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Beginning a new life, "at my age," as Grace Johnson would say.
(From Patrick & Grace Mysteries)

Rev. Ivan and Janet Smith

My mother often said, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." The start of this year, 2008, has done its best to disprove that philosophy.
The end of January brought with it a very unexpected surprise. Ivan, my husband of 42 years, died the evening of Jan. 29th. He lost his leg in 1995, but he seemed to be in relatively good health. Still, there were signs the last few months that I tried to point out to him, but he went into a state of denial about it. I knew better than to argue with him about it. I won't go into the details here. If you are interested in knowing "the rest of the story," please go to my blog and read all about it.
Uncertain about what my future held, with the death of not only my husband but also that of the furnace and the plumbing in the very old mobile home we had lived in for 27 years, I knew another change had to happen. I toyed with the idea of moving into an apartment in Grand Forks, ND, where we had lived since 1971. I had a lot of friends there, and our daughter lived there, although both of our sons have opted for taking up residence in the balmy southland.
Unsure of what to do, I ran the idea of my moving to Amberg, WI, a place I had never even visited but a door that God opened for me. He does, indeed, work in mysterious ways.  I knew it had to be the right move for me. It was the first thing I could remember that all three of them agreed on immediately! So, the plans were set in motion.
It was a terribly hard thing for me to go through all of Ivan's belongings, trying to decide which things should go to which of the kids, which should be donated to Good Will, which should be tossed, and which ones I should keep. It seemed like each item I picked up was a little piece of him. I cried as I tenderly handled some of them, and I laughed at others. I felt him watching me, and I could almost hear him ask, "Now do you see why I said we couldn't move? I couldn't have done that." Thanks, sweetheart! I had to do it--alone!
My moves took me to one house for the first few months in Amberg, then to the place I intend to stay for a long, long time. It is a small house, but it just sort of suits me. I sometimes lament the fact that it doesn't have much storage space, but that lessens the temptation to add more "stuff" to my life!
So, my old life is behind me. What remains are the memories. Mission Socorro will continue to operate, but many of the cries for help are now coming through the Internet and Mission Socorro's website. (Click on the picture of Ivan and me above to get to the website.) But an exciting new life is just beginning. My heartfelt thanks also go to all of my other wonderful friends, both "real life" and "electronic," who have been so incredibly supportive to me as I walk a new path. I couldn't have done it without all of you.
Until next month, I remain yours in writing,
Janet Elaine Smith


A great book is like a great mind; it keeps on giving
over and over and over again!
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