Christmas Lights & Coming Changes

Way back on Christmas eve in 1980, Terry Dalrymple proposed to me as we went through Winterhaven, a section of town in Tucson, Arizona where each home agrees to put up Christmas lights.  We were both very young and had starry eyes which were twinkling faster than any of the lights which surrounded us that night–but this did not mean that we were jumping into things.  We knew God had called us to serve together in missions.  In fact, on our first date, we learned we had each spent serving on the mission field.  I had been in Argentina and Terry in the Philippines.

Fast forward almost 40 years.  We have spent nearly a decade in the Philippines, learning two languages and starting a church before we returned to the United States; and when we returned our roles changed dramatically.  Terry began to serve as the Southeast Asia Director at Medical Ambassadors and I chose to return to school for a nursing degree. Today, by God’s grace, Terry has become a missions leader with a great understanding of Community Health Evangelism, while I have been blessed to work at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

Many nurses will tell you, “I always wanted to be a nurse since I was little” or “My mom, aunt, and grandmother were all nurses.  It’s in the genes!”  When I graduated from nursing school, I was asked to speak to the graduating class. I surprised them when I said,  “I never wanted to be a nurse. I thought I could not deal with the blood or poking people!”  Actually, nursing was a practical choice–It was a profession which could work well around my family.  Given time, I was able to get over those fears.  I had the hope that one day, when my children were grown, I could once more work beside Terry and use my nursing skills which I acquired.  It’s been over a decade since our last child left home, yet until now, this dream has not become a reality.

Until now, I have been able to justify our differing roles as I see that serving patients in the hospital IS a service to Jesus—a real mission field.  I have had many opportunities to minister to people when they were at a vulnerable time in their life. One big thing has been missing—Terry and I have been living parallel, supporting roles, but not working together as we had hoped and dreamed.

In May of this year, Terry had a great need for help in the Global CHE Network office.  I told him that I would be happy to volunteer part time.  During these seven months, I have found great delight working in the office (yes, I do get to see him out of the corner of my eye).  I have loved writing to churches in the United States and co-workers around the world, building relationships and informing of needs.  I have loved working behind the scenes, supporting Terry.

In September, I became very ill and have been off work at Mayo. Over these three months, I have learned that working next to Terry is exactly where I need to be.  I would not have learned this had I not stepped out and volunteered to help.

For most of you, this is NOT a new story, as you have followed us and prayed for us since 1985 when we were first appointed to the Philippines.  You may not know some of the details and may have thought that we were happy working “parallel”.  I have to say, we were happy, but we will be even happier as in the near future I will be able to resign and work alongside Terry full time.  Would you pray for us in this transition?

I started out talking about our engagement in Winterhaven.  Terry took me there because he knew how much I loved Christmas lights.  I no longer need to go to Christmas Tree Lane because of the number of lights Terry has placed on the outside of our own home to make me smile!  (I tease and say our dogs must keep moving or they may be adorned with a string of lights!) He will occasionally come hobbling in due to his back problem and overexertion.  I promptly scold him, but I know it won’t matter.  His love for me and desire to bring joy to my heart cause him to sacrifice.

This Christmas, can you give a gift of sacrificial love to someone? It’s exactly what Jesus has done for each one of us!

Merry Christmas!



Luke 2:6,7    While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough.

The Life of the Wife…Continued

In the first episode, Terry was out of town and I was considering wearing a scorpion anklet for approximately 4 seconds. The saga continues as Terry left town on Tuesday…

On Thursday, two days later, I came home from work and the smoke detector was chirping. It just so happens, I have experience with smoke detectors as in October, I disabled one which was chirping outside my bedroom. That took a lot of doing since our ceilings are high, but with ladder and reacher in hand, I had yanked it apart. I knew I could handle this challenge! At least I thought so.

I climbed the ladder after my 14 hour nursing shift with ease and was able to stretch and pop the battery out without the assistance of a reacher!  I climbed down, headed towards the kitchen and to my amazement, I heard a “chirp”!  This was puzzling, but since this alarm was hard wired to the ceiling, I thought maybe I had to climb back up and replace the battery. Fortunately, I had not put the ladder away, so I climbed up and stretched AND stretched and finally, popped in a new battery and climbed back down the ladder with a sigh of relief.  Finally–I could relax, but was once again bewildered by a loud “CHIRP”!

This again was puzzling, but I was thankful for modern technology, (not necessarily smoke detectors at this time), and googled “How to stop your smoke detector from chirping”.

I found a great video about how to disconnect the thing from the wiring;  soooo, I proceeded back up the ladder, stretched AND stretched AND stretched and took the thing clear off! Just wires remained hanging from the ceiling!

I headed back toward the kitchen, but before I got there, AGAIN, I heard “CHIRP”!

Now I couldn’t believe it. I searched the Internet some more and finally decided to look up a handyman and messaged him.  I was now at the mercy of the callback from the handy man! I went to bed in the bedroom farthest from the noise. Even so Mollie, Maisie and I were lulled to sleep by the not so sweet chirping of the alarm….

This morning, I turned on Christmas carols and pretended that the chirp was a sweet sounding triangle in a symphony. I had to use my imagination, but it was better than going nuts!

I ran errands in the morning, leaving Mollie and Maisie subject to the sound of chirping. When I returned in the afternoon, I had not heard anything from the handyman and the chirping continued. I started working on projects and soon the chirping kind of faded into the background. I went down the hallway and there was a sudden loud CHIRP, piercing my left ear, leaving it “ringing”! I turned and there was, at nose level, a carbon monoxide detector!   I quickly grabbed it, yanked out the batteries and promptly stomped on it until it was dead!  In our first episode with the scorpion, I had too much fear to stomp on the pest, but used a ceramic pot to smash it to smithereens. I had no fear today, however, but rage at this instrument of insanity!

All is well now. Heels up. Hallmark channel on. Hot tea on hand. Christmas tree is sparkling. Dogs snoozing.

Silence is golden!

The Life of the Wife: It Ain’t Always Easy!

Terry and I have served as missionaries since 1985.  It seems like yesterday, yet it has been ages ago!  When we first went to the Philippines, I served alongside him and cared for our children.  For the last 22 years, he has traveled and I have stayed home.  Inevitably, when Terry is gone, that’s when trouble happens!

This afternoon, I had great plans. After getting my housework done and working on my Bible study, I would spend time outside planting flowers, BBQing dinner and watch our “super moon ” rise with Mollie and Maisie, our two dogs and my constant companions.

Well, planting flowers took a while as I had to wet down and enrich the soil neglected by our hot summers. However, it got done. I was doing a final watering and rinsing of the porches when I felt something on my left ankle. Maisie was next to me, so I dismissed it as she was sniffing at my feet. I felt the tickle again and thought, hmmm…a dead leaf–then I did a double take, started leaping, dancing and shouting–YIKES! A giant yellow scorpion!!! (3 inches)

Granted, I know that the smaller ones are much worse than the larger ones, but it just isn’t my style to wear a scorpion anklet.

I was too chicken to step on him. I did think, ” Why, oh why do these things happen when Terry is away?”    I did the best I could and picked up a heavy ceramic pot and used it to grind the scorpion into oblivion!  (I hope).

If anyone would like to come and lift the pot to see if there are any remains, you are welcome to do so. I would even share my steak. I think I will pass on the “Super Moon” tonight just in case that yellow scorpion’s cousins are around.

I wonder if when I get to heaven, there will be rewards for missionary wives who have survived, fires, coups, rats , etc… while their husband was away.   I can now add scorpion anklet to the list!