1st Quarter Update (2008)

β€” Dana

1. Aaron and I joined Weight Watchers this year. We have been consistently gaining weight since we got married…so…this was our last ditch effort to stop the ever expanding process. So far it’s working!!! Aaron and I are losing weight (of course he is losing more, but I knew that would happen) and we are looking forward to summer.

2. Speaking of summer…I have been helping my sister plan her summer wedding (6/20/08). I think I’m getting more stressed out than Danise…and I’m not even the bride. Overall, things are going well and we’ve been enjoying some “girl time” with mom once a week!!! We are trying to mail out the invitations soon…so that will be one less thing to remember. πŸ™‚ I have been updating their wedding website as things change (which it has been changing a lot lately)…so if you haven’t seen it in awhile, take a peak!!! Rivers-James Wedding Website

3. Our dear friend Jeannie Cross (our pastor’s wife) was diagnosed with a rare cancer in January. What a whirlwind of emotions!!! God has been so faithful to hear and answer the prayers of His people!!! As weird as it sounds, this situation has been a blessing…because the Lord has been changing our character and strengthening our faith. Because of this situation, in January I decided to help Scott and Jeannie for an afternoon, by being a chaperone for their daughter’s field trip. My best friend, Sarah, and I were chaperones as Malia’s class toured the MAC Museum. We had a blast helping the teacher wrangle the kids…and we got to participate in all the activities. What a neat experience!!! To top it off, I was only mistaken as a 5th grader once. πŸ™‚

4. Our little house has been such a blessing the last 4-1/2 years, so we decided to give it a little update and sprucing up. This year, we were able to get a bathroom addition put in upstairs. We officially have 4 bedrooms and 2…count it TWO…bathrooms. Jerry (our friend that lives with us) doesn’t have to try to run downstairs, in the middle of the night, for a bathroom emergency anymore!!! (I think he appreciates the bathroom more than we do right now…but when we have kids it will be a HUGE blessing.) I had so much fun designing our 10′ x 12′ bathroom…all I need is a nice piece of art for the wall and the room is finished.

We also purchased a few pieces of furniture for our house…new dinning room table, coffee table and end tables, and a new bed. We feel incredibly blessed to have this house and all the things in it!!! In response to this blessing, we try to use it to bless others. Aaron and I still have Small Group in our home on Monday evenings and we try to have people over as often as we can. I look forward to the day when we can look back over the years and see how the Lord has worked in people’s life because of our home!!! (Well, we can do that right now…but I am talking more like 20+ years of God’s faithfulness!!!)

5. Aaron and I started attending the “10 Great Dates” class that our friends, Jameus & Emily, have been leading. What a neat little workbook!!! We would HIGHLY recommend every married couple take the opportunity to go through this book. Aaron and I usually read a chapter, attend the 20 min. video session (every other Saturday)…and then go out on a date. We have a few questions that we go over and then the rest is enjoying each other’s company!!! I think we are falling more and more in love with each other over the years…and I am here to tell you that it’s all the Lord’s doing. Aaron and I are selfish, sinful human beings…and through our relationship with the Lord and other Christians, we have learned to be better communicators and love each other more each passing day.

6. This is the part of the letter where I talk about my health. I hate this part. For starters, I would like to report that I’ve been feeling better than ever in the last 10 years. Praise the Lord!!! Now, I am just working on the more “minor” health problems. The medical professionals have been able to get rid of or eliminate a number of ailments in my life. Now, the only ailments that I have to take medication for is my thyroid…and my latest diagnosis…Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Aaron and I have been trying to get pregnant for almost a year now, and this has caused us to be on our knees in prayer lately. What is our next step? Should we just keep trying to have a child naturally or use medical advancements? What about adoption or foster parenting? We are confident that the Lord of the Universe hears our prayers and knows our concerns. We are also comforted by the verse that’s found in Jeremiah 29:11…when the Lord says: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out–plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” So, we are moving forward and asking for wisdom in each step we take!!!

February

1. Disneyland. Yep…Aaron and I went to Disneyland during the Valentine’s Day week. It was an amazing time to relax and enjoy each other’s company…in the happiest place on earth!!! We practically had the theme park to ourselves. We only had to wait in line for 5-10 mins, so that gave us plenty of time to get on every single ride (sometimes more than once). Aaron and I were also the lucky recipients of the “Super Fast Pass” (one of the Disneyland employees handed it to us as we were leaving a ride). So, when more people arrived after the local schools were dismissed, we just used our “Super Fast Passes” and went to the front of the line. It was a great Valentine’s Day gift!!! (Thank you Disneyland.)

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Aaron and I also went to Legoland that week. We are happy to report that we were the ONLY couple in Legoland without children. Aaron and I turned into kids, though, as soon as we entered the theme park. We looked at all the amazing Lego creations (everything from a life-size Volvo to full layouts of the Seven Wonders of the World)…all using Legos!!! If Aaron had his way, he would work for Legoland and create all those neat little displays (he really likes Legos, if you didn’t already know that).

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2. When we got back from our trip, we decided to get a dog. After 6 years of bugging Aaron, he finally let me have a puppy. We got Zeke from our friends, The Garringers, and have been enjoying this new addition to our family. To be quite honest, this dog has really quenched my desire for a baby. Puppies are a lot of work (Aaron was right), and I wasn’t really prepared for the challenges that a little ball of fur could create in my life. Overall, I am glad we have Zeke in our family now. He has helped us prioritize our life and we’ve also learned the value of walking around our neighborhood. I find myself praying for our community more and I enjoy the exercise…especially since we are moving closer to summer.

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3. Speaking of weather…we have had the weirdest Spring this year!!! The snow and hail have been out of control. We saw snow every month this year…all the way through the 2nd week in April. I guess we won’t have to worry about a drought this summer!!!

4. The Cross Family (remember, our pastor and his family) made their trip to the Mayo Clinic in February (they were gone for almost the whole month). Our little church of 30 people had to make some major adjustments while they were gone. In the end, I know we just grew closer as a community of believers and our fellowship has been better than ever. The biggest praise is that Jeannie is alive and well!!! I can’t even explain the emotions that went through my life as I read the updates from Scott while they were at the Mayo Clinic. The biggest praise is that all three of them made it home safely and I was able to hug Jeannie when she got home. (I didn’t know if I was ever going to see her beautiful face again.) I am tearing up as I write this…so I should probably move on to March!!!

March

1. Our Small Group multiplied in March…and I always have mixed feelings when we go through a Small Group multiplication. First, I am excited that we have enough people to multiply and that we can allow for more people to learn about Jesus along side us. But then, in my sinful nature, I am frustrated that I don’t get to hang out with the same people and hear how the Lord is working in their life. I miss the people that have left to help multiply the other group, but I am excited to see the Lord work in this situation. We know that the Lord is working on people’s heart…and that He will bring new people our way that need to be encouraged and supported…

2. I had a nice little visit to the emergency room in March. Unfortunately (for me), my “gallbladder-like-attack” pain has returned (well it returned late last year, but I just decided to ignore it). And after a few trips to the doctor’s office to review the many tests…it looks like it’s sort of inconclusive at this point. Of course!!! However, they did find that I have acid reflux…but that was not the cause of the intense pain. So, I am thankful for this new found “ailment”…and so I’m trying to learn more about acid reflux so that I can avoid any problems in the future.

Moving right along…

3. To wrap up the 1st quarter, we have been going through a few challenges in our church. As a group of people following the Lord, we are trying to find a building that will fit our financial and long term goals. So, we have been meeting in people’s homes for our “corporate church” gatherings until we find a bigger facility. To top it off, Jeannie Cross started chemo (the first week in April) and we are very thankful for each day that we have with her!!!

4. I am still working from home…doing various Design projects and bookkeeping for a few churches in Spokane. I have a website where I update my current status…check it out if you have time. You can find it at http://www.myspace.com/danakangas…it’s different than the blog. Aaron has had some changes with his work…but that will have to wait until the next update.

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