Most of you know I have an autistic brother. Because of his speech impediment he often doesn't say much, and when the rare word is spoken, it's hard to understand. He generally tends to be in his own world. Lately though, he has been surprising all of us with a few talkative moments (just a collection of a few words at a time). This morning he shocked us when he woke up, came downstairs and simply said "father's day" to my dad. My dad responded, "Yes, it's father's day." Brian said, "Celebrate". This was a huge deal, since he rarely is vocal about anything. So my dad said, "What should we do to celebrate?" He promptly replied, "Go out to eat and then ice cream." If you've ever heard him speak, it's in this really soft, kind of high pitch voice that is very distinctive to him. We were all pretty excited that he was speaking this much. Upon his request, my sister and brother-in-law organized going out to eat this evening and then going for ice cream. Brian was very excited. He doesn't show much emotion (like most of the Yoders), but we could tell he was happy. My sister's mother-in-law also came with us, whose husband (Ray) died about 7 months ago of cancer. Towards the end of the meal Brian pulled another stunt on us-- he said, "Ray died?" Brian generally can understand what's going on around him, but obviously it takes him a tad longer for things to register. My dad said, "Yes, Ray died." Then Brian said, "He will be raised again when Jesus comes?" Again, my dad said "Yes, he will be in heaven." This really sounds like no big deal, right? With Brian it was a pretty special occasion though. Then my dad asked him if he wanted to be ready when Jesus came. He didn't say anything, but we could tell the wheels were turning. Anyway, it was a pretty neat experience and he reminded us all of the fact that Christ is coming soon. The last thing Brian said tonight was, "Mr. Ray is going to pet a bear in heaven." I'm not sure that will be the first thing Ray will want to do when he gets there, but Brian's simple words reminded us all of our desire for heaven. Ray's death was hard on everyone, but through the mouth of my disabled brother, we were all reminded of the hope we have in Christ. Keep the faith.
I really can't believe it's been over a month since I've been back in the States. Honestly I haven't dealt with much reverse culture shock like many warned me about, so that's good! I started work at the beginning of May for my sister doing landscaping in the city of Abilene. Despite the heat, I love being outside! There was tons of planting to do, so that kept us really busy for a while. I posted some pics of part of the main park we take care of below. It's not too attractive this early in the season because the flowers weren't in full bloom yet, just some perennials. It's looking better now though. Other than staying occupied with work, I've went to 3 family reunions, enrolled in a nearby community college for this coming fall, went to Union College's graduation, just got back from campmeeting, done some experimental baking with new recipes, and am now getting ready for a wedding I'm in next month in Vermont. Next week I'll be teaching a class and helping out with music for our churches VBS- I suppose that will be interesting. I've also found a few spare moments to squeeze in some scrap booking which is fun, yet frustrating too. My perfectionistic side tends to peak through and it takes me forever to accomplish anything. Still fun though. Anyway, to sum it up, life's been treating me great and there's not much to complain about! Guess that's all for now. Hope you're having a great summer!