Wednesday, December 18, 2013

“And then, in the midst of near despair, something has happened beneath the surface. A bright little flashing fish of hope has flicked silver fins and the water is bright and suddenly I am returned to a state of love again — till next time. I've learned that there will always be a next time, and that I will submerge in darkness and misery, but that I won't stay submerged. And each time something has been learned under the waters; something has been gained; and a new kind of love has grown. The best I can ask for is that this love, which has been built on countless failures, will continue to grow. I can say no more than that this is mystery, and gift, and that somehow or other, through grace, our failures can be redeemed and blessed.” ― Madeleine L'Engle


So much change this year! It’s definitely been a year of submerging under the water and then seeing those little flickers of hope.  Unexpectedly, we find ourselves in South Carolina, in a beautiful new home, starting over again with schools, church, relationships...transitions are always difficult.  I have a wonderful new job, Assistant Professor of Theatre at North Greenville University, and I really love teaching. This year I’m teaching Acting, Movement, Voice, Playwriting, Theatre Appreciation and directing a production of The Rivals. We dearly miss our friends and family in other parts of the country, but took this step in the faith that God has brought us here and has a purpose in it all.

David is a freshman in High School now, and is part of the Drama club and a weekly Bible study at the school.  He succeeded in achieving his Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do this summer, and we hope to find him a school here as soon as possible.  Timmy had found a Boy Scout troop here in SC and is hard at work earning his merit badges.  He’s also joined the Academic Competition team and the Lego Robotics Club at his middle school.  Emily is excelling in 5th grade and is part of the Math superstar club.  We’re still looking for a ballet studio for her in the takes awhile to get settled in!! Don has been a lifesaver in doing all that’s involved with moving into a new house, taking care of the kids, and searching hard for work of his own.  It was hard for him to leave the security of his position at the Naval Base, but again, that’s where trust comes in.

Earlier in the year, I choreographed and Timmy and Emily performed in Fiddler on the Roof at Regent. I had the opportunity to perform as Queen Elizabeth in Richard III in Williamsburg, VA. Over the summer, the kids got to attend St. Philip’s Kidz Kamp and Christ Church VBS in Pittsburgh, Theatre camp with Virginia Shakespeare Festival, and visit family at Uncle Steve’s lakehouse in PA for the 4th of July.  Timmy also attended Scout Camp and David a Student Ministry camp.  We met our new little cousin, Finn, while visiting up in Massachusetts, and squeezed in as many last visits to the beach as we could, before moving to the mountain foothills. Maybe we’ll be able to slow down a little in 2014? No, probably not.

Here’s wishing you many glimpses of the silvery fish of hope in the new year, and that you will see many examples of grace and redemption this Christmas season.

Much love, from The Dunlaps


Thursday, January 31, 2013


Windy last night!!
All night long the doors squeaked and the walls creaked and the windows rattled and spattered with rain.
Our grill blew over sometime during the storm - scary thought.  It seems to be all right...the propane tank is still attached, so that's good.  Stood it up this morning, lava rock flying everywhere. 

Then I went out to take David to the bus stop and saw this staring at me from across the street.  (I did not take this picture...but this is what he looked like!)

Wonder if he got blown out of his house too?

Monday, January 14, 2013


Timmy's home today - we've both been courting sore throats for a couple of days, and last night his turned into a barky cough.  Both strep and flu are going around his class, but there's no fever at all, and aside from the bark he doesn't really feel terrible.  So no Dr. visit, just a day at home.  Hopefully that won't turn out to be a mistake! I'm worried about work - I'm working from home today, but if all the kids get it and I have to miss more work, there's going to be trouble.  Plus the kids have no school Monday or Friday of next week, and I have to figure that out too.  Having a job is a pain in the butt. 

On the happy side of homesick, I got a package from Mom today with random left-behinds from Christmas.  Some undershirts of Don's, one glove, a toy horse that Santa forgot to leave under the tree, and some random food items.  Made me smile.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


He stole my socks!
This was today's battle cry.  Such righteousness! Such indignation!
Truth is, both boys wear the same size, same brand socks, and I buy a lot of them and distribute them randomly when sorting laundry. 
This morning, Timmy ran out and took a pair from David's drawer, which was apparently the first time David discovered that this is how the sock fairy works.  No, he declares, they are all MY socks.  All of them.
What makes some children swell with this type of entitlement? I will readily take whatever blame deserves to be laid at my feet, but I don't think he's been a materially spoiled child.  Somewhat coddled, yes.  I will own to that. 
But it's an issue (of which sock greediness is only the tip of the iceberg) that we are trying desperately to address.
It's yet another reason why I like summer much better than winter.
As Grandma-B always said, "No socks in the summer!"