Cousin Letters
May 1998

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Reg & Barb Naylor

I realize that I'm writing to a VERY diverse audience... some of you will have been more in the loop recently than others, so bear with me if some of this is old news. But I am bursting to share our GOOD news and give God glory for truly out-doing Himself in the 'taking care of details' department!! So here it is, day 6 of this amazing story... I'm on the maternity ward at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury and Reg and the children are in KTM, due to arrive in London on Sunday evening and we'll FINALLY be together again. Little Isaac is downstairs in the intensive care baby unit, and getting impatient with my tales of Daddy, big bro. and big sis...

Well, I left KTM on Wed., 25 Feb. to fly to the UK to have our baby... that was the last date the airlines would let me fly (this was at 34 weeks). (Since Reg and Gavin and Claire weren't planning on coming to the UK Ďtil nearer the end of March, we wanted to keep the separation as short as possible.) Plan A was to fly to London, stay near Oxford for a few days with friends who would collect me at the airport, and then go to Cambridge to settle in and wait for our baby to arrive.

All went according to plan for the first 36 hours... the 15 hour flight was wonderful... I had four seats to myself all the way from KTM to London! Our friends Jon and Lorraine Fox, with Lucy and Ben (another UK/USA family) met me at Heathrow and took me directly out for fish and chips... which we took home and ate while we watched ER... what a fun re-entry! All day Thursday we caught up on each others' news and my body started to sort out jet lag and I phoned Reg to let him know all was well. Didn't sleep too well Thursday night, due to jet-lag... I thought.

Then at breakfast on Friday Plan B began to unfold. I started bleeding heavily. Within an hour I was in the delivery suite at a hospital nearby and within the next hour Isaac Joel was born by emergency C-section, at 11:05 a.m. He weighed in at a whopping 4lbs. 7 oz. I was wide awake, with my DEAR friend Lorraine beside me, to celebrate his safe arrival... and despite being 6 weeks early, he let out a lusty howl and was then whisked away to the special care baby unit. And all this less than 48 hours off the plane! Three cheers for British National Health care! I literally turned up at this hospital with nothing but my word, and I've yet to see one scrap of paperwork, nearly a week later! (Aren't we glad we've kept up voluntary health care payments while we've been out in Nepal!!)

The medical staff have been fabulously understanding of my situation and I've been given superb care. (One of the midwives taking care of me is a Christian and I think I've recruited her to come work in Nepal when she retires next year!!)

Isaac has been in the neo-natal intensive care unit, just one floor down from where I'm staying, and the staff there are great as well. I have 24-hour access to our baby and on day 3 he even began breast-feeding a wee bit. He's now off all monitors... just a feeding tube left, for his every-two-hours 'top up'. He's gaining weight, sleeping well and generally going from strength to strength. As soon as he is weaned off the tube feeds and onto 'Mom only' he can come out of hospital... hopefully within the next 2 weeks. I'll stay in hospital until Monday, 9 March and then commute to the hospital every day.

Plan A included accommodation in Cambridge, but that's too far from the hospital (2 hours). Plan B now includes use of the car of a friend on furlough and a place to stay at the Wycliffe Centre at Horsleys Green... less than 30 minutes away! We will EVENTUALLY get to Cambridge, but only when all 5 of us can go.

Back to Isaac's birthday... once on the ward, and settled in, I reached for a devotional book I've been reading and the meditation for the day was from Matthew 6:8, "your Father knows what you need before you ask Him". I wept... what graphic evidence I'd been through that very day! The condition that sparked my bleeding turned out to be something that could have occurred at any time during my pregnancy... but there are virtually no neo-natal facilities in KTM and Isaac would have had little chance of survival. It could just as easily have happened on the plane. BUT GOD kept His hand on us both until we were within reach of exactly the facilities we needed. In fact, where we are right now is even BETTER than the 'Cadillac' hospital where we were booked to deliver in Cambridge, and right near my colleagues at the WBT centre.

My friends eventually got a hold of Reg on Friday evening, and he phoned me near midnight... I was still on IV drips, etc. and NOT mobile, so the nurses wheeled my bed to the nurses station to talk on the phone; talk about sterling service!! It just so happens that our field director (Jessie Glover) is in England at the WBT centre, and she visited the first evening. Other friends are also here for a conference including the Cains, Rensches, and Carla Radloff -- all dear friends who are normally half a world away... visiting hours are truly an international event!

My dear friends from Cambridge have been taking it in turns to come and visit, and on Sunday two of them brought communion to celebrate together... a very precious time! It has been very hard not having Reg and the kids here, but God has provided abundant support in the meantime.

Well, that's about enough for now. Won't Isaac get an earful when he asks about his birthday! Many thanks to each of you who prayed us through this pregnancy... now you know what your prayers accomplished!! He's a handsome little chap, with Gavin's ears, Claire's long limbs, and his father's spirit (he never squeaks when they take blood and even WATCHES the nurse do it!). DO please pray that Isaac will continue to thrive and that he'll soon be able to leave hospital, and for a safe journey for Reg and the kids this Sunday. And REJOICE with us in all that God has done in caring for us throughout Isaac's early appearance.

With lots of love, Barb

P.S. 21 March l998 Update... We came out of hospital on 13 March and are staying in an apartment at the UK Wycliffe centre until 25 March when we'll move up to Cambridge. It will be great to have at least part of the Lenten season with our home church there! Isaac is doing fine... actually has chubby little cheeks now and is charming the socks off us! We still need to keep him away from crowds, so he and I aren't going too far afield... just for walks in the fresh air, which we BOTH need after 2 weeks in the baby unit and then in this apartment. Last week we got Isaac's passport photos taken... what a hoot! At least we have that paperwork in progress now.

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Doug & Pat Staley

March 3, 1998

We got a phone call from Michael (Dooley) yesterday, with the news that Erinn is expecting again, and due in late August. Mike says they decided that having their children "close in age" has its advantages, so... Sarah is going to have a brother or sister playmate who will be less than a year and a half younger. Mike said "pass the news", so, how better to proclaim glad tidings than on the internet? Anyway, he sounded pleased (his words were "We're pregnant") with themselves, and of course now Pat & I get to spend the next few months awaiting the Boy or Girl news. I was almost used to the idea of being a Grandpa, and now find that as with most things in life, my being "used to it" doesn't matter a whit... so I might as well relax and enjoy the ride. They're planning on being out here in late June, so I'll get to see my daughter in the 'enlarged' condition this time, which will be a unique experience for me, too.

Speaking of NiŮos, California has been wet and wild this winter, as all who reside in this state can attest. Here in the Fresno sector of the Ag belt, we've not had any dire sogginess, but folks north, south, and west of us have all taken lessons in swimming, sliding, and mud-ing. Toby and Shelly have enjoyed the abundance of Sierra snow this year, and have pretty much made up for the lack of the white stuff suffered last winter. They've both made drastic improvements in their mastery of the snowboard, and are hoping for a couple more trips before this extended season is over. They along with Pat, are looking forward to the Easter school break next week. Pat for the much needed rest, and of course Toby & Shelly for the chance to hit the slopes.

I guess my own news is that I've been assigned to Australia and New Zealand as Industrial, Ag, and Turf equipment salesman, in addition to my U.S. Industrial sales duties. My first trip down will be a long one... 5 - 6 weeks, leaving May 10th. Am instructed to visit dealers and projects wherever I find them in Australia, which requires that I visit all the primary cities and their Ag areas as well as the mining locations up near Darwin. On the way back, I'll have to spend some time in Auckland to get acquainted with our contacts there, too.

Is going to be interesting, but I'm not looking forward to the loooong separation from the family... too many years as a "road warrior", I guess. Would have been a great adventure for me if it'd happened 20 years ago! Anyway, the company has bought me a new laptop, and that'll ease the communication via internet back to Pat and kids (of course Ag Products thinks I'll be using it for business).

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Jeff & Barbara Staley

April 10, 1998

Dear Cousins,

It is spring in the Northwest. Thanks to "El NiŮo," it has been a fairly mild winter and early spring. We had a couple of ski days this year, for the first time in awhile, and had a great time at Stevens Pass, about an hour and a half east of here. Since I hadn't had my skis "tuned" in about five years, I took them to a shop to get them cleaned up. The owner took one look at my bindings and said, "Metal bindings, huh? We don't see many of these anymore!" Made me feel old. I mean, I've only had them for fifteen years! Jeez, I remember metal edges and cable bindings! And I can tell you the first time I saw a snowboarder! (Timberline Lodge, Oregon, February, 1988).

The first day Ben and I went downhill skiing with Steve Keller (snowboarding), and Allie and Barbara took off cross-country. We took Steve because he knew the ski area pretty well, having been there many times before. Allie and Barbara did a five-mile trail on their first day, which is pretty impressive! The second time Ben and I went skiing we called Tim and JC Staley. It was a beautiful sunny day and we all skied our legs off.

Now it is Lenten season, and Easter is just around the corner. This year I'm celebrating Passion Week by chopping down the blackberries in our backyard. Those of you who have been to our house know what kind of a job this is. They are nearly all cut down now. But, like Lazarus, I expect them to be popping back out of the ground again soon. I am trying to dig them out -- which in the past has proven to work fairly well: Eradicate them -- from the Latin, pull them out by their roots. They are mean, though, and fight me every inch of the way. I am bloodied and bruised from head to toe, but I will win in the end. I swear the blackberries know me and hate me. Yesterday I went out to work on them and before I even began, one stray vine hanging from a fir tree slapped my cheek, raising a bloodied welt. I cursed it and struck back. Today is Good Friday, an overcast, misty day. But I don't mind. I will go out and finish the job, even if it kills me.

I have discovered a creek beneath the tunnel of vines at the back edge of our property, lazy and muddy as the Jordan. I fell in on Palm Sunday afternoon, trying to cut a recalcitrant thorny green limb, and was sucked in, up to my knees in mud. It smelled like raw sewage when it hit the open air, but I knew it was the food of life -- decaying ferns and grass from the wetlands around us.

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Paul & Beth Drechsel

April 1998

The house is quiet except for the whish of the washing machine and the buzz of the refrigerator. Itís a beautiful 70-degree day. Iíve opened the windows and doors to let in the air and freshen the house. Paul bought me a set of wind chimes for Christmas and hung them near the kitchen window. They are making gentle music in the breeze. The breeze carries the heavy, sweet scent of citrus blossoms from nearby groves, and the perfume of roses from our backyard. Misty, our cat, is sleeping in the flower box on the front windowsill. Sheís oblivious to the dozens of little birds chirping loudly as they peck seeds off our green lawn.

The "men" were up at the crack of dawn this morning. They packed sack lunches, hats and sunscreen and kissed me goodbye. They were off to join a group of our neighbors at a restaurant for breakfast. Then the whole gang went to Luke Airforce Base for an open house and air show. I declined the invitation to go along. After weeks of daycare, Iím just ready for a quiet day alone.

Speaking of daycare -- it has gone well the past year and a half. Iíve fallen in love with my little charge and enjoy her. However, for various reasons Iíve decided not to do full time daycare next year. Iím ready for a change and will be investigating other possibilities for part time income. Iíd appreciate your prayers.

I continue to be very involved in the Womenís Bible Study at church. This year weíve had a number of brand new Christians in the studies, many of whom have accepted Christ as a result of the studies themselves. Iíve been designated as one of the "older mature women" and put in charge of a discussion group of younger women. Itís a new experience for me to be in this position and Iím learning a lot from the women in my group. It has been a privilege and a joy to interact with them.

Paul has been dabbling in local politics the past few months. He has organized a group of neighbors to apply for a city grant to do some much needed landscaping and neighborhood improvements. Itís been a lot of work: knocking on doors to collect signatures, making countless telephone calls, meeting with city officials, composing and typing the grant (my job), soothing ruffled feathers, etc. Another learning experience -- this time for both Paul and me -- and fun, too! We are encouraged with the good support weíve received and excited about the possibilities for improving the aesthetics of the neighborhood. An added bonus is the many new friends weíve made -- right in our own neighborhood!

The boys and growing and happy. They enjoy the computer we got at Christmas, especially the games. Rob also loves an architectural program and spends many hours designing the floor plans of homes. Kevin is the unofficial tetherball champion of 3rd grade. Heís been strutting for weeks.

As a family weíve had some fun experiences the past few months. Weíve attended concerts: Dan Pinson and Joey Navarro (jazz musicians), Alfredo Rolando Ortiz (South American harpist), and the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. We heard Dennis Freeman, a master storyteller, relate tales from early Arizona history (spellbinding and hilarious!). We toured the Casa Grande Ruins, inhabited by Indians 1,000 years ago, and saw the stealth fighter fly (an awesome technological machine) both in the same day. Last week with Cindy, Philip, Byron and Andrea we visited the Arizona Science Museum and rollerbladed on the campus of A.S.U. then met David, Jeremy, Pa and Esther for dinner that evening. A variety of experiences and a good time had by all.

Well, Iím going to end here. I need to fold laundry and eat lunch. Then Iím going to walk to the library, find a good book, and read all afternoon. Yay!

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John & Wendy Whaley

April 27, 1998

Zach is our most exciting news. As a senior, he has been accepted to the Art Institute of Seattle majoring in video production, we just received word today that he has received a ľ tuition scholarship. It was a long process, and the competition was really tough. We are very grateful. He is very excited and we hope that there are a few cousins out there that will help him through his homesicknessÖ or make his mother feel better because he is going to be so far away from home. Tomorrow he is being awarded the KRCR-TV student of the week. He is the first student from our local high school to receive this award. The award is based on community and school service; his principal nominated him. He continues to play soccer and enjoys his friends. He has been attending the local Nazarene church and enjoys the youth group there.

Talley and Bryant continue to live with us and they both bring us a lot of smiles. Talley has been working hard at a variety of jobs that allow her to be home most of the time with Bryant who is 21 months old. She coached a local elementary school cheerleading squad to an award winning season. She did a great job and the girls love her. She has also been doing billing for the local utility company -- she can do this at home. She is a very good mother and Bryant is quite a boy -- he loves dirt and rocks, Barney videos, and, of course, his Grammy. I think he is the cutest thing on legs.

John is in his 20th year of teaching. I guess that means he is getting old!!!! He finds that the challenges of teaching are growing with the lack of discipline in the home and school. There are so many laws and childrenís rights that sometimes we wonder where the teacherís rights are. He stays busy giving private lessons and does enjoy teaching students that are excited about learning. When the sun is out, which isn't very often in northern California, he has a little shadow following him doing yard work. Bryant loves to work with Grampy.

I am in my second year as the Career Tech at the high school. I really like my job; it is different every day. I spend a lot of time talking to students and help them with college and career plans. This will be my last year as soccer league treasurer. I am still on the Sober grad board and we are busy making plans for this yearís all-night party.

We are looking forward to some summer weather as we have had over 80 inches of rain this year. Everything is green and the trees are just starting to bud out.

We hope that this letter finds everyone well and happy. With love from the Whaley 5 in Weaverville.

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David & Cindy Staley

April 26, 1998

Things are going well in the Big Rat(on). Snowed all day todayÖ still waiting for spring -- sometimes I miss living in the low-lands/desert. We visited Albuquerque last week and it looks like summer. Everything is green and blooming and it's warm -- in the 70's already. Up here it's cold and windy and snowy/sleety/rainy.

We were in Albuquerque because I got caught in a flirt. A couple months ago, I applied for a job at Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute as their Director of Adult Basic Education. Turned out I was one of seven out of 43 chosen to be interviewed. I went for the practice, and ended up being their first choice. I turned them down, though. It would be a boring administrative job in a big city with a future of political infighting! I used the job offer to finagle a special deal with Maxwell though. They're going to send me to a very special training center where I'll become a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). It's very expensive and extremely intense training, but when I finish I'll know all there is to know about computer networks and internet connections. With my job as Tech Director at Maxwell, that'll come in very handy -- to say nothing of increasing my marketability!

Cindy is still secretary of the Baptist Church. She enjoys it. We're about ready to hire a pastor -- been over a year without one. This guy is young and recently married and has a little girl, and will be good for the church if it all works out. I'm still guitarist for the praise band.

The kidlings are fine. Andrea (5) is pretty funny. Yesterday at Lake Maloya, she stepped down off a rock and said, Whoa! Deja vu! Then giggled. This morning we were chewing Philip out for eating chips in bed and making a mess in the process. I went up to supervise the clean up and Andrea climbed up to view the damage: "Ahh, the bed..." she said in a narrator's husky voice, "the scene of the crime."

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Howard & Cami Meloch

April 30, 1998

Dear Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, etc.,

I'm nearing a whole nine months of married life and I'm enjoying it. Howie and I moved to Fayetteville, AR at the end of August and I started work at JB Hunt Transport a few days later. I've learned a lot about the trucking industry and US geography in the past eight months. I continue to settle in more every day. I'm enjoying what I'm doing and really feel like an integral part of the company.

What am I doing? That seems to change almost daily. Currently, I'm developing computer applications for the pricing department. I have also worked on developing transportation solutions for customers and all kinds of miscellaneous things. My coworkers are great and the atmosphere is pretty laid back.

Howie is working on the campus of the University of Arkansas as a staff worker with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He spent the first semester fund raising and has been on campus since January. His supervisor has had some pretty major medical problems in the last 3 months so Howie's been on his own a lot, but doing very well.

We're enjoying Arkansas. The trees give amazing displays in the Fall and Spring. The slower pace is kind of nice, but sometimes we wish for a few more entertainment opportunities. When we really want to get away (or do some major shopping) we drive 2 hours to Tulsa, OK.

We've been living in a furnished apartment since August, but this Saturday (5/2) we're moving into a great little house we found to rent. We did some furniture shopping last weekend... that was a lot of fun! We found stuff we really like. Itís going to be nice to settle into our "own space" with our own stuff.

I look forward to reading what's going on with you.

P.S. Our new address is 5748 Fountain St., Fayetteville, AR 72704; the phone number is the same (501) 443-3005.

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Dan & Jan Greenough

May 2, 1998

Our big news is that Dan has sort of, maybe, probably decided to retire at the end of May. It's a pretty big decision, and entirely his own, so he keeps wavering back and forth. I, on the other hand, am all for it! He may take part of the summer off, then get a part-time job in the fall, possibly with the same company he's been selling homes for the last 5 years.

I talked to my boss the other day about taking a couple months off during the summer, and he said we could work around it, 'cause he doesn't want to lose me. Wow! We want to head up to Seattle to cooler temps and fun times with family. We are hoping to drive up, visit a few people on the way, and spend an extended time up there. As you can tell, we have no idea yet, despite talking and thinking about it for months, how long we will be away. Since it's May 1st, we gotta decide soon!

The last few weeks have finally felt like spring in Tucson. Warm and sunny. We had so much (welcome) rain during the winter that plants are blooming and growing all over town. Dan spends a lot of his free time in the yard, weeding and mowing and trimming and fertilizing and planting. I enjoy helping him out now and then. We've been in this house 3 years, so the plants are finally looking good.

I've been working 30 hours a week for the attorney, an increase from 20, then 25 a week a year ago. It's going fine. Secretarial isn't my lifetime goal, but it is a good feeling to know my job well and know I do a good job. It's a real casual office, too, which I like.

Hope you are all well. Don, we've been praying for your eye problem. Hope things are going better. And we hope to see you Northwest folks soon!

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Becky Staley

April 30, 1998

Looks like I finally sold my condo! We close on May 15th so anything could happen until I get the buyerís name on the dotted line (and her money in escrow!), but it is looking very good. Iíve lived in this condo for much of my adult life (age 27-41) so it will be a big change but one Iíve been looking forward to for a while.

Iím hoping to find a nice mobile home and am focussing on a little park in midtown Tucson that has nice neighbors, reasonable traffic and a low lot rental. Yes, I do realize I will be moving directly into the path of any hurricane, tornado, or other natural disaster-type storm (just what do they have against mobile homes??). Like John Whaley, Iíve been at my job for nearly 20 years and can seriously look at "retirement" in another 10 so this move is part of my plan to reduce my living expenses within the next few years so I will have lots of options open to me when that time comes.

Meanwhile Iíve enjoyed visualizing a lot of possible decorating ideas -- mostly thanks to a wonderful book my astute brother Tim bought for me last Christmas. Itís called "Shabby Chic" by Rachel Ashwell, and the theory behind her decorating style suits me perfectly. Then Ma had to go and get me hooked on another book that turns out to be the perfect complement -- "Color: Natural Palettes for Painted Rooms" by Donald Kaufman. My new neighbor, Natalie, and I are hooked on HGTV (Home & Garden TV, for those without cable). We shop the swap meet regularly and have fun encouraging each other to experiment with things like faux finishes, etc. Say, maybe 10 years from now I can take my decorating on the road and visit you all to help you with redecorating! (Iím giving you plenty of notice to move with no forwarding address!!)

Christmas was especially fun this year. I usually travel to Seattle (or they come down to Tucson) but this time we headed even further north into Canada. Tim & Josie have a special vacation package that allows them to rent condos in several locales. It is difficult to get Whistler (a ski resort), especially at Christmas. Ben & Kathy were able to get reservations at a nearby complex and Ma & Pa also joined us. We spent 4 days together skiing, shopping, and generally enjoying the snow and each other. The nephews are getting very skilled on snowboards (5-yr-old Kevin tried snowboarding but "prefers skis"). I didnít ski but took the gondola to the top to meet the skiers for lunch and check out the view. What a beautiful area. It was my first trip to Canada -- hopefully not my last.

Recently I got inspired to write down a few memories of my years at the mission. We had a very different childhood from most all our peers -- valuable in many, many ways. Iím mostly just writing things down for "posterity" but I thought you might enjoy reading it, too. Attached is my first attempt. I hope you all (cousins and aunts & uncles) will be encouraged to do the same.

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REUNION UPDATE

As you may have heard, plans are under way to hold the 1999 Staley Reunion in the northwest. Ben & Vae Staley are scouting possible sites around the Seattle area but would be open to suggestions if you know of some place worth checking out.

The difficulty is generally in finding a central location for everyone to gather plus lots of accommodations in all price ranges nearby.

The dates will be announced as soon as they are available but plan ahead to have vacation time available probably the end of July or early August 1999.

If you have ideas for events or special things to do during the reunion, make notes and/or send your ideas to Becky.

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