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Andi is 35 years old today

by davesandel on April 6th, 2021

Tuesday, April 6, 2021           (today’s lectionary)

Andi is 35 years old today

The promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.

Margaret and I loved picking up Andi from church camp at Little Galilee because she told us everything, detail by detail, blow by blow, about her life at camp for a week. Stories about the events, the people, the bugs, the food and the insights all flowed out on our hour-long ride home from Clinton to Urbana, Illinois.

See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, to deliver them from death and to preserve them.

There came a time when she made up her mind to be baptized at Little Galilee. We got a little advance notice, so her grandparents from Lincoln and her brothers in their own car and her parents all made it to poolside in time to see her baptism. She didn’t smile, and she didn’t much look at us. Andi was shy that day, and thoughtful. This baptism thing was a big deal. Her camp counselor spoke quietly to her, Andi nodded her head and held her nose, and down in the water she went.

As I went down in the river to pray

Studyin’ about that good ol’ way

And who shall wear the starry crown

Good Lord, show me the way …

O sisters, let’s go down

Let’s go down, come on down

On Easter Sunday this year we watched baptisms for half an hour, zoomed in to Austin from West Side in Springfield, where Andi’s brother and sister-in-law are pastors. Each baptism was precious. Two ladies over 75 years old giggled at this unexpected moment of joy as they got baptized at last.

Today is Andi’s birthday. Margaret is reluctant to acknowledge thirty-five-year-old kids, because of course that makes her … what? We are born, we grow, we get older, we get old. Time flies, and this aging thing is better by far than the alternative. So we’ll celebrate her thirty-fifth with all our might.

Yesterday Margaret helped Miles and Jasper make gifts for their mom, personalized bags and beautiful collages from magazine pictures, and even some deviled eggs from the colored Easter eggs we made last week. Today we’ll spend part of our day remembering … the Life of Andrea Lee Sandel Tomita: Her cat Precious, her dog Bear, her friend Toni, her golf teacher, who was inspirational. “As long as the ball goes forward, we’re making progress,” he said. As we do often, we’ll recall her favorite teacher Mrs. Rainer. We’ll listen in our minds to her confident claim to the loyalty of her brothers. “Those are MY boys!” she said. And we’ll remember the busy joy of her wedding with Aki in 2009 at Lake of the Woods, watching her walk across a red Japanese bridge into the next day of the rest of her life.

Jesus said to Mary, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and tell my brothers, “I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God!”

These days she teaches art at a Christian school and facilitates a young married class at Grace Covenant Church with Aki. She writes a blog designed for parents with young kids who want to bring up their children in the way of Jesus. In the blog she often quotes her four year old son Miles, whether or not he is saying what she hopes he’ll say.

At the playground with us last week she climbed to the top of the highest spiral slide and flew down with Jasper, who is 19 months old. Their hair blew in the wind. On Easter we found a bluebonnet field and she pulled together her family for some pictures. Today, whether it’s her birthday or not, she’ll be doing cool stuff with her kids.

A wife of noble character, who can find? She is worth far more than rubies … she opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

Years ago, on their home’s guest bathroom mirror, Andi wrote Philippians 4:8. It’s still there:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, what is right, whatever is pure, lovely, and admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, THINK ON THESE THINGS.

It is hard work being a wife and mom and teacher and daughter. In the hallway near the front door, where she can’t miss it, she created a beautiful sign, for herself and for all of us.

I don’t want to treat my blessings as burdens.

Great job, Andi. God is good. We’re so glad to be your mom and dad.

(Acts 2, Psalm 33, Psalm 118, John 20)


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