Hey friend, I hope your weekend is going well! I wanted to thank my friend Reuel Sample at the Pastor’s Voice Podcast for inviting me to be a guest this past week. I had a fantastic time and look forward to future conversations. You can listen online at thepastorsvoice.net and you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcasting platform.
A hot, dry summer this year gave way to a hot, dry autumn here in Iowa. I don’t remember many October days in years past with temps in the 90s. In fact, our sump pump unknowingly died somewhere amidst the summer drought. When the fall rains finally came, we got to enjoy some flooding in the basement. Ugh!
September is our favorite time at the lake. The summer crowds are gone and things are much quieter, yet the weather remains very enjoyable. After our friends left on Labor Day, we stayed to enjoy some time, just the two of us.
Other than that, the fall has been quite enjoyable for Wendy and me. Wendy continues to take good care of her 94-year-old grandmother checking in on her during the week, taking her to appointments, and helping her with her daily needs. I became a certified Enneagram coach, which has been fun. Business travel is beginning to happen again. I made a trip to Texas in October and made a stop at one of my favorite places on earth for some much-needed quiet time.
With our beloved Cubs tanking early, our attention turned to football. We enjoyed getting out to both high school and college games. Our friends, Kev and Beck invited us to enjoy the entire college game day experience complete with tailgating before the evening game. The Cyclones even won in spectacular fashion, which was nice.
One of the joys of living life with our dear friends is the opportunity to be part of their children’s lives. Wendy and I felt so honored when our young friend, Harry, told his parents that on his 21st birthday he would like to have his first legal adult bevies with his parents, Wendy and me. We started the celebration at two of our favorite local watering holes and ended the evening back at the Vander Well pub. Fun to be part of another one of the young man’s rites-of-passage.
I was blessed with some of the best college professors back in the day. For the last three years majoring in theatre at Judson College, my Theatre prof was David McFadzean, who was not only one of the best theatre people I’ve ever worked with but was also a personal mentor in so many ways. Dave got his break and has done well as a Hollywood writer and producer. I was pleasantly surprised to get a call letting me know he and his wife, Liz, were making a cross-country road trip and had plans to spend a night in Pella. They came over for dinner and we enjoyed such a lovely evening catching up, talking theatre, and swapping stories.
Meals with friends has been sort of a theme for us this fall. One of my oldest and dearest of friends (and Taylor and Madison’s godfather) has been back in Iowa to help care for an ailing parent. He and I have been able to meet regularly for lunch, and it’s been fun to hang out with him and his son.
The Vander Well pub has also been a regular gathering place for friends, which makes us so happy. Just a few weeks ago we enjoyed a fun night out with the adults. Dinner out with cocktails and nightcaps at the pub. And, Wendy got to sport her awesome new boots.
One of our favorite things over the past couple of years is charcuterie nights. Wendy is quite gifted at putting out an amazing spread. It was so much fun to host friends for an evening of trying lots of different things while we swapped stories. I especially loved the story of our friends who met and were married in three weeks. A few weeks before charcuterie night, we were honored to be in their home to celebrate their 50th anniversary and I was asked to lead in a prayer of blessing over them. So much fun!
In family news, we were blessed to add two nephews to the growing brood. Wendy’s sister Suzanna, and her husband Chino, brought Ian into the world. Wendy’s brother Lucas, and his wife Brooke, brought Owen into the world. We can’t wait to meet Ian when we visit Mazatlan in January, and we loved having Owen visit us with his sister Anya.
The Scotland crew have been enjoying their fall in the gorgeous Scottish countryside. Milo continues to love dinosaurs and Transformers. They had a great visit to the Natural History Museum. Milo is also enjoying Rugby Tots, which Ya-Ya and Papa think is the coolest thing ever.
The South Carolina crew is also doing splendidly. Madison and G were able to take an overdue honeymoon trip to the Dominican this fall. Our fur-grandchild, Bertha, had hip surgery and is recovering well. Hazel is growing fast, as well.
I’m writing this post from the lake. For many years we’ve enjoyed annual spring and fall weekends with our friends, Kev and Beck. Busy lives and Covid have kept us from doing so for the last couple of years so it’s nice to be enjoying a lake weekend together again. Last night we enjoyed a dinner invitation from friends Dave and Lola, who also have a place at the lake. Dave smoked some salmon and we spent hours at the table. I so loved Lola’s comment as we grudgingly accepted the fact that the evening needed to end: “We could sit here and talk non-stop for twenty-four hours.” Indeed. It was our kind of night.
I’m glad to announce that the Wayfarer Podcast, complete with both Chapter-a-Day and Wayfarer Weekend episodes is available on Amazon Music. If you have an Amazon Music subscription you subscribe via the following link:
The Wayfarer Podcast is available on virtually all Podcast platforms including Apple, Google, Anchor, Overcast, and Spotify. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform to get every episode of the Wayfarer Podcast sent directly to your mobile device!
Hey everyone. Just a quick note to let you know that I’ve changed my podcast host from WordPress (the host of my blog) to Anchor, which will distribute the podcast to various platforms using a new feed.
Bad news: If you subscribed previously on Apple iTunes or GooglePlay then you will likely not be getting new episodes until both of those platforms change to my new feed. Sorry. I will continue to post the audio at the top of each chapter-a-day post so you can always listen to it there.
Good news: Anchor has already established the new feed on Spotify for those of you who are on Spotify. Simply for “Wayfarer” or “Tom Vander Well” under “Podcasts” on Spotify and click “Follow.”
I realize that I have posted very little from our personal journey in recent weeks, and I admit that this has been largely by intent. The truth of the matter is that life for Wendy and me has fallen into a very monotonous pattern and there is very little interesting to tell. I’ll give you a brief summation.
We are less than four weeks from our moving date. We closed the sale of our house on Columbus Street in mid-January and are renting back from the new owners, a wonderful couple who are riding the deep of winter out in their RV down south somewhere. Our new house has taken far more time and energy than we ever imagined as we make a seemingly endless number of decisions about an infinite number of small details. I feel awful complaining about such a huge blessing, but I really am weary of it all.
Wendy has been packing like a mad woman. We’d put about half of our lives in storage when we put our house for sale last fall, now the majority of the other half is sitting in boxes as we pare down to only those essentials we need for the next few weeks. Life is in full transitional mode.
I have been teaching a class called The Language of God on Wednesday nights at our church. I am transitioning into a volunteer role of helping coach and mentor a team of men and women who will be teaching and preaching on a regular basis in our church auditorium. This has meant more regular opportunities for me to teach, as well.
Wendy has been absolutely amazing with all of the house and moving plans. It’s overwhelming for her as well, but she has done an incredible job managing all of the details and keeping me on task (which is a exhausting task in and of itself).
Suzanna was cast in the starring role of USP’s production of Anne of Green Gables and has been busy learning more lines than she’s ever had to memorize before. The production is scheduled for the weekend that we move. She is still working three part time jobs and saving money for college next fall.
Taylor is in her second semester at the University of Edinburgh and doing well. She got a part time job working at a coffee shop and is desperately looking for a “placement” with an art festival to fulfill her master’s requirements.
After taking some time off from college, Madison started back at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs this past month while continuing to work as a flight attendant for SkyWest Airlines. Flying the friendly skies has both its pros and cons, but she is grateful for the opportunity and the travel perks. We are too, as we get to see her a little more often!
I continue to recover from a hotel room robbery that stole my entire personal and vocational electronic lives. This has meant a lot of hours rebuilding, restoring, and reporting claims. Ugh.
One of the assignments this week in the class I’m teaching is “reading deprivation.” We are being called on to substitute the time we might normally read books, newspapers, blog posts, facebook feeds, and etc. to pursue other activities and endeavors. So, I’ll be taking a week off of my normal morning routine and chapter-a-day posts. FYI.
Today we celebrate my Dad on his birthday. He was three years old in the picture above, but today he is three quarters of a century old and still young at heart. Thanks for a lifetime of love, hugs, support, time, assistance, provision, grace, prayer, laughter, wisdom, and integrity.