Christmas, 2015 in snowy Sisters, Oregon
Dear Family and Friends,
Merry Christmas! What a special time of year as we spend time with loved ones and celebrate the birth of Jesus! We hope that you are seeing the hand of the Lord on your lives and in your hearts.
It has been a couple of years since we’ve sent out an update so I will try to fill you in on what we’ve been up to since returning to the States in 2014!
In February of 2014 we said many sad goodbyes to dear friends, pets, and our home sweet home of nearly six years in Costa Rica. It was a bittersweet time. We were all very sad to leave Costa Rica and at the same time very excited to return to the States.
When we returned to our home state of Oregon, Tim had a job, but we did not have a home. We had tried to secure rental housing from Costa Rica, but could not do so from such a distance. Well, God had better plans and we were invited, as returning missionaries, to be long term guests on a working ranch near Tumalo, Oregon, just 20 minutes from Tim’s job! While there Laura raised a market lamb for 4-H and we all learned how to feed and care for a herd of sheep as well as help with the other farm animals on the ranch; a llama, a goat, horses, and cows. We also experienced our first spring in 7 years and our fist snow in several years. We lived on the ranch from March to November of 2014 while we searched for and purchased a home of our own. It was a special time and made transition back to the States so much easier!
It was exactly a year ago, during Thanksgiving break, that we moved into our own home near the picturesque mountain town of Sisters, Oregon, where I went to grade school and Jr. High!. We were able to buy an acre of land in a neighborhood two miles outside of Sisters. It feels like we are living in a campground with forest all around us and deer, squirrels, and birds as our regular visitors. Living in a retro 70’s/80’s manufactured home while we save up to build a house, our home fits the old adage “Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home!” It is very cozy and homey and we quite like its vintage character. It was also just about a year ago that we adopted a sweet 8 year old dog named “Lexi” who is part Beagle and part Chihuahua of all things. She has been a great addition to our family!
We continued to home school the kids last year and joined a local home school co-op called “Classical Conversations”. After following their curriculum for 2 years on our own in Costa Rica, it was great to be part of a larger community. School was quite cozy at home, spread out on the living room floor in front of the wood stove. Laura studied classical guitar and was part of a children’s choir and both kids were Bible quizzing champs! As a family we were involved with Spanish ministries at our church and the kids were in a bilingual play last summer.
Last January we had the privilege of returning to Costa Rica with a team from our home church in Hillsboro, Oregon where Tim was part of a Work and Witness team to build a church foundation in San Jose. It was something out of a dream to be with some of our closest Oregon friends in Costa Rica! The kids and I traveled by taxi and bus to Atenas and after the Work and Witness team returned to Oregon, Tim joined us to visit friends and our church in Atenas, our pets in their new homes, and we even got to have dinner in our home of nearly six years since some good friends are now renting it and making it their home. It was surreal to be in Costa Rica again, but also helped with closure to see our pets well cared for and our home lived in and well cared for as well. The friends we have there are for keeps and we hope to return again for another visit in a couple of years!
Tim commuted daily to his job in Bend, where he didn’t feel he fit in. Based on his interview it had sounded like it would be similar to his eMi office in Costa Rica, but it ended up being a lonely place to spend his days. It was therefore a relief to us when he was laid off last June after the firm missed getting a couple of big projects. Because he was laid off at the beginning of summer, we got to enjoy a lot of family time during the kids summer break.
In fulfillment of a longtime dream, we took classes last April to become foster parents! We were almost through with our home study when we were asked to take in two boys on an emergency basis while their grandparents were getting certified to take them. Over the month of July, 2 year old Grayson stayed with us and each day one of us visited his baby brother Isaiah at the NICU to learn about his care as he is medically fragile. It was a busy, but a rich time and our kids were a great help! The foster boys are now with their grandparents and we provide respite care for them one weekend per month. The boys are growing and doing really well! We hope to finish our home study soon so we are officially certified to be foster parents.
While laid off, Tim applied to several firms in Bend, all the while wishing that he could work for Steve, a previous employer and mentor, and that Steve would let him work remotely from the Portland area. Steve is someone Tim really respects and the two have a great report. Well, when Steve found out that Tim got laid off he offered Tim a job, but it did involve a move to the Portland area. With my urging, Tim accepted the dream position and in August we left our dear little home and headed back to the city, where Tim grew up. We spent six weeks in Beaverton and learned that the city life is just not for us. We also learned that we can live on much less in Sisters so we decided to move back. When Tim shared this with Steve he was offered a position to work remotely from Sisters! So we moved back to Sisters and Tim is working remotely out of a nice office space just 10 minutes from home. It was a bit circuitous, but now Tim has his dream job in our dream location!
Once again we were moving to Central Oregon with a job, but without a home. We had rented our Sisters home, furnished, for the month of September. Once again God provided and we got to stay at the Tumalo ranch for the last week of September! The kids had a blast at the ranch, revisiting their forts and all their farm friends. They also spent lots of time at the barn with the new barn kittens. It felt like we were in a delightful time warp!
As part of moving back to Sisters, we decided that it would be good for the kids to experience going to school and it was time that I do something about getting in nursing hours to keep my license. I had been trying to get set up to be a contracted nurse through the State of Oregon to care for medically fragile children in their homes, something I had done before and really enjoyed. Just after we learned that we were moving back to Sisters I got a call from a caseworker through the State asking if I was available to start working. So in early October the kids started attending Sisters Christian Academy (SCA) and I started my new job!
The kids are doing well at their new school. It is a classical school so the subjects are very similar to what they’ve been studying at home and through Classical Conversations. They are together most of the day since grades 6-8 are in the same classroom. Tanner is in grade 6 and Laura is in grade 8. Laura’s favorite subject is art and Tanner’s favorite subject is Science plus both are enjoying P.E. Both kids are taking private music lessons from their music teacher; voice for Laura and cello for Tanner. We are still looking to sign the kids up for a sport in our area. Laura likes to dance and Tanner likes the martial arts. Tanner loves going to school, but Laura is not sold on it and often says how she misses home school. Still, she has made some great friends already. We are praying about next year as Laura will enter high school!! The local high school has great programs for art and music that she would enjoy and they also offer alternative options such as attending part time and doing homes school as well. That sounds like a good fit for Laura and maybe Tanner will continue on at SCA through Jr. High. We’ll see!
Well, I usually try to make our newsletters short, but I hope you don’t mind a longer one since it does cover two yearsJ We would love to hear from you!
God bless you and yours!
The Clem Family ~ Tim, Cindy, Laura, Tanner, and Lexi McDoggie