doctrine all correct to wade through this. I appreciated this as I was really confused and nothing made sense.

Family united by Eisley

I believe in the God of the universe- so great and mighty and sovereign, yet a mystery… of a God who reaches down to mankind, on an intimate, personal level to be reunited with us. A God who in the scripture is described as a loving father, a devoted and faithful husband, a shepherd who watches over us. Not only do I believe, but I have experienced Him, time and time again.

I also believe in a world broken by sin and man’s free will. I cannot and will not blame God for the consequences of a world broken by sin. I know He could have intervened and changed Eisley’s course. Yet He chose not to. He chose to take Eisley Hope home with him.

That leaves empty hearts and empty arms ….and a lot of questions. Some of those questions can scare us.

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I attended church alone the day after Eisley died. I asked our Pastor to pray for me. I told him, I am not here because I am strong. I am here because my faith is fragile and I need to hear the truth of the resurrection. I then discovered a peace that came from God holding me regardless of whether I was able in my weakness to hold onto Him.

Over the past few years I’ve discovered that there are two types of people. Some question me as they try to gain understanding. Then there are the others who question simply because they want to stand in judgement of me. They have no desire to understand. They don’t know the whole story and they don’t see the whole picture.

I realized this is true for me with my God. I need to come honestly before Him with my questions, but humbly acknowledging I don’t know the whole story and I don’t see the whole picture. I accept many of the mysteries of God; The Holy Trinity, The deity of Jesus, How election and free will are both true….the list goes on.

So I rest in what I do know- His faithfulness to me for many years, His comfort like none other, His still small voice, the blessed hope of heaven. I choose to accept, like Solomon, that this will never add up in my mind, I will never be able to understand the “why”.

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So I will accept another mystery by faith. The mystery of baby Eisley being given twelve days of life. The mystery of our hearts being crushed. I will hold onto the hope that Jesus is a God who brings beauty out of ashes. I’ll search for that beauty with all of my strength, knowing that when my strength fails that He is always willing to carry me and show me in His own time.

Update in Romania #2

“When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks.

Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively.

That is the way your God, who conceived you in love,

working behind the scenes, helps you out……”

 The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:3-4 msg

Yesterday in the afternoon I waded through a mess of emotions, having a hard time. I really missed my mother and was grieving. I was sad over the brokenness of the relationship with my sister. Even though I had this lovely room and family here in Romania, I felt a little scared and lonely. I wanted my bed in Weimar, California, United States of America. My daughter, Marie, allowed me to verbalize my feelings and listened. She lovingly parented the parent.

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You see I was the child who grew up playing alone in my room and I was content to do so. It was very safe and everything was the same schedule. It was comfortable.

I watch my little granddaughters and marvel at how uniquely they are created. BTW, if anyone reading this compares their children to others, please recognize this is harmful. Relish their uniqueness in how their Creator made them. I wish I had known this truth when I was raising our children, rather than thinking there was one standard to strive for instead of embracing their differences.

Mercy and Addy are night and day; it is so fun to watch. Their personalities remind me so much of raising Aaron and Marie, yet they are their own little unique persons. Much of our time here will be ministering to them…Reminding them of their extended family across the ocean…Loving them.

Girls at mall

And that doesn’t seem very “big”. Will they even remember we came? I read this verse yesterday which helped me wade through my emotions and come out victoriously rested in Christ –

“When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out……”

The amazing part to me is realizing how my God has been doing this for Danny and me – working behind the scenes, quietly and unobtrusively helping us along the way. Special family situations, my mother’s passing into eternity, the accident…He has been there holding us quietly the whole time. And now we are in Romania and He calls us to do the same.

Romania sky

So you probably won’t be reading about the amazing things we are doing over here. It looks like we won’t get to help the Orphanage workers take the kids to the ocean. I’m hopeful to visit the baby hospital weekly, and I don’t know when that will start. I’m actually glad it hasn’t started, I still hurt from the accident. So I hang laundry on my balcony and pray over the city.

I’ve realized the things we will be doing won’t seem so amazing, however they are changing me. I’m not in my safe Weimar bedroom with my little schedule anymore. I’m across the world learning how to rest in His grace and the amazing work He is doing.

Jesus says this in the last verse in Matthew 6 – “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Pray with us that we can give our entire attention to what God is doing right now here in Romania, and not get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.

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I want to be like this amazing Romanian tree – firmly rooted, but always growing…

Update in Romania #1

Several months ago we felt called to travel to Romania for an extended time with the purpose of serving. You are allowed in the country for up to 3 months without a VISA. Since it was our first time coming we thought we’d start with 2 months. We were so confident of the Lord’s direction that we did not get travel insurance as we have before. So on August 8th when we were in a major vehicle and travel trailer accident, just a little over 2 weeks before our departure, we were a bit confused! Our main home (which we listed as a vacation rental on http://www.vrbo.com/557596 so we could afford to come) had rented for the exact time we were going to be gone and our plane tickets were non-refundable. Considering these circumstances we decided to proceed forward in faith.

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The trip was uneventful and everything went smoothly. We drove ourselves and returned our rental vehicle at San Francisco Airport. Watson traveled like a champ, waiting to take a pit stop in Munich, Germany. We arrived on time in Bucharest after midnight and the Lord had just recently provided Anchor of Hope a ministry van so we had comfortable transportation to the Burtt’s apartment. That meant no crowded wild taxi ride without seat belts after the trauma of being in the prior accident! August is a holiday month here, so arriving late in the month allowed us time to deal with the jetlag and celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary on Friday, August 29th.

So on that Friday we were sent away to a mall for a couple hours and came back to the apartment transformed into a restaurant! We were seated on a outdoor patio table on the 20th floor balcony. (Yes we are in an apartment that has bedrooms and baths on the 19th floor and kitchen, living room and laundry on the 20th floor!) We had a candlelit dinner with printed menu offering authentic Romanian options for us to choose from. Mercy and Addy were our servers and Marie and Christian were the chefs! It was delicious and we felt so loved. They played a song from our wedding and had us dance.

Danny & Bonnie 39 yrs

The first Sunday in September celebrates for us three years since the Lord moved us to Auburn Grace Community Church. This move was the beginning of a new work that the Lord has been doing in our lives. A large part of this is a result of how our church, through the 301 seminar series, encouraged us to understand our spiritual gifting. This gave us an opportunity to look at how we might be able to serve the Lord together as a couple in this later season of our lives. We discovered as different as we are in personality that we have three common spiritual gifts: helps, faith and wisdom.

It was such a blessing to see and hug Marie and Christian and hear them talk about the joy of having Pastor Lorin recently visit them and what an encouragement he was to them. Part of why we are in Romania is to continue encouraging them and help them as missionaries. We will be doing little things like walking the children to and from school; babysitting while Marie & Christian attend their church’s weekly small group in the evenings and possibly another weekly evening having a date night! These are all little things that can lighten their load and help them.

Pops and Addy

We are hopeful to serve Anchor of Hope in some of the following ways –

1. Helping at the main home of the ministry- Danny and Christian doing outside work and maintenance of the home (2-3 weeks of work); Bonnie and Marie hemming several sets of long draperies in the home and then sorting through and organizing recent donations (1-2 weeks of work).

2. Helping with this year’s day trip to the ocean with the children from the orphanage.

kids at the ocean

3. Helping in the baby orphanage weekly – feeding, cuddling, changing, etc.

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In the meantime in the evenings (since we are ten hours ahead) we will be delegating some time working on our business- answering our emails and making necessary calls. We feel privileged to be able to be here and can see that the relaxed pace of life will be good for us as we try to mend from the accident.

Please pray that we would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s direction instead of holding to our own agendas and that our accident injuries would heal quickly. Pray our vacation rental cottage (http://www.vrbo.com/472934) would also rent while we are gone.

For those of you on Facebook here is the ministry page:

https://www.facebook.com/anchorofhoperomania

 

For a split second I wished I could step back in time…

As I lay in my bed alone, trying to sleep with a cast on my foot, I glanced at my wall beside my bed and something happened that has never happened before….I felt very old.

And for a split second I wished I could step back in time and be the mama to these little ones again. What would I do different?

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I would recognize they were unique little creatures designed by God and embrace them as they were. I would not compare them to others which resulted in me worrying too much and trying to fix everything and anything that I thought might hinder them in their future adult life.

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I would work to connect with their hearts and understand them as individual people. I would challenge them to figure out what God designed them for rather than mold them into what I thought they should be or what I wanted them to be. Spanking would be a last resort, not the first option.

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I would have savored each moment, realizing they actually do grow up, they do quit wetting the bed, stop sucking their thumbs and all those things I spent so much time trying to change and fix.

I was well intended. I loved my little ones. I feared for their safety and desired to protect them. I wanted to be a good mama and to the best of my ability and knowledge at that point I was a devoted mama. My children sanctified me. They changed me and I am grateful for that.

Drewgie

Well, really it was the Holy Spirit using my children to sanctify me. http://bible.us/114/rom.15.16.nkjv

I know now that they are uniquely designed and created by God for His good plan and purpose and it is wrong to compare them to others. http://bible.us/116/2co.10.12-13.nlt

Doodlebug

I know now that children don’t have to be “fixed” to fit a mold, they just need to learn to be able to function in this world of ours and they do learn…each one in his or her own way.

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I also realize that even though I am called to protect them, it needed to be done in faith in their Heavenly Father as the ultimate protector, not in fear. http://bible.us/114/heb.11.6.nkjv http://bible.us/100/luk.12.4-5.nasb

Dorable

I would have told them more about who Jesus is and how awesome He is, rather then how I thought Jesus wanted them to be and act.

Perhaps I am a little melancholy because there have been so many life changes…Andrew & his darling buying their first house, Timmers living in Seattle, Dora – the baby of the family growing up and moving out, my mom having a stroke, Marie & family living part time with us during their furlough, Sarah marrying her beloved Tanner, Addysen and Mercy moving back across the globe, Aaron & Cacey celebrating a dozen years of marriage…and now I am left with a very quiet house and pictures on the walls.

When I look at these pictures, my heart wells up with love…I guess I just wish I could hold their little soft bodies once more and take that extra time to cuddle them. To kiss the top of their head without scolding them, “How did you get so dirty?” But I can’t.

Thank God there is the joy of being a grammie… tonight my little grandson sleeps in the room next to me. He’s been with me most of the day. I have listened to him. I have been able to say yes to him many times and only a couple nos. His eyes lit up and his socks got muddy and jeans dirty as I let him water the plants today. I have read with him, and had him read to me. I have kissed the top of his head. Oh how he reminds me of his daddy.

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And tomorrow evening he will be back with his mama because I really am old. My days for being the mama have passed but I can be a grace-filled Grammie….for this is my season now and I must embrace it and choose to live with no regrets.

 

 

See You in September….

Ecclesiastes 3:5 says – “A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing…”

Jan 2012 Marie & mom compressed

It looks like my time has come. Tomorrow my missionary kids head to SoCal for the final week of their furlough from Moldova. Because of my foot surgery yesterday, I will be unable to go with them and join Danny in giving them goodbye kisses at the airport. My “refraining from embracing” will start a bit early.

Jan 2012 goodbye compressed

However I have much to be grateful for…not only have we been blessed by Christian and Marie and their precious girls the entire visit; Marie encouraged me to see if I could reschedule my surgery early so she could help care for me. It was such an comfort to have her with me. Even on her last days of furlough she is serving and I am blessed.

When they left last January Danny & I had bought tickets to visit in May. It really helps to have a ticket for your next visit because you can look forward to “a time to embrace”. And so my dear husband encouraged me to buy a ticket for September, even though he cannot go with me. Perhaps this is where Marie learned her sacrificial love.

I thought I’d post this fun song for Christian and Marie. I’ve had to slightly change the lyrics (in bold italic) to accommodate Moldova!

Song: See You in September

See You in September!

I’ll be alone each and every night
While you’re away, don’t forget to write

Bye-bye, so long, farewell
Bye-bye, so long

See you in September!!!!!!
See you when the summer’s through
Here we are (bye, baby, goodbye)
Saying goodbye in the morning  (bye, baby, goodbye)
Summer ministry (bye, baby bye, baby)
Is taking you away (bye, baby, goodbye)

Have a good time but remember
There is danger in Moldovan wheat
Will I see you in September
Or lose you to Moldova’s humid heat
(counting the days ’til I’ll be with you)
(counting the hours and the minutes, too!!!!)

Bye, baby, goodbye
Bye, baby, goodbye
Bye, baby, goodbye (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
Bye, baby, goodbye (bye-bye, so long)

Have a good time but remember
There is danger in Moldovan wheat 
Will I see you in September
Or lose you to Moldova’s humid heat
(I’ll be alone each and every night)
(While you’re away, don’t forget to write)

See you (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
In September (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
I’m hopin’ I’ll See you (bye-bye, so long, farewell)

In September (bye-bye, so long, farewell)

Lord-willing  I’ll See you (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
In September (bye-bye, so long, farewell)